314. Christ Church

What is Christ Church?

Christ Church is one of the 39 colleges that make up Oxford University. A number of things make it special: first, it contains the Cathedral of the Oxford diocese, which doubles as the college chapel. Second, it was founded by Cardinal Wolsey and was initially known as Cardinal College until Henry VIII had him arrested for treason - Henry then took over and renamed it Christ Church in 1546. It is also one of the biggest colleges and its famous Hall was used as the inspiration for the Hogwarts Dining Hall in the Harry Potter films.

What is Christ Church like?

It's a working college within the university - you can't access the Hall at lunchtime, for example, as the students are eating in there. You can go inside at other times though, along with the cathedral and the cloisters. On the exterior, you walk past the largest quadrangle in the university (or Tom Quad as it's known) and admire Tom Tower, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and contains a bell called Great Tom that is still sounded 101 times every night. 

Where is Christ Church? 

Oxford, England

When did we go? 

October 2021

How did we get there? 

I went by train and walked from the station to Christ Church Meadow to the visitor centre. The walk took about 15 minutes and the audio tour around the college took around 30 minutes. 

Worth noting 

As well as inspiring the Hogwarts Dining Hall in the Harry Potter films, Christ Church actually makes an appearance: the staircase leading to the Hall was used in the scene when Professor McGonagall meets Harry, Ron and Hermione for the first time. Famous alumni of Christ Church include Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland), Gladstone (four-times Prime Minister), W.H.Auden, and William Penn, who founded Pennsylvania.

Where was Christ Church located on the 2015 Lonely Planet Ultimate Travelist? 

It was a new entry for 2020.

Does Christ Church deserve its place in the 2020 Lonely Planet top 500?