Magdalen College

High Street 01865 276000
The College welcomes visitors and is normally open at the following times and charges: 2 January to 23 June: 1pm to Dusk or 6pm (whichever is the earlier); 24 June to 6 October: 12 noon to 7pm or Dusk (whichever is the earlier); 8 October to 19 December: 1pm to Dusk or 6pm (whichever is the earlier); Closed: Monday 7 October (and other dates as advertised from time to time); Open on New Year's Day noon to dusk, free of charge.

Charges (inc. VAT): Adults £5.00; Over 60s, children, students £4.00; Family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children aged 7 or over) £14.00. Children under 7 years of age are free of charge. No charge for Bodleian card holders, residents of Oxford or holders of Oxford Alumni cards; and one guest in each case. Price includes leaflet, available in English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Japanese and Chinese.

Whatever you do, do not pronounce this college "mag-da-lin" unless you want to blow your cover as a tourist - Magdalen College is pronounced "mawd-lin." Founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete, the bishop of Winchester, Magdalen is Oxfords wealthiest, and arguably most beautiful college, with its own deer park and beautiful cloisters, of whose gargoyles supposedly inspired CS Lewis' stone statues in The Chronicles of Narnia. On the far right of the grounds, a bright blue wrought iron gate leads to Addison's Walk, a pretty riverside path.

Notable Facts:

  • Every May 1st (May Day) at 6am, the college choir sings from the top of Magdalen's bell tower. This tradition - to celebrate the coming of summer - began in the late 15th century. Nowadays, students and townspeople use it as an excuse to drink all night the night before and hurl themselves (sometimes naked) from Magdalen Bridge into the Cherwell river, which is only about 3 feet deep at best, causing all sorts of serious injuries.

Famous Attendees:
Oscar Wilde - author
Sir John Betjeman - poet laureate
Dudley Moore - actor
CS Lewis - author
J. Paul Getty - American Industrialist
T.E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia")
William Tyndale - Protestant reformer and Bible translator
Erwin Schrödinger - physicist
Andrew Lloyd Webber - composer
King Edward VII

Magdalen Map

What the Bird Said Early In The Year, by CS Lewis

I heard in Addison's Walk a bird sing clear:
This year the summer will come true. This year. This year.

Winds will not strip the blossom from the apple trees
This year nor want of rain destroy the peas.

This year time's nature will no more defeat you.
Nor all the promised moments in their passing cheat you.

This time they will not lead you round and back
To Autumn, one year older, by the well worn track.

This year, this year, as all these flowers foretell,
We shall escape the circle and undo the spell.

Often deceived, yet open once again your heart,
Quick, quick, quick, quick! - the gates are drawn apart.