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(Prepared by Kim Gilnett with assistance from Stan Mattson and Michael Ward) Please be aware that this is an outdoor walking tour, and NOT a tour of the interiors of the locations you’ll be seeing. When facing Blackwell’s you will notice a tiny pub on your left.
The buildings on the tour may not be open and available to the general public. Begin this walk in front of the world-famous Blackwell’s Bookshop on Broad Street, directly across the street from the Sheldonian, Oxford’s most illustrious meeting hall designed by Christopher Wren. The White Horse, which seems almost part of the shop.
Behind that wall is the Magdalen College Grove with its unique deer park. It is highly recommended that you pay a little more for the guided tour.
You will see it better when you enter Magdalen College. Continue to the very end of Longwall Street where it meets the busy High Street. Looking down from the bridge, over the parapet, you will very likely see a number of punts on the Cherwell River. These tours are generally given by current students who can often take you into areas to which you would otherwise not be allowed. After completing your tour of Magdalen College, step out of the Porter’s Lodge and cross the road.
Turn left and walk past the entrance of Magdalen College on to the center of Magdalen Bridge, which spans the River Cherwell. As you turn to face Magdalen College, you will find one of the most beautiful sights in all of Oxford, the glorious Magdalen Tower. This is a great place to rent a punt for an afternoon on the slow-moving river. We also recommend that you purchase one of the guidebooks. In front of you is the Botanic Garden, open to the public.
It will give valuable information on Magdalen College. This is the oldest garden of its kind in England and contains many rare and interesting specimens.
There behind me, far away, never more beautiful since, was the fabled cluster of spires and towers.
I had come out of the station on the wrong side and been all this time walking into what was even then the mean and sprawling suburb of Botley.
, reports that Lewis and his friends used to meet in these two pubs during the war (and at the Mitre on the High Street) because of a beer shortage “caused largely by thirsty American troops waiting for D-Day.” The shortage meant that the Inklings could not always rely on their favourite haunt, The Eagle and Child (also known as “The Bird and Baby”) to provide refreshment.“I felt dazed and restless [at the news of Williams’ death], and went out to get a drink: choosing unfortunately the King’s Arms, where during the winter Charles and I more than once drank a pint after leaving Tollers [J. There will be no more pints with Charles: no more “Bird and the Baby”: the blackout has fallen, and the Inklings can never be the same.” 3.
The house is still there, the first on the right as you turn into Mansfield Road out of Holywell.
I shared the sitting room with another candidate, a man from Cardiff College, which he pronounced to be architecturally superior to anything in Oxford.
It is built on an ancient Jewish burial-ground as is Magdalen College. As you face the Botanic Garden, turn right and walk back towards the center of Oxford along the High Street (known to many simply as “the High”). Continue along the High until you reach the Eastgate Hotel, which is on the corner of Merton Street. Lewis in a letter to his brother, November 1939: ” On Thursday we had a meeting of the Inklings — you and Coghill both absent unfortunately. I have never in my life seen Dyson so exuberant — “A roaring cataract of nonsense.” 16.
Since Tolkien was a Fellow of Merton College and Lewis of Magdalen College, the Eastgate was a convenient place for them to meet. If you wish, you may take a detour down Merton Lane to Merton College. On your left you will come to the most famous Lewis pub, The Eagle and Child (also known as “The Bird and Baby”).