Looking over to All Souls College, founded in 1438, the souls in question are those of soldiers who died in the Hundred Years' War, Oxford

All Souls College


One of Oxford’s wealthiest and most tranquil colleges, All Souls was founded as a centre of prayer and learning in 1438. Much of its facade dates from that era, while the smaller Front Quad has remained largely unchanged for five centuries. The eye-catching mock-Gothic towers on the North Quad, though, were the work of Nicholas Hawksmoor in 1710, and were originally lambasted for ruining Oxford’s skyline. The North Quad also contains a beautiful 17th-century sundial designed by Christopher Wren.

All Souls is a graduate college, but it doesn't accept just any old Oxford graduate. Each year, the university's top finalists sit what’s said to be the hardest entrance exam in the world. On average, only two candidates achieve the required grade to become Fellows of All Souls, which is one of the country's highest academic honours.

Access is from High St.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Oxford attractions

1. University Church of St Mary the Virgin

0.04 MILES

The ornate 14th-century spire of Oxford’s university church is arguably the dreamiest of the city’s legendary ‘dreaming spires’. Otherwise, this is famous…

2. St Mary’s Passage

0.06 MILES

With a doorway sporting a lion’s head knocker, flanked by two golden fawns, this tiny alley is often said to have inspired elements of CS Lewis’ magical…

3. Queen's College

0.06 MILES

Known for its musical excellence, this college is steeped in esteem and heritage. Although founded in 1341, its main claims to architectural fame are the…

4. Radcliffe Camera

0.07 MILES

Surely Oxford’s most photographed landmark, the sandy-gold Radcliffe Camera is a beautiful, light-filled, circular, columned library. Built between 1737…

5. Brasenose College

0.08 MILES

Small, select and elegant, Brasenose College was founded in 1509. A Brasenose Hall, belonging to Oxford University, already stood here by 1262, however,…

6. New College


New College isn’t really that new. Established in 1379 as Oxford’s first undergraduate college, it’s a glorious Perpendicular Gothic ensemble. Treasures…

7. Bodleian Library

0.11 MILES

At least five kings, dozens of prime ministers and Nobel laureates, and luminaries such as Oscar Wilde, CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien have studied in Oxford's…

8. St Edmund Hall

0.11 MILES

Founded at some point before 1317, St Edmund Hall is the sole survivor of Oxford’s original medieval halls, the teaching institutions that preceded the…