Oxford: Entranced by Hogwarts-Style Charm

A slow, steady rain fell throughout nearly the entire duration of my (quite brief) stay in Oxford, England, but it almost felt fitting. This town, filled as it is with stately, grand architecture, looks particularly beautiful in the rain. In other words, dreary moodiness just suits Oxford.

After checking into my hotel – The Randolph, which was quite nice – I set out to explore. Right away, I found myself loving the stately, cream-colored buildings that define this town.

After my morning walk, I headed to the Covered Market for lunch. The Covered Market is exactly what its name says it is, and it’s filled with a lot of cute little shops and food stalls. I made a beeline to Pieminister, purveyors of – you guessed it – pies. But not sweet pies: Pieminister serves savory, meaty delights. I ordered a chicken and mushroom pie atop mash (mashed potatoes, that is), and it was exactly the sort of homey, hearty fare I needed on a drizzly day.

Oxford University is made up of over 30 different colleges, but the most famous is Christ Church, aka real life Hogwarts. The big attraction at Christ Church is, naturally, the dining hall (or, in Hogwarts-speak, the Great Hall), but the entire complex is filled with beautiful nooks to explore. The chapel there is gorgeous, as are the many courtyards you can poke your way through.

My visit culminated with a trip to Christ Church’s famous dining hall. The staircase leading up to it was quite grand (you can see why it was used in the movies), and the dining hall itself is impressive too. I was surprised, however, by how cozy it was! It was not at all as large as I had imagined it would be.

After visiting Hogwarts – errrr, Christ Church – I made my way back into town. It was, of course, still raining. Undeterred, I took a meandering path back to my hotel, ducking down lanes, making loops far out of my way, and poking into still more courtyards. Everything was lovely.

I concluded my day with a spot of tea back at the Randolph. I settled into a comfy booth and luxuriated over a very sloooooowly paced tea, spending hours nibbling on scones and sweets while reading. After a whole day out in the rain, this coziness was just what the doctor ordered.

Even with all the rain, I couldn’t help but be charmed by Oxford. It is entirely doable as a day trip from London, but I liked having a bit of time to linger, free from the bustle of the big city. It’s an ideal spot for a nice city break.

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