Monday 2 December 2013

Day 3 - Oxford!

It has been a while since my travel report from England, so I think we are all well rested for a long walk. Warning: this will be lots of pictures, lots of links, and no crafts at all.
The third day of our trip was the one I was really looking forward to. We had train tickets to Oxford! And you must guess by now who was there to meet us and show her expertise as a tour guide in her old home town. Our mutual friend Melanie! So, like I told in my last travel post, dear daughter and I took the train from Paddington and arrived in Oxford just an hour later. We met Melanie and her husband at the station, and Melanie handed out copies of The Inspector Morse City Trail, a map of Oxford and a guide book for later studies. Our first destination was the Ashmolean Museum. Once again, we just picked our favourite parts like textiles, netsuke miniature sculptures, and tools.

This is the Martyr's Memorial seen from the steps of the Ashmolean. The Martyrs in question were protestants and the Memorial is from 1843.
Our next stop was the Eagle and Child pub, the meeting place of J.R.R.Tolkien and C.S.Lewis and their friends in the 1940's and later. The weather was turning cloudy and the cosy fire looked so inviting.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch, and Melanie and I made a little tour around the pub.

The original pub from the 17th century has been altered over the years. New rooms have been added, and there are photos of the famous Inklings. Click the photo to read, if you like.

When our walk continued, we saw the famous Bodleian Library. I think this is the right photo, there were big building works going on so we couldn't really see the main building. Can you imagine a library with more than 11 million printed items, and a copy of all new books published in England is deposited there so the collection grows on a daily basis? 
The Oxford Bridge of Sighs from 1913 joins two buildings of Hertford College. It was a familiar sight from the Inspector Morse series.
Our local male guide led us to St. Helen's Passage. The lower sign says "The Famous Turf Tavern".

This plaque on the wall was interesting:

We seemed to bump into the Pre-Raphaelites everywhere. - Here, at the end of the narrow passage and after a few turns, we found the Turf Tavern. It is one of the oldest pubs in Oxford, under one of the last remaining parts of the city wall.  I must keep my eyes open for this place too if there will be re-runs of the old Inspector Morse series.
The University of Oxford is "everywhere".

 Beautiful buildings

wherever you turn your head.

Knitted graffiti!

Bicycles everywhere. The streets were very narrow and bicycles seemed the best means to get to places. This round building is the Radcliffe Camera, built in the 18th century as a library.

The porters look exactly like on TV!

This is where the Liddel family lived. Lewis Carrol wrote his Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for their daughter Alice.

This is Inspector Morse's police station.

Not far from it, just down the street, was a place I remember well from the series. The Head of the River pub. Morse and Lewis often had a beer here and discussed a case they were working on.

We sat here for a while to rest our feet (at least mine) and had some tea or other refreshments.

Christ Church Memorial Garden

Beautiful flowers there, it was mid September.

Tom Tower and Christ Church. The tower was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and the tower was named after the bell Great Tom. It is the loudest bell in Oxford and it is still sounded 101 times every night at 21.05 as a sign for all colleges to close their gates.

The other side of the gardens.

On our way to the Pitt River's museum we saw more of the beautiful parks and gardens.

At this point it was raining and it was too difficult to take pictures and hold an umbrella, so the show ends here. You just need to imagine a nice hot cup of your favourite tea with some warm scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream.
On the way back to the railway station we had a glimpse of the Oxford Castle and of the Jam Factory, where the original Frank Cooper's Oxford Marmalade comes from. I know it from the book Missee Lee by Arthur Ransome. The Swallows and Amazons meet this former Cambridge student who loves Oxford Marmalade.
Thank you Melanie for a lovely day! It was worth the bleeding toes and blisters on my heels. Oxford has a special place in my heart now.


  1. It's a gorgeous area and the buildings are amazing. When my family visited in 2003 it was the hottest days they'd had in decades! Not a good day to ride at the top of the double decker tour bus.

  2. Thanks for taking us on your tour! You packed a lot into one day. But then again with Melanie along I think you had the best tour guide possible!

  3. So glad you enjoyed seeing a lot of Oxford. Sorry the buses weren't running properly in the clean up from St Giles' Fair. Yes all is labelled correctly :-)


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