Welcome to Oxford, the “city of dreaming spires”. As the city that launched the careers of some of Britain’s best-known writers, there are no end of hotspots for book lovers to visit. Step into a literary wonderland featuring inspiration from J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and Lewis Carroll.
In this blog, our Oxford hotel explores 7 places every literacy lover needs to visit in our magnificent city.
1. Christ Church College
Aside from educating 13 of Britain’s prime ministers, Christ Church College has another claim to fame, as the Harry Potter books were brought to life here. Embrace your inner wizard and marvel at the grand staircase or head to the Great Hall – both of which were used as a filming location!
As a bonus, you can also visit the New College courtyard and wander around the cloisters that the young wizards frequented.
2. Oxford University Press
As the largest university publishing house in the world, Oxford University Press was founded in 1586. You can visit the museum archives by appointment only, giving you a chance to see historic hand printing tools in action. You will find the OUP on Great Clarendon Street.
(Photo Credit: Oxford History)
3. The Radcliffe Camera
The central library for Oxford University, The Radcliffe Camera is one of the tallest buildings in Oxford – and arguably the most iconic. As a reading room of the Bodleian Library, unfortunately, it’s not open to the public. Still, you can appreciate its beauty from afar, giving you plenty of Instagrammable moments.
4. Oxford Botanic Gardens
If you are a fan of Philip Pullman’s novels, you don’t want to miss the chance to visit the Botanic Gardens. Pullman taught at Oxford University in 1986 and later went on to write bestsellers such as His Dark Materials. Fans of The Amber Spyglass will love the chance to sit on the ‘Lyra and Will bench’ – with many visitors carving the characters’ names into the wood.
5. Oriel Square
Ever wondered where C.S. Lewis drew his inspiration for Narnia? Head to Oriel Square towards St Mary’s Passage, and you will find the door to Narnia itself. In the passage, you will also see the lamppost that inspired Lucy and Mr Tumnus’ meeting place and was frequently visited by Lewis.
6. Alice’s Shop
Lover of Alice in Wonderland? Alice’s Shop is a must-visit on your trip to Oxford. The 500-year-old shop features in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass and is steeped in a rich history. In the book, Alice deals with a sheep shopkeeper – but today you will find friendly humans selling sweets and souvenirs.
7. The Eagle and Child
Widely known as J.R.R. Tolkien’s favourite pub, a stop-off at The Eagle and Child is an absolute must for any book lover. The pub is famous for its links to the Inklings literacy group, with members including Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Discover the meeting place where Lewis first handed out proofs for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe!
(Photo Credit: Tripadvisor)
When you’re done exploring, enjoy a little bedtime reading at our hotel in Oxford. We look forward to seeing you soon.