Oxford, Harry Potter Hall, and Tolkien’s Grave
Oxford teems with literary connections, and as a lifelong reader of British lit, I couldn’t wait to wander the lanes connecting Town and Gown in this concretion of shops, inns, and venerable walled colleges.
Having survived our first left-hand driving terrors (“Drifting! Drifting!”), Thor and I located our charming B&B, then followed a public footpath through a cow field and along a brook featuring picturesque swans.
We emerged near The Turf, the “oldest pub in Oxford,” established around 1640, according to their sign (though some sources say 13th century). Fortified with ale, sausages, and mushy peas, we set out to explore.
A fan of Dorothy L. Sayers, I was delighted to visit locations from Gaudy Night, my favorite of her novels featuring Lord Peter Wimsey. Past the elegant Bodleian Library, we wandered down Jowett Walk to Magdalen Bridge.
The next day, we toured Christchurch College and its Great Hall, where scenes from the Harry Potter films were made.
One of the stained glass windows there features images from Alice in Wonderland, so naturally our next stop was Alice’s Shop, full of every trinket remotely related to the story.
We made another pub stop at The Eagle and Child, meeting place of the Inklings—a literary group that included C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.