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Exeter College

Stroll across perfectly kept grounds, admire centuries-old architecture and attend a peaceful evening recital in one of Oxford’s first colleges.

Exeter College is Oxford University’s fourth-oldest college, dating back to 1314. Today it is a small college in comparison with some of the others, yet it is quite beautiful. Look for its characteristic areas such as the dining hall and chapel that make this college stand out.

The original college was quite small and financially limited. Gaze up to see the 15th-century Palmer’s Tower, all that remains of the early structures. Due to generous donations in the 1600s the college was transformed, and buildings such as today’s hall and chapel were constructed. Once more in the 20th century the college was expanded and took on its current appearance.

Enter the college and you will immediately be greeted by a grand façade and a flawless lawn, similar to that of any great Oxford college. Luckily, all the best spaces in the college are open for public viewing. Peek into the 17th-century dining hall and admire the beautiful wooden structure of the ceiling. You will also notice the long communal tables, where students have meals. In the past this dining hall has accommodated students such as J.R.R. Tolkien and Martin Amis.

Absorb the intricate interior of the neo-Gothic Exeter Chapel with its tall and colorful stained-glass windows. Sit in on a service or evening recital, all of which are open to the general public. Wander through to the peaceful Fellows Garden with its manicured green space. Sit down on one of the benches and enjoy scenic views over Radcliffe Square.

Exeter College is very central and within walking distance of all the main Oxford attractions. Combine your visit with some of the other Oxford colleges or tour the adjoining Bodleian Libraries. This is Oxford University’s main research library, worth visiting for its stunning architecture and fascinating exhibitions.

The college is open to visitors only in the afternoons and is closed for exams and holidays. Plan your visit well and you will be rewarded with the timeless charm of this 700-year-old college. Be sure to visit Exeter College’s new Cohen Quad northwest of the original Turl Street site as well.


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