Vanbrugh House



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.

Take a Rowing boat down the River

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.

Visit the Mad Hatter’s House

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.

Explore the Christ Church grounds

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.

Treat Yourself at Alice’s Shop

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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