We have a new chapter of our Cotswolds travel stories, and today, as I anticipated, quite a turn of events from the peaceful farms, cows, sheep & stone houses towns: we decided to polish our brooms and fly to Oxford! – ok, we just bought train tickets, but it’s more fun that way, ha! – Apparate and come with us!
Oxford was one of those places that truly left me speechless, I think it’s because I’ve always had such admiration for historical colleges and what they represent. Being able to walk a town, that’s entirely devoted to them, where you can definitely feel the love and recognition to learning in every corner, is something very special.
We really didn’t have enough time to visit Oxford properly and added it instantly to our pending list, but still we were able to geek out a little and feel like in a Harry Potter movie for a day. In fact you will see here two mid-days (in case you will wonder about the change of clothing!) as we dedicated one afternoon to the Bodleian Library, walk around and have dinner while we left the wonderful Christ Church College for our last day. Oxford is only 15-20 minutes away from Moreton-in-Marsh (our Cotswolds home base) which made it quite convenient so couldn’t miss the chance for this little peek.
This impressive 15th century building keeps it’s function as a library for researchers, but also offers tours to the historical former examination hall called Divinity School (in the pics!) and the Duke Humfrey’s medieval library. Unfortunately tickets are sold out at least one day ahead, and since we didn’t plan this afternoon in Oxford, we arrived too late to visit the medieval library and were only able to visit the Divinity School. So a good tip for Oxford is to plan ahead and buy all your tickets online. Thanks to this incident we bought the tickets for our last day online and thus were able to visit the Christ Church college (yay!).
The Bodleian library has been a location for many Harry Potter movies: the Duke Humfrey’s library is Hermione’s favorite part of Hogwarts, as it’s also the library of the famous school of wizardry. The Divinity School is Hogwart’s infirmary and also appears as Minerva McGonagall classroom to teach Ron how to dance for the Tri-wizard Yule ball in the Goblet of fire (check here a video of this moment).
The exterior of the library is gorgeous and not only very pleasant to wander around but also a perfect photoshoot location, specially at the closing times when you will be left all alone in your own thoughts (or dance steps in my case!)
Christ Church College
Christ Church is the largest college in Oxford and also one of the oldest dating from the 16th century. Oxford even goes way back in time 2 centuries when the three first colleges where established (quite incredible! In Spain the oldest university is Salamanca, also from a similar date). The college has lots of history but it’s popularity among tourists (like us) is partially because it has been used also as a location for the Harry Potter films.
After our Bodleian library mini-fiasco we were able to book tickets online for the last day of our trip to go back to Oxford. Access is controlled so you need to choose an hour of day (take this also in mind!) but once you are inside you can take as long as you wish to visit everything.
Can you recall these stairs? It is the welcoming staircase of Hogwarts! and what’s even more impressive is that they lead to the dining hall, which makes everything even more Harry Potter immersive. The staircase has 6 brass lamps (with little dragons) and a fanned vaulted ceiling with bosses, again could be disguised as the Hogwarts houses crests.
Probably the place that made us exclaim the bigger “wow” was the dining hall, which is not a real location of Harry Potter but the inspiration of the Great Hall. It was surprising to have that feeling of being actually at the Great Hall although it’s not exactly equal, but it’s more about the vibes you get from it for the wood ceiling and powerful portraits hanging from the walls.
The Hall in Christ Church dates from the 16th century and has been used almost non-stop since there, the day we were visiting the table was set to host a lunch for Japanese exchange summer students. Imagine eating here, swoon!
If you have recommendations of things to do in Oxford, please add them in the comment section because we definitely will use them next time. Also need to mention the perfect lunch stop we had at the Handle Bar Café and Kitchen, a coffee shop on top of a bike store, that’s not only super cute but with very yummy healthy food. No pics this time, although we may post them in a mix-and-match post in the future because I fell in love with the place.
Thanks for keep reading until this far, we love you.