The Dreaming Spires of Oxford

From the first few months in which I moved to England, I had longed to visit Oxford, ‘city of spires’: renowned for its scholarly excellence, strong literary connections and gothic architecture. I have since visited the city several times each on fleeting occasions. Last Autumn, I finally got round to exploring a few more sites of interest, including  Blackwell’s bookshop (if you love all things literary, this is a bookworm’s heaven) and the Museum of History and Science (also fascinating for those who don’t usually geek out).

It’s not everyday you see your lecturers name on the front stand in Blackwell’s with David Attenborough narrating the foreword. As a writing student, this gives me hope! I could easily have wasted away a whole day away in this treasure trove, particularly the children’s section, but that’s a story for another time. Even if you’re not particularly keen in reading, if your ever going to find a book that forces you to see down and take notice, its this place.

Eventually I wondered away form the delights I’d discovered on Broad Street and headed in the direction of another explicit emporium, that I never fail to stop by on my Oxford excursions. Scriptum on Turl Street boasts an old-worldly interior. A bell alerts the proprietor to as you step  through the door.. Downstairs offers an ornate collection of stationers good, inkwells, wax stamps, quills etc. Wander up the stairs and you’ll find shelves of ornate classics, ornamental scrapbooks, leather bound diaries and vintage-esque trinkets (that are admittedly more decorative than necessity).

After a lot of lusting after items I couldn’t afford, it was time to grab a bite to eat. As it was getting notably later on a Sunday, I didn’t think it wise to wander too far for lunch and so settled for a quaint café within the indoor market. Here I enjoyed a rather slim slice of quiche, along with a luxurious cup of hot chocolate, which was welcomed after the intake of the night before (let’s say the drinks were generously shared at a friend’s Halloween party). Not quite ready to leave, but with darkened skies looming above, time was made for a brief stroll through the grounds of the Bodleian Library.

The outing was completed with a dainty view from below the ‘bridge of sighs’ and a rather impromptu look around the interior of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin (bit of a mouthful to say isn’t it?). There was a lovely chilled atmosphere about Oxford’s streets, despite proving to be quite the grey day outdoors. I love the fact that every time I visit, I’m discovering something or someplace new, as well as revisiting old haunts. I know I’d like to tour a few more of the colleges in future and tour a few of the pubs as well! And I’m yet to create my dreamy envision of punting on the Thames, but maybe best leave that to next year now, alas… Although, I can tick the Eagle & Child off my literary listings – it’s a great cosy pub, where CS. Lewis and JRR Tolken would regularly oblige in their favourite tipple, so of course when in Oxford I couldn’t help but join in!

Have you ever visited the architectural beauty of this famous university city? I’d love to hear your favourite place to visit and am always open to recommendations!

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