Opening our doors to the Oxford community

At Christ Church we take seriously our obligation to contribute to our local community and believe that all residents of Oxford should be able to enjoy our historic spaces. To that end, we have introduced a card that enables permanent Oxford residents to explore Christ Church free of charge. 

The Oxford Residents’ Card

If you live permanently in Oxford (postcodes OX1–4), our Residents’ Card will enable you to unlock one of the gems of the city you call home. Once issued with a card, you are able enter Christ Church free of charge during visiting hours and explore the grounds and buildings that tourists access for a fee. 

The Hall Stairway and vaulted ceiling above

Residents’ Card holders benefit from year-round access to many of Christ Church’s – and Oxford’s – most precious and breath-taking spaces. Wander up our elegant Hall Staircase, perhaps familiar from Harry Potter or Lewis, and marvel at the dramatic 17th-century vaulted ceiling. 

Step through to our world-famous Great Hall – once the seat of parliament convened by King Charles I during the English Civil War – that is today adorned with portraits of some of our most famous members, from our founder King Henry VIII to poet W. H. Auden and Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson). 

Tom Tower standing over Tom Quad

Leave the Hall and emerge into the Great Quadrangle, or ‘Tom Quad’ – so-called because of the bell, Old Tom, housed in Sir Christopher Wren’s iconic tower that stands proudly over this court. The Grade-1 listed quadrangle is the largest in Oxford. 

Stroll over to Peckwater Quad, the highlight of which is undoubtedly our New Library, built in the early 18th century to the design of Henry Aldrich, Christ Church’s most ‘Renaissance’ Dean. 

The Library’s vast Corinthian columns offset the elegance of the Peckwater buildings, which are some of the earliest examples of the pure Palladian style derived and inspired by the Venetian architect Andrea Palladio and strongly based on the symmetry, perspective and values of the formal temple architecture of the ancient Greeks and Romans. 

The Cathedral altar

Complete your visit with quiet reflection in our small and charming Cathedral – the only Cathedral church of the diocese of Oxford – and its cloisters. Much of the Cathedral was built at the end of the 12th century as the priory church for the Augustinian Canons who resided there, while the monastic cloisters were rebuilt in 1499. These cloisters offer the best views of the Cathedral spire – the oldest surviving stone spire in England, which has been a feature of the skyline since 1230.

Find out more about what there is to see at Christ Church

Applying for a Residents’ Card

To apply for your Residents’ Card, simply complete our online application form, providing a photograph of yourself, proof of ID and proof of address. There is a one-off administrative fee for the card (£10 for over-18s, or £5 for those aged 5–17), after which entry to Christ Church is free for a year. Please allow 14 days for the card to be issued. We will email you when your card is ready to be collected from the Christ Church Visitor Centre. 

Want to learn more? See further details about the Oxford Residents’ Card scheme.

Learn more about visiting Christ Church on our website.