We caught the bus from Cambridge to Oxford via Milton Keynes. There was a man on the bus who smelled so strongly of cigarette smoke that we had to move away from him. Still, at least he wasn’t cutting his toenails like the guy on the bus we caught to Heathrow a while back.
We arrived in Oxford around 1:30 and paid to leave our bags at the Oxford Backpackers. Four pounds per bag wasn’t a bad deal and the staff let us use the toilets too, which was nice of them.
We set off for a wander around town. Obviously I had to take a photo of this pub, almost next door to the school Ronnie Barker attended and named after one of the most famous Two Ronnies comedy sketches. We would’ve stopped in for a drink but it’s a Wetherspoons – urgh.
First stop was lunch at the Eagle and Child, the pub frequented by the illustrious Inklings, who included JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.
It’s a smallish, dark and pokey pub that was heated to a startling temperature, but at the very back was a room that was less like a Saharan midday and had enough light to read the menu. We shared a chicken and chorizo pie that wasn’t half bad and left feeling fairly satisfied.
Next was a walk around the Natural History Museum. It looked a lot like the one in London but on a much smaller scale and was also free to enter.
There are a lot of interesting things to see. One of the exhibits that grabbed my attention were a gigantic wasp nest that was grown deliberately by some psychopath.
They had a good insect display with a few cases of live bugs including giant cockroaches. Another good section was a history of British culture with some great graphs showing immigration patterns across the centuries and one showed how different languages affected place names.
Our last stop was a Tolkien exhibition in the library that is opposite the Radcliffe Camera. Although it wasn’t large it did have a good number of original items on display and I thought the artwork was most interesting. Tolkien designed the dust jackets and illustrations for early editions – and drew all the maps of course. I had not known that he was born in South Africa, although his family moved back to England when he was three. Sadly photography wasn’t allowed so here’s a photo of the Radcliffe Camera instead.
We had a short walk through town before picking up our bags and heading to our Airbnb. As we booked this trip quite late we’d decided on just a room in an apartment. When we arrived the owners told us we’d have a continental breakfast provided every day – a nice surprise!
Next: Blenheim Palace.
7 thoughts on “Oxford: Authors, Ancient History, and Artifacts.”
Off to see the Tolkien exhibition in two week’s time so I’m looking forward to that. It’s just 40 minutes away from home too.
Nice! Lucky you to live so close and in such a beautiful part of the world:-)
If you’re interested in his art, remind me to show you a book I have called “J.R.R Tolkien: Artist ad illustrator”.
Tolkien nerd nitpick: Christopher actually did most of the work on the maps. IIRC JRR did rough drafts and then Christopher drew the ones that went in the books 🙂
These ones were the rough drafts:-) send me your address! I am not using my Australian sim and I have no record of it and a CERN postcard for you!
Oh wow, now I’m even more jealous!
Cool. Send me an email and I’ll give you my address, or get Luke to log into steam, I just sent him a message on there 🙂
Thanks, luke has it! Postcard will be sent once I get back to Cambridge:-)