Oxford, England

Carfax Tower

The famed Carfax Tower, believed by many to be the center of Oxford city, is all that remains of the 12th century St. Martin’s Church. This is a place to visit for its historical significance. Visitors also like to climb all the way to top of the tower for a remarkable view of Oxford city.

From city church to city center

St. Martin’s Church was officially the city church for nearly 800 years until it was demolished in 1896 to decongest traffic at Carfax (from French carrefour or Latin quadrifurcus, meaning crossroads), a bustling corner. It stands at the crossroads of four main city streets – St. Aldate’s, Queen, Cornmarket and High Street. The Tower was left standing as a souvenir to the city. Yes, it is officially known as St. Martin’s Tower.

Ringing in the times

The Tower continues to play a role in modern-day Oxford. The tower’s bells are rung on special occasions while a clock chimes quarter-hours every day.

And, of course, you must attempt to climb the spiral stairway of 99 steps all the way to the top for a spectacular view of the city. Yes, it is still possible because the law forbids buildings taller than the 23-metre high Carfax Tower within Central Oxford.