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Top Rated Attractions in Oxford

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The Queen's College

The Queen's College is probably the finest example of classical architecture in Oxford. The college was founded in 1340, but the original buildings have gone, and a rebuilding program in the 17th and 18th Centuries resulted in the quadrangles we see today. The architecture of the front quadrangle is particularly noteworthy, and was heavily influenced by the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor. The screen wall that fronts the High Street also owes much to Hawksmoor, though it is attributed to a local Oxford mason William Townesend. This college is only open to the public on official city tours.

Kirtlington Park Polo Club

If you're interested in polo, Kirtlington Park Polo Club to the north east of Oxford is certainly worth knowing about. Tournaments are played from Easter until mid-September. The admission price is very reasonable and full bar facilities are available for spectators.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Completed in 1858, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History contains a wonderful exhibition of dinosaur skeletons, plus numerous curiosities including the remains of a dodo. This is a traditionally styled museum, but nonetheless holds delights for all the family. Venture upstairs to find the vast zoology, mineralogy and geology displays. At the rear, is the Pitt Rivers Museum which houses one of the world's finest collections of anthropological and archaeological exhibits. Also found within the premises of the museum are a souvenir shop and a Café.

Merton College

Merton isn't one of the best known Oxford colleges, but it is one of the largest, and one of three colleges claiming to be the oldest in Oxford (the others are Balliol and University). Founded in 1264 by Walter de Merton, the college has the oldest buildings in the entire university and the oldest surviving medieval library.

St John's College

St John's isn't on the main tourist trail of colleges, but it has some outstanding features that make it well worth visiting. Founded in 1437 as St Bernard's (a college for Cistercian students), it was dissolved in 1539 and became St John's 16 years later under the patronage of merchant tailor Sir Thomas White. St John's remained a single-sex college until women were admitted in 1979. The peaceful atmosphere of Canterbury Quad, with its impressive classical architecture, is the ideal setting for the gates through to the college gardens. Designed by Capability Brown in the 18th century, they are perhaps the finest to be found in any Oxford college.

Pitt Rivers Museum

When Lt. General Pitt Rivers, a man remembered for his contribution to the development of evolutionary anthropology and archaeology, decided to give his extensive collection to the Oxford University, he did so on two conditions. One was that a museum would need to be built to house the collection and two, that a lecturer would need to be appointed to teach anthropology. The Pitt Rivers Museum is a splendid structure that stands today as the place which houses these rare, precious and beautiful objects which were originally about 18,000 artifacts, but now total up to over half a million in all!

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