Our rough Itinerary for a day in Oxford:
-Walk the campuses of Oxford (Christ Church College)-eat or snack in the Great Hall, (St. John’s College)
-Lunch at Eagle and Child Pub
-Radcliffe Camera Building
-Ashmolean Museam (free) or Pitts River Museam (Free)
-Rooftop views from St. Mary’s
-explore on foot
Starting out at Paddington Station, we took a train to Oxford early in the morning. I’d rather get to the train station extra early and sit around eating breakfast, than being stressed about making the train. This is usually what we would do on days we traveled somewhere by train, and it would give me a chance to write in my travel journal, which was always hard for me to keep up with due to little down time.
Tip: Your train platform isn’t announced until a few minutes before departure, so you have to pay attention when the departure time nears. You can’t really get on the train “early.”
We arrived in Oxford after the 2-hour train ride and walked in direction of the campus. We saw an Oxford student encouraging people to follow along with his walking tour, and since we had planned on walking the campuses anyway, figured this was a convenient way to do it while also getting useful facts and info. Plus, it was free. It ended up being a really good time, and we enjoyed all the history and information that our guide provided. The tour covered a large part of what we traveled there to see. We passed this lamp post, which was part of the inspiration for C.S. Lewis’ first book in The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.As well as this doorway which was right across from it- Do you recognize any characters from his Narnia Series? This was the inspiration for Mr. Tumnus, the Faun… and this was a source of inspiration for Aslan, the Lion. Ryan loved seeing all this, being a big fan of C.S. Lewis himself. Our guide walked us through various areas of the campus for about 2 hours, all the while, pointing out different areas such as: where Harry Potter had been filmed, where literary legends worked, lived, and got their inspirations from as well as a ton of history on the University itself. Past these gates was a garden that was said to be a source of inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.Our guide ended the tour, conveniently, across from the pub we had decided to dine for lunch. The Eagle and Child Pub is where the famously dubbed “inklings” such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien met up to hang out and discuss their works over a nice drink. We chose a private little nook toward the front of the restaurant to settle into and Ryan was off to explore the pub while I continued catching up on my travel journal. It is just average pub food, but if atmosphere is more of interest to you, this is the place to eat.
From here, we explored different areas on foot, pretty much whatever caught our eye.
Eventually we walked over to St. Mary’s where we knew we could pay a small fee to get roof access for wonderful views of the town. Well worth the $3 or so. The church is pretty on the inside as well and a nice place to rest in a pew and listen to organ music.
It’s a narrow climb up to the roof but manageable if you don’t have claustrophobia or knee or back problems.
From there, we went to Christ’s College. Pictured below is the staircase filmed in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, when Harry chooses the side of good and decides not to accept Draco’s friendship invitation. 🙂 Here is their Great eating Hall, which was the inspiration for the Great Hall in the Harry Potter Movies. They couldn’t film here, however, because there was only room for three long tables and they needed four for the four houses. If you arrive early enough, you can eat here, but by the time we got there, they were closed. Since we had already eaten pub food, we decided to grab a small bite in this cafe, my choice being tea and scones of course. It started storming so we waited it out in the cafe, and then headed for the train station later that evening. We didn’t get to see everything on our itinerary but saw things we hadn’t planned on, so it worked out in the end. Oxford is a must see city and a very doable day trip from London.