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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.

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.

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!

Ashmolean Museum

Take a step away from the hustle and bustle of the city and savor the silence as you browse through the wonderful and varied exhibits that are housed within the Ashmolean Museum. John Tradescant's collection of archaeological rarities (both man-made and natural) originally opened to the public in South London in the early 17th Century. The collection was inherited by Elias Ashmole and the Ashmolean opened in 1683. Even if you only have time to enjoy the antiquities galleries, with their exhibits dating from Paleolithic to Victorian times, your visit will have been worthwhile. You'll probably have to come back again if you also want to take in the collections of Eastern and Western art and the Heberden Coin Room. Lectures, guided tours and other special events are often organized and are always well-attended. The museum's galleries can also be hired for private events and receptions.

Christ Church

Christ Church is the most famous Oxford college, probably the grandest and certainly the most photographed. Founded as Cardinal College in 1525 by Cardinal Wolsey, the college became Christ Church in 1545. The college chapel, which is also the cathedral of the Oxford diocese, contains the reconstructed shrine of St. Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford, a rich variety of stained and painted glass including works by Abraham van Linge and Edward Burns-Jones and a rare panel depicting the martyrdom of St. Thomas A. Becket.

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.

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