The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela

Course details

From £1070.00

Sun 12 Jul 2020 - Sat 18 Jul 2020

The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela


The Oxford Experience is a residential summer programme providing one-week courses in a variety of subjects aimed at non-specialists. It offers a choice of seminars each week over a period of six weeks.

The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in the remote province of Galicia, north-west Spain, was one of the most popular in the Middle Ages, with people making the journey (mainly on foot) from all parts of Western Europe. Their aim was to follow the way of St James (Santiago in Spanish), to visit his shrine in the cathedral at Compostela. Today, the pilgrimage has undergone a remarkable revival in popularity, and over 300,000 modern pilgrims arrive in Compostela every year. The main routes pass through France and Spain, visiting many beautiful places. Our course will consider the history of the pilgrimage and look in detail at the route.

Programme details

Seminars meet each weekday morning, 09.15-10.45 and 11.15-12.45, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study or exploring the many beautiful places in and around the city.

Introduction: religion, society and the individual in medieval Europe; saints, relics, pilgrimage and salvation.

The role of the pilgrimage to Santiago in the history of France and Spain.

The Way of St James: the ways through France to the Pyrenees. A look at the routes, and the towns, villages, churches and monasteries visited.

The Way of St James: the Camino Frances in Spain, and the places through which it passes. Other routes to Compostela.

Review, and the pilgrimage today: who goes, what is it like, and why do so many people from all over the world want to make this journey?

Recommended reading

Brierley, John.  2019.  A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago.  Camino Guides.

Mullins, Edwin.  2001.  The Pilgrimage to Santiago.  Signal books.

Sumption, Jonathan.  2003.  The Age of Pilgrimage.  HiddenSpring.


During your course, you will stay in typical Oxford student accommodation at Christ Church in buildings which range from the 18th to the 20th century. Bedrooms are modestly-furnished, do not have air-conditioning and are arranged on a staircase of four or five floors.

The fee £1565 includes a bedroom with private bathroom facilities (shower, washbasin and toilet). Most are single but a few twins are available for couples or those who wish to share with a friend. Those couples wishing to book a twin room should contact us direct, as these rooms cannot be booked online.

There are also a few standard rooms available which all have their own washbasin and shaver point but the bath and toilet facilities on each staircase are shared. To apply for one of these rooms please select the ‘Programme Fee (with single standard accommodation and meals)’ option on the application form.  Early application for these rooms is essential.

Most standard rooms are single but there are a few ‘twin sets’ (two single rooms opening off a sitting room). If you wish to book a twin set, please contact us direct, as these rooms cannot be booked online.

Please indicate your accommodation preferences (either online or on your application form) together with a note of any mobility problems.

We regret that we are unable to offer you accommodation at Christ Church prior to or following your course. Additionally, family or friends who are not enrolled in the programme cannot be accommodated in college.


Programme fee (no accom–incl.lunch and dinner): £1070.00
Programme fee (with single en-suite accom and meals): £1565.00
Programme fee (with single standard accom and meals): £1380.00


Mr Michael Sibly


Michael Sibly is an Emeritus Fellow of St Anne's College Oxford and co-translator of two medieval accounts of the Albigensian Crusade. A graduate of Cambridge University, he has taught for OUDCE for many years, and until 2015 was Deputy Registrar of the University of Oxford.

Assessment methods

There are no assessments for this course.


Online registration closes on Friday, 1 May 2020 but please note that this course may be fully booked very quickly so early registration is recommended.