Trip Planner:   Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  Oxfordshire  /  Oxford  /  Sightseeing  /  University Church of St. Mary the Virgin

University Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford

(4.6/5 based on 460+ reviews on the web)
The University Church of St Mary the Virgin is an Oxford church situated on the north side of the High Street. It is the centre from which the University of Oxford grew and its parish consists almost exclusively of university and college buildings.St Mary's possesses an eccentric baroque porch, designed by Nicholas Stone, facing High Street, and a spire which is claimed by some church historians to be one of the most beautiful in England. Radcliffe Square lies to the north and to the east is Catte Street. The 13th century tower is open to the public for a fee and provides good views across the heart of the historic university city, especially Radcliffe Square, the Radcliffe Camera, Brasenose College and All Souls College.HistoryA church was established on this site, at the centre of the old walled city, in Anglo-Saxon times; records of 1086 note the church as previously belonging to an estate held by Aubrey de Coucy, likely Iffley, and the parish including part of Littlemore.In the early days of Oxford University, the church was adopted as the first building of the university, congregation met there from at least 1252, and by the early 13th century it was the seat of university government and was used for lectures and the award of degrees. Around 1320 a two storey building was added to the north side of the chancel — the ground floor (now the Vaults cafe) became the "convocation" house used by university parliament, and the upper storey housed books bequeathed by Thomas Cobham, Bishop of Worcester, which formed the first university library.
See University Church of St. Mary the Virgin and all Oxford has to offer by arranging your trip with our Oxford vacation planner.
Source
Create a full Oxford itinerary
map

Plan your trip to Oxford

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans in Oxford by other users

11 days in United Kingdom & Paris BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 30 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND April, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 30 days in United Kingdom BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND June, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Southern England BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 26 days in Western Europe BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, outdoors, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Oxford BY A USER FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES March, popular PREFERENCES: March ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 33 days in United Kingdom, Northern Ireland & Ireland BY A USER FROM ARGENTINA July, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in Oxford BY A USER FROM BELGIUM June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in Oxford BY A USER FROM OMAN April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in England BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in England BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Oxford BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans
Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Wow! Breathtaking views in all four directions from the top of the historic tower. Definitely worth the £4 price. I wouldn't recommend if you get claustrophobic though due to the narrow spiral stairca...  more »
  • Escape to Oxford it is a bit like diving headfirst into the middle ages. Victorian architecture still-fortunately-from master and churches such as St Mary are genuine examples of how just a step or a step back in time to a thousand years. Nice to see how the whole Oxford, yet not too touristy, no word yet on how long. .. ...
    View original
  • You need to go up the tower , the view is fantastic! The church is also quite good. Definitely worth all the stairs! 
Google
  • A beautiful place, full of character and great details. Definitely worth popping in to enjoy the space. Staff there were friendly and knowledgable too. There is also a paid entry to view Oxford from the top of the tower, but I didn't partake.
  • Very good cafe/restaurant self service and reasonable prices.
  • Check my photos, you will then definitely want to go up there ;)
  • A quick visit but well worth it.
  • Look past the Radcliffe Camera lies the Univeristy Church of St Virgin Mary. This is the heart of Oxford. You can scale the stairs up the clock tower and be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the city.