Venue guidance

General guidance

The Bodleian Libraries Events team are there to guide you from the moment you book your room, to the day of the event. We are available to meet you for your initial visit, your on-site planning meeting with your caterer and florist, and for a final meeting. We prepare a detailed timetable for the event based on your plans and requirements. We're there throughout the process to discuss your plans and ideas, and to answer your queries.

The Bodleian Libraries' hire fee gives you exclusive use of the rooms you hire. We are a working library, open to readers seven days a week, so at most times the Old Schools Quadrangle, the Proscholium in the Old Bodleian Library and the toilets will be open to readers during your hire period. However, on Saturdays and Sundays from selected times you will have exclusive use of these spaces as well as the rooms you have hired.

When booking a room, please make a note of the general guidance below.

 

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Please note:

  • The Bodleian is a working library. Monday to Friday, the reading rooms are used by students and academics until the evening – this varies during the vacations. During this time, the quadrangles and entrance spaces are open to the public. On Saturday and Sunday, the site is closed to readers and the public after 5pm, when you will have exclusive use.
  • Before confirming a reservation with us, wedding clients must make arrangements with the Oxford Registry Office, and provide us with a copy of their booking confirmation.
  • We regret that we cannot allow the use of confetti in any part of our site, including the quadrangles. This includes confetti made from natural and bio-degradable materials.
  • The Bodleian Libraries do not permit any naked flames in or around its buildings, so we regret that candles are not allowed. Our team can advise on attractive substitutes.
  • The Bodleain Libraries do not permit anything over the height of three metres, including flower arches and plants. 
  • If there is a concert taking place in the Sheldonian Theatre during your wedding or function, we require that your music be played at background level until the concert ends (usually around 10pm). Our staff will inform your musicians once the concert has finished. Our site is surrounded by colleges where residents may be sleeping and we therefore require music to be played at a reasonable level at all times.
  • Due to the age of the buildings, maintenance works may from time to time alter points of entry and/or affect the external appearance of the buildings.
  • We are custodians of these historic rooms within the University of Oxford. In order to protect them, there are certain regulations that need to be followed at events on our sites. To find out more, contact our team to discuss your function or to obtain our terms and conditions of hire.

Accessibility 

All three of our rooms for hire in the Old Bodleian Library have level or ramped access, but please be aware that there are four steps up and three steps down, between the Divinity School and Convocation House. A guest in a wheelchair wishing to move between these two rooms would need to take the outdoor route.

An accessible toilet is available.

There are five on-street Blue Badge disabled parking spaces near the Bodleian Library: one in front of Exeter College, two outside Blackwell's Bookshop on Broad Street, and two on South Parks Road, near the King's Arms pub.

Please refer to the Oxford Information Centre for more information on Blue Badge parking spaces and procedures.

For more information please visit the Bodleian's accessibility page

Licences

We are licensed for music, dancing and the service of alcohol between 10am and 1am.

Both sets of rooms for hire in the Old Bodleian Library are licensed for civil weddings and civil partnerships.

Caterers, furniture hire and other suppliers

Clients must use our caterers (Oxford Fine Dining) and AV/lighting company (That Event Company).  We have recommended suppliers for all other elements but clients are welcome to arrange their own suppliers. 

Parking

We can offer two parking places for your suppliers for the duration of the hire. We regret we have no parking for guests on site. For more information on disabled parking spaces, see Accessibility above.

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