New College

New College information

Oxford , United Kingdom
Street Holywell St
More information
admission £3
Opening hours
11am-5pm Mar-Sep
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Lonely Planet review

From the Bodleian, stroll under the Bridge of Sighs , linking the two halves of Hertford College – sometimes erroneously referred to as a copy of the famous bridge in Venice – to New College. (The only thing this bridge has in common with its Venetian namesake is its name.) This 14th-century college was the first in Oxford for undergraduates and is a fine example of the glorious Perpendicular style. The chapel here is full of treasures, including superb stained glass, much of it original, and Sir Jacob Epstein’s disturbing statue of Lazarus.

During term time, visitors may attend the beautiful Evensong , a choral church service held nightly at 6pm. Access for visitors is through the New College Lane gate from Easter to early October, and through the Holywell St entrance the rest of the year.

William Spooner was once a college warden here, and his habit of transposing the first consonants of words gave rise to the term ‘spoonerism’. Local lore suggests that he once reprimanded a student by saying, ‘You have deliberately tasted two worms and can leave Oxford by the town drain'. Spooner aside, other famous alumni include Hugh Grant and Kate Beckinsale, and New College is also famous for a bizarre medieval ritual.