Oxford has one of the most famous universities in the world, and along with the ones in Cambridge and Paris some of the oldest colleges in Europe. Many of them are open to the public as historic architectural and cultural treasures of the country, and based at a hotel or guesthouse in Oxfordshire you can explore their treasures for yourself. All Souls College is one of the most atmospheric and oldest of these uniquely English establishments and is close to many of Oxford's other brilliant attractions.
All Souls College from Oxfordshire Hotels
All Souls College was founded back in 1438 by Henry VI, who may have precipitated the Wars of the Roses by being a useless king but did at least have a keen interest in founding places of learning like this. Visitors come to see, amongst other unique or rare features, the classic hammer beam roof on the northern side of the college's chapel, and the unusual misericords on the choir stalls. The 15th Century stained glass too is a real treat for all lovers of medieval ecclesiastical architecture - and who isn't?
A Feast for the Senses at All Souls from Oxfordshire Hotels
To get into All Souls College you'll find the main entrance close to Catte Street on Oxford's High Street. Built as a place for learning and prayer, the college exudes a delicious atmosphere that fairly reeks of history and high culture. Its name is derived from a hymn, 'All souls of the faithfully departed', and you can stroll along to explore its treasures from your hotel or guesthouse anywhere in Oxford, as it's in a central and accessible position.
Students at All Souls differ from those attending other Oxford Colleges in that they get elected by their peers rather than by applying in the more usual way. It's a difficult college to get into and has a distinct air of exclusivity about it. Christopher Wren built the giant sundial on the side of the Codrington library, and WB Yeats loved the college so much that he composed his poem 'All Souls Night' as a tribute to it.