Many of us know Oxford like the back of our hands, but how much of it do we actually get to see? Think of all the secret, closed, private and forbidden parts of the city that remain inaccessible.
Until now, because Oxford Open Doors is back! And you, the public, can now access the hidden, special places Oxford has to offer, that rarely get seen this weekend (September 11-12).
From colleges to railways, cemeteries to guided talks and walks, ruined buildings to state of the art architecture, vintage bus rides to classical music recitals, children’s activities to churches, art to nature, the very new to the very old, all will be revealed next weekend on September 11-12 thanks to the Oxford Preservation Trust which organises this wonderful annual event.
“All we advise is that people plan their weekend in advance”
With a programme of over 80 events there is something for everyone, from the big boys at Christ Church, Magdalen and All Souls, to newcomers the c17th Conduit House on Harcourt Hill or the elaborate stone carved Well House at Barton, which opens for the first time.
“book early because while events are free they often sell out quickly”
From the wonders of The Sheldonian and Radcliffe Camera to the new library at St Johns or Shakespeare’s famous Painted Room on Cornmarket Street, book early because while events are free they often sell out quickly.
Whether your interest is in the gravestones in Holywell Cemetery, a self-guided walk up the canal, the remains of Rewley Abbey and the restoration of the Swing Bridge, the Covered Market’s restoration work, tours of Oxford Castle and Prison, a jaunt round Lady Margaret Hall’s Gardens or the elaborate virtual experience programme for those happier to take part from home, it’s an eclectic line-up as ever.
OPT’s Debbie Dance says: “We have been delighted by the positive attitude in putting together this year’s programme and there are so many wonderful things to do and see.”
So how’s it been planning OPT this year. considering last was an outdoor and virtual affair?
Stephen Dawson, OPT’s Operations and Development Manager, explains: “Like everyone we’ve had to work in challenging circumstances, but the one good thing to come out of it is extending our virtual and outdoor offerings, so now there’s as much emphasis on outdoor as indoor activities and events.
“And while Open Doors usually attracts people from far and wide (35,000 in 2013), this year it’s aimed fundamentally at local people.”
Those who can’t make the weekend can download many of the walks and self-guided tours to conduct in their own time.
Stephen adds: “It means people can explore Oxford under their own steam at their leisure.
“All we advise is that people plan their weekend in advance. There is an interactive map people can download and bookings can be made from September 1.”
Join OPT and its many Oxford partners, take part in the wonderful events and explore the many places that the city has to offer. Oxford Open Doors will take place Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 September 2021. Go to https://www.oxfordpreservation.org.uk/content/oxford-open-doors for more details