Magdalen College Gargoyles - Atlas Obscura

AO Edited

Magdalen College Gargoyles

A cornucopia of gargoyles adorns the oldest portion of Oxford’s Magdalen College. 


Oxford is not only a city of dreaming spires, but also of gargoyles and grotesques, often silly and strange. The best examples of those may be found on the outer walls of Magdalen College, which are adorned by a cornucopia of creepy creatures, cartoonish chimeras, and humorous human heads.

The bizarre menagerie consists of miserable-looking dragons, ugly goblins and feeble fiends, many of them screaming, while the humans go wild and unhinged in their nonsensical mania. Some taunt the monsters by pinching and pulling their cheeks, one holds their butt high up, and another simply has a pair of conjoined heads, both with expressions of ennui.

Though the gargoyles are all in plain sight, they are easy to miss unless you look up as you walk by. Be sure to take a moment or two to admire the wonderful weirdness of Oxford’s grand grotesquerie.

Know Before You Go

There are all sorts of other fascinating architectural oddities on this campus. 

Community Contributors
Edited by

May 1, 2024

Make an Edit Add Photos
In partnership with KAYAK

Plan Your Trip

From Around the Web