• Mon. May 20th, 2024

Oxford Open Doors honours Queen by celebrating city’s treasures


Sep 10, 2022

We are deeply saddened by the news of the death of Her Majesty The Queen.

Oxford Preservation Trust were privileged to welcome the Queen to the opening of Oxford Castle in 2006. This weekend, Oxford Open Doors will be our opportunity to honour her unique contribution to our great city’s heritage.

Oxford is such a magical place with so many extraordinary places, people and achievements to share that in its 15th year Oxford Open Doors can still host a fresh celebration of Oxford’s heritage old and new, town and gown, its people and their inventions.

Oxford Preservation Trust (OPT), Oxford’s very own heritage charity, have been working with their many partners in the University and across the city and its local communities to bring the programme together with something for everyone whatever your age or interest.

The colleges and university buildings are often the draw and this year these will include Magdalen College, who are opening their buildings and grounds, and for the first time the Botanic Gardens open for part of the weekend as they celebrate their 400th anniversary. University College, St Cross, Merton, Teddy Hall and St Hugh’s will also open alongside Balliol’s historic archives, now housed in the former St Cross Church in Parks Road.

Oxford Mail: The Oxford Preservation Trust Open Doors 2021 Old County Hall  12/09/2021 Picture by Ed Nix

At the other side of the city Nuffield College is not to be missed with its fine modern art collection, and two of Oxford’s most iconic buildings, the Radcliffe Observatory at Green Templeton College and the Sheldonian Theatre are included so you can rest your legs and enjoy the sounds of the Pavlova Quintet, but don’t forget to climb to the top and take in the fine views across the city. These can also be seen from Carfax Tower, or St George’s at the castle where in 1142 Empress Matilda escaped from the clutches of King Stephen by dressing in white and escaping across the icy meadows to Wallingford.

Oxford’s Heritage is not all about the old, so this is the chance to see inside some of our award-winning modern architecture in the Blavatnik School of Government and Exeter College’s Cohen Quad both in Walton Street, or see what has been happening behind those Cornmarket hoardings as the latest stunning development at Jesus College is revealed.

Oxford Mail: The Oxford Preservation Trust's Oxford Open Doors. markbassett.co.uk

And try to find time to go into St John’s College in St Giles where there are a host of special events happening throughout the weekend and where the traditional and the new come together in a way which has seen some of its 20th century buildings listed in their own right – let us know what you think.

The Bodleian’s Weston Library in Broad Street is also taking part where you will meet with Ai-Da the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist, or join a tour of one of the many university laboratories who will share something of their ground-breaking science, not least the home of the 2019 Nobel Prize Laureate and Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine which changed the world for so many.

Oxford Mail: The Oxford Preservation Trust's Oxford Open Doors. markbassett.co.uk

There is a lot to do and see at OPT’s Oxford Castle which will open free for part of the weekend, and where some of Oxford’s talented stone masons will share the skills they use to repair and restore many of our Oxford buildings, with Oxford Archaeology also on hand to unlock the mystery of what lies beneath our feet.

Wander down to the ‘real tennis’ Courts in Merton Street and begin to understand the rules of this game which has been played in Oxford for over 500 years and is still played competitively today. Or if yoga is more your style, visit the stunning new studio on Osney Island and have a go, stopping on the way to find out more about the Osney Lock Hydro which has been successfully generating electricity for city residents for a few years now.

Oxford Mail:

There’s so much for young families this year that there is a special web page with details of children’s trails with prizes, storytelling and other event and in the lead up to the weekend, OPT worked with the friends, young an old, at the West Oxford Community Centre to paint a train which now adorns the site of the newly restored Rewley Road swing bridge and where experts will be on hand to unlock its past.

There is a full range of virtual tours and self-guided walks to be downloaded including our latest Rose Hill Heritage and Green Spaces Walk which the local community have worked hard to get ready for this year’s event.

  • Please check our website oxfordpreservation.org.uk for the up-to-date list of places and events as there are some inevitable changes. Or come and see us down at the castle for an up-to-date printed list.