In the very heart of the ancient city of Oxford lies the rare open space of Christ Church Meadow, open to the general public as well as students throughout the year. In a city that's jam-packed with historic buildings, museums, galleries and old colleges it's a relief to simply take a stroll in this delightful space between sightseeing and shopping expeditions. From an Oxford hotel such as Old Bank Hotel or The Tower House, or indeed from any B&B or guesthouse in this part of Oxfordshire, Christ Church Meadow is clearly signposted and easily accessed.
Christ Church Meadow for a Stroll from Oxfordshire Hotels
Christ Church Meadow experiences seasonal flooding and has a diverse and ever-changing wildlife population, so it's a slightly more dynamic location than you might suppose. It has been around for a long time, used by the city's Royalists as a defence against their Parliamentarian besiegers, but these days English Longhorn cows are more likely to be encountered than Cromwell's Roundheads. In 1784 the first English aeronaut, James Saddler, took off from here in his hot air balloon and landed six miles distant, and in fact Christ Church Meadow has for centuries been used for sport, recreation and entertainment of one kind or another.
Oxfordshire Hotels for Outdoor Fun in Christ Church Meadow
The Rivers Thames and Cherwell enclose Christ Church Meadow, with the Cherwell hosting the annual intercollegiate regatta, also known as the Summer VIIIs. This famous competition was started in 1815 and lasts for four days.
Many outdoor performances are held throughout the year on Christ Church Meadow, which you can visit from your Oxfordshire hotel. Perhaps the most famous was the 1968 Son et Lumiere, a celebration of the history of Christ Church which included appearances and readings by the likes of Jan Morris, W.H. Auden and the irrepressible John Gielgud.
Broad Walk is the name given to the area between the college's Meadow Gate and the river. Installed by the Bishop of Oxford in the 17th Century, it was threatened more recently by a proposed new bypass, but luckily these philistine plans came to nothing!