It’s a well-known fact that Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is an Oxford University alumnus who studied and taught Mathematics. It is in Oxford that he was inspired by Alice Liddell, the real-life Alice, to write his iconic children’s story. Explore the secrets of Wonderland when you visit our boutique hotel in Oxford and trace the story all over the city.
In 1862, Carroll (then known as Charles Dodgson) took Alice and her sisters on a boat ride down the River Isis for a picnic. He told them the tale of a little girl who saw a white rabbit run past with her pocket watch and followed him down a rabbit hole into Wonderland. Alice then begged him to write down the story for her, and thus began the creation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which hit bookstores 3 years later.
However, the boat trip wasn’t Carroll’s only inspiration. A little further along the river is Grandpont House, a mansion almost hidden amongst the trees. It was here the local milliner; Thomas Randall lived, who was apparently known around Oxford as ‘the hatter’.
Find out more about cruises that can take you there here.
Many Alice in Wonderland themed tours begin at the Christ Church’s 17th century clock tower. The clock is famously set five minutes off Greenwich time, making Oxford in a different time zone from London. If you have your watch set to Greenwich time, you’ll always be five minutes late – like the white rabbit. Alice’s father, the dean of Christ Church and Carroll’s friend, was known for always being late, so it is believed it was he who inspired the white rabbit.
Across the road from Christ Church, Alice’s childhood home, is The Old Sheep Shop where Alice and her sisters came to buy sweets. Today it embraces her heritage, stacked high with Alice curiosities and memorabilia. It’s the perfect place to end your self-guided Wonderland adventure.
Why not stay in our Lewis Carroll room at our Oxford Hotel to really get into the Wonderland spirit as you explore the fantastical Oxford, a true home of literary creativity and inspiration. Also check out Alice’s Day on the 7th July, Oxford’s annual festival celebrating all things Wonderland!
Vanbrugh House Hotel, a boutique hotel in Oxford, is ideally located in the centre of Oxford, near to the area’s top Oxford museums, Oxford theatres and Oxford bars. To check availability, email us or call us on 01865 244 622.
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Lovely hotel in a wonderful central location. We could easily walk to most places of interest with many restaurants. We had booked a superior double, which was on the second floor and quiet as requested.
The staff were happy to help with our luggage. Standard of room excellent with a lovely bathroom and walk in shower.
Assistance pleasantly provided by helpful staff - good restaurants, parking, ice, taxis etc. Good breakfast choice included in tariff. Loved our stay and would certainly return.
The experience was superb from start to finish. Lovely deluxe room with private garden. Excellent for a special treat. The hotel is in a great location and Oxford has plenty of lovely coffee shops and restaurants to keep you nourished.
The hotel suite is very nice and spacious. We love every detail in the room, especially the shower in the bathroom! The complimentary breakfast is also very good with nice service! Definitely will stay over again if we come back to Oxford!
My husband and I came to Oxford to celebrate our wedding anniversary. From the moment we arrived at the hotel all staff were very accommodating and friendly. We were kindly given a room that required no steps (The Sir John Vanbrugh Suite) given that I am heavily pregnant. In addition, we were given a welcome drink to celebrate our anniversary as well as a lovely card- a really nice touch especially given that it was so long ago since I'd mentioned it in our booking!
Breakfast the next morning was fantastic - really fresh ingredients and friendly staff. The location of the hotel is excellent. We used the park and ride option for parking which really was very easy and much cheaper than the multi storey.
Our room looked out onto the main street but noise definitely wasn't a problem. The best part of the room was either the very comfy bed or the enormous bath! Thanks to all staff for making our stay so relaxing and enjoyable!
I recently spent one night at Oxford and since I'm not driving and I plan to take the train, I want to stay in a decent hotel at the city centre and close to train station. Vanbrugh House Hotel ticks all of the above.
Staff are super helpful and friendly, I arrived on the day with big snow and my train was cancelled so I have to get off at Didcot Parkway and take a bus. By the time I arrived, it was only 12 noon but the staff kindly check me in early. They also helped carried the luggage (together with me, of course) to go up the stairs.
The hotel was recently renovated and positioned as a boutique hotel, the size of the room is very okay as I'm travelling sole and it's very comfortable. Shower facilities are great so as the washroom amenities are very high quality. Breakfast, traditional English breakfast with unlimited cereal plus toasts was excellent. Would definitely stay here again.
Our stay at the Vanbrugh House Hotel was enjoyable. The hotel is located in the centre of Oxford, giving us the opportunity to explore Oxford right outside the front door. The staff were very helpful and courteous, and after a day of touring it was relaxing to have a glass of wine at the hotel.
What a fabulous hotel. The staff, location and rooms are excellent. The staff couldn't do enough to help and were very welcoming. Location is perfect for the Theatre, the new Westgate shopping centre and plenty of restaurant within a very short walk.
The rooms are beautiful and very clean. Loved the fact that anything in the rooms fridge was complimentary.
Beautiful hotel in the centre of Oxford, great location with everything nearby, but very peaceful and quiet. The room was gorgeous, the staff very friendly and helpful. Great food and spotless rooms. Thoroughly recommended and we'll definitely be returning.
I love luxury stays with family and this hotel is perfect. Rooms are clean, spacious and comfortable. Our kids had a very enjoyable time there. Staff are very nice and they helped us with how to organise free time for our kids. Highly recommended!
Nice little boutique hotel, centrally located in a quiet area. Complimentary snacks, tea, coffee in room. Comfy beds and best bonus was Mustafa from the front desk staff. He was most ready and willing to help with any request, and at all times with a very friendly and a happy personality.