Visiting the Library

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Viewing the murals

The murals and ceiling may be viewed at any time when the Library is open. There is a charge of £3 per person for visitors who are not members of the Oxford Union Society. This is a self-guided tour.

To make the most of your visit, try our audio guide.  For an additional £3 per person, this 20-minute tour introduces you to the fascinating history of the Oxford Union murals and the artists who painted them.  If you wish you may download the guide to your MP3 player as a podcast.    

Postcards and a booklet about the murals are on sale in the library.  Photography is not permitted in the Old Library.

Group visits

Group visits (up to 25 people per group) are welcomed during University vacations  For an additional charge of £20 per group a short talk (approx. 30-45 minutes) on the history of the murals can be provided.   

During the University term groups may visit on a self-guided basis, but we are unable to offer talks on the murals during library open hours. 

Additionally in term time there may be scope to arrange group visits and talks outside normal Library opening hours.  Options are Saturday mornings between 10.00 a.m. and 12.00 noon or weekdays (Mon-Fri) between 8.30 a.m. and 9.30 a.m.  Please ring the Library on 01865-241353 or email to find out more about this.

The Debating Chamber

The Debating Chamber was designed by Alfred Waterhouse (who was also the architect of the Cambridge Union buildings) and completed 1878.  Subject to availability, the Debating Chamber may be viewed on weekdays when the Union Library is open, between 9.30 am and 5 pm.  Please enter the main buildings and enquire at Library Reception.  There is a charge of £3 per person for visitors who are not members of the Oxford Union Society. 

Book a visit 

For further information or to book a visit, please get in touch with the following information:

  • Contact name, telephone number and/or email address
  • Interest in murals, Debating Chamber (or both), or full Union tour 
  • Date(s) of proposed visit(s)
  • Number of people in party
  • Talk on the murals required?  (additional charge of £20 per group) 

Book a visit

Accessibility 

There is a step to the main building from both entrances, we are able to provide ramped access upon request. The library itself is spread over two floors. The only way to access the upper floor and gallery is via a narrow staircase of 19 steps. The murals and ceiling can be viewed from the ground floor with no impediment to the view. The Debating Chamber also has stepped access, and again we are able to provide ramped access upon request to the ground floor. The viewing gallery is only accessible via a wide set of around 50 steps. The Union's room in general are all on slightly different levels, meaning there are steps and staircases throughout. Ramped access can be provided for all ground floor rooms, but thetwo floors are accessible only via staircases.