Main Attractions: Chichester Cathedral, Chichester Cross, Ox Market Centre of Arts, The Butter Market, Chichester Canal Basin, Chichester Canal, Chichester Walls, Priory Park, Bishop's Palace Gardens.
Start & End: Chichester Station.
Weather: I did this short route in a rainy day. Duration: 3/4 day. Distance: 10-11 km.
Introduction: One of the great well-preserved Georgian cities in the UK, Chichester has played a key role of the affairs of Sussex since at least Roman times. Today, Chichester is the prosperous administrative capital of West Sussex and a great place for shopping, but it's hard to avoid Chichester's links to its illustrious past. Chichester city centre's broad streets are packed with listed buildings, headed by the Chichester Cathedral, now home to a family of peregrine falcons who can be heard as they swoop over the city at dusk. The pedestrianised city centre is neatly enclosed within the ancient city walls and this helps to make Chichester compact and pleasant to explore on foot. There are plenty of good shops in Chichester and the city serves as the main shopping centre for an extensive hinterland which stretches right up towards the north of West Sussex. Chichester lies between two areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty - the South Downs and Chichester Harbour - as well as other nature reserves, stunning beaches and dramatic coastline to the south.
Our Chichester Itinerary:
It is about half a mile from the station to the Cathedral and will take an average of 10 minutes to walk the route. From the station we head east on Station Approach toward Stockbridge Rd, which, quickly, changes to Southgate Rd. Turn left and slight left along Stockbridge Rd/ Southgate for 150 m. Continue onto South St for 160 m. From the distance we see the ancient Cross. Turn left onto Canon Ln and (under two arches and a brown sign "Cathedral Entrance"). walk along this narrow lane for 125 m. You see the Cathedral on your right:
For 900 years Chichester Cathedral has stood at the heart of Chichester. Its architecture has spanning the centuries; ranging from original Norman features to the magnificent Victorian Spire. The Cathedral is especially famous for its art, both ancient and modern, with medieval carvings alongside world famous 20th Century artworks !
Opposite the cathedral entrance stands a larger than life-size statue of a cloaked St. Richard (by Philip Jackson) standing on a cubular plinth. The left hand is holding a scourge, a symbol of self-discipline and the outstretched right arm is extending through the opening of the cloak. The right hand depicts the sign of a blessing. St. Richard was the first Bishop of Chichester. On his death, his heart was buried in Dover and his body taken back to Chichester. Three years later he was canonized on 22 January 1262. On 16 June 1276, in the presence of King Edward I, Queen Eleanor, the Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops, and a great crowd of people, his body was moved to the shrine behind the high altar (see below) where it became a place of pilgrimage and prayer for the people of Sussex:
The Cathedral is open every day and all year with free entry. The glorious architecture, art, memorials and other treasures here deserve, at least, two hours of one's time. Free guided tours take place Monday to Saturday at 11.15 and 14.30. Many events like exhibitions, talks, lunchtime and evening concerts, and a superb Cloisters Café and Shop. The Cathedral is in great condition and its grounds and interiors are well maintained. This is a beautifully restored building which is a pleasure to visit. Very splendid and enjoyable place to visit. Lovely, quiet atmosphere with plenty of history. The cathedral volunteers who are greeting you on entering the Cathedral are friendly, welcoming and helpful. They are so knowledgeable and make your visit a wonderful experience. The Chichester Cathedral is a bit different than other churches around Europe and the UK: The exhibits inside are a bit odd for a church a mix of haunting sculptures, even the alter piece is very modern. It is also unusual that such an attraction is free of charge. Being a bit more modern the church offers, as well, concerts, talks and educational events. If you are lucky - you can sample the Cathedral when the choir is practicing. An heavenly music which sends shivers down your spine... It isn't one of the largest, best known or most visited of medieval cathedrals. It is smaller than the Canterbury or York cathedrals. Chichester is also small for a Norman cathedral when compared to Winchester, Ely and Peterborough cathedrals. Open: every day from 7.15 - 18.30 (MON- SAT) and from 7.15 - 17.00 (SUN). Photography and filming can take place in the Cathedral. Chichester Cathedral was founded as a cathedral in 1075, when the seat of the bishop was moved from Selsey. The Cathedral has architecture in both the Norman and the Gothic styles. It has two architectural features that are unique among England's medieval cathedrals - a free-standing medieval bell tower (or campanile) and double aisles:
20. Entrance & Donations to Cathedral. 1. The Baptistry. 2. The Chapel of
St George. 3. The Chapel of St Clement. 4. The Arundel Screen. 5. The South Transept. 6. Romanesque Sculptures. 7. Piper Tapestry. 9. Site of the Shrine of St Richard. 11. Christ in Judgement. 8. Graham Sutherland Painting. 10. Lady Chapel. 12. Chapel of St John the Baptist. 13. The Marc Chagall Window. 14. The Treasury. 15. The North Transept. 16. Gustav Holst Memorial. 17. Arundel Tomb. 18. Visitors’ Exhibition. 19. The Chapel of St Michael. 21. Cloisters, Café and Shop.
The Cathedral is 123m in length and 48m in width, its spire is 84.5m in height:
The Cathedral History: Chichester cathedral's roots lie way back in 681, when Saint Wilfred came charging into Sussex to spread the word about Christianity, establishing a Cathedral in the small community of Selsey, south of Chichester. After the Norman invasion of 1066, it was decreed that cathedrals should be shunted from small communities into the big centres of population, resulting in construction of the current cathedral, starting in 1076. Built in the heart of the former Roman town, the cathedral was completed in 1108, only to suffer a major fire in 1114. Despite being restored and extended westwards by Bishop Luffa, another hefty fire in 1187 completely destroyed the timber roof and caused major damage to the arcade stonework. New naves added during the thirteenth century made Chichester one of the widest English cathedrals, with a fourteenth century extension of the Lady Chapel showing off windows in the 'decorated' style. Bishop John Langton rocked up 1315 and rebuilt the south wall of the south transept, while fifteenth century additions saw the building of cloisters enclosing the south transept, the detached bell-tower - the only one of its kind left in England - and a much-admired spire. The cathedral suffered a right trashing during the Reformation, with brasses removed from memorials, stone figures and carvings defaced and the shrine of St Richard totally destroyed. After years of neglect, Dean George Chandler set about restoring the Cathedral in the 1840s, with his successor, Dean Walter Farquar Hook commissioning a replacement spire (by Sir George Gilbert Scott) after the original collapsed in 1861.
First, we head to the cloisters. The café is situated within the centre of the cathedral cloister (on your left, as you enter) and boasts a beautiful private garden, allowing customers to enjoy a magnificent view of the cathedral. There is also a stunning view of the Cathedral spire from inside through the glass roof. Open: MON - SAT: 09.00 - 17.00, SUN: 10.00 -- 16.00. Accessible toilets are available in the Cloisters Café:
View of the Cathedral from the Cloister and its Cafe':
The Baptistry sits under the south-west tower of the Cathedral and is home to the wonderful copper font which is used for baptism. Commissioned by the Dean and Chapter the font is the work of John Skelton:
St. George Chapel: Saint George is the patron saint of England and on the panel behind the chapel’s altar he is depicted as a knight in armour slaying a dragon. This is a myth. George was a soldier in the Roman army. He converted to christianity and was executed in Nicomedia in modern day Turkey on 23 April 303 AD. The chapel was restored in 1921 as a memorial chapel for the Royal Sussex Regiment. The names of about 8000 soldiers who fell in World War I are inscribed in the encased panels. A further 1,024 names from the Second World War are recorded in the Book of Remembrance by the altar:
St. George Chapel - stained Glass:
St. Clement Chapel: Pope Clement I, also known as St. Clement of Rome, was the third pope. He was martyred in about 98. The precise date of the chapel’s construction is unknown:
The nave was later divided from the choir by an elegant perpendicular screen with three arched openings, called the Arundel Screen, which was removed in the mid 19th century but reinstated in 1961:
Do not miss the huge Lambert Barnard paintings in the South Transept. Lambert Barnard (1485 - 1567) was an early Tudor painter who created Chichester Cathedral's extraordinary and unique Tudor paintings. Believed to be the largest surviving paintings of their kind, these two huge painted panels are on display in the south transept of the Cathedral. The paintings are a sophisticated piece of political theatre and propaganda, giving us a rare opportunity to imagine how Henry VIII was seen by his ordinary subjects. The paintings, of national importance, are now badly in need of stabilisation and restoration and an appeal has been launched to raise funds - £250,00 - for this important work. They are under restoration from year 2016:
South Transept's stained glasses:
In the south transept stands the Antiphoner into a window room. This liturgical service book, one of the largest in the world, was given to the Cathedral by R.J. Campbell (Chancellor 1930-46). Its origin is not known. It is probably from the 15th century. A similar manuscript is in the British Library and a fine illuminated example is in Mexico City. The five-line plainsong stave and the style of decoration suggest a Spanish or South American origin. The book begins with the Te Deum, followed by the antiphons, psalms and hymns for the office of Lauds throughout the year. Its size would enable it to be read by a number of singers at a distance. The initial illuminated page portrays St Francis and St Dominic. The book evidently belonged to an order of Dominican friars, the dedication of whose church (like that of Chichester Cathedral) seems to have been the Holy Trinity. The antiphoner was restored and rebound in
The dating of the two Romanesque reliefs at Chichester representing the Raising of Lazarus -
and Christ in the House of Martha and Mary -
depends on whether they considered post-Norman-conquest works, or typically Saxon. The approximate date of 1080, suggested by some English historians, has the merit of taking into account the Saxon as well as the French elements in this Norman work. On the other hand, several authorities believe the panels to have been executed as late as the 12th century, while yet others place them as early as the middle Saxon period.
The organ at Chichester Cathedral contains pipework by many famous English builders, including Renatus Harris, George Pike England and the Hill family:
The Shrine of St Richard, Chichester's local own Saint and a Bishop in the 13th century, was one of the most important for pilgrims to visit in the two following centuries at the height of the medieval period. It was said to be the most popular after the Shrine of St Thomas a Becket in Canterbury and Our Lady in Walsingham. In modern times people still come to the shrine area to pray and light candles. It was decided in 2011 to give more appropriate form to the area, using the backcloth of the Anglo-German Tapestry, which illustrates some of the miracles associated with Richard the saint. The tapestry is complemented by new candle stands and other items made in cast aluminium and designed by Jonathan Clarke. The beautiful Anglo-German tapestry, designed by Ursula Benker-Schirmer took three and a half years from conception to completion and is made using pure linen, silk and cotton. It was designed to harmonise with the architecture and colours of nearby windows in the Cathedral. The centre panel was woven in Germany and the two side panels at West Dean College, near Chichester. Benker-Schirmer assembled the forms as if they were rock crystal fragments. The tapestry was dedicated on 15th June 1985.
Basck side of the tapestry:
Front side of the tapestry:
The statue of Christ in Judgement (1968), by sculptor Philip Jackson, is positioned in the Retrochoir above the entrance to the Lady Chapel. The subject of the statue is the final judgement of the world by Jesus. The figure of Christ, clad in his windblown burial shrouds, leans forward from a simple throne. With his right hand he blesses and draws the gentle and good to himself and with his left hand he holds aloft a sword. Christ's hands and feet are marked with the wounds of the cross, and suspended above his head is a crown of thorns:
At the far eastern side of the cathedral there is a Graham Sutherland (1903 – 1980) painting of Jesus’ plea of ‘Noli Me Tangere’ (literally translated as ‘don’t touch me’). Jesus’ figure hangs upon this construction, his body creating a strong diagonal line pointing upwards but his gaze and gentle, yet firm, gesture downward emphasises the tension between the two figures. The form of Jesus’ raised arm is reminiscent of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam: through the most delicate part of the human body, Christ is shown to reconnect us to God:
The Lady chapel, constructed to the east of the retro-choir, is a long narrow space, with large windows in the Decorated Gothic style of the late 13th century. In the 13th century, the central tower of the cathedral was completed, the Norman apsidal eastern end rebuilt with a Lady chapel and a row of chapels added on each side of the nave, forming double aisles such as are found on many French cathedrals. So, the eastern end of the building is long by comparison with the nave, is square ended and has a projecting Lady chapel:
The chapel of St. John the Baptist projects eastward from the north aisle and flanks the westernmost bay of the Lady Chapel. Note the decoration (painting of the baptism of Christ) placed above the altar (reredos) in the St. John the Baptist Chapel, which includes religious images. The reredos was made by Patrick Procktor.
The Marc Chagall Window, 1978 is tucked away in the north-east corner of the cathedral and cannot be seen during regular worship. WOW. Marc Chagall drew his inspiration from Jewish religious life, and especially the mystical' legendary Hassidic tradition that flourished in his home town of Vitebsk. His most famous stained glasses are in the synagogue of the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. The hospital windows and the Cathedral window are the only glass by Chagall which are predominantly red; his preferred colour was blue. To see this window lit by the incoming sun is an unforgettable experience. The window is inspired by Psalm 150, which urges its readers to 'let everything that hath breath praise the Lord':
Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
The "new" Treasury of Chichester Cathedral is, actually the formerly Chapel of the Four Virgins (Saints Catherine, Agatha, Margaret and Winifred). In 1976 the vault of the Early English style Chapel of the Four Virgins was secured and the space converted by Stefan Buzas and Alan Irvine into the Treasury in order to display the Cathedral and diocesan church plate:
The Arundel Tomb in the north aisle of Chichester Cathedral was brought from Lewes Priory after its dissolution in 1537. It is a tomb chest and on top lays the recumbent figures of Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel, and his second wife, Eleanor of Lancaster. We now see a double tomb, Richard dressed in the armour of a knight of the period and Eleanor in a gown, veil and wimple. The tomb is best known today through Philip Larkin’s 1955 poem,’ An Arundel Tomb’. The final line is much quoted: ‘What will survive of us is love’:
Side by side, their faces blurred,
The earl and countess lie in stone,
Their proper habits vaguely shown
As jointed armour, stiffened pleat,
And that faint hint of the absurd–
The little dogs under their feet.
Such plainess of the pre-baroque
Hardly involves the eye, until
It meets his left hand gauntlet, still
Clasped empty in the other; and
One sees, with sharp tender shock,
His hand withdrawn, holding her hand.
They would not think to lie so long.
Such faithfulness in effigy
Was just a detail friends could see:
A sculptor’s sweet comissioned grace
Thrown off in helping to prolong
The Latin names around the base.
They would not guess how early in
Their supine stationary voyage
Their air would change to soundless damage,
Turn the old tenantry away;
How soon succeeding eyes begin
To look, not read. Rigidly they
Persisted, linked, through lengths and breadths
Of time. Snow fell, undated. Light
Each summer thronged the grass. A bright
Litter of birdcalls strewed the same
Bone-riddled ground. And up the paths
The endless altered people came,
Washing at their identity.
Now, helpless in the hollow of
An unarmorial age, a trough
Of smoke in slow suspended skeins
Above their scrap of history,
Only an attitude remains:
Time has transfigured them into
Untruth. The stone finality
They hardly meant has come to be
Their final blazon, and to prove
Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love.
Gustav Holst Memorial in the North Transept: Gustav Holst (21 September 1874 – 25 May 1934) was an English composer, arranger and teacher:
We exit the catedral with our face to the bells tower and turn right to West St.
On our left is the Duke & Rye pub. After walking 150 m. eastward along West Street - we arrive to the Chichester Cross. Roman Chichester was built on a grid pattern. The main streets formed a cross, which remains today as North, South, East and West Streets. In the center of the town was the forum, a marketplace lined with shops and public buildings. People in Roman Chichester used cesspits and obtained their water from wells but in the streets there were drains for rainwater. Chichester Cross is an perpendicular market cross in the centre of the city of Chichester, standing at the intersection of the four principal streets (North, West, South and East streets). According to the inscription upon it, this cross was built by Edward Story, Bishop of Chichester from 1477 to 1503; but little is known for certain and the style and ornaments of the building suggest that it may date from the reign of Edward IV. In 1501 Bishop Storey erected Chichester market cross. It was built to provide a covered marketplace from which Chichester's traders could sell their wares, and as a meeting point - mainly for the poor people. An earlier wooden cross had been erected on the same site by Bishop Rede (1369-1385). The stone cross was repaired during the reign of Charles II, and at the expense of the Duke of Richmond, in 1746 and stands to this day. Until 1746 the clock on the cross was square. It was then replaced by four new clocks. Until the pedestrianisation of Chichester city centre the streets around the Cross used to be a busy highway with the main coastal road edging around the narrow gap between the Market Cross and the city centre shops. Nowadays, apart from a few buses, the centre of Chichester is more or less traffic free:
I've been in Chichester during the last day before the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016:
From the market cross head east along East Street toward Little London, 160 m. Turn left onto Little London, turn left to stay on Little London and, again, turn left to arrive to the Ox Market Centre of Arts. A calm, pleasant, sophisticated gallery, located in an old medieval church, with display areas of exhibits ranging from local groups to specified professional artists. Worth a visit of 20-30 minutes:
From the Ox Market Gallery head east toward Little London. Turn right onto Little London, turn right to stay on Little London. Turn left onto East St. Turn right onto Baffin's Ln. Turn right onto E Pallant, 160 m. Turn right onto N Pallant. You pass, on your right, the Pallant House Gallery & Bookshop, 9 North Pallant: an eclectic, independent art bookshop housed in a handsome Queen Anne house and a modern extension, working alongside Pallant House Gallery and offering new, remaindered and out of print books on Modern British Art. Inside, you find a wonderful small gallery. You will find a treasure trove of paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and a constantly changing programme of art exhibitions. BUT, the admission price is quite hefty. A visit is strongly recommended. Open: TUE-SAT: 10.00 – 17.00, THU: 10.00 – 20.00, SUN/Bank Holidays: 11.00 – 17.00. Mondays: Closed. Prices: Adults: £10, Children (Up to 16 yrs) Free, Students (with NUS card) Free, Students (with University ID card) £5:
Head south on North Pallant, 160 m. Turn right onto Theatre Ln, turn left onto South St. In this intersection - you find the The Fat Fig Restaurant, 42 South Street (see Tip below).
Head back north on South St toward Theatre Ln, 320 m. Turn right, turn left and 320 m. further - you see, on your ledt, at 22-23 North Street, The Butter Market. The Market House (Butter Market) in North Street was built in 1808 by John Nash to provide accommodation for small traders who had previously traded at the Market Cross. From that year it was illegal to sell any fresh food except in the Butter Market. A second storey was added in 1900 to provide a technical institute and art school, and at one time housed Chichester Art School. It is now an arcade of shops:
We trace our steps back and change direction - heading to Chichester Canal. Head south along North Street, 320 m. Pass the Cross. Turn right toward South St, turn left onto South St for 320 m. Continue onto Southgate Street for another 320 m. A brown sign pointing "Chichester canal". Turn left onto Canal Wharf, turn right and you see the Richmond Pub, 9 Stockbridge Road on your right. We are in Chichester Canal Basin. A beautiful, accessible retreat close to the city, sometimes described as the “green lung” of Chichester. The Chichester Canal is a navigable canal in England. It runs 4.5 miles (7.2 km) from the sea at Birdham on Chichester Harbour to Chichester through two locks. Chichester Canal is a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI). What is known today as the Chichester Canal is in fact part of the former Portsmouth & Arundel Canal. This was opened in 1823 and consisted of a 12-mile canal from Ford on the River Arun to Salterns and a shorter cut from Langstone Harbour to Portsmouth Harbour, connected together by a 13-mile ‘bargeway’ through the natural harbours and channels between them. A 1.5 mile branch led from Hunston on the main line of the canal to a basin in Chichester. This and the short connecting length of the main line from Salterns to Hunston were built to a larger gauge and equipped with iron swingbridges to enable coastal ships of over 100 tons to reach Chichester. This was the only part of the canal that enjoyed even a modest success, bringing in building materials and coal, and taking away manure. It carried trade until 1906, while the rest of the canal had been unused since the 1840s and fallen derelict soon after. Transferred to the City Council in 1892 (who in turn sold it to West Sussex County Council in 1957), the surviving four miles were abandoned in 1928. The entrance lock and a short length at Salterns were retained as yacht moorings prior to the building of Chichester Marina alongside; the lock is still capable of operation and a number of houseboats are moored on this length. The remainder of the route to Chichester was leased to the local angling club and gradually silted up over the following half-century. Two main road bridges were replaced by unnavigable culverts. In the late 1970s the Portsmouth & Arundel Canal Society was formed with the aim of restoring the canal. They changed their name to Chichester Canal Society (and more recently to Chichester Ship Canal Trust) to reflect this. Along the years of volunteering work - it was, at last, in year 2002, getting beyond the capabilities of the volunteers (mainly, due to the presence of water voles). The canal centre is closed until the 1st of February 2017. You can still book boat trips (1 and a half hours trip) online: firstname.lastname@example.org. There are, presently, two boats which ply the two mile section of the canal between the Basin and Donnington; a beautiful stretch with excellent views and prolific wildlife. Both boats can accommodate disabled passengers. We'll make part of this section on foot. The whole Chichester Ship Canal passes through 4 miles of open farmland from the Basin to Chichester Harbour at Birdham. Since its abandonment in 1906 it has been relatively undisturbed and has acquired a rich wildlife associated with its mosaic of open water, marginal vegetation, banks and bordering hedgerows. The towpath is part of the Lipchis Way. Cycling is permitted. The path connects with the Bill Way at Hunston and Salterns Way at Birdham, which are long-distance cycle routes to the sea. There are (non-manned) information boards along the canal and also historical remains of the original navigation, including Poyntz Bridge (see below) near the basin and the Selsey tramway abutment at Hunston. There are also several benches along the towpath to sit and appreciate the peace and quiet of the canal and to watch the wildlife. The canal forms an important aquatic and terrestrial wildlife corridor. It links areas of semi-natural habitat between Chichester Harbour and local gravel pits. One of the most beautiful views on the canal is from Hunston Bridge towards Chichester. This view of the canal against a backdrop of the Cathedral and the Downs was painted by JMW Turner in 1828 as 'Chichester Canal' painting. You can get refreshments at each end of towpath from the Canal Centre at the Basin or the Boathouse at the Marina. Or take a break half way at the Blacksmiths Arms at Donnington or the Spotted Cow at Hunston. The whole route towpath is well signed and there are maps available. We'll make only short off-road section on foot. Even if it is raining - you can walk along the towpath. It does not become muddy. The views along the way are stunning. It's all on the flat so suitable for all ages.
Southgate basin at the Chichester end is a BEAUTIFUL spot. It is dotted with butterflies sculptures. You'll see more sculptures along the canal:
Now we walk along the Chichester Canal. Spectacular views of Chichester and the surrounding areas:
180 m. further south of the Canal Basin - we meet the Poyntz Bridge: a single span 1820 cast iron swing bridge, It was named after WS Poyntz of Cowdray who was a prominent shareholder in the canal company:
If you look backward - you see the mighty Chichester Cathedral spire:
More pictures of the canal towpath:
After approx. 800 m. from the canal basin - yo see wooden stairs on your right -
leading to Chichester Bypass, and, later (westward) to the Stockbridge Roundabout. From the roundabout continue along Stockbridge road to the NORTH (with your back to the canal - to the RIGHT). 500 m. north from the roundabout - you see, on your left the Stockbridge Students Village, the Nando's restaurant and the whole Chichester Gate Leisure Park (Cineworld Multiplex cinema - ten screens, Lakeside Superbowl Ten pin bowling leisure complex, The Live Lounge - Chichester's largest live music and entertainment venue, KFC Drive, Domino's Pizza, Frankie & Benny's New York - Italian Restaurant and Bar, The Gatehouse Lloyds No.1 Bar - Wetherspoon, McDonald's Eat in and drive thru' burger restaurant, Fortune Inn - All you can eat for a fixed price, Premier Travel Inn Hotel, Nuffield Health - Chichester's premier health and fitness club,
Nando's Restaurant, Mucho Burrito. The Stockbridge Street continues northward as Southgate, and, later, as South Street.In case, you want to give up the walls - turn left (west) onto Cannon Ln and walk along this lane until its end in the Bishop's Palace Gardens).
Continue walking northward along South street. Pass, again, the Chichester Cross, continue along the North Street. Walk 500 m. along North Street (Chichester Library is on your left) until you meet the North Walls Road on your left. Turn left onto the N Walls road. On your left you see the Chichester Cathedral spires. On your right are the Chichester Walls. The historic City of Chichester dates from Roman times. The Roman walls and streets define the shape of the town. They date back to the third century AD. Today the Walls we see are medieval but built on the Roman foundations. They still can be walked after nearly two thousand years. It is 1800 years since the walls and gates were first built around the Roman town of Noviomagus Reginorum. There were 3 reasons for building the walls around Chichester: they were to defend the town and control trade but their principle purpose was to demonstrate status. Today they are the most intact circuit of Roman town defences in Southern England. More than 80% of the original structure has withstood the test of time. The wall of Chichester is one of those places that make us travel back in time, the old structure contrasts with the everyday life of the city. The walk around sections of the wall is very nice and interesting, in the late afternoon the view is even more beautiful, yielding beautiful pictures. Different views of Chichester may be attained with some great sunsets:
On your left is the extensive Priory Park. Inside you can explore sections of the Roman walls. Great playing area for kids plus a great cafe. In the summer there is cricket being played here.
The N Walls road slights left, but, before it slights - turn left onto Tower St, 160 m., turn left toward St Richard's Walk, take the stairs, turn right onto St Richard's Walk (the Cathedral is on our left), turn right onto Canon Ln (we've been here in the start of our daily route). Continuing westward along Cannon Ln - we see opposite us the walled Bishop's Palace Gardens. This is the best place to end your day of walk. A wonderful surprise and well worth a visit. Beautifully tended, lots of flower types, many benches available and some pretty water features. Free to visit. A place of peace and tranquility with wonderful views of the Cathedral:
From the Bishop's Palace Garden, 4 Canon Lane - we head back east on Canon Ln toward St Richard's Walk, 160 m. Turn right onto South St, 160 m. Continue onto Southgate for 160 m. Turn right onto Station Approach
and Chichester Station will be on the left.
Main Attractions: Gunwarf Quays Shopping Centre,Spinnaker Tower, Square Tower, Victoria Pier, Nelson Statue, Old Garrison Church, Spur Redoubt, Clarence Pier, Southsea Common, Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Blue Reef Aquarium, Southsea Castle, Pyramids Centre, Southsea Rock Gardens, Old Portsmouth, Queens Hotel, Portsmouth Museum, Portsmouth Cathedral, Bath Square, Historic Dockyards (allow a special day !), HMS Warrior, HMS Mary Rose, Action Stations, HMS Victory.
Start & End: Portsmouth Harbour railway station.
Centrally located on the South coast of England. It is the United Kingdom's only island city. Located mainly on Portsea Island, 103 km south-west of London and 31 km south-east of Southampton. Portsmouth benefits from excellent local and regional transport connections. The M275 provides an onward northerly connection to London in around 1.5 hours. Southampton can be reached in around half an hour, via the M27, while Chichester is just a 25 minute drive away via the A27. For travel by train, Portsmouth Harbour Station is with regular services to London Victoria, London Waterloo, Bristol Parkway and Brighton. Portsmouth is a vibrant waterfront city with kilometers of beautiful waterfront, which boasts an un-rivalled array of leisure attractions, with everything from award-winning museums to impressive live music venues. Hosting the famous historic Dockyards. Portsmouth residents delight the shopping opportunities, with the extensive Gunwharf Quays outlet offering over 90 designer stores, alongside a wide selection of bars, restaurants and coffee shops.
Itinerary: The Portsmouth Harbour station is located between the Gunwharf Quays shopping centre and the Historic Dockyard. It is located 1.6 km. west to the Portsmouth and Southeast station. From the Portsmouth Harbour railway station - we turn right (North-east) and walk along the the Station approach (busy with construction works, dust and noise) until we hit the Hard avenue. The steel screens may hinder sights of the beautiful pier on your left. While walking along the Station Approach - on your left are the Gunwharf Quays (you see a big sign of Gosport Ferries) with ferry services to Gosport and the Isle of Wight.
On leaving station we turn right and followed road round to Gunwharf Quays. When you hit the Hard - you see a big sign with detailed instructions for non-locals and tourists. Turn right and enter an underway (on your right public services) leading to the Gunwarf Quays Shopping Centre. Gunwharf Quays is home to over 90 premium retail outlet stores. If you want even more from your visit to Gunwharf Quays then there’s Vue Cinema, Bowlplex, a 24-hour health and fitness club, a contemporary art gallery and a nightclub and casino. There are many good eateries and coffee spots in this complex. It's worth a visit ONLY for the views around the mall.
After walking 150 m. along the manicured avenue of shops -
turn right to the Spinnaker Tower. Here, along the quays, it is wonderful to sit by the quay-side and admire the numerous boats not to forget the busy ferries sailing to and from Portsmouth. Really something for everyone and beautiful if you catch a nice day ! A must visit at Portsmouth.
The 170-metre Spinnaker Tower is the centrepiece of the redevelopment of Portsmouth Harbour. it is one of the tallest accessible structures in the United Kingdom outside London. It was designed by local firm HGP Architects and engineering consultants Scott Wilson and built by Mowlem. The tower reflects Portsmouth's maritime history and was opened on 18 October 2005. The tower is owned by Portsmouth City Council, but operationally it is managed by a private company - Continuum Leading Attractions, a cultural attractions group based in York. Continuum also runs five other visitor attractions across the UK. Following a commercial sponsorship deal with Dubai-based Emirates airline, the tower was renamed the Emirates Spinnaker Tower in July 2015. Its unique design was accomplished by using two large, white, sweeping metal arcs, which give the tower its spinnaker sail design. At the top is a triple observation deck, providing a 360° view of the city of Portsmouth. The highest of the three observation platforms, the Sky Deck, has only a wire mesh roof. A glass floor is located on the first viewing deck at 100 metres above sea level. The tower was to be repainted in a red and white colour scheme—similar to that of local football rivals Southampton F.C. But following a petition with over 10,000 signatures, Portsmouth City Council decided to consider a change: the new design, unveiled on 19 June 2015, featured a blue, gold and white colour scheme. Opening hours: Summer: 10.00 - 18.00, Winter: 10.00 - 17.30. Prices: Adult - £9.95, Senior, Student - £8.95, Child (+3 yrs old) - £7.95, Children (-3 yrs old) - free, Family - £33. Online booking (https://www.spinnakertower.co.uk/booking/): -15% discount (15% saving does not apply to Family Ticket). You can save £5 by buying joint ticket for the Emirates Spinnaker Tower and Portsmouth Historic Dockyards. If you can’t see the three Solent Forts on the day of your visit, you may return for free within three months. Since, you can return and visit again and again with the same ticket - you are advised to return before sunset. Sundown is the best time to visit the tower. The sunset over the Isle of Wight is spectacular! There are three decks in the tower: deck on. It only takes about 20 seconds to get up to the top in the lift. If you suffer with heights - keep away from the glass floor in the first view deck:
The view through the glass floor of the tower:
Express lift takes you to the first of the three view decks. You are 100 metres above sea level. From there you get stunning panoramic views. A glass floor to walk across. The first Deck:
Go down from the tower and start walking eastward. You can catch a wonderful sight of the Gunwarf Quays front from the tower entrance:
A bit west to the tower - stands this small sculpture, and, here starts a GREY walking trail. You just follow the GREY TILES with the WAVE SIGN. Three kilometres of promenade now link all of Portsmouth’s historic waterfront. The route starts on The Hard and ends at the Spur Redoubt near Clarence Pier, Southsea, taking in Old Portsmouth, the Camber and Gunwharf Quays. The route is indicated by a chain motif set into the surface, symbolising partnership between the communities of Portsmouth and Gosport and between past and present. Historically it also refers to the chain, which used to be tightened across the harbour entrance at times of potential attack. The walk from the trendy Gunwharf Quays is a very pleasant one with lovely sea views, and it leads to the less trendy traditional seaside attractions of Clarence Pier, and a range of interesting historical monuments, museums and Aquarium. Interpretive panels along the way give insight into Portsmouth's fascinating evolution, from its stone towers and fortifications to Clarence Pier. There are some pretty ornamental gardens along Clarence Esplanade further on and the green open spaces of the Southsea Common create a very attractive and relaxing aspect:
With your back to the tower - you cross the bridge. This is the view on your left:
On your right:
After walking along the bridge - look backward for another wonderful sights of the Spinnaker Tower:
Beyond the bridge, on our left (west) - a private property land:
The grey path changes to white. On our right is the WightLink Ticket Office. When you arrive to an asphalted road (Gunwharf Rd.) - turn RIGHT. After 100 m. walking (road name changes to White Hart) you see a demolished small dockyard full with junkies. Here you find another public toilet services. On your right, beyond the water - the The Bridge tavern:
Take the first road to the RIGHT (no name. sign to: Round Tower and Bath Square).
Take the first turn to the LEFT. We are, now, in Broad Street. On our left is the Square Tower. Continue, passing the sculpture with our face to the south. Climb the stairs and walk along the promenade (Saluting Platform). With your face to the NORTH - you see, again, the Square Tower. DO NOT WALK NORTHWARD - the promenade is blocked to the north !!!:
The Square Tower was built in 1494 during the reign of Henry VII. It was designed as part of the fortifications to protect the rapidly expanding Naval Port. Together with the Round Tower, the adjacent sea-wall and the Saluting Platform are the only parts of the Tudor works to survive. The tower was also used as the home of the Governor of Portsmouth, a semaphore signalling tower, a provisions store for the Royal Navy and as a gunpowder store. Towards the end of the 16th or early 17th century the tower was adopted for use as a magazine and it was during this time that the tower was involved in a civil war incident. During the English Civil War 1642-1649 the Square Tower was used as an arsenal and contained large amounts of gunpowder and munitions. The Town of Portsmouth was under siege with the Royalist forces trapped inside the town by the Roundhead forces. This historic setting is used, nowadays, for wedding venues, business meetings, product launches, fairs, art exhibitions and workshops. In fact the Square Tower is one of the most popular Hampshire Wedding venues...
We concentrate, now, around the Old part of Portsmouth. Amazing area, full of history, and brilliant architecture, and cobbled streets, takes you back in time. Highly recommended. It is very pretty and as you walk around the cobbled streets you can feel the history and imagine the sailors being pressed ganged onto the ships. Walk along the Sea Wall and see the old battlements and towers. The council have put interesting plaques around to explain what you are looking at.
So, we head southward along the naval walls and the promenade. On our right - fishermen sitting on the old Victoria Pier:
Victoria Pier is a small shingle beach sheltered by the historic fortifications of Portsmouth. Stay walking on the raised platform. This beach can sometimes be affected by heavy wash from passing ships and the current here at times is fierce:
On your left (east) is Nelson statue (Royal Garrison Church is looming behind). In year 1805, Admiral Nelson left Portsmouth to command the fleet that defeated the Franco-Spanish at the Battle of Trafalgar. Before departing, Nelson told the crew of the HMS Victory (see below) and workers in the dockyard that "England expects every man will do his duty". The Royal Navy's reliance on Portsmouth led to it becoming the most fortified city in the world. Prime Minister Lord Palmerston led a programme to defend British military bases from an inland attack. The forts were nicknamed "Palmerston's Follies" due to the fact that their armaments were pointed inland and not out to sea. From 1808 the Royal Navy's West Africa Squadron, tasked with stopping the slave trade, operated out of Portsmouth.
Leave the raised platform (the Saluting Platform), head to the east and walk down the stairs. The Nelson Statue is a gem, there are cafe's and pubs to stop and have a break, and if you are lucky you will see a Navy Ship either going out or coming in. The inscription in front of the statue says: "21 OCTOBER 1805". On the steps: "HERE SERVED HORATIO NELSON
YOU WHO TREAD HIS FOOTSTEPS REMEMBER HIS GLORY". The statue of Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson - wearing the uniform he wore when leaving Portsmouth for Trafalgar stands on the spot where the Vice-Admiral took his last steps on dry land on his way to board the battleship, HMS Victory. Horatio Nelson took an unusual route to the beach that day to avoid the huge crowds that had gathered in the High Street to see their hero off to battle. Leaving via the back door from The George Hotel in the High Street, where he'd spent the night, Nelson headed along Pembroke Road, and cut across the green past the Garrison Church through to the ramparts. The crowds soon realized the route he'd taken and came down to the Spur Redoubt (see below) to wish him farewell. It's believed that he commented to one of his aids that he wished he had two arms to shake them all by the hand (of course he only had the one!). The location of the statue of Lord Nelson had been the subject of some controversy for many years. He was originally placed in Pembroke Gardens so that he looked towards that part of Southsea Beach where it is believed that he embarked for his flagship HMS Victory in September 1805. Whilst discussing the new location for the statue, it is said that regard was had for the route that Nelson took from the George Hotel, where he had breakfasted that September morning in 1805, to the beach from where he was ferried to the Victory. The route itself had been the subject of much debate over the years. The new location for the statue is several hundred yards from any point on Nelson's last walk. A month later, on 21st October 1805, at the height of the Battle of Trafalgar where the British fleet defeated the French and the Spanish he was struck by a French sniper's bullet on the frigate Redoubtable and later died. Portsmouth was the last dry land Lord Nelson stepped on and the last English city he ever saw:
Pass the monument of Nelson, walk along the road and visit the Old Garrison Church If time allows. Free Entry. Open: 11.00 - 16.00, Tuesday to Saturday, from April until October. Old or Royal Garrison Church was built in about 1212 by the Bishop of Winchester as part of a hospital and hostel for pilgrims. In 1540, after the Reformation, the building was used as an ammunition store, and it started to decay. In 1559 the great Elizabethan project to build up the defences at Portsmouth began. The medieval hospital became part of the governor’s house, where two significant events in the history of the site took place. These were the marriage of Charles II to Catherine of Braganza in 1662 and the grand receptions held in June 1814 to celebrate the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig and his subsequent abdication. The receptions were attended by the Prince Regent, the Emperor of Russia, the King of Prussia and his general, Field-Marshal Blücher, the great ally of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington. The church was restored in the 19th century, and although the nave was badly damaged in a 1941 firebomb raid on Portsmouth, the chancel is still roofed and furnished. Fine 20th-century stained-glass windows depict scenes from the Second World War and from the church’s own history:
The church consists, originally, of a nave with north and south aisles, and the south porch. The chancel consists of the choir and sanctuary. The choir has two south doors, one of which leads to the stairs up to the bell turret, and the other to the exterior:
To the north is the vestry. The thick lower section of the south wall is part of the original construction. Above this there are three restored lancet windows and a series of corbels serving as beam supports. The south porch and the west wall were both built in the 1860s, as the church had been shortened by one bay in the 1580s. The chancel features an elaborate vaulted roof with decorative bosses. The east window of three lancets with a the foiled head is an original feature and inspired Street’s restoration of the other windows. The oak stalls of the 1870s are dedicated as memorials to the nation’s most famous sailors and soldiers, beginning with Horatio Nelson and the Duke of Wellington:
Antique Ford car opposite the Royal garrison Church:
From the the Royal (Old) Garrison Church head south, turn right, turn left and arrive to the Spur Redoubt. Spur Redoubt is the remains of a small triangular fort, built in 1680 by Bernard de Gomme, Military engineer to Charles II to defend the mouth of Portsmouth harbour. Originally constructed as part of Portsmouth's fortifications, this work was rebuilt in stone and transformed into a powerful battery. The guns mounted along the southern face of the Spur Redoubt supported the King's counter-guard but also guarded against enemy ships.
We continue walking south-east along the coast until we arrive to Clarence Pier and its adjacent amusement park ( a bit run-down, Wimpy Express fast food restaurant inside):
Nearby, the point where Lord Nelson left the land and entered the sea on his way to the Trafalgar battle:
Opposite Clarence Pier, on the coast, departure point of the Hovercraft to the Isle of wight:
Beyond the amusement park and further south-east resides the huge Southsea Common. Southsea Common is parallel to the shore from Clarence Pier to Southsea Castle. The Common owes its existence to the demands of the military in the early nineteenth century for a clear range of fire from the harbour defences at any enemy ships which dared to approach Portsmouth and its dockyard. The Common is a popular recreation ground, and also serves as the venue for a number of annual events, including the Southsea Show, Para Spectacular, Military Vehicle Show, Kite Festival and a variety of circuses including the Moscow State Circus and Chinese State Circus. It was also the place where fans of Portsmouth F.C. gathered to celebrate their victory in the 2008 FA Cup Final. In August 2010, a life-size model of an ultrasaurus dinosaur was erected on the common in conjunction with the Portsmouth's Aspex Gallery. The sculpture was destroyed by a fire, probably caused by an electrical fault, on 1 October 2010. Southsea Common was awarded Warburton's Best Picnic Spot in the South East in 2008, 2009 and 2010. 800 m. further walking along the Millennium Promenade (or Clarenace Esplanade) - you can't miss the most famous landmark in Southsea Common - the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, sometimes known as Southsea Naval Memorial, is a war memorial in Portsmouth beside Clarence Esplanade, between Clarence Pier and Southsea Castle. It is overlooking the Millennium Promenade (which, actually starts at the Portsmouth Dockyards and ends at the Southsea Castle), and is accessible at all times. After the First and Second World Wars, an appropriate way had to be found of commemorating those members of the Royal Navy who had no known grave, the majority of deaths having occurred at sea where no permanent memorial could be provided. Panels were recently being erected to help raise awareness of First and Second World War casualties in the UK. Portsmouth Naval Memorial commemorates around 10,000 sailors of the First World War and almost 15,000 of the Second World War:
Continue walking south-east along the promenade. 320 m. from the Naval Memorial you arrive to the Blue Reef Aquarium. Here, the asphalted path changes to gravel one. Open: everyday except Christmas Day from 10.00 - 17.00. Last Admission: 16.00. Prices: adult - £10.50 (online - £9.00), Junior (age 3 - 12 years, must be accompanied by an adult) £8.25 (£6.75), Seniors & Students £9.50 (£8.50),
Family of 4 (2 standard and 2 junior) £35.50 (£31.50), Under 3's Free. Online tickets: http://www.bluereefaquarium.co.uk/portsmouth/plan-your-visit/admission-prices/ It might be an enjoyabe place for children. For adults - don't expect so much. I found this place boring and overpriced. Reasonable fish & chips restaurant inside:
Beyond the Aquarium building, still on the Millennium Promenadae, we see, on our left, the Bandstand Fields, which forms a natural amphiteatre looking out to sea. Our signposts are the Millennium Motif Columns:
500 m. further to the south - we arrive to the Southsea Castle. Admission to Southsea Castle is FREE. Southsea Castle is open APR - OCT: TUE - SUN, and Bank Holiday Mondays, 10.00 - 17.00. Closed on Mondays (except for Bank Holidays). Built in 1544, the Castle is part of a series of fortifications constructed by Henry VIII around England's coasts to protect the country from naval invaders (from France and the Holy Roman Empire). Henry VIII's flagship, the Mary Rose, tragically sank in front of the Castle. During the English Civil War, nearly a century later, the Castle was captured for the only time in its history, by Parliamentarian forces. Over the centuries, Southsea Castle's defenses were strengthened so that it could continue to protect Portsmouth. In the 19th Century a tunnel was built to defend the Castle moat. Visitors can still enter the tunnel and see how the Castle would have been defended against invaders. The Castle has had many other uses besides defense. For a while it was a military prison. A lighthouse was built in the 1820s, and is still in use by shipping today. Southsea Castle was obsolete in the post-war years and in 1960 it was acquired by Portsmouth City Council, which restored the Castle to its 19th Century appearance. We surround the Castle from the south and follow the path leading north-east. Climb to one of the adjacent hills, overlooking the Castle for having an impressive sight of the Henry VIII's moated castle and its inner "The Courtyard" cafe' and its square central keep, its two rectangular gun platforms to the east and west, and two angled bastions to the front and rear. The castle houses a collection of cannons:
The path (Clarence Esplanade, Southsea Seafront) continues to the EAST and changes to be asphalted again. 320 m. further, along the path, to the east is the Pyramids Centre. Pyramids is Portsmouth’s largest leisure centre. It includes a gym, fitness studio and spa, plus great water play for families and a three-level soft play adventure world filled with mazes, climbing nets and ball pits. Open: MON - THU 6.30 - 22.00, FRI 6.30 - 21.00, SAT - SUN 8.00 - 18.00.
Next to the Pyramids Centre are Southsea Rock Gardens, a popular sun-trap (It's sheltered from the sea breeze) with many places to sit and relax. It's a great place to visit with children or to sit quietly alone. It is a marvelous garden and there is, always, a blooming attraction. There are many Lilies with beautiful burst of color:
Here, I dined in Rocksbys Fish and Chips restaurant, in the middle of the rock garden (see below).
From the Southsea Rock Garden - head north for 60 m., turn right toward S Parade for 75 m. and continue to follow S. Parade for 320 m. - going through 1 roundabout. We cross the Southsea Common from east to west. WE ENTER, NOW, the OLD PORTSMOUTH area. Try to catch the Serpentine Road in its most northern end. On your right is the Queens Hotel. This classy hotel looks impressive and aristocratic from the outside and you can't miss it while walking along the Southsea Common. The original Queen's hotel was known as Southsea House and was built by the architect Augustus Livesay, in 1861. It was then a large private house owned by Sir John and Lady Morris and was later transformed into one of the first hotels in Southsea by William Kemp Junior, this is when it became known as the Queen's Hotel. In the late 18th century the Queen's Hotel had a yacht club that stood behind it called the Royal Albert and was also surrounded by woods, which were then called Stone Woods. It was destroyed by fire in 1891. It was rebuilt in 1903 by the architect T.W.Cutler into the splendid building that stands today, complete with its Edwardian baroque style in brown terracotta:
We continue north-west along Duisburg way until it ends in an extensive roundabout. We turn right (north-East) to Pier Road, Continue along Bellvue Terrace, Jubilee Terrace and Kings Terrace. Arriving to a square - we take the left wing, the Museum Road (north-west), A big sign in the square signifies the border between Portsmouth and Southsea. On our right is the Ravelin Park. 150 m. from the square, along the Museum Road - you see, on your left the Portsmouth Museum, 1 Museum Road. Free. Open: APR - SEP: 10.00 - 17.30, OCT - MAR: 10.00 - 17.00. Open: TUE-SUN and Bank Holiday Mondays. Closed on Mondays (except Bank Holidays). A lovely building. Recommended tea shop inside with delicious food, reasonably priced. Lots to see in the various galleries and well worth a visit.
The main exhibition is Edward King paintings. It is interesting to see his paintings of the bomb damage of Portsmouth city in the aftermath of the WW2 Blitz:
Organ year 1842:
Portsmouth Harbour Breeze, 1852, John Callow (1822-1878):
Stork Fountain, 1872:
There is a permanent exhibit describing Sherlock Holmes time in Portsmouth where Sir Conan Doyle wrote his first Sherlock Holmes novel, lived and worked as a physician. But it also covers his time after he left Portsmouth and the movies and the various actors who played Holmes on screen and stage:
Postcard of Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty falling into the Reichenbach Falls, with a small phial attached containing earth from the Reichenbach Falls:
With our back to the museum - we continue left (north-west) along the Museum Road until the next square. Here, we turn LEFT (south-west) to the High Street. Before we turn left. from the square, on your right, is the stunning Portsmouth Grammer School - a leading co-educational day school renowned for excellent teaching, superb pastoral care and co-curricular opportunities. Founded in 1732 as a boys' school, it has become one of the top independent schools in the UK - consistently ranking highly in national reviews of teaching quality and examination results. It is widely regarded as the best school in the area. Do not miss the school premises and its wonderful, small gardens !
In the High Street - note, on your right (your face to the west) the house of John Pounds. John Pounds a Portsmouth cobbler began teaching poor children without charging fees in 1818, unknowingly leading to a revolution in the British education system. Thomas Guthrie built upon Pounds' idea of free schooling for working class children and started a ragged school in Edinburgh. Ragged schools were charitable organizations dedicated to the free education of destitute children in 19th-century Britain. The schools were developed in working-class districts of the rapidly expanding industrial towns. John Pounds (June 17, 1766 – January 1, 1839) was a teacher and altruist born in Portsmouth, and the man most responsible for the creation of the concept of Ragged schools. After Pounds' death, Thomas Guthrie (often credited with the creation of Ragged Schools) wrote his Plea for Ragged Schools and proclaimed John Pounds as the originator of this idea. Many years after his death, John Pounds has become a local hero in his birthplace of Portsmouth, winning a "Man of the Millennium" award in 1999 from a local newspaper, ahead of nationally more famous local heroes including Admiral Lord Nelson and Charles Dickens. Again, a wonderful small garden is unmissable in this house:
At High Street #119, sample the Duke of Buckingham Pub (see Tip below):
We cross Pembroke Road on our left and Lombard Street on our right. Immediately, on our right (north) is the impressive Portsmouth Cathedral with very modern and impressive interior space:
In the (western) end of High Street - we turn RIGHT (north) to the Broad Street and connect with the waterfront promenade. Turn left onto West St, turn right to stay on West St and continue onto Bath Square. One of the main attraction of Old Portsmouth. A fantastic square to look around and buy something different or sip a coffee. Here, you get a wonderful sight of the old harbour. There is a quirky and secret beach behind the walls.There are splendid bars and pubs around. Portsmouth International Port is your gateway to France, Spain, the Channel Isles and the Isle of Wight. It's perfectly positioned just off the M275, providing quick and easy access for ferries, cruise and cargo. The Port is the best-connected in Britain with the most routes to France, Spain and the Channel Islands. If you're considering a hop across the English Channel from Portsmouth to France, you can choose to visit Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre or St Malo. Head a little further on to Spain and you have the choice of Bilbao or Santander. You can also take a much shorter trip on the car ferry from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight. Clocking in at around an hour, this journey is the most frequently run from the port, carrying around three million passengers every year. Portsmouth International Port is also on some of the main cruise routes across Europe, linking the city with numerous others across Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and Scotland. With the port being slightly smaller in size than that of Southampton, the cruise liners that call in here are small to medium-sized. This provides a more personal and bespoke offering that many passengers appreciate. Of course, the cruise liners are as breath-taking as the cities they visit - with size no indicator of luxury. The port benefits from a new terminal building which has a light and airy feel. This space and comfort adds to the thrill of the holiday and the overall passenger experience. As you'd expect, the main concourse offers everything you'd need whilst you await departure. Alongside the check in area is a Travel Exchange and shop, while up on the mezzanine floor there is a Costa coffee shop and bar. On warm summer days you can enjoy the relaxing outdoor terrace, where you can look out over the Port before setting sail. Portsmouth International Port does more than just holiday excursions - it's also a dynamic commercial port which imports most of the bananas eaten in the UK. Alongside the International Port, regular ferries also run from the south of the city to the Isle of Wight (car ferry, passenger catamaran and hovercraft) and Gosport (passenger only).
The old harbour near the Bridge Tavern:
We retrace our steps. Head south on Bath Square toward Bathing Ln, continue onto West St, turn left to stay on West St, turn right onto Broad St for 160 m. Turn left onto White Hart. Continue along Gunwharf Road (do not turn left to the Spinnaker Tower). In the end of Gunwharf Road - turn LEFT (north) to St. George Road. A brown sigh point left to the Historic Dockyards. Before crossing the Park Street - you see, on your left the Tesco Express supermarket and the Holiday Inn Express hotel. We continue north-west along St George Rd - crossing Victory Rd and College St on our right. Continue along the Hard and the Main street, passing Portsmout Harbour Railway Station on our left.In case you have, at least, free 2 hours to spend in the historic dockyards - better buy all attraction ticket. This gives you access to HMS Warrior, HMS Victory and the Mary Rose and much more besides, including several other notable boats and museums. You can buy an online 'voucher' which you have to exchange for a ticket before gaining entry (https://tickets.historicdockyard.co.uk/WebStore/shop/ViewItems.aspx?CG=PHD&C=AAT). Prices: Adult - £26.40, Child (5 -15 years) - £18.40, Senior (60+) - £23.00, Student - £23.00. As the the prices are quite expensive - allow a lot of time to spend in the dockyards. YOUR TICKET IS GOOD FOR ONE CALENDAR YEAR. It is a wonderful and exceptional experience ! It is a GREAT PLACE and there is so much to see around (and do). Many visitors spend there one or two full days. This is almost a set of different museums which is almost impossible to fully appreciate in one day.
Further, we see, on our left the HMS Warrior and the HMS Mary Rose ships. In a sunny day - you'll see only the silhouettes of these ships. This is only the first part of the Historic Dockyards. The Historic Dockyard is a great place to experience 800 years of naval history surrounded by working docks and historic buildings. HMS Warrior is open: APR - OCT: 10.00 - 17.30, last entry is 17.00. NOV- MAR: 10.00 - 17.00, last entry is 16.30. Prices: Pay once, visit all year. Book online and save 20% (http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/tickets-and-offers). Adults: £18.00, Concessions and Family Tickets Available. There may be occasions when access to some areas on board Warrior may be restricted or closed to the public for all or part of the day. You can walk around on your own and really explore almost the whole ship. The ship has many different areas of interest and volunteers are always on hand to provide information. A wonderful experience in a sunny day. The fastest, largest and most powerful warship in the world when she was launched. Such was her reputation that enemy fleets were intimidated by her obvious supremacy and deterred from attacking Britain at sea - yet she never fired a shot in anger. ALLOW, AT LEAST 45 minutes, for visiting every ship. Expensive admission prices:
The Mary Rose is a Tudor ship, built in 1510. In service for 34 years. he Mary Rose is the only 16th century warship on display anywhere in the world. The ship was raised from the Solent in 1982. Its dramatic story is now revealed in full inside the purpose-built, award-winning museum, which opened its doors to visitors in May 2013. Sank in 1545. Discovered in 1971. Raised in 1982. Now in the final stages of conservation, it takes her place in a stunning and unique museum. You can now get stunning views of King Henry VIII's one true love from all nine galleries and explore thousands of Tudor treasures. Open: NOV - MAR: 10.00 - 17.00 (last entry 16.15), APR-OCT: 10.00 - 17.30, (last entry 16.45). Closed 24th-26th December. The ship is in its final stage of conservation. Price: Adults £18.00, Concessions and Family Tickets Available. In the adjacent museum you get a unique insight into the life of crew members on a busy warship in 1545, with thousands of atrtifacts, including personal belongings such as wooden bowls, leather shoes, musical instruments and nit combs, and many of the ship’s weapons. AN ABSOLUTELY AMAZING EXPERIENCE !
Entering the main site of the Historic Dockyards - you see, on your right the Action Stations. Action Stations is a high-tech, interactive collection of activities for young and old. housed in Boathouse 6. The boathouse itself was built between 1845 and 1848, and like the technology it now features inside, it was once at the forefront of design and innovation in the Victorian era: it was constructed in the 1840s and was one of the first examples of a brick building erected around an internal metal frame. Enclosed complex with with lots of activities (laser quest, climbing wall, shooting simulators, shooting games, Ninja Force, driving boats, aircraft and tanks) to keep children and adults occupied and challenges. There is an indoor picnic area at the rear of the venue. It is necessary to purchase a Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Site Ticket to use any facility in Action Stations. Open: every day (except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day), APR-OCT: 10.00 - 17.30, NOV-MAR – 10.00 - 17.00:
The most famous attraction in the historic dockyards is the HMS Victory. A wonderful example of a warship, and a great experience. HMS Victory was the flagship of Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, in 1805, and was the ship on which he met his death after being shot by a French sniper. Stunningly restored. The ship's colour scheme has been put back to the colours it wore at Trafalgar. It offers a fascinating insight into life at sea for the sailors of the time.Guided tour takes about an hour. Try to avoid hours with school parties. The interiors are quite rough and are difficult to manage. Keep your eyes on every step inside ! It's not a good tour for children , they can fall over and the dark places seem to be upsetting.DO NOT MISS THIS SHIP !
It is 500 m. back to Portsmouth Harbour Railway Station. Head southeast toward Main Rd, slight right onto Main Rd. Main Rd turns slightly right and becomes The Hard. You can turn to the left to the Queen Street, climb for 150-200 m. to have a glance at this complex:
At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Station Approach, turn right, turn left and Portsmouth Harbour will be on the left.
Main Attractions: High Street, Winchester Cathedral, Kingsgate, Winchester College, Wolvesey Palace, St. Cross Hospital, The Great Hall (Winchester Castle), The Gurkha Museum, Peninsula Square, The Westgate, The Guildhall, Abbey Gardens, Statue of Alfred the Great.
Distance: 15 km. Duration: One BUSY day. Weather: Avoid rainy days. There is a section of 2 km. along the Itchen river water meadows.
Introduction: I chose to base at Southampton. Winchester is approximately 100km (62 miles) south west of London, 30.6km (19 miles) south-west of Basingstoke and 22.5km (14 miles) north of Southampton, its closest city. It is an easy, convenient 20-30 minutes ride with the train from Southampton Central station. The city’s location makes it a popular commuter destination, close to the M3 motorway and just one hour from London by train. At the heart of central Hampshire sits the medieval city of Winchester, England’s Ancient Capital. The city has a rich royal heritage and was once home to King Alfred the Great. His heritage is covered in this blog. Winchester is also famous for the legendary Arthurian Round Table. A striking sight, the table has been housed for over 700 years in The Great Hall - the only remaining part of Winchester Castle, once the centre of court and government life. At the centre of the city sits the impressive Winchester Cathedral, which has the longest nave of any Cathedral in Europe. It is here that author Jane Austen was laid to rest and next to her grave is a permanent exhibition dedicated to her memory. Winchester has a popular café culture which is evident around every corner. Food is a popular theme in the city and it hosts the country’s largest farmers’ market. Winchester is a pleasant, easy town to live in. even at night. In the evening visitors can discover the city’s nightlife. The streets come alive once the sun goes down.
1 day in Wincester itinerary:
We exit the Winchester Railway Station through the tunnel with our face eastward to the City Road. After 75 m. we turn RIGHT (south) to the Jewry Street. Walk 320 m. and turn LEFT (east) to the pedestrianized High Street. The city’s medieval roots can be seen along the High Street and the pretty narrow, cobbled streets and historic buildings which adorn the busy High Street. Winchester’s pedestrian High Street is the hub of the city. It stretches from King Alfred’s statue (east end of High Street) up towards the Westgate. Almost immediately, as you enter the H/S, you see the famous clock (the junction with St. Thomas Street, a few steps further on your right) :
The next road to the right (south) is Little Minster St. Here stands the Winchester Buttercross. This is also known as the City Cross. It is a type of market cross associated with English market towns and dating from medieval times. Its name originates from the fact that the Buttercrosses were located at the middle of the past market sites. The fresh produce was laid out and displayed on the circular stepped bases of the cross. The people from neighboring villages would gather to buy locally produced butter, milk and eggs around these monuments. You can find Buttercrosses in all the Cathedral cities in South England. Their design varies from place to place, but they are often covered by some type of roof to offer shelter, although the roofs were mostly added at a much later date than the original cross they cover. The City Cross (Butter Cross) dates back to the 15th century and is now a scheduled ancient monument. The four figures on the Cross are believed to be William of Wykeham, King Alfred, St John the Evangelist, and former mayor, Lawrence de Annehester:
Once the Romans' east to west route through the city, the pedestrianized Winchester High Street is home to a wealth of buildings and shops, many of them with delightful Regency and Elizabethan bow-fronted facades and windows. You can find here many well-known coffee shops and market stalls selling local produce and accompanied with live music. The High Street provides a lively thoroughfare - always been the commercial heart of the town.
Immediately to the right of the Buttercross is an archway and narrow passage leading to Great Minster Street and the famous Winchester Cathedral precincts. Winchester's major landmark is Winchester Cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, with the distinction of having the longest nave and overall length of all Gothic cathedrals in Europe. Once the most prominent royal church in Anglo-Saxon England, the Normans asserted themselves in their newly conquered Kingdom to rebuild it in their own style (the vaults of the Crypt are all that remains) before it underwent several changes to become the cathedral you see today. There are 300,000 visitors annually, including pilgrims, tourists, families and school groups.
The cathedral was founded in 642 and the building became known as the Old Minster. It became part of a monastic settlement in 971. Saint Swithun was buried nearby, and, later, in it, before being moved to the new Norman cathedral. THe mortuary chests, inside, said to contain the remains of Saxon kings such as King Eadwig of England, first buried in the Old Minster, and his wife Elfgifu, are in the present cathedral. The Old Minster was demolished in 1093, immediately after the consecration of its successor. The legend of St Swithun (a rather obscure Bishop of Winchester / Saint who performed but one recorded miracle in his lifetime during the 800's) originates in Winchester - according to the legend, the saint's remains were moved against his dying wishes from their final resting place in the grounds of the cathedral to the inner sanctum, whereupon it proceeded to rain for 40 days as a sign of his displeasure. Now, if it rains on the saint's day (15th July), it is said to herald another 39 days of rain !
Important events which took place at Winchester Cathedral include: Funeral of King Harthacanute (1042),
Funeral of King William II of England (1100),
Coronation of Henry the Young King and his queen, Marguerite (1172),
Second coronation of Richard I of England (1194),
Marriage of King Henry IV of England and Joanna of Navarre (1403),
Marriage of Queen Mary I of England and King Philip II of Spain (1554).
Visiting the vast Winchester Cathedral is like stepping back through fifteen centuries of ecclesiastical English history. A place of worship for over 900 years, Winchester's world-famous cathedral is as remarkable for its hidden treasures as it is for its spectacular architecture. Here, in the longest medieval nave in Europe, you will find outstanding works of art alongside the tombs of Jane Austen, Izaak Walton and the early English kings. The Winchester Bible is widely recognized as the finest of all the great 12th century bibles due to its size and illumination, while the equally impressive Sound II statue by Antony Gormley stands in the crypt.
Cathedral Guides offer tours of the Cathedral each hour from 10.00 – 15.00 and tours of the crypt at 10.30, 12.30 and 14.30 from Monday to Saturday. Evensong held at 17.30 Monday – Saturday and 15.30 Sunday. Occasionally the Cathedral may need to close for special services and events. All temporary closures are listed in the Cathedral website. Prices: Adult £7.95, Concession £5.95, Student £4.45, Free entry for children visiting with family. An admission fee has been charged for visitors to enter the cathedral since March 2006. Visitors may request an annual pass for the same price as a single admission. The Cathedral restaurant is an elegant place, beyond the Cathedral Shop and behind an ancient flint wall opposite the Cathedral. It has large terrace with partial Cathedral views and pretty walled garden. Open: APR – DEC: everyday 9.30 – 17.00, JAN – MAR: everyday 9.3 – 16.30. Not cheap.
Exterior: This cathedral is impressively large, the longest not only in England but in Europe as a whole. The exterior, apart from the modified windows, gives the impression of a massive Norman building and indeed, it is the longest medieval church in the world. However, the west front is now Perpendicular, with its huge window filled with fragments of medieval glass.
Northern facade. The brick paths trace the foundations of Old Minster built-in 634 and demolished in 1093:
Western facade. The Gothic window which was destroyed during the English Civil War was rebuilt in 1660 using the shattered glass from around the Cathedral:
The flying buttresses of the Cathedral are a Gothic characteristic of the building. Flying buttresses keep the walls of the nave from bowing outwards:
Interior: Immediately, as you step in towards the main nave - you see the Jane Austen tomb. The novelist Jane Austen died in Winchester on 18 July 1817 and is buried in the cathedral. Her gravestone can be seen on the flooring of the north side of the nave:
Also buried in Winchester Cathedral are the bones of many Saxon kings: King Eadwig of England, first buried in the Old Minster, and his wife Elfgifu, the remains of the Viking conqueror Canute and his wife, Emma, and the remains of William Rufus (William II), son of William the Conqueror. The Kings originally had their own tombs, but in the 1650s Cromwell's men, world class destroyers of churches, smashed them up and threw away the bony contents. Much later, in the late 1520s, bone fragments and other stuff collected by loyal citizens, were distributed amongst six mortuary chests, of which four originals remain (the other two are later replacements):
Mortuary chest on wall, labelled with Canute's name:
Tomb of Cardinal Beaufort:
Mortuary Chests in Lady Chapel:
The soaring Perpendicular Gothic nave of Winchester Cathedral, the longest in England, is the highlight of the building:
The font – the "most famous" of the Tournai fonts (type of baptismal font made from blue black limestone during the 12th and early 13th centuries in and around the town of Tournai in Belgium by local masons) in England is the only font in the cathedral, and you can find it on the north side of the nave. It illustrates scenes from the life of St Nicholas of Myra on two faces, with three roundels of birds on the third and a roundel of a quadreped with birds on either side on the fourth:
Winchester Cathedral is famous for its chantry chapels. A total of seven, all in different styles, were added between the 14th and 16th centuries. This is more than any other English cathedral, reflecting Winchester Cathedral's great power, wealth and royal connections. The two earliest are in the nave. That of William of Edington, Bishop of Winchester 1346-66. Edington served as both Treasurer and Chancellor of England, and was Bishop during the period when the Black Death ravaged England. Edington initiated the remodeling of the nave into its current Perpendicular form, and the triple porch that still fronts the building. His alabaster effigy is one of our finest medieval sculptures:
William of Wykeham's soaring monument was built at the same time as his reconstructed nave:
The remaining four chantry chapels stand in the retrochoir. Cardinal Henry Beaufort (1404-47) chose a site next to the final shrine of St Swithun:
A statue of Joan of Arc was erected when she was canonized as a saint by the Pope in 1923. The statue stands outside the Lady Chapel and faces the Chancery Chapel of Cardinal Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, who condemned her to death by burning at the stake in Rouen in 1431:
On a corresponding position on the north side is the chantry chapel of William Waynflete (1447-86), who was founder of Magdalen College, Oxford:
The chapel of Richard Fox (1501-28) was built during his lifetime, on the south side of the platform behind the high altar. The aged, blind bishop is said to have spent much time here in prayer and meditation. His chapel is a marvelous example of the stone-carver's art. The small statues are modern; the original figures of saints were destroyed at the Reformation. The Bishop's 'cadaver' effigy facing the south aisle reminds the passer-by of the transient nature of life:
On the north side of the platform, Bishop Gardiner's Chantry Chapel is an amazing hybrid of English late Gothic and Continental Renaissance style deriving ultimately from Fontanebleau. Stephen Gardiner (1531-55) was the last important Roman Catholic bishop of Winchester, during the reign of Mary Tudor (Queen Mary I). He officiated at her marriage to Philip of Spain, which took place in Winchester Cathedral. Other, smaller memorials tell their own fascinating story.
Beneath the tower-arch of the north transept of Winchester Cathedral, sits the Chapel of the Holy Sepulcher. It dates from the 12th century:
The recently refurbished 'Fishermen's Chapel' in the south transept is the burial place of Izaak Walton, who died in 1683, and was the author of The "Compleat Angler":
Sir George Gilbert Scott's imposing 19th-century monument to Bishop Wilberforce (son of the social reformer) stands in the south transept:
the choir still has its fourteenth-century wooden choir stalls, with some delightful medieval carving in the paneling. Many of the choir stall seats are misericords - mercy seats - designed to offer support to monks who had to stand through long services. The Winchester collection of misericords is one of the largest in England. The open-work choir screen dates from 1875 and is by Sir George Gilbert Scott. Although Scott based his designs on earlier ones, his work here was criticized at the end of the period:
In the retrochoir, at the far end of the Cathedral, is a beautifully carved female figure known as Ecclesia. This large statue was unearthed in the cathedral grounds and despite the fact that it's head has been lost, it is considered one of the best 13th century carvings in the UK:
The main Victorian work in the cathedral was the restoration of the Great Screen, an ornately carved stone screen behind the high altar. It is a collaborative effort involving such big names as G. F. Bodley, who designed the crucifix; Thomas Nicholls (William Burges's trusted sculptor), who sculpted eight of the central statues, including the Virgin Mary; and the London firm of Farmer & Brindley, which executed the crucifix. Amongst the grand total of fifty-six statues is one of Queen Victoria herself. The Great Screen was finally dedicated in March 1899. Don't miss the choir stalls featuring flowers and plants, owls and monkeys, dragons, knights and green men:
The pious Swithun, Bishop of Winchester in the mid 9th century was originally buried (862) in a humble grave in the open between the tower of St. Martin and the Cathedral Church of the Old Minster in Winchester. This original grave, along with the minster itself, was excavated by Martin Biddle in the 1960s. Today, a modern shrine stands in the usual spot reserved for a saint's relics behind the High Altar: sandwiched between the chantry chapels of Bishops Waynflete and (Cardinal) Beaufort. This was certainly the site of St. Swithun's Shrine at the time of its demolition in 1538:
Tower tour is possible only in very specific times: JAN - MAY, OCT - NOV: WED 14.15, SAT 11.30 and 14.15, JUN - SEP: MON, WED, FRI 14.15, SAT 11.30, 14.15. Duration: 1.5 hours Price: £6. Tickets available from the Entrance Desk. You climb 215 steps to the top of the tower to experience magnificent views across Winchester and the county around. You may access the nave roof with its huge wood beams and see the bell ringing room and the great Cathedral bells. The tour ending on the roof, with magnificent views of the town and surrounding countryside:
The Cathedral's crypt, was and, still is, frequently flooded., It houses a statue by Antony Gormley, called "Sound II", installed in 1986, and a modern shrine to Saint Swithun. The mysterious statue contemplates the water held in cupped hands. Guided tours: MON – SAT at 10.30, 12.30 and 14.30. Duration: 20 minutes Price: Included in admission. Tickets available from the Entrance Desk. During the wet winter months the crypt can flood and, frequently, guided tours are canceled:
The crypt of Winchester Cathedral:
In 1905 a team of about 150 workmen set out to deal with the problematic Cathedral foundations once and for all. The current wooden foundations were rotting away beneath the Cathedral and part of the building was beginning to subside. William Walker, a deep-sea diver, toiled in darkness below the walls of the Cathedral for nearly six years in order to replace the foundations. Near the entrance to the crypt - there is also a bust of William Walker, the deep-sea diver who worked underwater in the crypt between 1906 and 1911 (King George V era), and was, actually saving the whole cathedral, underpinning the nave and shoring up the walls:
The Winchester Cathedral Bible is on show as part of a temporary exhibition in the north transept. It is not possible to see all four volumes of The Winchester Bible. Just one volume is presented to the public. The Winchester Bible is the largest and finest of all surviving 12th-century English bibles. A single scribe wrote out its text in Latin, while In contrast, the illuminations reflect the work of at least six different hands. Although many of the illuminations remain unfinished, the text itself is complete.
As we exit the Cathedral - we head to our next destination: the Pilgrims' School, 3 The Close, Winchester. From the western edge of the Cathedral complex there is an asphalted path - the Dome Alley which leads, for 180 m. south-west to the school, or, ask locals about the best path to. The school hall contains England's oldest surviving wood double hammer-beamed roof, which used to accommodate the pilgrims traveling to the cathedral. Its official date of establishment is unknown but historical records indicate that choristers of Winchester Cathedral's renowned choir have been educated in the Winchester Cathedral's Close as early the 7th century. The school moved to its present site in 1931. The main building, redesigned by Sir Christopher Wren in the 17th Century, is on the site of a former Roman villa, and includes a medieval hall and barn. The Pilgrims' School also educates young choristers of the Winchester College Chapel Choir:
The Pilgrim's School is surrounded by pretty wooden houses. DO NOT MISS them:
From the formal (and closed) entrance to the Pilgrims' School - head west toward Dome Alley, 35 m. Turn left, still along, Dome Alley, 65 m. Continue onto St Swithun St and the Kingsgate is on the left. Kingsgate is one of two surviving medieval gates to the city of Winchester, England (the other is the Westgate - see below). The name was first recorded in 1148. The gate is on, or near, the site of one of the Roman gates to the city, and was the entrance to the royal palace before the Cathedral Close was enclosed in the 10th century. The present gate is probably 14th century, with 18th-century pedestrian walkways. This delightful area of Kingsgate is rich in heritage and charm and is one of the city's best kept secrets. Part of the fabric of the old city walls, the historic streets of this quiet corner of Winchester are best wandered lazily, giving time to browse the old book and print shops and much loved gift shop. We recommend to stop at the Wykeham Arms, an 18th Century coaching inn offering excellent food, log fires and local ales. It is immediately behind the gate, on your left (south):
St Swithun-upon-Kingsgate is a very small church atop the arch of Kingsgate. The interior is very plain, with whitewashed walls and an unadorned wooden ceiling:
Walking around the Cathedral, in the small alleys - residing south-west to south-east from the mighty building is a pure delight:
Opposite Wykeham Arms starts the College Street (from west to east). We take this road and walk along it with our face to the east. In College Street # 8 - Jane Austen died:
College Street, with its views of the medieval wall encircling the cathedral precincts, leads to Wolvesey Palace (see below). From there, tourists can see the remains of a bishop's palace (rebuilt by Wren), pass the ruins of the castle and enjoy the attractive Abbey Gardens, relics of a 9th century abbey founded by King Alfred's wife. It also leads to the King Alfred memorial in Broadway, and to the bridge over the River Itchen:
Continuing walking along this pleasant road and you see, on your right, the complex of Winchester College buildings. Regularly, the college is closed to the public. But, guided tours can be arranged in very specific times, depending on the period of your visit through the year. Please look at their web site: http://www.winchestercollege.org/guided-tours or Tel : +44(0) 1962 621209 or Email : Enterprises@wincoll.ac.uk. The guided tours are quite limited in their scope but include brilliant explanations on a magnificent buildings and grounds. The College is the oldest in the country still on it's original site. Winchester College was founded in 1382 and has a close association with New College in Oxford. Opened in 1394, two of the college's original houses, Flint Court and Chamber Court, have been perfectly preserved, as has Seventh Chamber, the oldest schoolroom in the country. The guided tour includes the chapel (!), dining room & a common room used by the boarders. A new museum was opened in Sept 2016. Do your best to reserve a guided tour and do not miss the college's chapel:
In the end of College street there is a wide pitch with Pilgrim's School children playing there:
In the end of the street we turn left (north), on the further entrance. A tarmac path is leading to the ruins of Wolvesey Palace - the home of Bishop Henry. Wolvesey Castle (Old Bishops' Palace) is an English Heritage property that includes the ruins of what was once a fortified palace and the chief residence of the Bishops of Winchester. In 1554 Queen Mary and Philip II of Spain held their wedding breakfast in the East Hall:
With our BACK to the ruined palace we cross the College Street, continue walk along College Walk, turn right and immediately left and continue walking SOUTHWARD (direct) along the east side of water meadows and river Itchen. It is a 2 km. pleasant walk to St. Cross Hospital. There are signs pointing to the hospital. On our way we cross a road and follow a path leading to Clarendon Way. From this point of St. Cross and St. Faith Meadows (there is a sign) - we have still 800 m. more to the ancient hospital. On your left is the Catharine Hill with its 3rd century fortress overlooking the Winchester town:
Quite probably that you'll feel unsafe in this solitary path. But it is definitely safe. The path along the river is recommended by locals and is the best way to connect the northern parts of Winchester, for pedestrians, with the southern ones. Good chance that you'll meet cyclists or young walkers on your way along the water meadows. At the end of the path there are kissing gates. Turn left to the the ancient St. Cross Hospital.
St. Cross Church (Chapel) (its back side) from the water meadows path:
Formally, called: Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty and situated 2 km. south of Winchester's city center, England's oldest almshouse was founded in 1132 by Henry of Blois, grandson of William the Conqueror, for 13 "poor and pious men". It is the oldest charitable institution in the UK. It is described as "England's oldest and most perfect almshouse. It is also the largest medieval almshouse in Britain. Now, it is a living community of 25 brothers. Brothers must be single, widowed or divorced, and over 60 years of age. Preference is given to those in most need. They belong to either of two charitable foundations: those belonging to the Foundation of the Hospital of St Cross (founded in about 1132) wear black robes with a silver cross and square academic caps; those belonging to the Order of Noble Poverty (founded in 1445) wear red/magenta robes and trencher hats. They are sometimes called the "Black Brothers" and the "Red Brothers". Their homes are grouped around an inner courtyard, entered through a gatehouse. The 15th century Hall of the Brothers and the kitchen, dating from a later period, should be visited, as should the chapel. Upon exiting, visitors can request the traditional Wayfarers' Dole (knocking at the door of the Porters Lodge, and requesting the Dole): this is a horn of beer and a morsel of bread given to any visitor who requests it. You could consider this site a retirement home, perhaps, more than a hospital in the modern sense. In the outer quad there is a Tea Room in the Hundred Men’s Hall. In medieval times up to a hundred poor men from the surrounding area were given food here each day. In fine weather visitors can also take tea and coffee at tables on the lawn. In the spirit of the charity, the tea room is staffed by volunteers, continuing a long tradition of local good will towards the Hospital. Prices: adult - £4.50, concessions - £4:
The site of St Cross Hospital consists of multiple buildings centered around a smaller, outer quadrangle and a larger, inner quadrangle. You enter through the outer gate (which is from the 16th century) and enter the smaller quadrangle. On the south side you’ll see the 100 Man Brewhouse (14th century); to the north is the kitchen and guest wing (15th century). Directly ahead you’ll see the Beaufort Tower, which stands 3-storeys and dates from 1450; the Beaufort Tower used to the quarters for the master of the almshouse. Once you pass under the Beaufort Tower, you have to pay your entrance fee at the Porter’s Lodge. This is also where the Wayfarer’s Dole is given out. Entering the inner quadrangle, you’ll first see the door to the beautiful gardens on your immediate left:
St. Cross Chapel/Church:
Along the north side of the square are the private residences of the brothers in residence. That area is closed off for privacy. The flats for the brethren are quite orderly, and are recognizable by their tall chimneys:
Looking back at the Beaufort Tower and entrance. The door to the kitchens is just to the left of the main portal:
Opposite the private area, and running between the courtyard and gardens, is a timber-frame long gallery. It was only for use by the almhouse master, and is raised on a cloister that was, in the past, open to the courtyard:
The Brethren’s Hall is a decent sized hall with a high ceiling and a wooden beamed roof. It looks like it had for centuries:
The Norman Chapel was started in the 1160´s. It is an amazing example of Norman architecture as it dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. It retains much of its late Norman purity, despite being somewhat altered in the 14th and early 15th centuries:
The cloister, built in the 16th century lead through to some lovely gardens:
St. Cross Almhouse Gardens:
Exiting the St.Cross premises - we head back to Winchester centre. We turn right (north) to St Cross Rd. Immediately, on our left, stands the Bell Inn Pub. A very good solution for our lunch. BUT, it closes at 14.00. No hot meals behind this hour ! Continue to follow St Cross Rd for 2.2 km. and turn right onto High St. This long section of our daily route can be easily replaced with a bus ride. It is boring, noisy and may be walkable only by addicted walkers. Most of the 2.2. km walk is shady. Otherwise - take bus #69 or Bluestar #1 or #1from the Bell Inn to the High Street.Most of the buses stop at the St. Thomas Church (St. Cross Road) and from there it is a 10 minutes walk to the Great Hall.
At the High Street turn LEFT (north) and at the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Romsey Rd. Turn left onto Queens Ct and, again, left (opposite Westgate Pub) onto Peninsula Square. The Great Hall (actually, at Castle Avenue) will be on your left. Winchester Castle is a medieval building which was founded in 1067. Henry III (who was born at Winchester Castle) added the Great Hall between 1222–1235. In 1873 the roof of the Great Hall was completely replaced. Since 1889 Winchester Castle has been the seat of Hampshire County Council whose offices neighbor the Great Hall. Nearby, the excavated remains of the round tower in the medieval city wall can also be seen:
Only the Great Hall had been remained from this castle. It houses a museum of the history of Winchester. The Arthurian Round Table hangs in the Great Hall. The table was originally constructed in the 13th century, and repainted in its present form for Henry VIII. King Henry is depicted as King Arthur and the Tudor rose in the center. Around the edge of the table are the names of King Arthur's knights. According to legend, this is the table around which King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table met, and it has been famous for centuries as a legend. The Great Hall is one of the largest in England, and is certainly the finest of that period to have survived today. Its many features include stained-glass windows, a judges’ gallery and wrought steel gates that were installed in 1983 to commemorate the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.
Normal opening hours are 10.00 to 17.00. FREE. The Great hall is frequently closed due to municipal or other formal events.
Bronze statue of Queen Victoria sculpted by Alfred Gilbert to commemorate queen's jubilee in 1887:
Winchester Castle Museum - King Arthur picture:
Winchester Castle Museum - King William I picture:
Do not miss the Queen Eleanor Gardens - a recreation of 13th century garden:
Rear of the Great Hall and Queen Eleanor's Garden:
At the edge of the garden there are stairs leading to the exit of the castle. You Head west on Peninsula Square toward Queens Ct and you face the Military Museums area. THe most interesting museum is the Gurkha Museum. Astonishing museum. The Gurkha Museum at Winchester tells the unique story of Gurkha service to the British Crown for 200 years. Gurkha soldiers died in nearly every country in which Britain has fought – silent testament to Gurkha loyalty and courage. This museum is a wonderful tribute to the bravest, the toughest, the most generous, fascinating and kind people on earth. I admire the Nepalese people. It is once-in-life experience. Open: MON - SAT: 10:00 - 17.00. Prices: Adults - £4.00, Concessions - £2.50. Allow, at least - one hour:
The Gurkha Museum and the other military museums are spread around the Peninsula Square. A breathtaking square. The fine buildings surrounding Peninsula Square are now mainly used as residential accommodation, but were military barracks until 1994. The present day gardens were then the parade ground:
You can visit another (FREE) museum like the Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum. Open: 10.00 - 17.00. June, July, August & first two weeks in September: 7 days a week. April, May & first two weeks in June:
MON-SAT. January, February & March: TUE -SAT:
Walking along Romsey Road from west to east - we arrive, again, to the High Street and face another section of Winchester walls. The Westgate is one of two surviving fortified gateways in Winchester (the other is Kingsgate - see above). The gate was rebuilt in the 12th century and modified in the 13th and late 14th centuries. The gate was in use until 1959 when the High Street was routed around it. It was a debtors' prison for 150 years. You can still see the prisoners' graffiti on the walls. There is also a Tudor painted ceiling. There are great views of the city from the Westgate roof. Open: APR - OCT: SAT 10.00 - 17.00, SUN 12.00 - 17.00.
February half term - MAR: SAT 10.00 - 16.00, SUN 12.00 - 16.00. Closed November to February half term:
Our last section of the Winchester day is walking 800 m. along High Street from west to east till The Broadway. The Most eastern end of High Street is the Brooks Shopping Centre:
The High Street continues east as The Broadway. On our right (south) are the Guildhall and the Tourist Information office (closed on Sundays !). The magnificent Victorian building of Winchester Guildhall is one of the largest in Hampshire. Note the imposing double flight of stairs at the front. The building houses the Tourist Information Office, a cafe and meeting/conference rooms for the council and other organizations. There's an up-market pub on its corner.
DO NOT miss the charming Abbey Gardens behind the Guildhall (its back side, more to the south). The Abbey Gardens and Mill are part of the site of St Mary’s Abbey, once one of the largest religious houses in England. In November 1539 the Abbey was surrendered to Henry VIII as part of the Dissolution of the Monasteries and most of the monastic buildings were demolished. The site was subsequently gifted to the City by Queen Mary Tudor to celebrate her marriage to Philip of Spain in the Cathedral in July 1554. The land was later divided into two, the eastern part was occupied by a fine town house and formal gardens that survive today as the Mayor of Winchester official residence and public gardens. The western part of the site was cleared for the City's Guildhall in 1873. Remains of St Mary’s Abbey can be seen at the back of the Guildhall. Now, you can find here Now has formal flower beds, a rose garden, a scented garden and an enclosed children's play area:
Look out from the Abbey Gardens for the bronze statue of Alfred the Great, the most famous King of Wessex, standing proudly in the centre of Winchester, which he had made his capital during his reign:
Return to High St. Walk back 480 m. to the west and turn right onto Jewry St., 320 m. Turn left onto City Rd, 160 m. Slight left and continue onto Station Hill to face the Winchester Railway Station.
Main Attractions: The Cenothaph, Monument to the Engineers of the Titanic, Guildhall, SeaCity Museum, The Bargate, Arundel Tower, Juniper Berry Pub, Western Esplanade, West Hythe Quay and Biddle’s Gate, The Arcades, Blue Anchor Lane, Tudor House, St. Michael's Church, Town Quay, God's House Tower, Holyrood Church.
Duartion: 1/2 - 3/4 day. Weather: Any weather. I did this route during a windy and rainy day. I must admit that the Southampton harbor and bay look totally different (far more gorgeous and attractive) on sunny days ! Distance: 7 km.
Start: The Cenotaph. End: The Bargate (Above Bar Road).
Introduction: I chose Southampton as my base for 8 nights. It is the optimal site for exploring Hampshire, the Cathedral cities, Stonehenge. Southampton, is fairly good base, even, for visiting Bath - due, to the horrible accommodation prices in Bath. The train lines from/to Southampton - are really punctual, convenient, reasonably-priced and efficient. Keep in mind just one rule: find accommodation near the train station. My lodging, for 8 nights, was Rivendell Guest House - 19, Languard Road, Southampton - 10 minutes walk from the Southampton Central station. A wonderful and brilliant choice (see Tip below).
Medieval Southampton was completely enclosed by fortified town walls, large parts of which survive today. For a brief period Jane Austen was at school in Southampton, then a small port at the head of Southampton Water, and although she nearly died of typhus there, this did not deter her from returning more than two decades later. From late 1806 to early 1809 the Austens lived in a house in Castle Square,
We start our route in the Cenothaph. It is the junction of the Commercial Road (west) and the Above Bar Road. We start walking down along the Above Bar Road, with our back to the north, our face to the south, the West Park on our right and the East Park on our left. On our right, in the green space (West Park or Watts Park) is the bulky stone masonry Cenotaph, by Edward Lutyens. The monument was planned to be abstract and graceful, with a perception of a soldier having fallen in a "peaceful" death. This Cenotaph precedes Lutyens', far more famous, monument in Whitehall, London. It was originally dedicated to the casualties of the WW1. But, weather damages to the memorial stone monument led to a glass wall being built alongside it in year 2011, incorporating the names of Southampton citizens who died in subsequent wars and conflicts. The glass panels list 3,298 names of people killed serving in the two world wars and subsequent conflicts:
Nearby, across Above Bar Road, the park continues on your left (it is called East Park), with at the corner the excellent Monument to the Engineers of the Titanic (15 April 1912): a granite construction with bronze panels to left and right of a ship's prow, showing two engineer crew members on deck. Central and above, a large bronze angel with wings, wreaths and exceptional drapery and figure. Joseph Bell was the Chief Engineer Officer on the RMS Titanic. His staff consisted of 24 engineers, 6 electrical engineers, two boilermakers, a plumber and a clerk. None survived the sinking. In total 1,523 people died on the Titanic in this ill-fated voyage. The memorial was designed by Whitehead and Son. The granite memorial monument was originally unveiled on 22 April 1914. The event was attended by an estimated 100,000 Southampton residents. The impact of the disaster was felt all around the world, but nowhere more so than in Southampton:
150 m. down the Above Bar Road, on our right starts the Cultural Quarter. An area alive with arts, heritage, entertainment, events, music, colour and dramatic architecture. Notable sites include the Guildhall Square,Southampton City Art Gallery, The Guildhall, Mayflower Theatre, City Library and Archives, BBC South Broadcasting House, and the historic city centre parks.
First, we see the Southampton Solent University Conference Centre, 157-187 Above Bar Street - Southampton main site setting for conferences and exhibitions:
Next, a bit further southward, is the Cultural Quarter or Civic Centre. It hosts the SeaCity Museum, council offices, the Guildhall venue, the well-endowed city art gallery, and the city library.
The Central Library:
Southampton City Art Gallery: FREE to enter and conveniently located right next to SeaCity Museum, the venue caters for families. You can enjoy gallery trails through the exhibitions, monthly art clubs and a fantastic range of activities for all ages. Open: MON - FRI: 10.00 - 15.00, SAT: 10.00 - 17.00.
Lady Darling, circa 1882 by John Collier (1850–1934):
The Captain's Daughter (The Last Evening) by James Tissot (1836–1902):
The Second Visit by Howard Hodgkin (b.1932):
From the Above Bar Road we see the east wing of the Guildhall. Work on the Guildhall (the east wing) began in March 1934. The Guildhall was intended as a social location for municipal functions. The Guildhall was opened on 13 February 1937.
The Guildhall (east wing), with colonnaded façade:
The west wing, originally courts, now hosting SeaCity Museum, and the monumental clock tower also holding many council offices:
The south wing of the civic centre, containing mostly council offices:
The city’s new maritime attraction, SeaCity Museum, tells the story of the people of the city, their fascinating lives and historic connections with Titanic and the sea.It continues to attract hoards of visitors to the city. Featuring a number of exhibitions including a major Titanic exhibition, the museum will be a lasting legacy to the fateful Titanic ship. As the port from which the 1912 White Star liner Titanic set sail, Southampton is at the very heart of the Titanic story. Many lives and families were affected by the tragedy. You can see the 1:25 scale interactive model of the ship, experience the ‘Disaster Room’, and immerse yourself in the 1930s court room which depicts the Inquiry held in London after the disaster. It is the Titanic story which makes a visit particularly worthwhile. The museum was opened on the centenary of the Titanic in April 2012. Open: daily, 10.00 – 17.00. Prices: Adults: £8.50, Concessions: £6.00. You can enjoy the museum café without needing to pay for admission to the rest of the building. The café is located on the ground floor:
The impressive Guildhall Place, a pedestrianized walkway that links Guildhall Square to East Park and Above Bar Road has been just reopened in 2016:
On our way down (south) along Above Bar Road - we can dine in various restaurants, cafe's or eateries. The Art House, 178 Above Bar Street, Southampton - an Art Cafe' is a very good option: tasty, very special place, atmospheric, organic veggie food, fantastic cakes, excellent coffee, cultural clientele. For the Sunday dinner - you must order a place well in advance. Jacket potato with small salad: £4. No gluten menu (Falafel Salad: £8). Open: TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 22.00, SUN: 12.00 - 17.00. Closed: Mondays. Another reasonably-priced and filling option, a bit further south, on your left, is Nando's, at WestQuay Shopping Centre, Food Terrace (2nd floor), West Quay Shopping Centre.
Our way from north to south along Above Bar Road is dotted with many parks on our right and left. We start with the East Park (Andrews Park) and West Park which are particularly attractive.
We continue with the Houndwell Park and Palmerston Park. So plenty of green spaces here ! The parks date back to the Middle Ages and beyond when they were outside the walls of the city and were used for strip farming. Palmerston park, on your left (east) is absolutely beautiful with all its flowers and plants and at night it has gorgeous rope lights illuminating it. It is full with camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias. Hydrangeas and various summer flowering bulbs extend the flowering season into the summer. You can find, here, the statue of former Prime Minster the 3rd Viscount Palmerston. It was unveiled on 2 June 1869, four years after Palmerston’s death in 1865:
Houndwell Theme Park lies to the south of Palmerston Park and is separated by Pound Tree Road:
We continue southward when the Marlands Shopping Centre is on our right (and, later, the West Quay Shopping Centre) and the Palmerston Park is , still, on our left. At last, in the end of Above Bar Road, in the centre of the street, is one of Southampton's medieval constructions, the Bargate, associated with the city's defensive walls, much of which survive. Although Southampton was ruthlessly bombed during the last war, some ancient relics survived, including the famous Bargate, which once served as the main gateway to the city at the northern end. The gate was once the site of town council meetings, the local court, and road toll collectors. Constructed in Norman times as part of the Southampton town walls, the Bargate was the main gateway to the city. Two lions rampant in lead, with inscription on base dated 1892 noting replacement of 1743 pedestals. The two lead lions are said to protect the city and the original Norman arch dates back to about 1175, with the tower being added a century later. The far side of the gate has carved heads in poor condition adorning the sides of the windows, and centrally placed, a statue of George III in Roman costume of Hadrian (modelled after the British Museum statue and emplaced after 1809). To the left (looking back at the statue) a city wall walk begins, but we shall see it later. Looking over the parapet is a nicely posed modern bronze statue John le Fleming (1991) by Anthony Griffiths. The northern side of the gate is under massive constructions:
Here, starts the old town, surrounded by walls, which has over 90 listed buildings and more than 30 ancient monuments,Georgian houses and hotels. Southampton still retains England's second-longest stretch of surviving Medieval wall (the longest is in York). These huge stone walls were first built to defend the town from attack by land, and then extended to protect it from sea-borne enemies, following the devastating
French raid of 1338. Although earlier Roman and Anglo-Saxon settlements around Southampton had been fortified with walls or ditches, the later walls originate with the move of the town to the current site in the 10th century. GuIded Walks: Southampton Tourist Guides Association offer guided walks on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year, starting from the Bargate at 11.00, £3, under 16s free.
With our face southward, we turn right (west) to Bargate Street. On our left the old town walls and Arundel Tower. On our right the West Quay mall. It was originally known as Corner Tower. In the 14th century it was renamed after Sir John Arundel, governor of Southampton Castle 1377-39. Arundel tower may be also named after hirondelle, the magical horse of sir Bevois, one of the mythical founders of Southampton. legend has it that hirondelle (‘swallow’ in French) was so named because he could out-fly swallows. When Sir Bevois died the horse flung himself from the tower in sorrow. Unfortunately access to the bridge is closed at the moment so you miss the interesting larger-than-life statue of early mayor Le Fleming peering over the wall:
Arriving to the end of Bargate Street - we turn LEFT (south) to Castle Way. On our right signpost indicating the location of the past Castle Gate. Rising high above the town walls stood Southampton castle. Built after the Norman conquest of 1066, the king and his court would stay here on their way to France. After gradually falling into disrepair the castle
was rebuilt in 1805, but demolished 10 years later. Walk 160 m. south along Castle Way and turn right in the 2nd turn, Castle Lane. Turn left onto Castle Square and you see a gorgeous Tudor wooden house, the Juniper Berry Pub (and lodging) on your right. Following her father George's death in January 1805, Jane Austen, her mother and sister Cassandra eventually settled in Southampton, where they stayed until mid-1809. In March 1807 they took a house in Castle Square, on the site of the present Juniper Berry Pub. This pub is stunning on the outside but a typical English pub on the inside:
We walk along Castle Lane until its western end. With the Juniper Berry on our left, We descend the stairs in the end of the path and we turn LEFT (south) to the Western Esplanade. Walking southward along the Western Esplanade, we cross, on our left, the splendid Simnel Street with many, charming red-bricked houses. In the mid 1700s, doctors prescribed salt water bathing as a cure for many illnesses, and Southampton became a fashionable place to visit. This area was home to
Mr Martin’s Baths and the assembly rooms:
Immediately, behind the Simnel Street - we see, on our left the most beautiful section of Southampton walls: West Hythe Quay and Biddle’s Gate and, Later, the Arcades. in medieval times, this was a bustling waterfront lined with the houses of wealthy merchants. After the French raid in 1338, the merchants were forced to move and the walls of their houses were blocked up to create the town walls. You can still see the outlines of the medieval doorways and windows.
The Arcades form part of the surviving west walls and are a unique feature in England; their closest architectural equivalent are in Rouen, France. The West Gate still stands three storeys high and was originally defended by two portcullises; the windows on the west side of the gate are the original medieval designs. Along the south side of the walls one of the twin towers protecting the South Gate still stands, largely intact. The Arcades form part of the surviving west walls and are a unique feature in England; their closest architectural equivalent are in Rouen, France. The West Gate still stands three storeys high and was originally defended by two portcullises; the windows on the west side of the gate are the original medieval designs:
Several steps further south and we cross, on our left, the Blue Anchor Lane. Blue Anchor Lane led from the medieval quayside into the town and the market in St. Michael’s Square. the stone arch forms part of the town walls. The portcullis slot is still visible. The Blue Anchor Lane slides it’s way down a steep incline alongside the Tudor House towards the quayside, that in Medieval times, would have been just outside the city walls. The Blue Anchor Lane ran from the market square outside St. Michael’s church to the waterfront via the Postern Gate, one of Southampton’s original seven gates. It was used to carry goods from the quayside up to the market square. The carters would have piled onto their carts all manner of imported goods and worked hard against the gradient to deliver them to the market place in front of St Michael's church. In the late medieval period the lane was called Lord’s Lane.
It was renamed in the 18th C after the Blue Anchor Inn which was located in the lane:
We shall climb up east along the Blue Anchor Lane and end up with the Tudor House and St. Michael's Square on our right and St. Michael's Church in front of us.
St. Michael’s Square is dominated by the iconic Tudor House. This square was once the location of Westgate Hall. Wool was stored upstairs, and a fish market was held beneath. In 1634 the hall was dismantled and
rebuilt next to Westgate. Paving slabs show where it once stood. The Tudor House, a timber-framed building facing St Michael’s Square was built in the late 15th Century, with King John’s Palace, an adjacent Norman house accessible from Tudor House Garden, dating back a further 300 years. Tudor House gives a unique and atmospheric insight into the lives and times of both its residents through the years, and of Southampton itself. the existing Tudor House and Garden that is seen today traces its roots back to around 1495 AD, when Sir John Dawtry, an important local official, had the building constructed from those houses which previously stood here. Open: TUE - FRI 10.00 - 15.00, SAT - SUN 10.00 - 17.00. Closed Mondays. Prices: Adult: £5.00, Child 5 and over: £4.00, Child under 5: free, Concessions: over 60s and students: £4.00. Tudor House and Garden & SeaCity Museum: Adult: £12.00, Concession: £9.00:
The St. Michael's Church occupies the east side of St. Michael's Square off Bugle Street. St. Michael's Church is the oldest building still in use in the city of Southampton, England, having been founded in 1070, and is the only church still active of the five originally in the medieval walled town. Worth a visit, a lovely and welcome place: fine stained glass and a good modern wood carving. It is frequently closed and opening times clarification on line is hard to find:
We end our visit in the Blue Anchor lane and return west (left) to the Western Esplanade, continuing walking southward. After 75 m. of walk we see on our left, the Westgate - another medieval gate to the city (nowadays - Westgate Hall). On our right are the Grand Harbour and Holiday Inn hotels. The Westgate includes the relocated timber framed Medieval Cloth Hall which was relocated to this site:
Near the Pig in the Wall Pub (and small hotel), we pop into the walls and return walking southward along the Western Esplanade:
After 200 m. in the Western Esplanade we arrive towards the Town Quay and the docks. Here, we turn northward to the High Street. Here, stands the Town Quay. During the 1400s, wool was the single largest export from the town. The wool house was built to store wool right on the quayside. The town mayor, Thomas Middleton, built a large crane next to it for moving heavy cargo. Houses along the esplanade and the quay are very special looking (note the Ennio's restaurant/hotel building). This section of our route offers lovely views to the sea, and cruise liners, passing ferries and container ships with tugs:
In the intersection of Town Quay and High Street - we enter, with our face to the east, onto Winkle Street to see, on our left the wall and the God's House. God's House Tower is a late 13th century gatehouse into the old town of Southampton. It stands at the south-east corner of the town walls and. The complex was named after nearby God's House Hospital, although it has many alternative names including the South Castle. In the past, it permitted access to the town from the Platform and Town Quay. An original simple gatehouse was built in the late 13th century and in the early 14th century it was extended to its current dimensions. At the same time a large room, possibly a guard room, was built above the gateway. The great tower at the eastern end of the building and the adjoining gun platform were built in the 15th century to strengthen the gate's flank defences. The tower was also called Mill Tower (or Mill House) from the tidal mill installed at its east extremity and worked by the waters of the town moat. It housed the city Museum of Archaeology (opened to the public in 1961 and then closed in September 2011). Tower House, which adjoins the gateway to the west, was built in the 19th century, replacing an earlier building. In 2012, it was occupied by "a space arts", providing studio space for "emerging" artists. Opposite the gateway, in Winkle Street, is the only other remaining substantial part of the original hospital, the Church of St. Julien. Just outside the gate is the Old Bowling Green, the oldest bowling green in the world which dates back to at least 1299.
Try to walk as east as possible in Winkle Street and find the way to turn LEFT (north) in the Lower Canal Walk (the extensive, a bit hidden, Queen's Park is on your right). In the end of this road, slightly turn left, again to Briton Rd. to see another section of the walls - opposite Friary House (former Franciscan priory). We continue walking west (left) aling Briton Street until it meets the High Street. Here, we turn right (north) and walk along High Street. After 160 m. - we see on our right (east) the northerern wall of the destroyed Holyrood Church. Several churches were within walking distance of Castle Square, including the Holyrood Church in the High Street, right at the centre of the medieval town. Built in 1320, the church was destroyed by the Nazi bombing during the blitz in November 1940. In 1957 the shell of the church was dedicated as a memorial to the sailors of the Merchant Navy. Southampton lost seven churches during the blitz, as well as the nearby Audit House, the Ordnance Survey offices and many shops, factories and homes. During the night of 30 November 1940, when the church was destroyed, 214 people were killed in Southampton and nearly 500 properties were totally destroyed. The only parts of the church still standing are the tower at the south-western corner and the chancel at the eastern end, together with large parts of the north walls. The wooden spire was lost as was the great west window, whilst the central area of the church was completely destroyed. Among the memorials inside the ruin is one to the crew of the Titanic, most of whom came from Southampton. Inside the church, under the tower is a memorial fountain, erected in 1912–13 for those who lost their lives in the sinking of the Titanic ship. The fountain is supported on four stone columns, with a curved pediment on each side with carvings depicting the "Titanic", surmounted by a four-columned cupola. The artist metal worker, Charles Normandale created a series of wrought iron metal screens, gates and railings for the Chancel and Titanic Memorial Fountain. The chancel, now with a glass roof, and nave are used for temporary exhibitions and musical events. The whole edifice is dedicated to the men of the Merchant Navy and hosts the annual Merchant Navy Day memorial service. In the corner of the former nave is an anchor (bearing the name of Cunard shipping company, behind which is a plaque bearing the legend:
"The church of Holyrood erected on this site in 1320 was damaged by enemy action on 30 Nov 1940. Known for centuries as the church of the sailors the ruins have been preserved by the people of Southampton as a memorial and garden of rest, dedicated to those who served in the Merchant Navy and lost their lives at sea".
Walking further northward along High Street - brings you to the Above Bar Road and to the Bargate. It is 1 mile (1.6 km.) walking to our start point - the Cenotaph.
Main Attractions: Lamb & Flag Pub, Museum of Natural History & Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford University Parks, Wadham College, New College, Covered Market, Exeter College.
Start and End: Ashmolean Museum - City Centre. Circular Route discovering several green areas ans sites connected with nature. Distance: 3-4 km. Duration: 1 day. Weather: ideal route for days with rain in the 1st half of the day. Distance: 4 km.
Leave the museum by the main entrance. Head east on Beaumont St. toward St Giles. At the traffic lights you need to go straight
across to the opposite side of St Giles. Use the pedestrian crossings and take care. Once on the opposite side, turn left up (north) St. Giles. Outside the main entrance to St John’s College there is a raised area under several plane trees. The St John's college – is named after St. John the Baptist. The plane trees line this wide road (claimed to be the widest in the UK). The plane tree is very tolerant of urban pollution which is why it is found throughout central London and other cities in temperate regions.
Walk 160 m. north and turn right to the Lamb & Flag Passage. On your right is the Lamb & Flag Pub. The lamb (in the pub's name) represents the lambs which were highly-valued possessions in ancient, Biblical Judaism and were sacrificed to God in order to request forgiveness
of sins. The lamb and flag had therefore become the symbol of St John the Baptist. The Lamb and Flag was also the symbol of one of the orders of knights or crusaders - the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. This order of knights was formed after the capture of Jerusalem in 1099. The order
provided hospitals and shelter for pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land, took care of knights who had been injured or were suffering from diseases and had military units who fought in almost every battle of the Crusades. St John's College took over the management of this pub in 1997, and now uses all pub profits to fund scholarships for graduate students. It is believed that Thomas Hardy wrote much of his novel Jude the Obscure in this pub. The pub also featured in the British TV detective drama series 'Inspector Morse'. Note the chestnut tree - immediately behind the pub, along Lamb & Flag Passage. The pub is recommended for its Beers:
Lamb & Flag Passage continues as the Museum Road. Cross the Parks Road (at the crosswalk), turn left - and on your right is the entrance to the Museum of Natural History & Pitt-Rivers Museum. These are two different museums in one visit. The entrance to the Pitt Rivers Museum is through the Oxford University Museum Natural History (OUMNH) on Parks Road. Visitors need to walk across the ground floor of the OUMNH to reach Pitt Rivers displays. Open: OUMNH - daily, 10.00 - 17.00, FREE. Pitt Rivers Museum: MON 12.00 (!!!) - 16.3, TUE-SUN 10.00 - 16.30 (annoyingly closings 30 minutes before the Natural History Museum), FREE. The two museums are located in an elongated Victorian Gothic building. The building itself is a gem. The Museum of Natural History houses the Oxford University's zoology, entomology, palaeontology, and mineral collections. It is a great learning experience for children and adults alike! The OUMNH is recommend especially if you have children with lots of activities provided to keep them interested. The exhibitions are well laid out and provide great opportunity to see and touch sciences.
The Pitt Rivers Museum, its counterpart next door, holds one of the world’s finest collections of anthropology and archaeology from all the continents and from throughout human history. Both of the museums are fully wheelchair accessible and child friendly. Make sure that you have plenty of time (at least 3 hours) to see the contents of both of the museums. Loads to see for both adults and children - but, I am afraid, children might be bored with the Pitt Rivers Museum. Both museums are ideal for wet days.
In front of the OUMNH stands a memorial stone column commemorating the 'Great Debate', in Oxford, on 30 June 1860, seven months after the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, between the Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, and the biologist, Thomas Huxley. They debated Darwin’s idea of evolution and natural selection in front of a vocal crowd of 500 people. Darwin’s idea of evolution went against the commonly-held view that God was in control of creation. Even today, 156 years later the debate between evolution and creation continues. You can also find a statue of Darwin inside the museum:
The main atrium of OUMNH is spectacular. Its main attraction are several dinosaur skeletons in the centre and is surrounded by cabinets full of curious artifacts (fossils, minerals, insects and animals) and packed with information. There is a balcony all around the central atrium that has more items of interest and also a small cafe. Note: It can get a bit hot inside during sunny days, due to the glass roof.
Edmontosaurus annectens, Dinosaur, S. Dakota:
Granite - 2,700,00,000 years old:
Humpback Whale Skull:
OUMNH 2nd floor. The Museum's striking glass and iron roof, soaring above the specimens, is a source of fascination to visitors:
Wandering Albatross - a legendary bird:
The remains of the Dodo at Oxford are one of the greatest treasures of the Museum:
Life cycle of Nezara Viridula:
Temporary exhibition: Upper East Gallery, from 18 March to 29 September 2016. Kurt Jackson: Bees (and the odd wasp) in my Bonnet. This exhibition brings together paintings, sculpture and Museum collections to explore the diverse and beautiful world of bees. Kurt Jackson's art is a celebration of the natural world. Recently he has been inspired by the bees he encounters at home in Cornwall and across the UK. Apis, Kurt Jackson, 2015:
Through the back of the hall is the Pitt Rivers Museum which is full of glass cabinets bursting and packed with curiosities from around the world that were, first, collected by the Lt. Pitt Rivers and extended after his donation of his private collection. OUMNH is nature, Pitt Rivers is Anthropological.
'Human Form in Art' Gallery. PRM dedicates an extensive gallery to Figurative Art. For thousands of years, the form and meaning of body decoration has been an expression of a particular culture – for aesthetic reasons, to identify kinship groups, for performance or for ceremony. Note: the lighting is a bit dim, even dark sometimes, but once you become used to it, it does rather add to the mysterious atmosphere. A bit tough to walk through and around the huge glass cabinets and observe in the darkness. The fact that the Pitt Rivers Museum is still laid out in its original Victorian pattern makes the museum an exhibit in itself and adds to its charm. The various collections are arranged by function or theme (food, clothes, toys, weaponry, medicine, religion) rather than geographically.
Hindu deity: Janrath (right), his Sister, Sibhadra (centre), his brother Balabhadra (left), Orissa, India:
Dance Mask - Papua New Guinea:
Plaited raffia mat with Lizard design, Cameroon:
11 metres Haida Gwii Totem Pole, Canada, Queen Charlotte Islands:
The shrunken heads:
A bottle with a witch:
Exiting the couple of the museums - we turn right (north) and walk 200 m. along Parks Rd. On our left (west) is Keble College (under massive constructions). Keble is one of the larger colleges of the University of Oxford. Keble College was established in 1870, having been built as a monument to John Keble - an English churchman and poet, one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement (a movement, which argued for the reinstatement of some older Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican theology). The main building of Keble College is the distinctive brick complex in Parks Rd. - designed by Butterfield:
After 200 m. we turn right and enter the Oxford University Parks. The University Parks are bordered in the east by River Cherwell, in the nort side by Norham Gardens, by the north-east with a small plot of land (Mesopotamia) sitting between the upper and lower levels of the river. Parks Road to the west and with the Science Area on South Parks Road to the south. The quite extensive space was originally owned by Merton College, was purchased by the University in the 1850s and was first laid out as a Park for sports and recreational purposes in 1864 - first, for university members and, later, for the public. The park is open to the public almost every day of the year from 07.45 until dusk (the only exception being Christmas Eve) and boasts a choice of walks, a large collection of trees and plants and space for sports and picnics:
Clifford Circus was stationed in the western entrance during June 2016:
Since, we entered the parks from the Parks Rd. - we start with the West Walk section of the parks. The west, north and Lucas sections contain, mainly, flowering perennial shrubs and distinctive, impressive trees. Diverse specimens of trees display gorgeous golden, purple, grey and green colours of foliage. There are also many many brightly coloured flowers. A must visit place for nature lovers. An absolute pastoral heaven. Note: you are not allowed to enter with a bike !! No cycling !! ALLOW, at least, TWO HOURS FOR WALKING AROUND THE PARKS: West Walk, North Walk, Riverside Walk, Lucas Walk and South Walk. Note: after completing the riverside (eastern side) walk - you arrive to a T junction. Take the RIGHT leg - leading to Lucas Walk and the southern section of the walk.
West and North Walks:
Cedars in the West Walk :
You find the Giant Sequoias (Wellingtonias) (which were very fashionable in the Victorian period) in the meeting point of the West and North Walks:
The North Walk is characterized with numerous types of local and overseas trees: Aleppo Pine, American Smoke Tree, HimaItalian Maple, Oriental Plane, Serbian Spruce, Turkish hazel, Valonia Oak,
North Lodge of the University Parks:
The North Walk is characterized with numerous types of local and
Pond with Ducks:
Most of the Parks area is along (east to) the Cherwell river. South to the cement bridge - there is a grassland area which lies between two branches of the Cherwell river. It is known as 'Mesopotamia' after the area between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers - the cradle of human civilization.
Riverside Walk (along river Cherwell:
Leave the Parks at South Lodge and turn right and walk WEST along South Park Rd crossing: St. Cross Rd., Sherard Rd.,(on your left the Plants Science buildings with green windows and, later, on your left the Chemistry buildings), Mansfield Rd. On your left also the Rhodes Building - a green-domed building. Built in memory of Cecil Rhodes, an alumnus of the university and founder of De Beers diamond Company in South Africa. In 1931, Albert Einstein delivered a series of three lectures at Rhodes House:
Arriving to the cross-lights - turn LEFT (south) to Parks Rd. After 70 m. walk in Parks Rd. yous see, on your left, the Wadham College. In term time the Wadham College is open to visitors from 13.00 to 16.15. Out of term the college is open from 10.30 to 11.45 and 13.00 to 16.15. FREE. Only the Front Quad, Fellows' Garden and the Chapel are open to the public. Wadham College was founded in 1610 by Dorothy Wadham, according to the will of her late husband Nicholas Wadham, a member of an ancient Somerset family.
Statues of the founders (Dorothy and Nicholas Wadham) above the main entrance to the College:
The Main Hall:
The gorgeous Wadham College Chapel:
Back Quad with its cute buildings around:
Continuing south along parks Road - you arrive to the junction of: Parks Rd., Holywell Street, Broad Street and Catte Street. Here you face the peculiar Indian Institute with the animals carvings on the walls. Some animals (elephants, monkeys, tigers) are important in the Hindu religion. The Indian Institute was established in year 1875 in purpose to promote Indian studies at the Oxford University - when India was the crown jewel in the British empire:
Continue south along Catte Street and passing through the Bridge of Sighs (See: "Oxford - Day 2 - Part 1" blog). Immediately, turn LEFT (east) to New College Lane. On your left take the St. Helen's Passgge (with 40 cm. width...). St. Helen's Passage continues as Bath Pl. Here I met graduates of one of the local colleges, celebrating completion of their exams and year of study, half-drunk and full with confetti:
Turn right onto and continue along Holywell St. and after 150 m. the entrance to the New College will be on your right. Open: From mid- March to mid-October 2016: from 11.00 to 17.00, price: £4 adult; £3 concessions. Admission includes free map and guide. Other dates: !4.00 -16.00, daily, FREE.
It is called New College from the time of its completion in 1379. This gives an indication of how old and how much history there is in Oxford.
Inner Quadrangle. This cloistered quad has remained unchanged for six hundred years:
The Cloisters are also very interesting with statues of a variety of Saints and plaques dedicated to former patrons and alumni of the New College:
St. Edward the Confessor:
Opposite the entrance gate, in the other side of the Main Quad - there stairs leading to the Main Hall. The dining hall is full of history and with many pictures of Bishophs and Alumni:
picture of Bishoph of Winchester:
The college has beautiful gardens and chapel. The Chapel is just superb. Such wonderful craftsmanship, all done by hand. A few windows, in the chapel, were designed by Joshua Reynolds. The gardens, dominated by the old city walls, are beautiful and would be a peaceful place to sit and read or walk around:
New College Canopies:
New College Chapel:
Several scenes of Harry Potter films took place here: inside the cloisters and around the giant oak tree.
It is time to eat. So, we head to the Covered Market, 650 m. from the New College. Head west on Holywell St toward Mansfield Rd, 160 m., turn left onto Catte Street, 10 m., turn right onto Broad Street, 70 m., slight left to stay on Broad Street, 105 m. Turn left onto Turl Street, 110m. Turn right onto Market St, 80 m. the The Covered Market of Oxford is on your left.
The building dates back to the 1770’s. Most of the shops or the businesses are, here, for generations. Open: MON-SAT: 8.00 – 17.30, SUN: 10.00 – 16.00. Part of the stalls are closed on Sundays. Sassi Thai offers a range of delicious Thai dishes and Thai ingredients. Its a small, simple eatery, with limited, but enough choices. Dishes are available to eat in or takeaway. It costs just £5-6 for rice and a choice of one Thai dish, or for £1 more you get the choice of an additional dish. Very few seats and it's almost always busy. Very popular with locals:
Another well-famed option is Ben's Cookies. This is THE place to get a sweet snack in oxford. Always delightful, delicious, fresh and... sweet. You are attracted by and cannot stand the smell of baking.
We continue walking north-east in the Market Street. Walk 80 m. and turn left onto Turl Street. Turn right onto Brasenose Ln and after 50 m. the Exeter College will be on your left. The Exeter College is one of three in Turl Street running between Broad Street and the High Street. The College is typical of the smaller Oxford Colleges. It has beautiful architecture. The first courtyard you enter has the Hall to the right and the chapel to the left:
The Exeter College Quad was where the fictional Detective Morse character suffered a heart attack and collapsed in the final episode of the series, while Requiem being sung in the chapel:
It has a charming Fellow's Garden to the back with a Mound, situated at the end of the Garden, which offers unobstructed views over Radcliffe Square, including All Souls College and the Radcliffe Camera:
The chapel has a dramatic spire and the interior hall is very atmospheric and retains wonderful medieval feel:
Just inside it on the left is the bust of J.R. Tolkien. It is a little high up and easily missed:
This is one of the most famous tapestries produced by the influential William Morris workshop, depicting the Adoration of the Magi. The tapestry was commissioned in 1886 for the chapel of Exeter College, Oxford, and created to a design by Edward Burne-Jones. Morris and Burne-Jones were former students at Exeter College. The original tapestry was commissioned in 1886 by John Prideaux Lightfoot, rector of Exeter College, Oxford, for the Gothic revival chapel built for the college in the 1850s by George Gilbert Scott. The tapestry proved so popular that another nine versions were made, each with a different border design. The original tapestry still hangs in the college chapel:
Exeter College was originally founded in 1314 by Devon-born Walter de Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter, as a school to educate clergymen. associated with a number of notable Alumni people, including the writer J. R. R. Tolkien. The Fellows' Garden (see above) is reputed to be where Tolkien first saw the Hobbit.
From Exeter College and Turl Street we turn left onto Broad St, 130 m. We turn right onto Magdalen St., 125 m. We are already in Oxford very centre. Turn left onto Beaumont St., 75 m. and we face the main entrance of the Ashmolean Museum.
Continuation of "Oxford - Day 2 - Part 1" blog.
Part 2 - High Street: from St. Mary Church to Magdalen Bridge.
Main Attractions: High street, Queen's College, St. Edmund Hall, Magdalen College, Magdalen Bridge and Boathouse, University of Oxford Botanic Garden.
Start: High Street, St. Edmund Hall End: High Street, the Botanic garden. Duration: 4-5 hours.
With our back to the Radcliffe Camera and our face to the St. Mary Church we walk southward from Radcliffe Square - heading to the High Street. There, we turn LEFT (EAST) and the rest of our second day in Oxford is devoted to the High Street section between St. Mary Church and Magdalen Bridge. Our direction of walk is from west to east. A small section of 700 m. of High Street - but full with colleges, green areas, water and... history. The real retreat for hungry stomachs lie in the eastern end of High Street - where it diverges into St. Clement Street and Cowley Road: full with budget and quality restaurants and cafe's. In part 1 we recommended on 2 restaurants: Greyhound and Nando's - located, respectively, in these two roads. Geographically, this area of eateries lies in THE END of our route. Another good option: dine at the Queen's Lane Coffe House. They have Grills Menu, traditional British hot portions.
Leaving Radcliffe Square and walking EASTWARD along High Street. The first road to our left is the Queen's Lane and the first college on our left (north side of High Street) is the Queen's College. Its entrance is from Queen's Lane:
Usually, closed to the public. You can appoint a visit through the local tourist information office. FREE. The College Chapel holds a number of public services, and during term there are frequent public concerts and recitals - these are your opportunities to sample this wonderful classic-style college. They have regular recitals on Wednesdays during term time. There's an excellent college choir as well. Choral Evensong at 18.15 on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. This college is unique: unlike its Gothic-style neighbours, Queen's is a stunning example of classical architecture. The Chapel is magnificent and has one of the finest organs in Oxford.
The Upper Library at Queens College:
Dining Hall - Queen's College:
Opposite, at the east side of Queen's Lane is the entrance to St.Edmund Hall:
St Edmund Hall (commonly referred to as of "Teddy Hall"). Its estimated date of founding is year 1236. The college claims to be "the oldest academical society for the education of undergraduates in any university". The college has a reputation for being a informal, young, vibrant, friendly college with a wide range of extra-curricular strengths in areas such as creative writing, drama, sport and music. The main building of "Teddy Hall" is the only medieval academic Hall to still be called such (instead of 'college'). Teddy Hall got college status in 1957.
Open: Daily, 10.00 - 16.00. FREE. Wheelchair friendly:
We return back south to High Street. In the corner of Queen's Lane and High Street - stands the Queen's Lane Coffee House. It changed its name to QL several years ago. Try their Custard Tarts, waffles and their teas. Good portion sizes for good value for money. Claims to be the oldest coffee house in world. Established at 1654. 362 years of history.... Avoid during the busy hours:
300 m. further east, still on the north side of High Street stands the Magdalen College (pronounced "Maudlin"). The college is absolutely stunning. Opposite the college entrance, on the south side, is the Botanical Garden - our last destination of this route (see below).Please allow 2-3 hours for visiting the Magdalen College. A very big place. You cannot imagine the size from outside. The principal areas of the College that are normally open are the Hall, Chapel and Old Kitchen Bar. In addition the gardens, grounds and parkland, including the water walks beside the River Cherwell are open. The Deer Park can be viewed from the path. Open: January to late June: 13.00 to dusk or 18.00, Late June to the end of September: 12.00 - 19.00, October to December: 13.00 to dusk or 18.00. Prices: Adults £5.00; Over 60s, children, students £4.00; Family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children aged 7 or over) £14.00. Children under 7 years of age are free of charge.
Entrance to the college is through an inconspicuous porter's lodge on the High Street, which leads into the irregularly-shaped St. John's Quadrangle.
High Street, entrance to Magdalen College:
Founded in 1448, Magdalen College has some of the most beautiful buildings in Oxford, many of which are adorned with an array of interesting stone-carved characters. Beautifully located just off the river, the college is set in extensive grounds (most of which can be accessed by the public) and has a variety of buildings in different architectural styles. The college is situated amid superbly maintained woodlands, riverside walks, gardens and amazing Deer Park. BE PREPARED TO STAY, HERE, AT LEAST TWO HOURS. History meets natural beauty and it really just has to be seen to be believed! After enjoying the amazing architecture take a walk along the Cherwell river and its surroundings. Be ready to walk through long paths and around huge meadows. So close to city centre and you feel like being in the countryside in the middle of nowhere! So, better, dine beforehand !
Magdalen College was founded in 1458 by William Waynflete, a high-ranking churchman who went on to become Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England. Construction began only in 1467, when the charter was confirmed by King Edward IV. Magdalen was at the forefront of the revival of Classical learning from its early days and in the early 17th century it was strongly Puritan for a time. Nevertheless, it supported Charles I and the Royalists.
Most of the College's quadrangles are full of quirky statues. On the right/east is the great west window of the chapel (1480); on the left/west is a gate leading to St. Swithun's Quadrangle (by Bodley and Garner 1881-85) and the early 17th-century Grammar Hall.
The High Street side of St. Swithun's Quad:
Old Grammar Hall:
View of the Great Quad (1474-80), looking west to the Founder's Tower:
Straight ahead (north) is the attractive, neo-Tudor President's Lodgings (1881-85). In the southeast corner of St. John's Quad is an outdoor pulpit, from which a university sermon is preached on the Sunday nearest St. John the Baptist's Day (June 24). The small Chaplain's Quad runs from here past the chapel and hall to the Great Tower:
sculpture of St Mary Magdalene on the gate leading into St John's Quad:
A passage in the north side of the Great Quad leads across a wide lawn to the New Building (1733), which resembles a country house. The New Building (1733), intended to be part of a vast Classical quadrangle that was never completed. It was originally intended to be part of a vast Classical quadrangle. Three windows near the center mark the rooms where C.S. Lewis lived and taught for many years. Unfortunately they are now occupied by others and not open to viewing. :
Magdalen's Perpendicular Gothic Great Tower (1492) is perhaps the most beautiful in Oxford. Magdalen's bell tower, the tallest medieval tower in Oxford, was constructed in 1492, six years after Waynflete's death. The resulting ensemble was as impressive then as it is today; King James I (r.1603-25) pronounced Magdalen College "the most absolute building in Oxford.". Bring binoculars or a zoom lens to see the amusing stone characters that decorate the top of the tower. All are modern and many are clearly caricatures of real persons:
Amusing modern sculptures on the medieval bell tower (1492-1505):
The beautiful chapel (1474-80) has the traditional Oxford T-plan, with just a chancel (or choir) and an ante-chapel. It has been much changed since it was first built; the present interior mainly reflects the restoration by L.N. Cottingham in 1830-35:
Hanging over the entrance, DO NOT MISS the near contemporary copy of Leonardo de Vinci's 'The Last Supper' (c.1510-14), on loan from the Royal Academy. Its rich coloring provides a good sense of what the faded masterpiece in Milan originally looked like:
The chapel's chancel has five bays with projecting buttresses surmounted by pinnacles and a finely carved parapet string. The stained glass is Victorian, placed here at the expense of the Earl of Selborne, once a Fellow and later Lord Chancellor. As throughout much of England, the original glass was destroyed during the Reformation and the Civil War. The grisaille glass in the ante-chapel is by Richard Greenbury (1632) and the west window is filled with a lovely 18th-century painted glass version of Michelangelo's Last Judgment, in gentle sepia tones.
18th Century painted window that shows the "LAST JUDGEMENT":
The College Choir gives worship performance every day of the week in Full Term (except Mondays) at 18.00, and every Sunday morning in Term at 11.00. On Saturdays, the men of the Choir are joined by female undergraduates from a number of Oxford colleges. Magdalen College Choir Hall. DO NOT MISS Evensong at Magdalen College: beautiful choral music in a beautiful setting, perfect acoustics.
In 1982 N P Mander Ltd were commissioned by the College to design and install a new organ, better suited to the high musical standards of the College's Chapel Choir and the architectural character of the historic building. The organ screen and choir stalls are by Cottingham (1830-35); the organ itself is by Noel Mander and the case by Julian Bicknell (1986). The sculptures on the altar screen (reredos) are all from 1864 by Earp. The altar painting of Christ Carrying the Cross is by the 17th-century Spanish artist Valdes Leal. The organ was completed in 1986 and is frequently used for BBC broadcasts:
A broad flight of stairs in the southeast corner of the Great Quad leads to the amazing Great Hall (not usually accessible to visitors), where a portrait of William Waynflete stares down upon the tables at which famous students - such as Cardinal Wolsey, Chancellor of England under King Henry VIII, the notorious Irish play writer and aesthete Oscar Wilde, and the Physicist Erwin Schrodinger - all tucked into their bacon and eggs. The Hall has early 16th-century linen fold paneling and a set of ornate early Renaissance carvings, five of which depict the life of Mary Magdalene:
The Old Library (no admittance to visitors), in the west range of the Great Quad is NOT open to visitors.
in 1474 work began on the Cloisters, with their Chapel, Hall and Library. These were largely finished by 1480. The lovely cloister of the Great Quad (1474-80) with its stone creatures is one of the best in the UK:
Now, another wonderful bonus is waiting for us: go for a nice walk around the meadow behind the college. Magdalen's famous Deer Park, also known as Magdalen Grove. Magdalen's extensive grounds include one of the best walks in Oxford, Addison's Walk. It is named after the great essayist Joseph Addison, who was a Fellow of Magdalen for 22 years, and takes about 30 minutes to walk its mile-long circuit. Very enjoyable wander around these beautiful surroundings. The path passes along the River Cherwell, meets huge old trees, and follows the edge of a great meadow. The meadows are wonderful, during the spring, when the Fritillarias are in bloom. You will see, along the path, rowers taking their first go on the Cherwell river from the adjoining hire point. This walk was a favorite of C.S. Lewis when he was a professor here. About halfway around the meadow is a plaque inscribed with a poem written by Lewis. In the end of the circular path waits, for you, the College bar, open to the public, serving decent food at a very good price, if you want to grab a drink or something to eat. It is a lovely spot to sit outside by the river on a sunny day.
Exiting Magdalen College entrance - we turn LEFT (again, east) along High Street. Several steps and we cross the Magdalen Bridge and Boathouse. Open: daily, from the 1st of February to the 30th of November, between 9.30 – 21.00 (or 1 hour before sunset). Prices: punts ( up to 5 people) £22.00 per hour. You do not have to book in advance, but on a busy weekend day it is advisable. You can hire a traditional Oxford punt, rowing boat or pedalo and enjoy cruising along Oxford's stunning River Cherwell. You can hire also a Chauffeured boat. You can hire a boat at the Magdalen Bridge Boathouse for just an hour or if you want to make a day of it, take a picnic and stay out on the river as long as you like, simply returning the punt to the boathouse at least half an hour before sunset. From my and others' experience: it is far more difficult than it looks. Not easy in keeping the boat straight rowing... tricky to get the hang...better: take a pro shipmate with you for 30 min. ride, £30 (you must put a deposit down too, which is refunded). You do not have to book in advance, but on a busy weekend day it is advisable.... Lovely scenery of Magdalen and Christ Church Colleges and river Cherwell with very peaceful meadows around. In the high season, especially in the weekends' afternoons - you may queue up for more than half an hour:
Our last stop in this route - is the botanic garden which lies opposite to the Magdalen College and Bridge on the southern side of High Street. Surprisingly, the University of Oxford Botanic Garden is quite small. The oldest botanic garden in Britain started in 1621. The garden is far of being one of the best in the UK. Parts of the garden are a bit neglected and the glasshouses are a bit shabby. An important pro: every plant has a name tag. Open: Daily. November - February: 9.00 - 16.00, March - April: 9.00 - 17.00, May - August: 9.00 - 18.00, September - October: 9.00 - 17.00. Prices (per day): Adult £5.00, Concessionary £3.50 with ID, Children 16 and under accompanied by an adult family member Free.
The Magdalen College Tower from the Botanic Garden:
North Oxford: Oxford Canal, Jericho, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter:
Main Attractions: Worcester College, The Blavatnik School of Government, Radcliffe Observatory building (now, Green Templeton College), The Mathematical Institute, Somerville College, The Radcliffe Humanities Building, The Jericho Health Centre, Freud Cafe', Jericho Tavern, Rutherway, Oxford Canal (the section between Walton Well Rd. and Aristotle Ln.), The Anchor pub.
Duration: 2-3 hours. Distance: 4 km. Weather: any weather.
Start: Carfax Tower. End: Jericho.
From Carfax Tower, Queen Street - we head west on Queen St toward New Inn Hall St, 120 m. We turn right onto New Inn Hall St., 250 m. Turn right onto George St, 30 m. Turn left onto Gloucester St., 70 m. Slight left onto Gloucester Green, 150 m. Turn right onto Worcester St. walk 45 m. and Worcester College will be on your left. Worcester College is one of the most charming of Oxford colleges, with a blend of ancient and modern: from medieval cottages to modern students' accommodation completed in the last decade. Worcester College premises include award-winning gardens, wooded grounds, a lake and sports fields. Worcester College is, actually, in the centre of Oxford on the junction of Worcester Street, Walton Street and Beaumont. It is just across the road from the main bus station, and is a 15 minute walk from the railway station and 5-7 minute walk from the main shopping areas of Oxford Centre. Open: every day from 14.00 - 17.00 (except some public holidays and during the College's Christmas closure period). Free of charge. All visitors are asked to report to the Porters' Lodge, on the right just inside the main entrance. Occasionally the College may be closed for private functions. The college was founded in 1714 (young - compared to other Oxford colleges) by the benefaction of Sir Thomas Cookes, a Worcestershire baronet, with the college gaining its name from the county of Worcestershire. Its predecessor, Gloucester College, had been an institution of learning, college for Benedictine monks, founded in 1283 that had been dissolved (dissolution of the British monasteries) in 1539 by King Henry VIII. The buildings served as palace and then entered 150 years of decline. An endowment came to their rescue in 1714. Sir Thomas Cookes, a Worcestershire baronet, left the money for the founding of a college.
Looking down into the main quadrangle from the entrance through the main building, to the right is an imposing eighteenth century building in the neo-classical style:
To the left a row of medieval buildings known as "the cottages", which are among the oldest residential buildings in Oxford. These cottages are the most substantial surviving part of the former Gloucester College:
Presently, Worcester College is near the centre of Oxford. But, it was on the edge of the city in the eighteenth century. This has proved a benefit in the long run, since it has allowed the college to retain very extensive gardens and sport/playing fields (including a lake). The gardens have won numerous awards, including the Oxford in Bloom college award every time they have been entered for the competition. Worcester College has more applicants per place than any other Oxford college !
A walking path out the back takes you along a waterway and there is a lake. The extensive gardens are open to the public - all free:
The 18th century main building. Above the arcade is the Old Library; behind the arcade are the main entrance to the College (centre) and the entrances to the Chapel (left) and the Hall (right):
The Worcester College chapel holds regular services during term, many of which are sung by the home chapel choirs. Do not miss the dome and the mosaic floor of this fabulous chapel. Try to attended a stirring Evensong program there one late afternoon on weekdays:
We leave the college and head north, to the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter. Exit the college on Worcester St toward Beaumont St. Continue onto Walton St and walk northward for 500 m. The Blavatnik School of Government and the (former) Radcliffe Observatory are on your right.
The Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (ROQ) is in central north Oxford and lies between the Woodstock Road and Walton Street, with Somerville College to the south and Green Templeton College (formerly, the Radcliffe Observatory) to the north.There is an ambitious long-run plan of Oxford University to regenerate and re-plan the whole site. The ROQ project and the new university area is named after the grade I listed Radcliffe Observatory to the north east of the site, now the centrepiece of Green Templeton College, which is intended to form the visual centrepiece of the project (see below). Five buildings comprise the new quarter: 1. The (former) Radcliffe Observatory and (now) the Templeton College, 2. The Somerville College, 3. The Oxford University Humanities Building, 4. The Oxford University Mathematical Institute and 5. Jericho Health Centre.
The Blavatnik School of Government in the south west corner of North Oxford, is standing opposite the slightly alarmingly Soviet-alike of the 1830 complex of Oxford University Press. It was opened in November 2015. Although the Blavatnik School of Government building is located in the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (ROQ) on Woodstock Road, however its main entrance is on Walton Street. The building has been designed by internationally renowned Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. These architects were responsible for the conversion of the Bankside power plant to Tate Modern in London (year 2000). The Blavatnik School of Government is part of Oxford University’ - an academic institute of public policy and government around the world. The building is taller than Carfax Tower in the centre of Oxford, thus it had sparked disputes and caused opposition to the scheme by local residents in the Jericho district and all around Oxford. But, near its completion, in 2015, the building was described as "the latest striking building nearing completion in Oxford". In June 2016, the building received a national Award of the British Association of Architecture (RIBA). In July 2016, the building was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize for excellence in architecture.
The interior recalls the spiral staircase of New York’s Guggenheim Museum. The interior, grandiose space bright, airy with a lot of glass all around. With vast sheets of glass plates - you feel being into the street, with no frame between you and the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter:
Opposite the Blavatnik School of Government (to the north-east) is the Radcliffe Observatory building - recently acquired by Green Templeton College. In 1772 building began on the Radcliffe Observatory, which was the astronomical observatory of the University of Oxford from 1773 to 1934, and is now in the grounds of Green Templeton College. Because of the viewing conditions, weather, urban development and light pollution at Oxford, the observatory moved to South Africa in 1939. It seems that this building is an ever intriguing source of inspiration to artists and continues to provide a truly unique host for the development of both academic and artistic projects in the Jericho and ROQ quarters. Beneath the Tower itself are rooms at each of three levels: the ground floor is now the College dining room, the first floor, originally the library, is now used as the Common Room, and on the top floor is the magnificent octagonal observing room. On the first floor there are also the Fellows' Room and the William Gibson Room, a small private dining room for up to 14 people.
Statue of Atlas on top of the observatory:
Nowadays, Green Templeton is formally Oxford’s newest College, founded in 2008. This college (graduates-only) is, actually, a merger of Green College (specializing in medicine, health and the social sciences) and Templeton College (in business and management):
The Andrew Wiles Mathematical Institute building was formally opened on 3rd October 2013 and is located, immediately, south to the Green Templeton College. A striking building. Architectural masterpiece. One of the leading mathematics departments in the world:
Several steps further south is the Somerville College, Woodstock Road. It was created, in year 1879, for women when universities refused them entry (the college has admitted men since 1994,), and for people of diverse beliefs when the establishment religion was widely demanded - two policies previously unknown in Oxford colleges. Today, around 50% of students are male. The college was named after the eminent scientist and mathematician Mary Somerville (1780–1872). Presently, Somerville is home to around 400 undergraduates and 100 graduate students. The college and its main entrance, the Porters' Lodge, are located on Woodstock Road. The front of the college runs between St Aloysius Church and the Faculty of Philosophy. Somerville has buildings of various architectural styles, many of which bear the names of former principals of the college. The first buildings, in the ROQ regeneration project, to be completed were new student accommodation blocks for Somerville College which opened in September 2011. Past PM, Margaret Thatcher was a famous alumni member of this college:
Mary Somerville, 1780 – 1872, after whom the College is named:
The College Library:
You continue walking further south, along Woodstock Road and on your right is the Radcliffe Humanities Building. The Radcliffe Humanities Building was formerly the Radcliffe Infirmary, which was Oxford's first hospital and was open from 1770 to 2007. The refurbished building opened in 2012 and is part of the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (ROQ) redevelopment, a major new inititiatve for the humanities. it is occupied by the University’s Humanities divisional office, the Faculty of Philosophy and both the Philosophy and Theology libraries:
From the Humanities Office - head north on St Giles toward Woodstock Road, 75 m. Turn left onto Little Clarendon St, 220 m. Turn right onto Walton St. for 300 m. and the Jericho Health Centre is on your right. The Jericho Health Centre relocated to Radcliffe Observatory Quarter on Walton Street in July 2012. This building provides the local community with modern, flexible space for three GP surgeries and their associated health care facilities. The offices above the Health Centre are used by Oxford University Press and the University’s Department of Primary Care Health Sciences. The building is owned by Oxford University and the ground floor is leased to the National Hospitals Service (NHS).
Opposite, to the north of the health centre is the Freud café (opposite the junction of Great Clarendon Street and Walton Street, north to the Blavatnik School of Government). It is housed in the former St Paul's Church, a majestic building designed in 1836 by Henry Jones Underwood. The church construction was triggered by an outbreak of cholera in the area in 1831. The building has an imposing portico with Ionic columns. The architect Edward George Bruton added the apse in 1853 and Frederick Charles Eden remodeled the interior in 1908. In the 20th century, the building became a redundant church and was closed in the late 1960s. The building was bought by the Oxford Area Arts Council and used as a theatre and arts centre venue for more than 20 years. A café/bar was opened in 1988 by David Freud, who has an interest in buildings and their interaction with people. From time to time there are performances of live music such as jazz or blues. David Freud was one of the bitter opponents to the new building for the Blavatnik School of Government of Oxford University on the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter in 2015. The interior setting is very unusual, strange and quirky with the huge pillars, high ceiling and the holy drawings of the stained-glass windows. Its main pro is the great expanse of the old, former church. A bit dark inside. Another plus might be the bohemian, respectful clientele. A different experience !
A bit further north is another pub the Jericho Tavern, 56 Walton Street. Good and delicious food. Pleasant setting and seating. Good atmosphere and service. Spacious garden and patio. Above all - budget prices. Tasty chicken. Fresh Yorkshire Pudding on Sundays. Opening hours: 11.00 - 23.00 SUN - THU, 11.00 - 12.00 FRI - SAT. Recommended !
From The Jericho Tavern we head northwest on Walton St toward Cranham St, 220 m. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Walton Well Rd, 230 m. Slight right onto Rutherway, 150 m. The road slights northwest. In its beginning, on your LEFT (south) - raise your head and you'll see WONDERFUL porticoes and friezes on top of one of the long block houses. It is almost on the banks of Oxford Canal (RutherWay).
Noah and the Pigeon from the Old Testaments:
Jacob's Dream from the Old Testaments:
From Rutherway we find the stairs leading down to the Oxford Canal. In this route - we only SAMPLE the canal and walk along a small section of it from south to north: from Walton Well Rd to Aristotle Lane - short (15 minutes walk), beautiful, quaint and inspiring. We devote a special blog to the Oxford Canal. We stress the point that you can walk ONLY along the western bank of the canal - in this section. it is a beautiful part of oxford away from all the historical building and worth either a boat ride or a walk by the river. Very relaxing. On your left (west) is the Aristotle Recreation Ground and on your right: houses, gardens, mooring boats, wild flowers, water meadows and wildlife. Breath, look, listen, smell and admire the nature in its beauty. Walking along the western towpath - be careful of cyclists. You can carry your trolly luggage while walking along this section. It is whole asphalted and very convenient for canal-side walking. Very pleasant in the right weather !
You can finish the canal-side walk in Aristotle Lane (there are stairs leading to this pretty lane). After climbing the stairs - turn RIGHT (east) to Aristotle Lane and enter The Anchor pub in the junction with Hayfield Road. Excellently prepared, presented and served food. Very reasonable prices although the menu is quite limited. Two dining halls. The first is a standard bar and the other one is more elegant and demanding to impress. They have a seating outside for fine days. Staff is polite, efficient and friendly. Might be very busy (even noisy) in the weekends. Open: MON - FRI: 9.00 - 23.00, SAT - SUN: 10.00 - 23.00:
From here - it is a 20-25 min. walk back to the city centre, or - take bus no. 6 back from Woodstock Road to the centre. Another option: continue walking east along Aristotle Lane and catch bus S3/S2 to George Street/Carfax Tower in the city centre.
Continued from the "Oxford - Day 1 - The Ashmolean Museum - "The world belongs to those who know how to wait" Arthur Evans (1894)" blog.
Main Attractions: Asmolean Museum - level 3M, St. Balliol College, John College.
Level 3M: EUROPEAN ART, 1800–PRESENT DAY:
Room/gallery 62 - Modern Art: Photography NOT allowed.
Howard Hodjkin - Tea Party in America:
Room/gallery 63 - Contemporaries:
Robert Polhill Bevan (1865 - 1925) - Showing at Tattersalls:
Robert Polhill Bevan (1865 - 1925) - The Chestnut Tree:
Robert Polhill Bevan (1865 - 1925) - In the Downs near Lewes:
Room/gallery 65 - Camille Pissarro (1830 - 1903):
Camille Pissarro - Bouquet of pink Peonies, 1873:
Camille Pissarro - Jeanne Holding a Fan, c.1874:
Camille Pissarro - Farm at Montfoucault, Snow Effect, 1874-1876:
Camille Pissarro - Gathering Grass, 1883:
Camille Pissarro - View from my Window, Éragny-sur-Epte, 1888. The painting shows a view from the Pissarro's house at Éragny, looking towards the village of Bazincourt. The painting, which the artist referred to as 'modern primitive', was begun in 1886 but not completed until two years later, in the 'Pointillist' technique Pissarro used for several years:
Camille PIssarro - Tuilleries Gardens, Rainy Weather, 1899:
Edward Manet - Mme. Claus, 1868-1869. The subject is Fanny Claus, a famous violinist who was a close friend of the artist’s wife. From the late 1860s onwards when Manet began to focus his attention on his family and close friends. A concert violinist and member of the first all-women string quartet, Fanny was one of Manet’s favourite sitters and a member of a close-knit group of friends who also provided the artist with models. She married the artist Pierre Prins (1838–1913), another friend of Manet’s, in 1869, but died of tuberculosis just eight years later at the age of 30:
Toulouse-Lautrec - La Toilette, 1891:
Room/Gallery 66, European Art 19th century:
Frederic Lord Leighton - Acme and Septimus, 1868:
James Jaques Joseph Tissot (1836 - 1902), Quarreling:
William Turner of Oxford - High Street, Oxford. William Turner (1775 - 1851) was an English painter who specialized in water-colour landscapes. He is different from the more famous artist J. M. W. Turner. He is often known as William Turner of Oxford or just Turner of Oxford to distinguish him from his better known William Turner. Many of Turner's paintings depicted the countryside around Oxford. In 1898 the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford held a retrospective exhibition of his work. Some of his paintings are still on permanent display at this museum:
William Turner of Oxford - Ehrenbreitstein (The Bright Stone of Honour) and Tomb of Marceau (from Lord Byron’s ‘Childe Harold’) , near Laurley, Coblenz, Germany, 1817:
William Turner of Oxford - The Devil's Bridge, St. Gotthard Pass, 1804:
Edward Lear, Sunrise from the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, 1865:
William Dyce, Jacob and Rachel, 1857:
The new Cascading Staircase and Zvi and Ofra Meitar Attrium form the central core of the new design of the museum:
Rooftop terrace and restaurant of the museum:
We leave the Ashmolean Museum. With our back to Beaumont Street and on our right is Magdalen Street and on our left is the St. Giles' Street - we see two colleges on these two roads: On our right (south - Magdalen Street) is Balliol College
and on our left, north - along its continuation St. Giles' Street) is the St John's College:
Balliol College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford. Among the college's alumni are three former prime ministers: H. Asquith, Harold Macmillan, and Edward Heath. Political economist Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, who is perhaps the best known alumnus of the college. Balliol College was founded in about 1263 by John I de Balliol with the help and supervision of the Bishop of Durham. The oldest parts of the college are the north and west ranges of the front quadrangle, dated to 1431, respectively the medieval hall, west side, now the "new library" and the "old library" first floor north side. For many years, there has been a traditional and fierce rivalry shown between the students of Balliol and those of its immediate adjacent college to the east - Trinity College. Open: everyday 10.00- 17.00 (or dusk, whichever is sooner). Price: £2 per adult, £1 concessions and students. From time to time - you may find the college closed due to academic events. You can also telephone on the day to check openings: 01865 277777. Cafeteria: The Buttery in the Garden Quad serves light refreshments and is open to the public when the College is open to visitors. Opening times are: Term time: MON - FRI 12.30 to 21.00, SAT 11.00 - 17.00. Out of term: MON - FRI 11.00 - 18.00, SAT 11.00 – 17.00.
DO NOT MISS THE MAGNIFICENT DINING HALL of Balliol College !!!:
Balliol College Chapel:
St John's College, part of the the University of Oxford was founded in 1555, on the site of the old Cistercian College, by the merchant Sir Thomas White (lately Lord Mayor of London). It was built to provide a source of educated Roman Catholic clerics to support the Counter-Reformation under Queen Mary. St John's initially had a strong focus on the creation of a proficient and educated priesthood. St John's is the wealthiest college in Oxford - largely due to nineteenth century suburban development of land in the city of Oxford, of which it is the ground landlord. The college occupies a central location on St Giles' and has a student body of approximately 390 undergraduates and 250 postgraduates, as well as over 100 academic staff members. The Front Quadrangle mainly consists of buildings built for the Cistercian St Bernard's College. Construction started in 1437. The turret clock, made by John Knibb, dates from 1690. OPen: daily - 13.00 - 17.00.
Canterbury Quad - The entrance to the Great Lawn and Groves:
St John’s College Chapel:
The nearby Lamb and Flag Pub and Restaurant is owned and operated by the college.
Oxford Ashmolean Museum:
Main Attractions: Levels: Ground, 1, 2. For Level 3m (see: Ashmolean Museum Part 2).
Duration: 1/2 day. You can, easily, combine this 1/2 day visit with another route of 1/2 day - as described in our "Oxford Centre - Day 1" blog. Please allow, at least 3-4 hours for the Ashmolean Museum. I recommend at least half a day to fully enjoy it.
Weather: The best solution in Oxford for a rainy half-a-day.
Dining: There is a restaurant on the rooftop (third floor). NOT recommended. Pricey and small, innovative (but, not filling) portions. Nice views and excellent setting. DO NOT BELIEVE THE TRIPADVISOR REVIEWS ! Crayfish salad, Fennel, orange, white cabbage, chervil: £14.90. Pricey, nice to look at, not filling, cooked and served very nicely with a twist. I' had waited 20 minutes for my portion - though I was the only diner there (quite late at 15.30).
General: A fantastic museum with incredible collections and exceptional, temporary exhibitions. A wonderful way to spend a few hour. No charge to enter (but donations expected). A busy place with vastness of space - so, you'll never feel packed or noisy. Founded in 1683, the Ashmolean is Britain’s first public museum. The collections range from archaeology to the fine and decorative arts. Bears the comparison with the British Museum, but has the advantage of being less crowded: that makes the visit more pleasant.
Location: The Ashmolean Museum is located in the centre of Oxford. It is easily accessible by public transport. The bus station is approximately 5 minutes walk from the Museum. The train station is approximately 10 minutes walk from the Museum.
Access: There is disabled access throughout the Museum, with ramps into the building, lifts to all floors and wheelchairs are available.
Open: 10.00 – 17.00, TUE – SUN. FREE.
Photography: Allowed. No flash. Several displayed items are with restricted permission.
Toilets: There are public toilets (including wheelchair accessible) throughout the Museum.
Warning: Museum's staff members don't like you carrying rucksacks on your back. You have to carry them by your side or on your front. Better to use the cloakroom.
The Ashmolean Museum entrance - sculptures of Henry Moore. Three Piece Reclining Figure (1963) which is on temporary loan from the Henry Moore Foundation. The entrance is on Beaumont Street:
Reclining Figure by Henry Moore:
Ground Level - list of rooms/galleries: Aegean World - 20, Ancient Cyprus - 18, Ancient Egypt and Nubia - 22–27, Ancient Near East - 19, Cast Gallery - 14, China to AD 800 - 10, Chinese Paintings - 11, European Prehistory - 17, Greek and Roman Sculpture - 21, The Greek World - 16, Italy before Rome - 15, Rome - 13, India 2500 BC – AD 600 - Gallery 12.
The Ashmolean’s collection from ancient Egypt is among the most extensive in Britain, with objects from the Nile Valley from prehistory to the 7th century AD. Six galleries comprise the ancient Egyptian culture exhibition: 22 - Egypt at its Origins, 23 - Dynastic Egypt and Nubia, 24 -
Life After Death in Ancient Egypt, 25 - The Amarna Revolution, 26 - Egypt in the Age of Empires, 27 - Egypt Meets Greece and Rome.
Ancient Egypt - a limestone statue of King Khasekhem (2nd Dynasty, about 2700–2686 BC):
East wall of Shrine of King Taharqa (a Pharaoh of ancient Egypt of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty (between 712 and 770 BC) and king of the Kingdom of Kush), Kawa, Sudan, Late Period/Napatan, 25th Dynasty (about 690–664 BC):
This statue of Sobek was found at Amenemhat III's mortuary temple ( connected to this king's pyramid at Hawara in Faiyum), symbolizing this king's devotion to Sobek, which was an ancient Egyptian deity associated with Pharaonic power, fertility, and military prowess. Sobek is associated also with the Nile crocodile and is either represented in its form or as a human with a crocodile head. Sobek also served, additionally, as a protective deity against the dangers presented by the Nile river:
Granite statue of Amun in the form of a ram protecting King Taharqa, from the western wall of shrine of King Tharaqa. Several temples dedicated to Amun (a major Egyptian deity and Berber deity), including the one at Karnak were adorned with ram or ram-headed sphinx statues. The ram was one of the animals sacred to Amun:
Coffin of the 25th dynasty Theban Priest Djeddjehutyiuefankh, Deir el-Bahri, Western Thebes, 25 th Dynasty, 770-712 BC:
The Ashmolean’s collection of ancient Cyprus is among the most significant Cypriot collections worldwide outside Cyprus - a cultural crossroad between Orient and Occident. There are artifacts, displayed, from the earliest settlements of the island in about 10.000 BC until the Roman period, from the villages of the first farming communities of the Neolithic period to post-Medieval times. The vast majority of the objects are from about. 2000 – 300 BC. The Ashmolean's collection of ancient Greek pottery vessels is one of the finest in the world. In its range, size and scholarly importance it ranks in the United Kingdom behind only that of the British Museum. Ancient Cyprus is in Gallery 18. List of galleries of Ancient Greece: Gallery 6: Reading and Writing, Gallery 7: Money, Gallery 14: Cast gallery, Gallery 16 - The Greek World, Gallery 20: Aegean World, Gallery 21: Greek and Roman Sculpture.
Head of Man, Salamis:
Grave monument of deceased Archippus accompanied by two servants. This is probably from Smyrna from the 3rd to 2nd century BC:
The Ashmolean’s cast gallery is one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved collections of casts of Greek and Roman sculpture in the UK. It contains some 900 plaster casts of statues, reliefs, and architectural sculptures.
Plaster cast slab of tomb enclosure showing detail of siege from Trysta, Lycia, 370 BC. It is decorated with friezes showing a wide variety of Greek myth. It is characteristic of Lycian architectural sculpture that, beside the myth, included scenes of near-contemporary military action (city-sieges) and of the monarch in his court (type of subject not seen in Greece proper):
Marble head of Homer, 1-100 AD, Gallery 16. Homer is thought to have been a travelling poet, following a long tradition of storytelling. All portraits of Homer were created long after his death. Artists typically
portray him as blind, so his opened eyes are quite unusual in this sculpture:
Head of Demostenes, 250 - 150 BC, Gallery 16. Found at Eski-Shehir, East Turkey (Anatolia):
In the second half of the nineteenth century, archaeologists began to focus on understanding prehistoric Greece and its extraordinary flowering during the Greek Bronze Age (about 3000–1050 B.C.). Heinrich Schliemann's discovery of wealthy tombs at Mycenae in 1876 brought to life the Heroic Age immortalized in the epic poetry of Homer, in which King Agamemnon’s palace was described as "rich in gold." Twenty-four years after Schliemann's find, the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans began excavations at Knossos, on the island of Crete, that would yield a vast complex of buildings belonging to a sophisticated prehistoric culture, which he dubbed Minoan after the legendary King Minos.
The Aegean prehistoric collections of the Ashmolean Museum are the largest outside Greece and come primarily from archaeological excavations. The Minoan collection, brought to Oxford by Sir Arthur Evans from his excavations of the “Palace of Minos” at Knossos on Crete - are the biggest outside Crete. When Arthur Evans was appointed Keeper of the Ashmolean in 1884, the Museum had a handful of Aegean objects: only one gem, which was not yet recognized as coming from the Aegean Bronze Age and a few obsidian blades from Melos. Following Evans’s purchases, donations and gifts to the Museum from his travels and researches, including his 1941 bequest, the Ashmolean today houses the largest and finest Aegean collection outside Greece, comprising more than 10,000 objects. There are three main areas in Gallery no. 20: the Early Cyclades, Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece. Each area is color-coded in an attempt to facilitate the visitor’s orientation: light blue is used as the background in the Early Cyclades, red is used for Minoan Crete, orange for Mycenaean Greece. The personality that dominates the Aegean gallery is that of Arthur Evans. The story of Evans is broken down into three major periods. The first period focuses on his work at the Ashmolean (1884-1908) and the Chester seal: a gem on which Evans first identified signs of a pre-alphabetic writing system. The second section of the Evans display is appropriately dedicated to his travels and explorations on Crete (1894-1899). The third part of this tablecase focuses on his Knossos excavations (1900-1935).
The Minoan displays in the new Aegean World gallery at the Ashmolean:
The Mycenaean Greece section of the new Aegean World gallery at the Ashmolean (on the right the Schliemann story and at the back the Mycenaean pottery and figurines display):
Evans was also acquainted with the famous German archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann, who excavated Hisarlik in modern Turkey, thought to be the site of the mythical Troy. Schliemann also excavated shaft graves at Mycenae, Greece in 1876. There he uncovered a gold death mask dubbed the Mask of Agamemnon. The original mask is exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. What you see in the Asmolean is a reproduction...
Death Mask of Agamemnon, Troy, 1400 -1090 BC, excavated by Heinrich Schlimann (1822 - 1890):
In 1900 Evans started excavating in Knossos. Within a few months they had uncovered a substantial portion of what he called the Palace of Minos. The term "palace" may be misleading; Knossos was an intricate collection of over 1000 interlocking rooms, some of which served as artisans' workrooms and food processing centres (e.g. wine presses). It served as a central storage point, and a religious and administrative centre. Evans found two palaces in fact, dated c.2000 and 1400BC. Each belonged to the Cretan Bronze Age which Evans called the Minoan style, after King Minos. Evans himself employed skilled artists who used their artistic imagination in recreating the vivid scenes (*). They were influenced by Evans' particular ideas concerning the symbolic significance of scenes and figures. Subsequent scholars have disputed these reconstructions and proposed quite different theories.
Relief figure "Priest-King", 1700 -1450 BC, most recognizable of Knossos frescoes, Palace of Minos at Knossos, excavated by Arthur Evans. Watercolour restoration probably by E. Gillieron (*). This fresco was located in the southern portion of the complex with the remains of the “procession” fresco. First, the “Priest-King” fresco (also called “Prince of the Lilies”) was interpreted by Evans as being a depiction of king Minos (Castleden 1990). Evans found this to be completely logical because it agreed with the ancient sources and his own preconceptions about the site (Castleden 1990). However, there are several problems with his conclusion.
Nimrud is the Aramaic name for the ancient Assyrian city originally known as Kalhu, located 30 kilometres south of the city of Mosul, and 5 kilometres south of the village of Selamiyah in the Nineveh plains in northern Mesopotamia. It was a major Assyrian city between approximately 1250 BC and 610 BC. The city is located in a strategic position 10 kilometres north of the point that the river Tigris meets its tributary the Great Zab. Archaeological excavations at the site began in 1845, and were conducted at intervals between then and 1879, and then from 1949 onwards. Many important pieces were discovered, with most being moved to museums in Iraq and abroad. Oxford's Ashmolean Museum has the second largest collection of Nimrud (Gallery 19), the Assyrian capital, objects in the UK, with roughly 330 artefacts. Among the collection are three relief panels from king Assurnasirpal II's Northwest Palace: an eagle-headed genie from Room B and a human-headed genie from Room I came to the museum in 1850 as a gift from Austen Henry Layard's excavation. A further fragment of a sacred tree from Room I was purchased in 1950 from Peterborough's City Museum and Art Gallery, which had acquired it from Lady Layard in 1900.
Assyrian relief, Nimrud, Iraq, Northwest Palace, 883-859 BC:
Assyrian winged genius from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal (883-859 BC) at Nimrud. Acquired through excavation by A.H. Layard in the early 19th Century. Now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford:
China 3000 BC-AD 800 - Room /gallery 10 : Up to about 3000 years ago objects found in graves were made mostly of hard stone and low-fired ceramic. For the next 1500 years the most important burial objects were made of bronze and later, of ceramics. The earliest examples of writing in China were recorded on animal bones and bronze vessels. Later, texts were written on stone, bamboo, silk and paper. Writing had become an art form.
Wine vessel with masks:
Chinese Painting - room/gallery 11:
Qi Baishi, Landscape with Blue Mountain (1953). Hanging scroll, ink and colour on paper:
India to 600 AD - room/gallery 12:
Nandi, the bull of Shiva; basalt, Deccan or South India, 1500-1700:
Level 1: Asian Crossroads - 28, Eastern Art Paintings - 29, India from AD 600 - 32, Islamic Middle East - 31, Medieval Cyprus - 34, Mediterranean World - 30, Mughal India - 33.
India from AD 600 - room/gallery 32: Many of Hindu, Buddhist or Jain images in this gallery were once installed in temple or household shrines as objects of daily pray and meditation. They convey the serenity, compassion and supreme power or insight of deities and enlightened beings. Images like these remain in worship today throughout India. From AD 600 the form of the temple was developing, within India and beyond. Spectacular towers and giant walls teem are decorated with images of gods, men, animals and plants. Very diverse regional styles of sculpture soon developed throughout the Indian subcontinent. As in earlier times, professional artisans worked for landlords or rulers of different faiths, so that Hindu, Buddhist or Jain images may share a similar regional style.
Southeast Asia: As Indian merchants settled in many parts of southeast Asia, they brought with them the Buddhism and Hinduism. Local ruling dynasties both adopted these religions and their styles of temple architecture and sculpture. Astonishing temple complexes such as Borobudur in Java (AD 800) and Angkor in Cambodia (1150) were established.
Lintel with Kala face, Central Java, 800 - 900 AD:
From AD 600 onwards, many regional dynastie flourished across north and central India. They were patrons temples, gardens, estates and sculptural creations. The dominated religions were Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. This period of creativity lasted until around 1200 when Muslim invaders from Central Asia began to occupy northern India.
Vishnu Head - Khajurau, 950-1050 AD:
Ceiling boss with 8 flying warriors, South Rajastan, 750-850 AD:
Vishnu with 4 arms, Sagar Island, WEst Bengal, 1050 AD:
Portable shrine of Vishnu as Venkateshwara, painted and lacquered wood, Tirupati, Tamil-Nadu, 1800 AD:
Shiva and Parvati, Madya Pradesh, 1000-1050 AD:
Hanuman bearing Rama (in blue) and Lakshmana on his shoulder, Bombay, early 1900s:
Angada delievers Rama's to Ravana, Bombay, early 1900s. Note that Hanuman extended his tail - thus, seating higher than the king...:
Hinduism and Buddhism became established in Nepal from 300-850 AD. The Newar artists of the Kathmandu Valley showed outstanding skills in stone and bronze sculpture, reinterpreting Indian models in new styles which also influenced the art of Tibet.
Stone slab with yaksha, or nature spirit, in relief, Nepal, 700-800 AD:
Buddhism first reached Tibet, isolated by its high mountain ranges, around AD 650. In later periods it transformed Tibetan society, with large sections of the population living in monasteries. After 1200 AD, the art and teachings of Indian Buddhism were preserved and further developed in the monasteries of Tibet. This unbroken cultural tradition survived intact until and beyond the the 1950s - when Chinese rule was imposed on this famous, isolated region.
Photo of Martine Franck (wife of Henri Cartier-Bresson), 1996, Tibetan Geh and his tutor Tulku Tenzin Tosam Rinpoche, Dratsang Monastery, Karnataka, India:
Bodhgaya, Bihar, India is the holiest of Buddhist destinations and a World Heritage site. It is the most revered of all Buddhist sacred sites. It was here, under a pipal tree, that Siddhartha Gotama arrived there around 531 BC and attained enlightenment and became the Buddha. A simple shrine was built by the emperor Ashoka (3rd century BC) to mark the spot, later enclosed by a stone railing (1st century BC), part of which still remains. This shrine was replaced in the Kushan period (2nd cent. AD) by the present Mahabodhi temple, which was refurbished in the Pala-Sena period (750-1200 AD), heavily restored by Sir Alexander Cunningham in the second half of the 19th century, and finally restored by Myanmar (Burmese) Buddhists in 1882. The Bodhi tree behind the temple is believed to be a descendant of the original. At Bodhgaya, seated in deepest meditation ben
eath a fig tree, Buddha reached final Enlightenment or Buddhahood. Attaining perfect insight into the causes of universal suffering and rebirth, he conceived the way by which all beings may attain Nirvana or peace.
Votive Stupa, Bodhgaya, Bihar, 1000-1200 AD:
Buddha beneath the Bodhi tree, Bodhgaya, Bihar, 850-950 AD:
Islamic Middle East, Room/Gallery 31:
Part of Tile, Iran, 1800 - 1900, the story of Yusuf and Zulaikha. Based on the twelfth sura (chapter) of the Qur’an. In the Qur’anic version, Yusuf is a handsome slave in the service of an Egyptian man. His master’s wife, named Zulaikha in later literature, attempts to seduce him unsuccessfully. It, originally, derives from the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife in the Old Testament. The left tile depicts Yusuf appearing before the women of Memphis. Overcome by his beauty, the women are faint or cut themselves with the knives they hold in their hands. Both pieces are from Iran, 1850-1900 and are Fritware, moulded, with under-glaze painting:
Tile with Qur'anic inscription:
The Byzantine Church, room/gallery 30:
Icon: Embrace of the Apostles Peter and Paul, painted by Angelos Akotantos of Crete (active: 1436 - 1450), oil on wood. Icon-painter and hagiographer who lived and worked at Heraklion, Crete, then part of the Republic of Venice. He was the first hagiographer to sign his name on his icons by writing in Greek: "Χειρ Αγγέλου" which, translated in English, means "By hand of Angelos":
The Mogul India, room/gallery 33: breath-taking Lady Impey’s Indian Bird Paintings ! This outstanding collection of paintings formed part of a great collection of natural history studies commissioned at Calcutta by Mary, Lady Impey, wife of the Chief Justice Sir Elijah Impey, between 1777 and 1782. The Impeys assembled an extensive aviary and menagerie at their Calcutta home. Lady Impey commissioned meticulous, life-sized pictures of Indian birds and animals from three Mughal-trained artists: Shaikh Zain ud-Din, Bhawani Das, and Ram Das. By the time the Impeys left India in 1783, these artists had produced over two hundred works on large sheets of imported English paper, mainly of birds though also of animals, fish and reptiles. The most prolific of these painters was Shaikh Zain ud-Din, and all but one of the works shown here are by him. The local Indian artists emulate, on a greatly enlarged scale, the refinement of 17th century Mughal natural history paintings. DO NOT MISS THIS COLLECTION OF MASTERPIECES !!!
Male Nukta or Comb Duck, Shaikh Zain-ud-Din, Calcuta, 1779, Gouache on paper:
Sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) on a custard apple branch, Shaikh Zain-ud-Din, Calcuta, 1777, Gouache on paper:
Black-necked Stork, Shaikh Zain-ud-Din:
A lady seeks shelter from the rains, India, Punjab Hills, C. 1820, Gouache on paper:
Krsna in the guise of Indra, advises Raja Mandhatr (from the Mahabharata), 1598, By Sadiq and manohar - Mughal, North India:
Krsna and Radha in two pavilions, India, 19th century:
Elegant Brass ewer with Dragon heads, 16th or 17th century, height 51 cm. A refined product of the Indo-Islamic style, with the spiral fluting of its body and its tall, tapering neck. It is also known as the Butler ewer. It was previously in the collection of Dr A.J. Butler, Bursar of Brasenose College:
Planetary deities, painted on soapatone (alabaster), Jaipur, Rajashan, 1880-1885. Maharaja of Jaipur craftsmen produced brightly painted soapstone (alabaster) images of Hindu and Jain deities in great numbers in the late nineteenth century:
China from 800 AD, room/gallery 38:
Visiting Stonehenge, Fang Zhaoling (1914–2006), Ink and Color on paper, 1994, a female painter with expressive calligraphic strokes. She lived and travelled in Europe and America, and attended both Hong Kong and Oxford Universities:
Seated Bodhisattva, fig tree wood, 1200-1300:
Ming and Qing Porcelain, figures from the novel Shuihu Zhuan (The Water margin), 1680-1720. During the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) China began to engage in world trade. This included exporting porcelain to Portugal and Spain in exchange for silver. As the dynasty neared its end, imperial patronage of porcelain production ceased and Japan and The Netherlands were the biggest overseas markets, but after 1700 England became the greatest importer:
Blue-and-white porcelain tile with a landscape, Jingdezhen kilns, c. 1690:
Suit of Armour of a Samurai, 1700s, Gift of Prince Chichibu to Magdalen College in Oxford:
Bodhisattva Jizo, protector of children, travelers and women. Jizō is a Bodhisattva – enlightened being who devote his life to freeing others from suffering. Bodhisattvas are not worshipped, but inspire others to reach enlightenment. Jizō is shown as a monk with a shaven head and pilgrim’s robes. Jizō also carries the bright jewel of Buddhist truth, a symbol of the endless power of Buddhism. He has a third eye on his forehead and elongated ears, both symbols of enlightenment:
Vase with winter landscape, around 1910:
Second Level :
Room/gallery 35, West meets East:
Two Chairs, Japan, 1600s. Made for the Dutch settlement in Nagushki harbor:
Ottoman embroidered hanging, Turkey, 1550-1650, Cotton + silk. Tulips, pomegranates and elongated, serrated leaves are part of the Ottoman decorative repertoire and are found in ceramics as well as works on paper. Ottoman interiors were comfortably furnished with carpets and cushions. Woven and embroidered textiles of different kinds were used for bedding, fireplace covers, cushion covers and wall hangings. This large embroidered textile is made of three panels of white cotton embroidered with coloured silk threads. Embroidery enabled the craftsmen to create complex, multi-coloured patterns without having to weave them into the fabric:
Oxford - Ashmolean Museum - Second Floor - room/gallery 35 - Tapestry, The Battle of the Animals, 1723, France, Sold to Emperor Chien Lung, 1769, looted and returned to Europe in 1861:
Room/gallery 40 - European Ceramics:
Ornamental tile William de Morgan (1839-1917), most known pottery maker in England:
Room/gallery 41 - England 400-1600 AD.:
Statue of Henry VIII:
The Cuddesdon Bowl - of brilliant blue glass with fine trailed decoration, the bowl is probably Kentish, and was made about 600 AD. The bowl came to light during the building of a palace for the Bishop of Oxford, then William Wilberforce; it passed into his possession and was eventually sold with the contents of his house and lost from view. It was recognized by Miss Jocelyn Morris, curator at the Warwick Museum:
Room/gallery 39 - Music and Tapestry:
Violins and Violas, 16th and 17th centuries:
Violin, Antonio Stradivari (1644–1737), Cremona, Italy, with the original label 'Antonius Stradivarius Cremoensis/Faciebat Anno 1716'. Known as the Messiah, this is one of the most famous violins in the world.
Musical Party, tapestry, Spain, 1650:
From here we continue to Level 3M (free) and Level 3 (Special Exhibitions - with separate fee) in the Ashmolean Museum - turn to the "Oxford - Ashmolean Museum - Part 2" blog.
Part 1: From Broad Street to Radcliffe Square.
Main Attractions: Blackwell's Bookshop, Sheldonian Theatre, Bodleian Library, The Clarendon Building, Weston Library, The Bodleian Treasures Exhibition, Bridge of Sighs, Radcliffe Square, The Brasenose College, Radcliffe Camera, The University Church of St Mary the Virgin, All Souls College, High Street.
Part 2: Along High Street - from St. Mary Church to the Botanic Garden.
Start: Carfax Tower. End: Radcliffe Square (part 1), the Botanic Garden (Part 2). Duration: Part 1 - 1/2 - 3/4 day. Part 2 - 1/4 - 1/2 day.
From Carfax Tower, Queen Street we head northeast on Queen St toward Cornmarket St, 25 m. We turn left onto Cornmarket St, 250 m. Turn right onto Broad St, 120 m. After 120 m. walk along Broad (with our face to the east) - we see the Blackwell's Bookshop, 48-51 Broad St. on our left. It is rare that a bookstore becomes a tourist attraction. Blackwell UK, or the Blackwell Group, is a British academic book retailer founded in 1879 by Benjamin Henry Blackwell, after whom the chain is named. Founded in Oxford on Broad Street, the firm now has a chain of 45 shops, as well as library supply service, employing around 1000 staff members across all the UK. Both the Oxford and London flagship shops have won Bookseller of the Year at the British Book Awards. It includes as part of its basement the Norrington Room, which gained a place in the Guinness Books of Records with the largest single display of books for sale in the world. The huge Norrington Room - actually extends under neighboring Trinity College Gardens. It contains endless shelves of books - when the lion's share of them are underground. The main store at 48-51 Broad Street is NOT the only store in Oxford. It is the largest, holding 250,000 volumes, but there are also specialized stores for Art, Music, rare books, paperbacks, maps and travel, medicine, children's books, and a University bookstore. The main store in Broad Street also has a large used books section as well (on the top floor). Blackwell's catered exclusively to the academic market, and gradually opened new stores in university towns around the UK.
Exactly opposite the bookstore is the Sheldonian Theatre. Located in Oxford’s medieval city centre, the Sheldonian Theatre is a unique, world-renowned and world-class architectural jewel of Oxford.
It's is surrounded by a stone wall railings with the heads of Roman Emperors circling the theatre courtyard. Christopher Wren commissioned 14 stone heads from William Byrd who was a mason and stonecutter working in nearby Holywell. The heads were made of good quality freestone, and were completed in 1669. Each is a head-and-shoulders sculpture of a male with a beard, placed on a tall square pillar. They have been variously called the Apostles or the Philosophers, but most commonly they are called the Emperors. Each head has a different beard and it has also been suggested they represent a history of beards. In the early 1700s, one of the heads had to be removed to make way for the Clarendon Building (see below). The remaining 13 lasted 200 years until they were replaced in 1868. Unfortunately, the replacements were made of poor quality stone and gradually eroded until they were called ‘the faceless Caesars’ and were taken down in 1970. The third and current set of heads is made of more durable stone and each head weighs one ton. They were commissioned from Oxford sculptor Michael Black. It took two years to complete the commission, and they were erected in October 1972:
Designed by Sir Christopher Wren between 1664 and 1669. It is said to be one of the first bulidings designed by Sir Christopher Wren. It is the University’s ceremonial hall. Price: £3.50, Concessions: £2.50. I would recommend attend a musical performance in this theatre instead of paying special fee for just visiting this charming site. Bear in mind that the more convenient and expensive chairs cost £40-£60/person. The fee includes excellent guide with lots of great information. Occasional Guided tours: £8.00 adult, £6.00 concessions. Open: 10.00 - 16.00. Occasionally affected by ceremonial and other events. The Sheldonian does not have its own box office but tickets can be bought for concerts via the Oxford playhouse (Tel: 01865 305305) or from concert promoters.
Have a look around the main hall and do not miss its amazing ceiling. Gaze up at the magnificent ceiling fresco painted by Robert Streater, the court painter of King Charles II. The majestic hall hosts many musical performances (bring cushion - seats are not modern ones with hard boards and too thin cushions) with excellent acoustics, with superb clarity of the sound, for small and larger musical groups. This building is also used by the Oxford University for their graduation ceremonies (able to seat 1500 people). Experience the atmosphere of this historical theatre space with its gilded organ and wooden interior.
Then walk up the shattering stairs (about 100 steps) to the top where there is a small exhibition of the theatre history.
Marian Cook photo: Aung San Suu Kyi, 2011:
The last few wooden steps are a bit challenging (more because of the circular nature and uneven floor) and lead to the coupola - where the 360 degree panoramic views of Oxford were worth it and are one of the best of this magnificent town. The views of Oxford from the top of the theatre are worth the entry fee alone.
South-West Oxford from the Sheldonian Theatre Rooftop:
West Oxford from the Sheldonian Theatre Rooftop:
North-West Oxford from the Sheldonian Theatre Rooftop:
East Oxford from the Sheldonian Theatre Rooftop:
South-East Oxford from the Sheldonian Theatre Rooftop:
Behind (south) to the Shelodonian Theatre stands the Bodleian Library. Founded in 1602 and regarded as a masterpiece of English Gothic architecture, the Bodleian Library is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. It is holding the second most number of books in the UK. it receives and holds a copy of every book and periodical ever written and published in the UK. There are many sensational facts about the Bodleian Libraries and many rare books are hosted here.You don't get to see all these, but just smelling and viewing from distance the historic portions is enough to understand how important this magical site is. Open: MON-FRI: 9.00 - 17.00, SAT: 9.00 - 16.30, SUN: 11.00 - 17.00.
You can visit the libraries only through (45 - 60 min.) guided tours in fixed times. You have to register (and pay) in advance. Children under 11 yrs are not admitted. NO photos are allowed in most parts of the library - especially, in the upper floor with its medieval library. The tour guide gives you earphones to listen to his/her quiet whisper - while visiting the upper floor.
Mini guided-tour: The mini tour allows you to view the most beautiful parts of the Bodleian Library in just 30 minutes. Included: 15th-century Divinity School and Duke Humfrey's medieval library. Length: 30 minutes. Price: £6.
Standard guided-tour: This tour shows you the interior of the buildings that form the historic heart of the University. Included: 15th-century Divinity School, Convocation House, Chancellor's Court and Duke Humfrey's medieval library. Length: 60 minutes. Price: £8.
Extended tour - Upstairs, downstairs. This tour offers the opportunity to visit both the Bodleian Library's wonderful historic rooms and the modern underground reading room. Included: 15th-century Divinity School, Convocation House, Chancellor's Court, Duke Humfrey's medieval library, Radcliffe Camera and Gladstone Link. Length: 90 minutes
Price: £14. Times: Wednesday and Saturday: 9.15 only.
Extended tour - Explore the reading rooms. This tour adds exploration of the Bodleian Library's wonderful reading rooms where scholars have studied for centuries. Included: 15th-century Divinity School, Convocation House, Chancellor's Court, Duke Humfrey's medieval library, Upper Reading Room and Radcliffe Camera. Length: 90 minutes. Price: £14
Times: Sunday: 11.15, 13.15 only. The general public cannot enter the reading rooms; that right is reserved for members.
Radcliffe Camera Lower Reading Room:
The Bodleian is so much more than a library; it is a piece of history. Oxford's Bodleian Library opened in 1602 with a collection of 2,000 books assembled by Thomas Bodley of Merton College. The new library replaced one that had been donated to the Divinity School by Duke Humphrey of Gloucester (brother of Henry V of England), but had dispersed in the 16th century. It was originally "Bodley's Library" and has been known informally to centuries of Oxford scholars as "the Bod". In 1610, Bodley made an agreement with the Stationers' Company in London to put a copy of every book registered with them in the library. The Bodleian collection grew so fast that the first expansion of the building was required in 1610–1612, and another in 1634–1637. When John Selden died in 1654, he left the Bodleian his large collection of books and manuscripts. In 1911 the United Kingdom Copyright Act continued the Stationers' Company agreement by making the Bodleian one of the five "copyright libraries" in the United Kingdom, where a copy of each book copyrighted in the country must be deposited. The New Bodleian building, was built in the 1930s. Each year, the collection grows by more than 100,000 books and nearly 200,000 periodicals; these volumes expand the shelving requirements by about 2 miles (3.3km) annually. A tunnel under Broad Street connects the Old and New Bodleians (mainly, Weston Building - see below), and contains a pedestrian walkway, a mechanical book conveyor and a pneumatic tube system for book orders. The Oxford Digital Library (ODL) provides online access to the paper collections. The Oxford Digital Library started operationally in July 2001 and has a rich collection of digital archives. In 2004, Oxford made an agreement allowing Google to digitize 1 million books owned by the Bodleian Library. The Bodleian is unique in that it is not a lending library - no books can be borrowed, only read on the premises. The Bodleian takes this restriction seriously; in two famous cases, King Charles I and Oliver Cromwell was refused permission to borrow a book... A strict policy of the libraries was that no fire may be brought into the library buildings. For this reason, the library was completely unheated until 1845, when Victorian engineers installed channels in the floor to carry hot water into the building after being heated in boilers outside. The library also lacked artificial lighting until 1929. Reliance on the sun for light and heat kept the library’s hours of operation quite short—as little as five hours per day during the winter.
The Bodleian Library exterior:
The Old Schools Quadrangle:
The main "Old Bodleian" building contains upper and lower reading rooms, the gift shop, and the Divinity School. As we said before, visitors are not allowed into the reading rooms except gazing from the distance on guided tours only, which usually occur daily, every hour. To be granted access to the Bodleian Library, one must submit a formal application. Visitors are asked to leave all bags, including ladies handbags, in secure lockers for the duration of all Bodleian Library tours.
The guided visit starts with the Divinity School at the 1st floor. The building is physically attached to the Bodleian Library (with Duke Humfrey's Library on the first floor above it in the Bodleian Library). The Divinity School Hall has beautiful Gothic windows. The ceiling consists of very elaborate vaulting. This splendid medieval room is the oldest teaching hall and earliest examination hall of the University. You can pay just £1 and see this hall for 10 minutes. Open: MON-SAT: 09. 00 - 17.00, SUN: 11.00 - 17.00. Purchase entry ticket on the day at the Great Gate ticket office.
Convocation House was built in years 1634–7. The Convocation House is the lower floor of the westward addition to the Bodleian Library and Divinity School. It adjoins the Divinity School, which pre-dates it by just over two hundred years, and the Sheldonian Theatre, to its immediate north:
Chancellor's Court sentencing students. Oxford University is the only university with Court. Oscar Wilde was sentenced here. It was formerly a meeting chamber for the House of Commons during the English Civil War and later in the 1660s and 1680s:
Second Floor: Duke Humfrey's Library is the oldest reading room in the Bodleian. It is composed of three major portions: the original medieval section (completed 1487, rededicated 1602), the Arts End (1612) to the east, and Selden End (1637) to the west. Until 2015, it functioned primarily as a reading room for maps, music, and pre-1641 rare books; following the opening of the new Weston Library, it is now an additional reading room for all users of the Bodleian, as the Weston Library operates reading room for special collections. It consists of the original medieval section (1487), the Arts End (1612), and the Selden End (1637). It houses collections of maps, music, Western manuscripts, and theology and ancient arts documents. The library is on the second floor and is attached at two corners to the Old Schools Quadrangle. The medieval section is above the Divinity School and Selden End (named after John Selden a benefactor of the library) is above the Convocation House. The books in the oldest part are accommodated in oak bookcases which are at right angles to the walls on either side with integral readers' desks. The ceiling consists of panels painted with the arms of the university:
Duke Humfrey's Library is named after Humphrey of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Gloucester, a younger son of Henry IV of England. He was a connoisseur of literature and commissioned translations of classical works from Greek into Latin. When he died in 1447, he donated his collection of 281 manuscripts to the University of Oxford. Oxford built Duke Humfrey's Library as a second story to the Divinity School in order to house his collection in 1450-80. Today, only three of Humfrey's original books remain in the library. In 1550 the King's Commissioners despoiled it of books and in 1556 the furniture was removed by the university. It was refitted and restored from 1598 by Sir Thomas Bodley and in 1610-12 added the east wing (now Arts End). The west wing (now Selden End) followed 20 years later. The medieval library is familiar to Harry Potter fans. You won't disappoint. The beautiful painted ceiling, wonderful wood paneling and ancient books are, all, once-in-life experience. The books and the interior of the library is breathtaking beautiful. You can gaze at the ancient books, which is cool and inspiring - but you are not allowed to touch or wander inside or around. Our guide, David, was very knowledgeable and inviting:
Today, the Bodleian includes several off-site storage areas as well as nine other libraries in Oxford, including the Bodleian Japanese Library, the Bodleian Law Library, and the Radcliffe Science Library. Altogether, the sites now contain 9 million items on 176 km of shelving, and have seats for 2,500 readers. The Bodleian Library's religious interest lies in its impressive collection of biblical and religious manuscripts. Unfortunately, these are generally not accessible to visitors.
The Clarendon Building ,Broad Street, is NORTH to the Sheldonian Library and the Bodleian Library. It is an early 18th-century neoclassical building of the University of Oxford. It was built between 1711 and 1715 and is now a Grade I listed building:
Cross Broad Street from south to north to face the Weston Library (the whole complex is, actually, on the corner of Broad Street and Parks Road). Weston Library is the main home for the Bodleian Libraries' Special Collections. It was renamed the Weston Library in honour of a £25m donation given in March 2008 by the Garfield Weston Foundation. The facade facing Broad Street is with a low podium wall and a row of small ground floor windows. The interiors are entirely modern - except a 15th-century portal from the Ascot Park estate used as an entrance to the readers’ admissions room. FREE. Open: Blackwell Hall - MON-FRI: 8.30 - 17.00, SAT: 9.00 - 17.00, SUN: 11.00 - 17.00. Exhibition galleries: MON-FRI: 10.00 - 17.00, SAT: 10.00 - 17.00, SUN: 11:00-17:00. Bodleian Café - MON-FRI: 8.30 - 17.00, SAT: 9.00 - 17.00, SUN: 11.00 - 17.00. The Zvi Meitar Bodleian Libraries Shop - MON-FRI: 10.00 - 17.30 , SAT: 10.00 - 17.00, SUN: 11.00 - 17.00. The Weston Library began its life as the New Bodleian Library, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and constructed in the 1930s. In 1925, Sir Arthur Ernest Cowley (then Bodley's Librarian) informed the University that the Library would run out of space in ten years' time. In 1926, the Rockefeller Foundation agreed to provide three-fifths of the cost of a new library. The building was planned to be connected to the Old Bodleian building via an underground conveyor belt and a pneumatic tube system. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was appointed as architect in June 1934, and building work commenced in December 1936. The building was finished by 1940, but, its formal opening was delayed - since it was used for military projects during WW2. During the war it hosted valuable collections from the Old Library and special collections store, the Old Ashmolean, the Sheldonian, Duke Humfrey and the University Archives. The New Library also hosted priceless collections from libraries and institutions around the UK, including the King's Library (British Museum) and the herbarium collection of the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew. Treasures from fifteen Oxford colleges were also received – from Christ Church pictures to Merton's manuscripts. The building was finally opened by King George VI on 24 October, 1946. Since that time the only major alteration to the building has been the addition of the Indian Institute as a south-facing roof extension in 1966-69 by architect Robert Potter. The New Bodleian remained relatively unchanged:
The entrance collonade:
First, you enter the Blackwell Hall public space on the ground floor. It is lit with natural light from new skylights, or from the building’s original long slit-windows:
There is, also, brand new roof-level reading room with views of the Oxford city's famed spires:
The Shakespeare's Dead Exhibition (the left entrance from the main Blackwell Hall) in the Weston Library (22 April 2016 — 18 September 2016) celebrates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. The interesting exhibition displays and confronts the theme of death in Shakespeare's works. It shows how Shakespeare used the anticipation of death, the moment of death and mourning the dead in context to bring characters to life. The word "Death" repeatedly reflects times when death had a deeply religious context. The exhibition will feature tragic characters from Shakespeare's works including Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet and, even, Falstaff. Death is eternal in Shakespeare: from Desdemona’s deathbed to a tomb of books. The main historical event is the Bubonic Plague 1591-1603. Shakespeare's Dead also looks at last words spoken, funerals and mourning as well as life after death, including ghosts and characters who come back to life. These themes are explored using key items from the Bodleian's famous literary collections that include Shakespeare's First Folio and the first Shakespeare playbook (Romeo & Juliet), a number of early editions and an extensive collection of plays and poetry by Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
A page from A dialogue against the fever pestilence, a book by English physician and cleric William Bullein (published 1564):
First copy of Venus & Adonis of Shakespeare, 1593:
Knight fights the Death - Dance of Death Panel:
Merchant of Venice, 1600:
The title page of a 1612 edition of Richard III with annotations by Edmond Malone (circa 1741-1812):
First Folio - the collection of 36 plays written by Shakespeare in 1623, including Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra – emerged in the library of Mount Stuart, a 19th century Scottish mansion:
We turn to the Bodleian Treasures Exhibition (the right entrance from the main Blackwell Hall) in the Weston Library. It displays RARE DOCUMENTS in pairs: famous document vs. less familiar one:
The Magna Carta, 1217. The Charter’s clauses on freedom and the rule of law are enshrined in English law and the American Constitution. This is the original of the 1217 issue of the Great Charter, sent by King John and his son, Henry III to Oxford. Henry III, who was ten years old and too young to put his own seal to it, reissued the 1215 charter of his father King John:
Biblica Latina, 1455. The ‘Gutenberg Bible’ reflects the great advances made in printing technology in the 15th century. It is the first substantial book to be printed from individual pieces of metal type. The book was the work of Johann Gutenberg (c. 1398-1468), a goldsmith from Mainz. Printing probably began in 1454, and was completed by March 1455. Fewer than fifty copies survive today, and the Bodleian’s copy is one of only seven complete examples in the UK:
Peter Apian - Astronomicum Caesareum, 1540:
Codex Mendoza, c. 1541, an Aztec artist. This manuscript was commissioned by Antonio de Mendoza, first Viceroy of Mexico 1535-1550, for presentation to the Emperor Charles V of Spain.
a copy of a lost chronicle of the Aztec lords of Tenochtitlan; secondly,
a copy of the ancient Tribute Roll, listing 400 towns paying annual dues to the last (murdered by the Spaniards) Aztec Emperor, Moctezuma II,
an account of Aztec daily life.
The drawings were annotated in Spanish by a Nahuatl-speaking Spanish priest who questioned native speakers as to their meaning. The photo below is a depiction of an Aztec wedding:
London Red Poppey, 1777, William Curtis. One of the finest illustrations of British plants ever published:
Shaikh Zain-ud-Din, Sarus Crane, 1780 (see our blog "The Ashmolean Museum - Part 2"):
Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) - Through the Looking Glass, London 1872:
Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis, 1912. it was the author’s wish that all his documents and manuscripts be burned. His friend, Max Brod saved this document. Thanks to Kafka’s friend Max Brod that the existing manuscripts survive at all. Kafka’s Metamorphosis opens with a man waking to find himself turned into a monstrous insect. This is the original manuscript of one of the few works that appeared in print in Kafka’s lifetime (first edition, 1915). The majority of the author’s manuscripts are now in the Bodleian Library:
Paint of Kenneth Graham - author of The Wind in the Willows, 1912:
Two concepts of liberty: Isaiah Berlin introduced his famous distinction between negative and positive liberty at this inaugural Oxford lecture as Professor of Social and Political Theory. After fleeing from Riga and witnessing the Russian Revolution in St. Petersburg, he and his Jewish family had sought refuge in England in 1921. He studied and taught at several Oxford colleges:
Tolkien - Bilbo comes to the huts of the raft-elves, 1937. Water-color paint he made for the American edition of the "Hobbit". Tolkien imagined his fantasy world in words and pictures, producing numerous illustrations of the landscapes and creatures:
Tolkien fans, scholars and members of the public will have a unique opportunity to view a recently-discovered map of Middle-earth as the Bodleian Libraries puts this rare piece of Tolkien Narnia on display on 23 June 2016:
Marian Cook - Aung San Suu Kyi, 2011:
We leave the Weston Library and walk (left) eastward along Broad street. Turn RIGHT (south) to Catte Street. In the junction of Catte St and New College Lane - stands the Bridge of Sighs or Hertford Bridge. It is a skyway joining two parts of Hertford College over New College Lane and Its distinctive design makes it a city landmark. Just iconic gem or photo-stop of Oxford, nothing special architecturally. The bridge is often referred to as the Bridge of Sighs because of its supposed similarity to the famous Bridge of Sighs in Venice. However, Hertford Bridge is more similar to the Rialto Bridge in Venice. The bridge links together north and south parts of Hertford College. It was designed by Sir Thomas Jackson. It was completed in 1914, despite its construction being opposed by New College. The building on the southern side of the bridge houses the College's administrative offices, whereas the northern building is mostly student accommodation. The bridge is always open to members of the Hertford College:
Unfortunately the Hertford college is CLOSED to public visitors. We continue southward along Catte Street and arrive to the striking Radcliffe Square. The stunning square is surrounded, on the four sides, by the facades of the famous: Bodleian Library, Brasenose College, All Souls College and the University (St. Mary) Church. The square is pedestrians- only and laid with cobble stones. Radcliffe Square is widely regarded as the most beautiful in Oxford. It is a quiet oasis in the centre of the city, completely surrounded by ancient University and college buildings, yet just a few paces away from the bustling High Street. The square is named after John Radcliffe, a student of University College and doctor to the King, who in 1714 bequeathed £40,000 to build a science library known today as the Radcliffe Camera:
The Brasenose College is in the western side of Radcliffe Square. Open (Guided tours ONLY): MON - FRI: 10.00 - 11.30, 14.00 - 16.30 (17.00 - during the summer), SAT - SUN: 09.30 - 10.30 (term time), 10.00 - 11.30 (non-term time). Entrance fee: £2.00. Brasenose College was founded in 1509 by Sir Richard Sutton, a Lawyer and William Smyth, Bishop of Lincoln. Both were from the north west and the College has retained strong links with Cheshire and Lancashire throughout its history. A Royal Charter, dated 1512, established the College to be called 'The King's Hall and College of Brasenose'. The College library and current chapel added in the mid-seventeenth century. The College's New Quadrangle was completed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with additional residence areas completed in the 1960s and 1970s. Brasenose is famed as one of the oldest rowing clubs in the world, Brasenose College Boat Club. The College's unusual name refers to a twelfth century 'brazen' (brass or bronze) door knocker in the shape of a nose. Noses have been used as symbols for Brasenose College throughout its history. Brasenose College enjoys the best location of any Oxford University College with the entrance to the Old Quad on Radcliffe Square next to the Bodleian Library:
The Old Quadrangle:
The sundial on the north side of Old Quad is dated to 1719:
The New Quadrangle dated from late 19th century:
The College's hall is situated on the south side of the Old Quadrangle, which was constructed in the 16th century:
The Radcliffe Camera building in the centre of the square - is AMAZING. It stands between Brasenose College to the west and All Souls College to the east. Camera, here, meaning "room" in Latin. Tourists are not allowed to go inside - except visitors who join the most expensive tour of the Bodleian Library (14 GBP). Then, you can visit the top terrace and a few reading rooms and/or the library there. Just walk around this marvelous structure and admire its exteriors from its various sides. The round structure is surrounded by a fence dotted with paper notes with popular sayings. The building hosts one of the Oxford University libraries and is architecturally very impressive. I found the Radcliffe square and Camera - to be one of the most beautiful sights in the UK. It was built in 1739 to 1749 and designed by James Gibbs (who also designed St. Martin's in the Field Church at Trafalgar Square in London). The building is open to students only. The Radcliffe Camera has an underground tunnel which leads to the Old and New Bodleian Libraries. This allows students to take books into the Radcliffe without technically leaving the building. Originally the library in the Radcliffe Camera held both scientific and general books, but those collections were gradually moved to other University libraries, so that today the Camera functions as the main reading room of the Bodleian Library. The finished building holds some 600,000 books in underground rooms beneath Radcliffe Square. This spectacular piece of architecture is referred, by locals, as "Rad Cam":
Next, we go up to St. Mary's Church to have the best view, from its entrance gates, over the magnificent Radcliffe Square and Radcliffe Camera building. Entrances are on High Street and Radcliffe Square.
The University Church of St Mary the Virgin is in the southern end of the square and is the largest of Oxford's parish churches and the centre from which the University of Oxford grew. Its front facade is facing High Street. Radcliffe Square lies to the north and to the east is Catte Street, It is surrounded by university and college buildings.
St. Mary Church from High Street:
The Tower: St Mary's has one of the most beautiful spires in England and an eccentric Baroque porch, designed by Nicholas Stone. The tower commands some of the finest views of Oxford's famous skyline - especially Radcliffe Square, the Radcliffe Camera, Brasenose College and All Souls College. The 13th century (around 1270) tower is open to the public for a fee. It is worth the climb of 124 steps (the stairs are a bit narrow but well worth the effort) to make it to the top to enjoy fine uninterrupted views in all directions across Oxford and the surrounding countryside. On a clear day you can see all of Oxfordshire. The Church Guide Book indicates the major buildings to be seen. Note: a bit of a tight squeeze towards the roof-top and not too many passing/standing places on the round terrace. When you're at the top the path is narrow around the tower so there will be lots of squeezing around other people if there are several people up there at the same time. Price: adults £4, children (under 16) £3, Family ticket (2 adults and up to 2 children), £11. Open daily : 9.00 - 17.00 (6.00 - 18.00 in July & August). Sundays the Tower opens at 12.15 OCT - MAY, 11.15 JUN - SEP. Access to the church is free. You will probably have to queue up at busy times. The cafe in the east side of the entrance court is very good. Delicious food among the vaults. You can sit in the church garden on a sunny day.
All Souls College from St. Mary Church roof-top:
Carved stone figure on the tower:
While altered by the Victorians, the interior of St. Mary’s church retains many of its original elements. The interior space has six-bay arcades with shafted piers.
There are remnants of 15th century stained glass in the tracery lights of the east window, and 17th century shields in the de Brome Chapel. The east window and second from east in the south aisle were designed by Augustus Pugin. The west window in the nave is from 1891 and was designed by C.E. Kempe, the memorial window to John Keble is by Clayton and Bell in 1866:
The church has a classical, amazing pipe organ built by the Swiss firm of Metzler Orgelbau in 1986, one of only two by this esteemed maker in Great Britain.
In the eastern side of Radcliffe Sqaure - we see the extensive premises of All Souls College. The entrance to this college is ,however, from the north side of High Street. With our face to the Sty. Mary Church and our back to the Radcliffe Camera - the street BEHIND the St. Mary Church (south to the church) is the High Street. We walk southward and turn LEFT (east). Immewdiately, on our left is the entrance to the All Souls College. The college is located on the north side of the High Street adjoining Radcliffe Square to the west. More to the east is The Queen's College with Hertford College to the North. All Souls is one of the wealthiest colleges in Oxford. The College was founded by King Henry VI of England in 1438. Today the College is primarily a graduate research institution and has no undergraduate students.
All Souls College Walls and Spires from Radcliffe Camera:
All Souls College Entrance in High Street:
Much of the college facade dates from the 1440s and, unlike at other older colleges, the smaller Front Quad is largely unchanged in five centuries. All Souls College Inner Court:
All Souls College from the tower of St Mary's Church:
Christopher Codrington sculpture inside the famous Codrington Library of All Souls College:
All Souls College chapel:
With our back to the Radcliffe Camera and our face to the St. Mary Church we continue straight on, to the south to the High Street. Here you can find various cafe's and restaurants - mainly, for light meals. Better options are restaurants along St. Clement Street - further east along the High Street. I recommend eating at the Angel & Greyhound, 30 Saint Clement's Street 800 m. east to the St. Mary Church or at Nando's,
80 Cowley Road - 1 km. east to the St. Mary. Both roads are direct continuation of (diverge from ) High Street to the east. Part 2 of this blog continues exactly where we stop here: the spot where we face the St. Mary Church in High Street.