The Saxon Tower

Our Saxon Tower is open every day, as is the Visitor Centre (and of course the Church itself for private prayer and services, and cultural interest); generally, this would be 9am – 5pm.

Do come and see the wonderful views over Oxford, as well as the fascinating artefacts on display. Our Visitor Centre also has delightful gift items for you to browse.




The Tower of St Michael’s is the oldest extant building in Oxford. The Church is a little younger than the Tower, and together they are of historical significance.

The 97 steps to the top are an easy climb, being similar to household steps with landings. Each landing has a display of historical items, inviting you to pause.

While the Church is free to visit, we do have to charge a small fee for climbing the Tower to cover maintenance and staff costs:
Adults £3.50 (concession £3); Children £2; Families £9;
Groups of ten or more £3 per person;
School educational visits are by special arrangement. Please email our Office:

What to see – Church & Tower






– Our Saxon Tower, dating from 1040
– The 15th century pulpit where John Wesley, founder of Methodism, preached the Michaelmas Day sermon on 29th September 1726
– 13th Century stained glass in the East Window
– 14th Century font from St. Martin’s Church
– Reredos of the 14th century Lady Chapel, restored in 1941
– The Bocardo Prison door where bishops Latimer and Ridley, and then Archbishop Cranmer, were held in 1555 and 1556.
– The Church Treasury, which includes an Elizabethan chalice dated 1562, a Sheela-na-gig, dating back to late 11th or 12th century, and a copy of the Geneva Bible printed in 1606.

Inside our Tower you can see the door to the Martyrs’ cell, from the time of their imprisonment  in the Bocardo. We have a 19th century clock mechanism, which is both fascinating and great fun to watch in action. The six main bells are chimed on special occasions only, to minimise damage to the building.

From the top of the Tower there is a panaromic view of the City with its famed “dreaming spires” (Matthew Arnold, poet), as well as the surrounding countryside.

If you have any questions about visiting the Tower, please contact the Visitor Centre on 01865 255 776 or email: