Buildings and Gardens

Balliol is right in the centre of Oxford, close to laboratories, lecture theatres and libraries, as well as shops, transport links and the city’s many attractions.

The main site is on Broad Street. Behind the 19th-century façade is the Front Quad, with the Chapel, built in 1857, and the College’s oldest, 15th-century buildings. These house the Library, which is the intellectual hub of the College. This plays two main roles in College life: it delivers 24-hour access to the resources which support undergraduate and postgraduate study, and it is responsible for the College’s historic collections of early printed books, medieval manuscripts and other archives, which are accessible to the public.  

Through the Library Passage is the Garden Quad, a green oasis in the middle of the city. At the far end of this is the magnificent 19th-century Hall, where College Members eat, both informally and formally. The Buttery below the Hall serves drinks and light refreshments to Members and visitors.  

Graduate students live in our graduate centre, based around Holywell Manor, a medieval house about five minutes’ walk away. Our newest buildings border our sports field in Jowett Walk.

Here is a virtual tour of the main Broad Street site, Jowett Walk and Holywell Manor.

Facilities

At the sports ground – one of the closest to the city centre of any college in Oxford – there are a football pitch, two squash courts, a basketball/netball court and tennis courts; and cricket is played here in the summer. We have two gyms, one on the Broad Street site and one at Holywell Manor, and our own boathouse at the river. 

Balliol is one of the few colleges to have its own purpose-built studio theatre, the Michael Pilch Studio, which is in the Jowett Walk Building. Other facilities include two music practice rooms and a Steinway grand piano available for concerts. Balliol also runs a Day Nursery in Rawlinson Road in north Oxford, which gives priority to those with a connection to Balliol, such as staff, students and Fellows.

Balliol has an excellent kitchen, which provides lunch and dinner in Hall seven days a week during term time. A vegetarian option (which is sometimes vegan) is always available. Most meals are self-service but on special occasions, such as Guest Nights, meals are served at the tables. In addition, there is a cafeteria in the JCR. There are also some kitchenettes on the main site and in the new buildings.