May Morning in Oxford

Crowd management and viewing areas

Thousands of people are expected to attend May Morning at Magdalen Bridge in 2019; last year’s event was attended by approximately 12,000 people.

The event, which is unique to Oxford, will see crowds gather along High Street and Magdalen Bridge at 6am on 1 May to watch choristers sing the Hymnus Eucharisticus from atop Magdalen College’s Great Tower. Hymnus Eucharisticus was composed in the 17th century by a Fellow of Magdalen College and has been sung every year on May Morning ever since. This will be followed by the Great Tower’s bells ringing out over the city for approximately 20 minutes. Events and activities, including Morris Dancing and folk singing, will then take place across the city.  The event, which marks the coming of spring, has been taking place in Oxford for more than 500 years. For more information on things happening across the city visit the DailyInfo website.

Magdalen Bridge will be closed to drivers from 2.00am on May Morning and will reopen as soon as the public have dispersed, which should be around 9.00am, but earlier if safe to do so.

A crowd management system, which was successfully implemented for the first time last year, will again be in place. This will see one-way channels created on Magdalen Bridge to enable the crowd to flow during and immediately after the event.

People will not be allowed to stop in the channels, and stewards and signs will be in place to direct people to areas where they can stop and view the event. Those wishing to move through or leave the event space will need to keep left.

may morning


If capacity is reached on Magdalen Bridge, stewards and barriers will be used to stop any more people from accessing the bridge from the west and east.

Please note bicycles – including those ridden and pushed – will again not be allowed to cross Magdalen Bridge immediately before or during the event.  The diversion routes for cyclists include the permitted cycle path Via Marston Rd, Ferry Rd, Marston cyclepath to St Cross Rd and vice versa, or via Donnington Bridge.

Designated gathering areas for wheelchair users, families with young children and those with buggies will also be available again – in the car park of Magdalen College School and in Rose Lane.

may morning