Wandering through the 100-acre grounds of Magdalen College paints an idyllic picture of Oxford university life—punting along the river, watching a game on the cricket lawns, strolling through the deer park or walking the woodland Addison’s Trail, a favorite route of Oxford alumnus C.S Lewis. The verdant setting is reason enough to visit, but Magdalen’s striking architecture is equally notable, making it a worthy rival to nearby Christ Church College.
Founded in 1448 by future Chancellor of England William Waynflete, Magdalen College—pronounced "Maudlin"—was home to Oxford’s first science department and still ranks among the university’s most prestigious colleges. For visitors, most tours start at the landmark Magdalen Tower, a grand Gothic bell tower most famous for its May Morning celebrations, before moving on to explore highlights like the 15th-century St. John's Quad, the richly decorated gatehouse and the atmospheric Great Quad, adorned with expertly carved hieroglyphs.
Magdalen College is located to the east of Oxford city center, next to the Oxford Botanical Gardens. The college is open to the public daily from midday until 6 p.m. during the summer and from 1 p.m. until dusk in the winter. Adult admission is £5.