Oxford Christ Church Meadow - Image courtesy of Matthias Rosenkranz

Visiting Oxford > What to See > Parks & Meadows

Christ Church Meadow

Christ Church Meadow, in Oxford, is open to the public all year round. This open space in the heart of the city is an ideal choice for wandering, picnicking, or going on a date. The lower sections of the meadow are grazed by cattle, and the upper sections have sports fields. Plus, you can enjoy the river and the beautiful Christ Church college.

What is Christ Church Meadow?

Roughly triangular in shape, Christ Church Meadow is a flood meadow and popular walking and picnic spot. It is bounded by the River Thames, the River Cherwell, and Christ Church College.

The meadow provides access to the college boat houses, which are located on an island at the confluence of the two rivers. Christ Church Meadow is owned by Christ Church, and is thus the private property of the college.

Did you Know The First Balloon Ascended from Here?

James Sadler, the first English balloonist, made the first ascent in a balloon from the Meadow on 4 October 1784. A plaque notes the event. Sadler’s balloon rose to a height of around 3,600 feet and landed six miles away near the village of Wood Eaton, north-east of Oxford.

Oxford Christ Church Meadow at dawn. Image courtesy of Tejvan Pettinger.
Oxford Christ Church Meadow at dawn. Image courtesy of Tejvan Pettinger.

Christ Church Meadow Rowing Events and Regattas

Oxford University’s two main rowing events, Eights Week and Torpids, as well as Christ Church Regatta, are held on the Thames here. There are also other races that use the river (you can see them all here). 

In the past, there were ornamental wooden barges moored on the river that were used to store boats and house spectators. These barges have all now been replaced by boathouses (buildings specifically designed for the storage of boats).

The Eights Week or Summer Eights Regattas - Oxford Rowing Events

The Eights Week or Summer Eights Regatta

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The Christ Church Regatta - University of Oxford Rowing Events

The Christ Church Regatta

The Christ Church Regatta is a boat race held annually at the University of Oxford. Novice crews of eight rowers represent each college. The race takes place during the seventh

The Torpids Rowing Races - Oxford Rowing Events and Regattas

The Torpids Rowing Races

The Torpids is a series of bumping races held at Oxford University yearly. There are six men’s and five women’s divisions.

Self-Guided Christ Church Meadow Walking Tour

This self-guided walking tour map will take you on a leisurely stroll through Christ Church meadow, pointing out some of the most noteworthy features and providing historical context along the way. Whether you are a visitor to the city or a local resident, Christ Church Meadow is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Oxford.

Oxford Maps: Self-Guided Christ Church Meadow Walking Tour

How to Visit Christ Church Meadow

The meadow can be accessed from St Aldate’s to the northwest via Broad Walk. From the north in Merton Street via Grove Walk and Merton Walk. And from the eastern end of the High Street via Rose Lane near the Oxford Botanic Garden to the northeast.

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