Grand Tour of Great Britain-Oxford UK

Today we explore the city of the British Inspectors: Morse, Lewis and Endeavour. After a very filling breakfast, we board a small coach and head out of London for Oxford. There are only five of us today: Jay and me, Gwen and Robin and our fearless leader Nick.

We meet our guide for the morning, Diana, at the Martyr's Memorial to begin our tour.

In 1553 when the Roman Catholic Queen Mary (Bloody Mary) came to the throne, Thomas Cranmer (Archbishop of Canterbury), Nicholas Ridley (Archbishop of London), and Hugh Latimer (Bishop of Worcester) were summoned to appear before a commission in the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Oxford to be examined for their alleged Protestant heresies.

Unable to admit to a belief in transubstantiation, they were all found guilty. Ridley and Latimer were burnt at the stake on 16 October 1555 in the ditch outside the city wall (which ran alongside St Michael at the Northgate Church).  See the photo below for the location.

Archbishop Cranmer, who had been given longer to appeal, was forced to watch, and wrote a recantation. None the less he was taken from the Bocardo gaol at the Northgate to the ditch on 21 March 1556 and also burnt to death. The memorial was erected 300 years after the events it commemorates.

Fast forward to the present.
Oxford is home to a world famous university, and most of the colleges and university buildings are located in the center of Oxford. There are 38 colleges (what we call Universities) here. There are more than 22,000 students at Oxford, including 11,832 undergraduates and 9,857 postgraduates.

Oxford and it's wonderful buildings are used for MANY film sets. Check out Films in Oxford for a listing including Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, and the Colin Dexter Detectives.

Our first stop is Balliol College.

The dining hall looks a little like Hogwarts Dining Hall (that was filmed down the road at Christ Church)
Some very famous people attended Balliol College: Christopher Hitchens, Harold Nicholson, Graham Greene, George Stephanopoulos, Richard Dawkins and Aldous Huxley.

The University counts 26 British Prime Ministers, 50 Nobel Prize leaders, and dozens of international heads of state among its alumni. Oh, and 120 Olympic medallists have studied there. Check out the LIST.

We walk past the Sheldonain Theatre, a venue for official university functions as well as a variety of concerts, on our way to the Weston Library.

We stop at the White Horse for a quick Inspector Morse check-in. We just poke our heads into the the Weston but I think Jay and I will return here during our free time.

We make our way down the street to our next stop, another Harry Potter shooting location...

The Bodleian Library Divinity Hall, the vaulted ceiling is spectacular.

This really is the city of Dreaming Spires.

Remember this photo! Diana told us that Endeavour was filming here last week and she saw the JAG and Shaun Evans parked here.

We walk through the shopping arcade and I spot some crazy guitars. I've seen quite a few of these large and live.

We break for lunch and Jay and I head back to the Weston Library.

I need to see the Bodleian Treasures
 William Shakespeare's First Folio.

They are also exhibiting books and letters penned by Jane Austen in their "Which Jane Austen?" exhibit.

We meet up with Gwen, Rob and Nick and grab lunch at the White Horse.

As a huge fan of Inspector Morse, Inspector Lewis and Endeavour this is the place to eat lunch.

If we had more time I think I would have liked to do a Morse Tour... There are many helpful guides online.

Before heading back to London we hit The Eagle and Child (inspired I guess by the ceiling in Divinity Hall?)

A pint of Nicholson's Porter is in order to fortify us for our trip back to London-town.

The Eagle and Child lays claim to a number of interesting literary connections. J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and fellow writers met here and dubbed themselves 'The Inklings'. They nicknamed the pub 'The Bird and Baby'. They met regularly in a booth in the back.

More photos of Oxford: CLICK HERE

Back in London, we freshen up for one final dinner with our group. Nick told us that folks wanted to get together for one last meal before we all scatter home. It was suggested that we try The Central Bar (where Jay and I ate a few nights ago-good food, GREAT beer on tap) but we know this is a bad idea. This place is small (getting a table for 13 will be difficult, if not impossible. And they have no table service, you order and pay at the bar and they'll bring your food to you.

So we arrive and folks look uncomfortable. Jay, Graham and Mark head to the bar and buy beers and wine. The others decide they want to leave. They head over to a burger place, Byron, at Westfield London. We six finish our cocktails and make our way to Byron.

We had a yummy dinner and said our goodbyes to everyone.

Back in our room we finish packing up and set our alarm for 4:30 a.m. Our taxis is whisking us to Heathrow at 5 :30 a.m.

On the plane, Monday October 23, I binge watch Victoria to learn about her and Albert. Next thing I know we're landing in Newark. We race home to pick up Riley and start washing the mountain of dirty clothes we've collected.

We had a wonderful trip and met some really AWESOME people in every city we stopped at. I'm closing my trip journal and placing it on the shelf with journals from our other adventures.

Grand Tour of Great Britain with Go Ahead Tours

I think it's time to start planning our next GREAT adventure.