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Open Doors at Oxford University

There's more to the University than meets the eye...

"Open Doors is not just about buildings – many of the University’s green spaces are open to the public every day"

Did you know that throughout the year Oxford University invites you to marvel at badgers in their natural habitat, join them for rooftop observing sessions to gaze at the stars, attend fascinating lectures on a diverse range of topics and visit their unique and historical spaces?

The annual Oxford Open Doors event (which takes place this year on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September), a partnership event between Oxford University and the Oxford Preservation Trust, offers the perfect chance to get a taste of the great opportunities that the local community and visitors to Oxford have via access to the University – together with special events only available over the Open Doors weekend. Open Doors attracts over 20,000 people keen to step inside the numerous sites (around 200) that throw open their doors to visitors. Around three quarters of the visits involve the museums, colleges and departments of the collegiate University. Here’s just a handful of some of the great events that shouldn’t be missed at this year’s Oxford Open Doors event:

Community Fair

Make sure you drop into the University’s first Open Doors Community Information Fair, taking place in the Weston Library’s stunning Blackwell Hall in Broad Street. The Fair, open on Saturday 10 September between 1pm and 4pm, will showcase many of the amazing ways the community can benefit from, or get involved with, the University’s services and activities in and out of term time. Representatives from across the University will be on hand to offer information and advice. Go along to find out how to sign up for the Department of Continuing Education’s courses, make the most of the family-friendly events hosted by the city’s world class museums, attend free lectures, become a permit holder of Wytham Woods, make the most of University Parks and get involved with science outreach opportunities – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Blavatnik School of Government

The Radcliffe Observatory Quarter’s newest building (main entrance on Walton Street) is opening its shiny doors on both Saturday 10 and 11 between 10am and 1pm for self-guided tours and pre-booked short talks to find out about their work to support better government around the world. Take a look around the building’s stunning open forum areaand enjoy the roof terrace and cafe.

St Luke’s Chapel

Formerly the church for the Old Radcliffe Hospital, this Grade I listed chapel has been sympathetically restored by the University’s Estates Services Department for use as a small, self-contained conference centre. Visit the chapel on Saturday 10 September between 9.30am and 4pm to enjoy its beauty and to find out how it has been lovingly restored to its former glory.

Estates Services Joiner’s Workshop

If you’re impressed by the beautiful woodwork on show at St Luke’s, and other University sites, pay a visit to the Joiner’s Workshop at The Malthouse, Tidmarsh Lane. Meet members of this highly skilled team who create intricate, bespoke carpentry and cabinet making work. Half hourly tours between 10am and 1pm on Saturday 10 September - first come first served.

Oxford University Department for Continuing Education

Call into the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education offices, Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 10 September to join music tutor Roger Thomas in the hands-on production of an album of electronic music. Participants of all ages are encouraged to play a wide and unusual variety of instruments. You can also book to enjoy free short courses and workshops in art history, writing skills and more between 10am to 2pm. 

Said Business School

Ever been tempted to step inside the Said Business School in Park End Street on your way to the train station? If so, now’s your chance to admire the School’s award winning contemporary architecture, its beautiful gardens and find out about its fascinating site history on this tour at 12 noon on Saturday 10 September - no booking required.

Green spaces

Open Doors is not just about buildings – many of the University’s green spaces are open to the public every day, but on Saturday 10 September there’s an opportunity to find out just a little bit more about these beautiful places:

University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Rose Lane - between 9am and 9.45am there is free entry to the Botanic Garden to listen out for the bells ringing out from Magdalen Tower to mark the opening of Oxford Open Doors. Following the bell ringing visitors are welcome to stay to view the Garden and to visit the Glasshouses which open at 10am.

University Parks, South Parks Road - sign up for a guided tour of the Park (taking place between 11am and 2pm) and find out more about its fascinating history, and its flora and fauna. Otherwise, visit anytime from 8am and dusk just to enjoy the peace or maybe to eat your picnic lunch.

Wytham Woods - meet at Wytham Woods’ Sawmill Office at 2.00pm to take a guided walk through the most researched area of woodland in the world and find out about the history, ecology and research interests found within this one thousand acre woodland (please note that no dogs are permitted in this research woodland).

More information about the Open Doors Weekend, together with booking information (where relevant), is available at

oxfordopendoors.org.uk and oxfordpreservation.org.uk


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