I had visited Oxford briefly before, on my Europe Trip, if only just to have lunch at the Eagle and Child pub. Because of it’s close proximity to London, it makes for such an easy day trip and so I wanted to visit it again when I got here. The train tickets are cheap and it was only an hourish train ridea way, so on a lovely Saturday in June, that was where I headed.
The great thing about Oxford is that it is just lovely walk around. There is not an overwhelming amount of sites to see, and enough to keep you occupied for the day if you want. My main focal points for this day trip were to lay flowers at J.R.R. Tolkien’s grave and visit the Bodleian library.
Tolkien is buried at Wolvercote Cemetry, which is a short bus ride just outside of the Oxford city center. I did this as soon as my train got in. It was easy to get too, and the cemetery has small signs pointing you in the direction of his grave (I would imagine more than a few people come to visit) so that was easy to find as well. It was a quick visit for me, I did not want to linger but it felt special to be able to pay my respects to such a briliant author.
After this, I walked around the center a bit before making my way to Merton College, which was also where Tolkien taught. Unfortunately tours were closed that day because it was graduation day, so I will have to go back but I did take some pretty pictures of the quads. After this it was a quick lunch at a delicious cafe and then I headed onto my tour of the Bodleian library!!
You can only visit the library as a tourist through a guided tour, and even with that, you only get walk around the outside perimieter of the library, being careful not to touch any of the books. Pictures are not allowed either, with good reasons. The books in this library are old, really really old. Our tourguide even pointed out an original Aristotle! The old book smell was my favourite part. It was a short but well worth it tour, even if it was hard to be so close to all those incredible books and not be allowed to open one up.
You are allowed to visit the new library though! Which currently has an awesome (and free!) exhibit going on of famous books throughout the ages. You can see original Frankenstien manuscripts, as well as some Jane Austen works, to name a few.
The rest of my day was spent wandering around taking pictures of the gorgeous colleges, venturing into little shops and cafes, watching the antics of all the graduates, and taking a lovely stroll along the river.
I highly recommend Oxford as a day trip. You get to see another side of England and frankly it is just so darn pretty! You can be sure I will be back.
– xoxo Veronica