Not only Britain’s oldest public museum but also among the oldest in the world, the Ashmolean is more than just a museum – it’s an internationally renowned institution and one of Oxford’s most visited attractions. Founded in 1683, the esteemed museum is one of four of the University of Oxford, with a focus on art, archaeology and natural history.
Benefiting from a thorough renovation in 2009, the Ashmolean Museum now boasts a 21st-century redesign by award-winning architect Rick Mather, including a rooftop restaurant looking out over the university buildings. Highlights of the huge permanent collection include the world’s biggest collection of Raphael drawings, an array of pre-dynastic Egyptian jewelry and artifacts, manuscript copies of the Old and New Testaments, the Western World’s most important collection of modern Chinese Art and a significant assemblage of British and Western Art. If that’s not enough, there’s also a ceremonial costume worn by Lawrence of Arabia, Guy Fawkes’ lantern, the death mask of Oliver Cromwell and Uccello's iconic The Hunt in the Forest.
The Ashmolean Museum is located in the north of Oxford city center, a short walk from the main shopping streets and university buildings. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free.