Guidebooks on Oxford, and indeed in many a feature appearing The Oxford Times, have made much of Oxford’s hidden treasures.

While this has added to the mystique and romance associated with city of dreaming spires, it also means that visiting Oxford can sometimes end in disappointment.

“College closed” signs are of course inevitable, given that these are places first and foremost of scholarship and academic excellence, rather than heritage centres or visitor attractions.

Even the city’s great Norman castle, until not many years ago kept its heavy doors firmly shut, on the not unreasonable grounds that it was part of the Oxford Prison complex.

Yet, even allowing for this, there also seemed to be something of a deep-rooted reluctance to accept visitors, compared with say the welcoming atmosphere in York.

Thankfully, with the redevelopment of the Ashmolean, with its extended opening times, and the creation of Oxford Unlocked at Oxford Castle, the mood has been changing. Next week the New Bodleian Library will be reopening as the Weston Library for readers, but later there will be an exhibition area, allowing visitors to enjoy the famous library’s greatest treasures — something that might once have seemed unimaginable.

And then of course there is Oxford Open Doors, the wonderful event held over a weekend every September, organised by Oxford Preservation Trust (OPT), when the public is admitted to a wide range of buildings. T

This year no fewer than 130 venues took part, including colleges, university research departments, theatres, sporting venues, Oxford’s Register Office and let’s not forget Newspaper House in Osney Mead, home of The Oxford Times. As always, there was plenty of new venues, such as the Griffith Institute, world-famous home of the University’s Egyptology collection, the new John Henry Brookes building at Oxford Brookes and the equally impressive new Maggie’s Oxford Centre at the Churchill Hospital site — along with special events to mark 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare.

Debbie Dance, OPT director, readily accepts that the involvement of the University of Oxford has been the key to the success of Open Doors.

Magdalen College saw more than 7,500 people over the weekend with its chapel packed to hear their organ scholars both days. At Lincoln College, queues formed in the street.

It all adds up to a marvellous weekend, showing town and gown coming together for the benefit of everyone who lives here, and the thousands of visitors lucky enough to have seen the Golden Heart of England, for once unbared but still beating proudly.