Sheldonian Theatre
Sheldonian Theatre
4.5
Architectural BuildingsConvention Centres
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
Gaze over panoramic views of the iconic Oxford skyline, trace the footsteps of famous Oxford graduates, and discover over 350 years of history! The Sheldonian Theatre, an exquisite Grade I listed building situated at the heart of Oxford, is the official ceremonial hall of Oxford University. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1664 and 1669, the Sheldonian is a must-see on your visit to Oxford whether to browse the theatre at your own pace or attend a musical concert. The Sheldonian offers self-guided tours, is a stop on many of the Oxford walking tours and the City Sight Seeing bus tours. Come inside and learn about how the University was formed, the importance of the Sheldonian Theatre and how it's woven into the University's past, present and future. Please visit the website for opening hours and dates before your visit as these are subject to change due to University events and concerts.
Duration: < 1 hour
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  • Andrew Dufresne
    Culham, United Kingdom91 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Bond by candlelight
    Great effort but not perfect. 3 singers good Band good but drums too loud Seats not comfortable - sore behinds after a while. Venue impressive Sound mixer not great. Couldn’t here strings or guitar very well , drums and brass too loud. Band cut off singers talking Not really by candlelight as there were spotlights and any candles were battery operated A view to a kill not good. Harmonies were wrong and could here guitar very well at beginning
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 26 August 2023
  • Teri C
    Toronto, Canada63 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great views of Oxford
    Excellent views of central Oxford and its many colleges from the tower. Gorgeous interior. Interesting exhibits to read in the attic. Christopher Wren’s first building. We walked around Oxford for hours and this was the only entry fee we paid. Definitely worth it.
    Visited April 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 19 April 2024
  • permia
    63,574 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful for ceremonies and concerts
    A gorgeous edifice under the tutelage of famous Christopher Wren it is a striking landmark. Completed in the 1660s it is extraordinarily ornate both within and without. Built with a sole role of graduation ceremonies, in the intervening years it has adopted the hosting of firstly music concerts and then drama from 2015 onwards.
    Visited May 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 8 June 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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Grover R
Pensacola, FL21,813 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2022
The exterior is amazing and the interior is stunning from those lucky enough to see it. However, you have to be extremely fortunate to arrange your visit with an opening. The openings are irregular and are not released until months if not weeks ahead of your visit. I really wanted to see this during our December visit but they did not release the few December openings until December 2 and we only had one day to visit. It was open the day after our visit.

Anyways, the building is impressive and highlights that perfect stone symmetry you associated with English public buildings. It is the second work of Sir Christopher Wren and the second most associated work with him after St Paul's Cathedral in London. The day we saw the snow perfectly dusted the stone bust that surround the curved rear of the property. Again, I wish I could have gone inside.
Written 27 December 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

permia
Ireland63,574 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
A gorgeous edifice under the tutelage of famous Christopher Wren it is a striking landmark. Completed in the 1660s it is extraordinarily ornate both within and without.

Built with a sole role of graduation ceremonies, in the intervening years it has adopted the hosting of firstly music concerts and then drama from 2015 onwards.
Written 8 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JRMADA
United States3,331 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022
We toured this theater and it was a wonderful experience. The theater is beautiful inside and out. The fresco in the ceiling is gorgeous, and the views from the top are great. The staff is lovely. Make sure to check their website for opening times as this place is closed from time to time. Purchase your tickets on site via credit card only.
Go at opening hour if you don’t want to share the place with too many people.
Written 3 October 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KellyS3210
Norfolk, UK707 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Couples
Primarily went here for the view from the top which did not disappoint. A good price for entry- for £3 (students) or £4 for adults. Quite a few steps to the top but nothing too strenuous (some elderly people were at the top). Theatre itself is impressive especially the ceiling.

Overall good for a view of the Bodleian and All Souls College, and the Bridge of Sighs. Honestly the views from the University Church tower are probably better as you can’t see the Rad Cam from the top of the Sheldonian. However the Sheldonian is cheaper and no time limit - spend as long as you like. Also quieter.

So up to you really!!
Written 10 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you so much for your review, we are glad you enjoyed your Sheldonian experience!
Written 11 August 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

David H
Bendigo, Australia49 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Couples
Having visited Oxford on many occasions, we had never looked in on the Sheldonian Theatre. This trip, we corrected that and we’re very pleased to have done so. Still utilised for ceremonial occasions by the university, it oozes history . Designed by the astronomer Sir Christopher Wren ( yes that’s correct) .If you are able to climb the stairs to the top, you will be treated to 360 degree views of the Oxford spires from their midst. We’ll worth the effort.
Written 5 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Teri C
Toronto, Canada63 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
Excellent views of central Oxford and its many colleges from the tower. Gorgeous interior. Interesting exhibits to read in the attic. Christopher Wren’s first building. We walked around Oxford for hours and this was the only entry fee we paid. Definitely worth it.
Written 19 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael M
Steinfort, Luxembourg149 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Small visit overall, with a worthwhile climb to the top for a city-360° view....even on the dull, grim, grey and wet morning it was worth it.

Inside the hall itself, the ceiling is spectacular!
Written 21 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your kind review, we are so pleased you adventured up to the cupola despite the weather, it really is spectacular!
Written 11 August 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

TeamWard
Nottingham, UK5,690 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
The Sheldonian theatre is a spectacular design and well worth a visit go inside if no performance on to explore the majesty of the 8 cupola design and some nice views of Oxford rooftops.
Written 4 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for taking the time to leave a review for the Sheldonian, we really appreciate your kind words!
Written 11 August 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Ken R
Andover, UK799 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2015 • Friends
The climb to the top involves many stairs but is well worth it.

The floor before the top makes you feel you're in someone's attic. Summaries of famous people like Christopher Wren are really interesting.

Loved the place.

Go in with a student or lecturer and you can get in free.
Written 10 December 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Simon K
Portsmouth, UK474 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2017 • Solo
The beautiful City of Oxford - popularly known as "The Home of Lost Causes" and derided by Cambridge University graduates as "The Latin Quarter of Cowley" - does not give up its best-kept secrets easily .... and amongst the most closely guarded of all those secrets are (in no particular order) the Bar of the Turf Tavern; the Chapel of New College; and the Cupola of the Sheldonian Theatre.
Some people assert that the best view of Oxford's dramatic skyline is that obtained from the top of Carfax Tower; others reject this claim in favour of the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin; but in actual fact the finest perspective of all is provided by the enclosed Gazebo which sits atop the roof of the Sheldonian Theatre.
Built between 1664-1669 to a design by Sir Christopher Wren, the Sheldonian Theatre is a most impressive Grade I listed building which serves as the ceremonial Hall for the University of Oxford.
It is here, in a magnificent auditorium based upon the famous, two-thousand year-old Theatre of Marcelleus in Rome, that students of the University of Oxford finally receive their coveted and hard-earned Degrees.
Parallels with the "Eternal City" continue inside the building, for the magnificent painted ceiling beneath which plays and concerts are also performed, must surely be at least the equal of Rome's Sistine Chapel.
Prior to the outbreak of the English Civil War the University of Oxford was based in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, with degree ceremonies taking place in the Nave. This situation was by no means ideal so in 1660 Chancellor Gilbert Sheldon - the former Warden of All Souls College - put £1000 of his own money towards the building of an impressive new ceremonial hall. Sadly, very few donors stepped forward to match this sum and in the end Sheldon paid the bulk of the £14,470 himself .... a sum equivalent to almost £2 million today!
Robert Streater, official Court Painter to King Charles II, was summoned to Oxford in order to put the finishing touches to the project, in the form of a massive allegorical painting on the ceiling which purports to show "Knowledge" driving the dark clouds of "Ignorance" far away from England's oldest centre of higher education. In reality the artwork alludes to the triumphant return of the Cavaliers and Royalists to their home base in Oxford following the Restoration of the Monarchy in May, 1660, and the subsequent expulsion of the hated Parliamentarians and Roundheads.
A visit to the Sheldonian Theatre offers good value for money. Whilst adults pay £3.50 to explore the building, children, students and pensioners pay £2.50. Tours with a professional guide cost £8 and £6 respectively. Toilets are available within the Theatre, which is closed on Sundays during the Winter but is open every day of the week (from 10.00 - 16.30) during the Summer.
Given the magnificent acoustics of Sir Christopher Wren's first major commission, perhaps the best way of all to enjoy this magnificent edifice is by attending one of the Concerts by the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra which take place at regular intervals beneath the beautiful painted ceiling!
Written 2 February 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Sheldonian Theatre - All You MUST Know Before You Go (2024)

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