Can You Visit Magdalen College Oxford?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Magdalen College welcomes visitors year-round except when closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Good Friday.
  • Entry fees are £8 for adults and discounted rates are available for students, children, and seniors.
  • Highlights include the medieval cloisters, chapel, dining hall, deer park, and riverside walks.
  • Advance booking is recommended for guided tours, especially in peak season. Audio tours are also available.
  • Visiting rules prohibit bringing in pets, bikes, or vehicles. Photography is allowed in most areas.


Founded in 1458, Magdalen College is one of the oldest and most prestigious constituent colleges of the University of Oxford. Its elegant buildings, immaculate grounds, and rich history make Magdalen College a must-see for any visitor to Oxford. But can you actually visit Magdalen College?

The good news is that Magdalen College welcomes outside visitors to explore its beautiful grounds and architecture. In fact, Magdalen stands out as one of the most visitor-friendly colleges in Oxford. This comprehensive guide will outline everything you need to know about visiting this iconic Oxford college, including entry fees and hours, highlights and tours, and rules to follow on the grounds. Discover why Magdalen College is considered an unmissable Oxford attraction.

Visiting Magdalen College offers a fascinating glimpse into Oxford’s long academic traditions. Wandering through its medieval cloisters, chapels, and dining halls, you’ll feel transported back in time. Yet innovative modern additions also make Magdalen a vibrant place of learning to this day. With helpful visitor resources and welcoming staff, Magdalen College ensures an accessible and memorable experience that makes the past come alive.

When Can You Visit Magdalen College?

Magdalen College welcomes visitors throughout the year, except for December 24th, 25th, and Good Friday when the college is closed.

The college and its buildings are open to visitors on most weekdays and weekends. Standard visiting hours are 9am to 6pm in the summer months and 9am to dusk in the winter, but this can vary. Be sure to check the Magdalen College website for up-to-date visiting hours before planning your trip.

The college does close occasionally for special events, so it’s also wise to check their event calendar. But otherwise, you can comfortably visit Magdalen College five days a week, every week of the year aside from Christmas and Good Friday. This extensive opening makes Magdalen a very accessible Oxford college to include in your itinerary.

How Much Does It Cost to Visit Magdalen College?

Entry fees to visit Magdalen College are very reasonable compared to other Oxford colleges. The standard adult admission fee is just £8. By contrast, entry to Christ Church costs £17.50 for adults.

Here are the current Magdalen College visitor admission rates:

  • Adult (18+): £8
  • Student (with ID): £6
  • Child (12-17): £7
  • Child (5-11): £4
  • Child (Under 5): Free
  • Senior (60+): £6

No advance booking is required for general admission, so you can simply show up and pay the entry fee on site. Cash and major credit cards are accepted.

Admission includes a free map and audio tour to help you explore the college grounds. Guided tours cost extra and should be booked in advance when possible, especially during peak visitor season.

Overall, visiting Magdalen College is very reasonably priced compared to other Oxford colleges and attractions. The affordable rates make it accessible for tourists on any budget.

What Are the Highlights of Visiting Magdalen College?

Magdalen College offers plenty of architectural and natural highlights across its expansive grounds. Here are some of the top sights and attractions to see on a visit:

The Cloisters

The elegant Magdalen Cloisters date back to 1474 and offer a perfect example of a medieval quadrangle. Their tranquil atmosphere and graceful stone arches make the Cloisters one of the most popular spots for visitors to admire.

The Chapel

The beautiful Magdalen Chapel contains the college’s choir and holds a world-renowned Evensong service. Its tall bell tower is a recognizable landmark. Visitors can explore the Chapel except during services.

The Dining Hall

Step inside the impressive dining hall where students and fellows eat their meals today. Its long tables and captivating art are still used for feasts and formal occasions.

Deer Park

Get back to nature by walking through the Deer Park on the banks of the River Cherwell. You may spot some of the fallow deer that roam the park grounds.

Riverside Walks

Stroll along the peaceful footpaths bordering the River Cherwell. The waterfront walk offers relaxing views of the college’s meadows and old stone walls.

Addison’s Walk

Named for famed alumnus Joseph Addison, this tranquil tree-lined footpath circles the River Cherwell and offers prime views of the college landscape.

Holywell Ford

Located below Holywell Street, the shallow waters of Holywell Ford have been used as a crossing point and natural swimming hole for students for centuries.

St Swithun’s Quadrangle

One of Magdalen’s newer quads features elegant 18th-century architecture flanking a large grass square with plenty of benches for sitting.

What Tours Are Available at Magdalen College?

Magdalen College provides a few different touring options for visitors to maximize their experience:

Guided Tours

Expert guided tours grant access to areas not included on the self-guided route. Tours are 45 minutes and run at 10:30am, 12pm, and 3pm depending on the season. Tours cost £6 for adults in addition to the entry fee. Advance booking online is highly recommended, especially in summer.

Self-Guided Audio Tour

Included free with college admission is an audio guide for a self-paced tour. The 45-minute audio tour contains commentary about key sites around the college grounds. Audio guides are available in 11 languages.

Virtual Tour

Can’t visit in person? Take a 35-minute narrated virtual tour of Magdalen College online through Google Arts & Culture, offering an insider’s glimpse of the grounds.

What are the Rules for Visitors?

Magdalen College welcomes outside visitors but does require following some visitor rules and etiquette on site:

  • No pets besides assistance dogs are allowed on college grounds.
  • Visitors cannot bring vehicles, bicycles, scooters, etc. onto the main college grounds. Parking and bicycle racks are located outside the porter’s lodge.
  • Photography and filming are permitted in most outdoor areas but prohibited inside the Chapel and Dining Hall to respect those spaces. Tripods or extra lighting cannot be used.
  • Visitors should be quiet inside college buildings and avoid disruptive behavior. Groups of schoolchildren must be supervised.
  • Littering, touching plants or statues, ball games, and swimming in college fountains/ponds are prohibited.

By following Magdalen College’s guidelines, visitors can help maintain the prestigious college for future generations to admire. Respectful visitor behavior is appreciated.

Is Magdalen College Wheelchair Accessible?

Magdalen College aims to be accessible and inclusive to visitors with disabilities. Wheelchair users can access the Chapel, Cloisters, and many parts of college grounds. Some areas like the Dining Hall can only be accessed via stairs. Visitors should notify staff upon arrival about any access requirements so appropriate accommodations can be made. The college’s disabled parking bay is located just inside the St Clement’s Gate entrance for convenient access.

How Do You Get to Magdalen College?

Magdalen College is centrally located at the end of the High Street in Oxford, making it easy to reach on foot from much of the city center.

Several Oxford bus routes stop near Magdalen College along the High Street, including the #6, #8, #9 and #35. You can also take a taxi or rideshare service to the college entrance.

Parking is not available on college grounds besides accessible parking, but street parking and multiple car parks are located nearby. The Oxford Park and Ride services also make it simple to bus in from peripheral parking lots.

Cyclists will find racks to securely park bikes outside the porter’s lodge, as bicycles are not allowed on college grounds.

Magdalen can also be conveniently reached from the Oxford train station and Gloucester Green bus terminal, both under 2 miles away.

Is Magdalen Pronounced Maude-lin or Maudlin?

The name Magdalen derives from St Mary Magdalene and has two common pronunciations:

  • Maude-lin (rhymes with golden) – typically used in the UK, including for Magdalen College’s name.
  • Mawd-lin (rhymes with tawdry) – the standard US pronunciation.

So British English speakers usually say “Maude-lin” College, while most Americans opt for “Mawd-lin.” Either way, everyone agrees Magdalen College offers a top Oxford attraction!


Magdalen College welcomes outside visitors to experience its historic buildings and grounds nearly year-round. Affordable entry fees, top sights like the medieval cloisters and deer park, and optional guided tours make Magdalen an accessible and engaging Oxford visit. Following visitor rules allows you to explore most areas while respecting the operational college. Centrally located along Oxford’s High Street, Magdalen can be easily reached by various transport options. Visiting Magdalen College offers an unmissable opportunity to immerse yourself in the heritage of one of Britain’s most prestigious academic institutions.

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Visiting Magdalen College Oxford

Can you walk around Magdalen College Oxford by yourself?

Yes, visitors to Magdalen College are welcome to self-guide themselves around the main outdoor areas of college using the provided map and audio guide. No advance booking is required just to walk the grounds independently. Guided tours are available for accessing additional areas.

Does it cost money to visit Magdalen College?

Yes, there is a fee to visit Magdalen College. It costs £8 for adults, with discounted rates for students, children, and seniors. Tours cost extra. But general admission remains affordable compared to other Oxford colleges.

Are there cloisters at Magdalen College?

Yes, Magdalen College’s cloisters date back to 1474 and are considered one of the top highlights to see on a visit. The elegant Magdalen Cloisters contain stone arches surrounding a green courtyard. Visitors can walk through and admire their medieval architecture.

What famous graduates went to Magdalen College Oxford?

Some of Magdalen College’s most famous alumni include author Oscar Wilde, poet John Betjeman, scientist Sir Martin Evans, physicist Erwin Schrödinger, and multiple politicians and bishops. It educated many distinguished figures through its long history.

Does Magdalen College have a dining hall?

Yes, Magdalen College contains a formal dining hall where students and faculty eat meals. Its high ceilings, long tables, artworks and stain glass windows create an impressive setting still used for feasts today. Visitors can view the exterior and sometimes peek inside when not in use

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