“I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. One almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking.” – W B Yeats
J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Oscar Wilde, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Jonathan Swift, Lewis Carroll, Phillip Pullman are some of the famous Oxonians novelists, essayists and poets to have taught and studied at Oxford University. It’s mind-blogging when you think about it, and I couldn’t help but feel so humble and small afterwards. On its own, Oxford itself is impressive. Beautiful medieval buildings and alleyways and a High Street of charming shops, so quaint!
I visited last Saturday with two friends, one of whom spent four years at Oxford! She got us privileged access to some non-visitor areas! It was an exceptional day of exploring and sight-seeing. Below are the literary stops we made (Alice’s Shop, The Bodleian Libraries, The Divinity Room, Narnia Door etc…) and photos from our lunch at Georgina’s and tea at The Rose.
Alice’s Shop (The Old Sheep Shop), where you’ll find branded Alice in Wonderland products ranging from tea and candies to calendars and figurines.
Lunch at Covered Market.
Oxford’s Covered Market is a 200 years old market building with over 50 shops selling practically everything. All 60’s and groovy baby is Georgina’s, a cute little café tucked away upstairs. After spending the first two hours amongst grey stones, the colours at Georgina’s felt disturbingly bright and cheerful, but never mind that. A cup of tea, giant salads and a hot bacon baguette, which came exactly as described, warmed us up just fine. Mmm.
The Narnia Door. The door that inspired it all, so they say. It’s in a remarkably good condition.
The Bodleian Libraries. On left is the Radcliffe Camera, which only registered readers have access to. The right shows the Tower of the Five Orders viewed from the Divinity School’s entrance. The Divinity School is where a few Harry Potter scenes were filmed!
We stopped at The Rose, my friend’s undergrad favourite, for cream tea. The plain scones were so lovely, all crispy on the outside with a moist, buttery crumb.
The Eagle and Child. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were part of a literary club called The Inklings. They met frequently at pubs around Oxford, including the The Eagle and Child.
And of course, the Christmas Market. There was mulled wine, churros, biryani, wurst sausages, and many more things.
P.S. If you happen to come across frantic students in robes, do avoid antagonizing them by taking their photos, they’re most likely rushing to an exam. Yes, they wear robes to take exams!
Market St, City Centre, Oxford
51 High Street, Oxford | Website
The Eagle and Child
49 St Giles, Oxford