Oxford, England

The King’s Arms

Arguably the most popular Oxford University student venue, the pub stands on the site of a former Augustinian Priory. Named after King James 1st who was involved in founding nearby Wadham College, the College has owned the site since its own founding in the early 17th Century.

Kings Arms Pub, Oxford

Kings Arms Pub, Oxford

The ‘KA’ (as it is universally known locally) opened its doors on 18 September 1607 and was a popular venue for plays (legend has it that Hamlet was first performed here). It became a coaching inn in the 18th Century and, in the 1960s, a hotel, popular with commercial travellers.

Kings Arms Pub (indoors), Oxford

Kings Arms Pub (indoors), Oxford

The KA’s back bar, still known as ‘The Office’, was not open to women until 1973, the last such bar in Oxford. Stories still circulate that the fire of that year, which temporarily closed the bar, was started by radical feminists. A room in the KA is often the exclusive preserve of Wadham students.

A lively and popular pub, it’s also a great place to watch sporting events on its enormous television.

The King’s Arms is on the corner of Parks Road and Holywell Street opposite the Weston Library (formerly the New Bodleian Library).


Review by Chris Peters, Tours of Oxford