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Home: The Travel Society’s trip to Oxford

Oxford, one of the intellectual hubs of Britain. A beautifully crafted town with an abundance of English history, culture and knowledge. It seeps, oozes, radiates excellence and refined wit. I think the town captures everything British and remarkable about human nature. Only a stones throw away from Reading, it is one town I really recommend, if you have not already, visiting. If this opening has not persuaded you to pop on a train one weekend or Wednesday afternoon then hopefully my account of the Travel Society’s day trip there last week will.

The Bodleian library served as Hogwarts infirmary for four of the films

It was a sunny Wednesday afternoon and myself, along with the rest of the committee, eagerly awaited the arrival of budding travelers to spend the day in Oxford. It was a free trip for members which promised a tour of the town visiting many of its iconic sights, going to the Pitts Rivers museum, seeing a few of the Harry Potter film locations and having a wander through the many markets on offer! It did not fail to deliver.

Upon arrival we split into groups and followed our own interests with friends and like-minded others. Our group did not consult a map, we wandered the streets without direction and looked around with awe and the opportunity to explore and discover. The scattered university building are so enchanting to walk past, it really feels like another world (The wizarding one…?). You can really feel and see the huge draw for students. It just gives off this vibe of cleanliness, order, civility, intellect and sophistication – and don’t even get me started on how everyone was cycling around the town casually, just so French!

Next on our list was to have a gander at the old shops and markets, and then Bodleian library and the famous Blackwell’s bookshop. As many of you Harry Potter fans may be well aware, the Bodleian library served as Hogwarts infirmary for four of the films (you know, where Prof. Mcgonnagal taught student to dance in The Goblet of Fire). After walking around these we made our way to the Pitts Rivers museum. I had no prior conceptions of what I would find here and I was to be pleasantly surprised and disturbed at what lay through its large wooden doors…

There is speculation that this museum was the inspiration for J.K.Rowling and her creation of Diagon Alley, and its not hard to see why. Its a maze of old artifacts from a variety of different countries and cultures. My favourites were looking at all the constructed or actual bones of various animals and dinosaurs. It felt like I’d entered the National History museum in London, but far more compact, with less people and less cabinets and displays to walk past.

And don’t even get me started on how everyone was cycling around the town, just so French! 

My next favourite part was in the second room on the second floor. Here I was treated to an extensive and hugely informative talk by one of guards on the artifacts of how different cultures saw beauty. For our culture there was a display of fake lashes, silicon implants and self tan. This was sat next to the fractured feet, long necks, fractured skulls formulated to be more oval and long among many others. All of which show how different cultures modify the body to conform to different standards of beauty.

Our next visit was to Christ Church where the set design for the Hogwarts Great Hall was inspired from. We didn’t get the chance to see the hall for ourselves, but it was still impressive nevertheless and the courtyard inside looked very similar to the Hogwarts grounds in the first movie (Philosopher’s Stone) where they all receive their first flying lesson. After this we walked round the town a little further before regrouping and catching the train home. But there is plenty more which Oxford has to offer and this really is just a snapshot of the things you can do and see. I really do recommend you catch a train and explore this place, its one not to be missed and for £10.55 on a return, with a 16 – 25 railcard, its a no brainer and great day out!


If you would like to get involved and go on one of the Travel Society’s trips then join our Facebook group!

Search Reading Travel Society 2013/ 2014!


About Hannah Banks


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