Built by master architect Sir Christopher Wren, whose later works included the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral in London, the Sheldonian Theatre stands out among Oxford’s many landmarks with its grand semi-circular design reminiscent of a classical Roman theater. The Grade I-listed building has been one of Oxford’s principal venues since it opened its doors in 1668, and it even hosted the first performance of Handel’s third oratorio Athalia. Today, the theater is primarily used as the ceremonial hall of the University of Oxford.
If you’re not lucky enough to attend a lecture, concert or graduation ceremony in the Sheldonian’s 950-seat auditorium, you can still admire the opulent interiors and magnificent hand-painted ceiling when the theater is not in use. Also open to visitors is the rooftop cupola, renowned for its impressive panoramic views of the city.
The Sheldonian Theatre is located on Broad Street in Oxford city center, between Trinity College and the Bodleian Library. As well as hosting a varied schedule of concerts and recitals, the theater is open to visitors Monday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Adult admission is £3.50 or free to evening ticket holders.