Conference and events

Magdalen College is the ideal location for conferences and events, offering self-contained facilities for up to 160. Experience living, meeting and relaxing in this historic venue set within spectacular grounds.

Guests will receive a warm welcome and we will look after every aspect of your event with our traditional attention to detail.

The College benefits from a fully equipped auditorium, seminar rooms for smaller events and a medieval hall, where famous alumni such as Oscar Wilde, John Betjeman, Lord Alfred Denning and Dr Erwin Schrödinger, dined.

Our catering services offer refreshments, self-service meals, receptions and formal dinners, whilst residents have the opportunity to stay on-site in modern ensuite or traditional accommodation.

Please see our Standard Terms for Events Services booked at Magdalen College.

For further information contact Sarah Church or Penny Johnson in the Conference Office.

Tel:01865 276051 / 01865 287063

Our rooms

Accommodation is available in single study bedrooms. Bedding, linen and small bath towels are provided and rooms serviced on weekdays. Rooms are equipped with a small refrigerator, and tea and coffee making facilities are provided.

Standard rooms have their own wash hand basin, and guests share bathrooms, showers and toilets located nearby, with a few other residents. A total of 160 standard rooms are available within the College walls.

Ensuite rooms have a private shower, toilet and wash hand basin. A total of 45 ensuite rooms are available inside College walls, with a further 20 very close by.

It may be possible to provide up to four twin-ensuite rooms, as part of the total number of single rooms provided and depending on the needs of other conferences in residence.

Magdalen Grove Auditorium is of a ‘classico-vernacular’ design combining Greek Classical form and proportion but using other details and references to give it a timeless appearance.

The Auditorium itself is fully air-conditioned, with tiered seating for 160, and dedicated projection and sound rooms. Each seat is equipped with a pull-out writing ‘tablet’ to support note-taking. The proscenium arch style stage is on a level with the front row of seating. Considerable attention has been paid to the acoustic standards of the Auditorium and voice amplification is only needed for special circumstances, for example, to provide induction loop amplification for those equipped with an appropriate hearing aid. A Steinway B grand piano is located in a small wing to one side of the stage and is available for concerts. The projection room is equipped with a high-resolution HD data projector, DVD player and sound system.

Hire of the Grove Auditorium includes the services of an Audio-Visual Technician.

The Greek proportions have been maintained within the building, with an entrance Foyer or Gallery the full height of the building offering a space for registration, refreshments and receptions. Exhibitions can be held, or material displayed on large panels suspended below a collection of tapestries designed by John Piper.

Adjoining the Foyer are a small cloakroom area and toilets. The Auditorium and Foyer are fully accessible by wheelchair, and WiFi Internet is available.

Magdalen Grove Auditorium can be hired for day meetings throughout the year and forms the focal point for plenary sessions for residential conferences in the vacations.

You can download this information as a fact sheet.


Formal and informal meals are taken in the medieval Hall, which is located on the first floor above the Cloisters. There is a lift (elevator) available for any with special access needs. The Hall has refectory style tables with chairs and some benches, seating up to 160 including 25 at the High Table.

For regular daily meals, guests help themselves from the assisted service Buttery, and then carry their tray through to the Hall. This area of College is one of the most historic, and the nature of the space available to provide a free flow assisted service facility is therefore limited. It is part of the tradition of taking meals in a College setting that guests spend some time queuing, but we are confident that the time spent chatting to colleagues will not be wasted!

We welcome the opportunity to share our tradition of formal dining. Menus for three or four-course served dinners are devised in discussion with the client and wines are then offered from our College cellar.

You can download this information as a fact sheet.

The Old Kitchen Bar is the oldest building on site, dating from the 1300s. It is the former location of the College kitchens and evidence of the original fireplaces can still be seen. The Old Kitchen Bar offers a large reception space for informal gatherings for up to 120 and includes a riverside terrace. A variety of hot or cold fork or finger buffets for up to 80 can be offered.

Light meals and hot and cold soft drinks are served in the Old Kitchen when the College is open to the general public. Conference participants are welcome to use this space also, and it is popular for small informal meetings in the afternoons and has WiFi Internet access.

The bar is open to residents in the evenings serving beer, wine and spirits as well as soft drinks.

You can download this information as a fact sheet.


A number of seminar rooms offer seating for 14 – 50. Availability is limited in term-time due to College commitments.

The Summer Common Room, pictured in the slideshow below, is used for College meetings and also for the tradition of ‘Dessert’ taken after dinner on summer evenings when the academic Fellows of the College and their guests sit over Port, dessert wine, fresh fruit and chocolates.

The Summer Common Room seats 50 theatre style, 30 in a horseshoe, or 14 board room style, and is covered by WiFi Internet.

The room benefits from natural daylight and views of the College on two sides but can also be darkened using window blinds and shutters, when data projection is required.

The Old Practice Room, which can also see in the slideshow, is an example of a smaller meeting room seating 12 – 14 boardroom style and is suitable for small meetings or as a breakout room for larger events.

Other meeting rooms include the Daubeny Laboratory – now a high-ceilinged lecture room seating up to 50 with integral data projection – situated next to the University of Oxford Botanic Gardens. A number of smaller seminar rooms seating 16 – 20 classroom style are also available.

You can download this information as a fact sheet.

Outdoor receptions for up to 200 can be held on Cloisters or New Building Lawns, with their backdrop of the beautiful College buildings and magnificent gardens. These lawns also provide the venue for pre-dinner receptions for events in the Hall in summer months. The Cloister or New Building Colonnade offer shelter if the weather is unpredictable on the day.

A selection of snacks or home-made canapés can be served alongside a traditional sparkling wine reception. Or why not serve Pimms cup to evoke the true Oxford experience!

You can download this information as a fact sheet.

We are proud of our catering team and the service they offer. From freshly made coffee delivered to your meeting room, the assisted service buffet selection available in our Buttery, to the fine dining menus devised by our Head Chef and presented and served with style, you can be assured of a traditional attention to detail.

Dine in our Medieval Hall, which seats 160; where breakfast, lunch and dinner are available buffet-style through the Buttery service area. Formal candlelit dinners are served at the table, offering guests the opportunity to experience the traditional atmosphere of a college dining hall.

Located in one of the oldest parts of Magdalen, the New Room can seat up to 44 for intimate private dinners. A collection of work by artists such as John Piper and David Hockney provide the backdrop to the anteroom where pre-dinner drinks are held.

The Old Kitchen Bar offers a more informal venue for the service of food and drink, with the benefit of the riverside terrace where you can watch punting on the river Cherwell.

Outdoor receptions can be held on the Cloisters Lawn and New Buildings Lawn in fine weather.