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Tolkien’s Oxford – a city of literature

Tolkien’s Oxford – a city of literature

Tolkien’s Oxford – a city of literature.

Visiting Oxford is like a tour around Tolkien’s imagination – if you wander around this marvellous city, you can imagine where Tolkien found an inspiration to write “The Lord of The Rings” and “The Hobbit”. It’s an unusual place, full of academic atmosphere and history, full of magic places. If you arrive here, you feel this literary atmosphere, because of which Oxford is so famous. Another famous writers based in Oxford are: C.S.Lewis, Phillip Pullman or Lewis Carroll. It’s very easy to book a walking tour around the city centre, when a professional guide will guide you to the places connected with those authors.

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

The easiest way to get to Oxford.

Just book a flight to London, there are so many cheap airways, f.e. Ryanair or Wizzair. You have to get to London Victoria Station and switch to Megabus. If you book ticket about two months before, you can buy a ticket from London to Oxford for 1 GBP! Please, remember that Megabus does not have to have a logo on the bus – they sometimes use other coaches, so ask a driver if it’s the right bus.
Stop in Oxford:  Oxford Bus Station (Gloucester Green Bus Stn, George St, Oxford OX1 2BU). If you would like to stay in Oxfordshire for a longer, you can get from this station f.e. to Stratford – Upon – Avon or any other villages in Cotswolds. There is also a bus straight to Oxford from Luton Airport – check National Express coaches.

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

I would like to invite you for a short walk, which will give you a glimpse of Oxford and will inspire you to visit this beautiful place. I love Oxford and I will be back not only once for sure! My favourite season is Autumn, Oxford is full of incredible colours, the city is so mysterious and picturesque at that time.

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

This post is about J.R.R. Tolkien’s places in Oxford, so let’s start! I will show you some places where you can feel his soul and influence. I won’t tell you about Tolkien’s biography, if you are reading this post, you probably know a bit about one of the most famous writers of our times. Oxford is a place where Tolkien worked on in a university for many years and where he wrote his most famous books. You can see Tolkien’s impact in many places: pubs, restaurants, bookshops, museums & exhibitions.

Some facts about J.R.R.Tolkien:
1. He was a teacher of literatury in Oxford University (Pembroke College & Merton College).
2. He was one of The Inklings – an informal literary group.
3. He was born in South Africa, then he moved to Birmingham and finally – he moved to Oxford. His addresses in Oxford were:
21 Merton St, 76 Sandfield Rd, 99 Hollywell St, 3 Manor Rd. 20 i 22 Northmoor Rd and 50 St John’s St.
4. The love of his life was Edith, he met her when he was 16 years old.


The Eagle And Child pub
49 St Giles, Oxford OX1 3LU
Opened every day 12:00 – 11 p.m.

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

It’s probably the most famous connected with Tolkien. It’s one of the five most popular historic pubs in Oxford (from 1650) – it was a place of meeting of informal literary group “The Inklings”. They had meetings regularly, they were inspiring each other during long conversations, they shared their ideas while drinking beer.

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

Eagle and Child Pub in Oxford Eagle and Child Pub in Oxford

Regular meetings started in 1933 until 1962, Tolkien stopped attending meetings in 1950. This place is full of souvernirs after the group. The Eagle and Child is a very famous pub, on Fridays it’s full, so I recommend visiting Monday – Thursday and Sunday. It’s not so cheap (especially for me, earning in PLN), but if you really want to visit place where Tolkien’s ghost is still visible, you really need to come here and you won’t be disappointed!

Pembroke College

Pembroke Square, St Aldates, OX1 1DW
It’s a place where Tolkien worked as a professor for 20 years (1925 – 1945). Pembroke College has the most beaufitul university chapel in Oxford.

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

Merton College

Merton Street, OX1 4JD
After Pembroke, Tolkien was a professor of literature in Merton College for the next 14 years.
It’s one of the oldest colleges in United Kingdom – it’s from XIIIth Century. It houses one of the oldest biblioteques in Britain.

Exeter College

Turl Street, OX1 3DP
Tolkien studied here from 1911 until the beginning of 1st World War.

Radclife Camera

Radcliffe Sq, Oxford OX1

It’s the most photographed building in Oxford. It’s not surprising, the architecture is incredible!
I have spent a beautiful morning just staring at Radcliffe Camera and eating breakfast. Radcliffe Camera was built between 1737 and 1749. Now there’s a library, but it’s not public. Only members of the university have this wonderful opportunity to come inside. Radcliffe Camera was an inspiration for Sauron’s Sanctuary in “The Lord of The Rings”.

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

Bodleian Library

Broad St, Oxford OX1 3BG

It’s the most important biblioteque in Oxford, one of the European’s oldest libraries. Books are collected here from 1602, until now it includes more than 11 millions of manuscripts. There are Tolkien’s manuscripts and graphics for “Lord of The Rings”, but those materials are available only for chosen.
There is an opportunity to sighsteeing Duke Humfrey’s Library.

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

Botanical Garden in Oxford

Another place connected with Tolkien – our Master spent here so much time looking for an inspiration. It is a must to see this place – it’s a perfect idea for beautiful walk and having a rest in the city, especially during the Summer and Autumn. There was a Tolkien’s favourite tree but it was cut in 2014 after 215 of existence and we won’t have an opportunity to admire it. Now we know what was an inspiration for the Ents from “The Lord of The Rings”.

Addison’s Walk

Tolkien, C.S.Lewis and Hugo Dyson trail of literature disossions and ideas. If you want to get here, you have to buy a ticket to Magdalen College. I didn’t had a chance to visit this old and famous college (it was closed for visitors), but I promise I will show you Magdalen College next time!

Tolkien’s Grave

Wolvercote Cemetery,
Banbury Road Oxford Oxfordshire OX2 8EE

If you want to pay a tribute to this legendary author, you need to visit his grave on Wolvercote Cemetery. It’s a resting place of Tolkien and his wife. I was expexting a place with bunch of flowers, big monument etc. It’s just a simple grave of J.R.R. and his wife, Edith – only with few plasti flowers and small dragon figures, maybe a celtic cross too.

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

Encryption on the grave:
1889 – 1971
1892 – 1973


If you want to know more about the places connected with “The Narnia Chronicles” author, C.S.Lewis, here are some useful informations:

C.S. Lewis Walking Tour of Oxford Centre

For such kind of walking tour you have to reserve 2 hous and it’s only outside sightseeing. Tour starts at Magdalen College during the hours when college is open for visitors (between 2 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. everyday).

Here are some places you will visit during the walking tour:

1. Blackwell’s Bookshop on Broad Street.
2. White Horse + The King’s Arms pub (on Hollywell Street) + The Mitre – two “The Inklings” pub, they were meeting there during the WWII.

You will probably be very, very hungry after visiting all those places in Oxford.

Where to eat in Oxford?

I want to recommend you some nice places to eat or simply have a rest with a cup of delicious coffee.

1. Thaikhun Oxford –restaurant with Thai food. Very interesting interior, a really nice plae in the centre of Oxford. Close to the coach station.

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

2. The Turtle Bay – Jamaican food, the most energetic staff I’ve ever met! If you want to eat something really, really spicy – it’s for you!

3.  Vaults And Garden Cafe – what a wonderful place for breakfast and lunch break. Such a picturesque setting – it’s next to Radcliffe Camera and University Church! Just grab a breakfast set, it’s very, very tasty!

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

4. The Grand Cafe – it’s on the place of the oldest cafe in Oxford.

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave
5. Cafe Loco – cafe with perfect cakes, coffee and beautiful view. Right after Christ Churh sightseeing and wandering around The Christ Church Meadows, it’s the best place for having a rest and sweet feast. Look at this “Alice in Wonderland” wallpaper!

Tolkien's Oxford - a ity of literature. Post by Catherine The Brave

Check other Oxford related posts HERE

This BBC documentary might be really interesting for you 🙂

Merlose Abbey – one day trip to Scottish Borders

Merlose Abbey – one day trip to Scottish Borders

What about one day trip to Scottish Borders? I can highly recommend a Melrose Abbey one day trip – a XIIth Century magnificent ruins, where the heart of Robert The Bruce is resting in peace. It’s only 45 km from Edinburgh!
Beautiful and charming Melrose town is situated in the south – east Scotland, upon river Tweed.
Visiting Abbey was a part of my one day trip to Scottish Borders, it’s one of the most touristic places in Scotland.

How to get to Melrose Abbey?

Melrose Abbey
Abbey Street

National Grid reference: NT 548 341
Telephone: 01896 822 562


There’s a public car parking space 75 m from the Abbey / extra paid.

Audio tour

I think it’s a must – you wander around the Abbey with atmospheric monks chorals in your ears.
Handsets are available to borrow free of charge. Audio tours include a version for visitors with learning difficulties.

Short history of Melrose Abbey

Melrose Abbey was built in 650 AD by monks (it was called The Abbey of Old Melrose or Mailros) – they came here from St Columba’s monstery on Iona (A Scottish island). You’ve probably heard about St Cuthbert – he became Prior of Melrose Abbey in 664 AD. In 839 AD Melrose Abbey was destroyed by Kenneth McAlpine (a King of Scots). In 1136 it was rebuilt by Kind David I and Cistercian monks from Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire. Twelve monks were working to rebuilt this beautiful place. In 1385 AD Abbey was burnt by king Richard II, last devastation came in 1544 AD because of Henry VIII who married two years old Maria Stuart.  He destroyed everything on his way. Last monks died in Melrose Abbey in 1600 AD.

What kind of view can you see here?


Melrose Abbey, Scottish Borders, Scotland
View from the roof top

Melrose Abbey, Scottish Borders, Scotland

Melrose Abbey, Scottish Borders, Scotland

Melrose Abbey, Scottish Borders, Scotland
The south transept of Melrose Abbey

Melrose Abbey, Scottish Borders, Scotland

Melrose Abbey, Scottish Borders, Scotland

Melrose Abbey, Scottish Borders, Scotland

Melrose Abbey, Scottish Borders, Scotland

Melrose Abbey, Scottish Borders, Scotland
The Presbytery Roof
Melrose Abbey, Scottish Borders, Scotland
Stone Effigy


Melrose Abbey, Scottish Borders, Scotland

Melrose Abbey one day trip to Scottish Borders


Melrose Abbey one day trip to Scottish Borders


Melrose Abbey one day trip to Scottish Borders

Highlights of the visit:

A bagpipe pig – look around you, you will find it easily!
The Commendators House + Museum
A resting place of Robert The Bruce’s heart – his body is in Dumfermline Abbey.

Melrose Abbey one day trip to Scottish Borders

Opening hours:

1 April to 30 September:
Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5.30pm

1 October to 31 March:
Monday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm

Last entry is 30 minutes before closing.


25 and 26 December
1 and 2 January


Member/Explorer Pass holder: FREE
Adult: £5.50
Child aged 5–15: £3.30
Child under 5: FREE
Concession: £4.40

Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Concession price: this applies if you can show proof that you’re aged 60+ or unemployed.

More about Melrose Abbey

Visit Scotland page
Undiscovered Scotland


Highland Experience Tours


  • you can find their office on Royal Mile

Check my Instagram acount!

One day Cotswolds tour – a short guide to the countryside

One day Cotswolds tour – a short guide to the countryside


One day Cotswolds tour

One day Cotswolds tour – a short guide to the most charming region and landscape in Britain. Includes plenty of photos and recommendations.

Ladies and Gentleman, let’s go for a short walk…

It’s Cotswolds tour, we will explore a beautiful English rural landscape and countryside full of history, atmosphere, lovely architecture (famous Cotswolds golden coloured stone which is used to build houses and churchers here) and  gardens. You must know that Cotswolds area was called an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966.

I will give you some advices how to see the most important places here. This post is full of pictures, because Cotswolds region is so picturesque!

I don’t know whether you’re a Cotswolds tour lover or you haven’t heard about this place and it’s your first glimpse, but I need to tell you some things about this wonderful place. “Cotswolds” is a name of area (including following counties: Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire) – it’s long 145 km and width 40 km. It’s a place where Cotswolds stone is used to build everything – the colours of Cotswolds stone is different in any parts of the area, f.e. ston in Broadway is more honey – coloured than white stone in Bath. The highest point of the region is Cleeve Hill (330 m).

Thames River begins here! You can meet sheeps everywhere in Cotswolds. It’s a region of villages and little towns, very charming – it looks like time has stopped here hundreds of years ago. It looks like a movie set, full of charming cottages (some of them with 500 – 600 years history), little houses, restaurants, tea rooms, old churches and inn’s. It’s a very touristic places, now it’s very popular among rich English residents. There are plenty of nice accommodation places,  hotels and boutique shops. I didn’t know about it, I thought Cotswolds is a forbidden area when I first saw the pictures (that’s why I wanted to go there) – I was in shock when I’ve seen how expensive and popular it is! It’ s avery touristic place. What’s more – it’s famous now because of well – known TV – series “Escape to the country”. It’s about how rich British people search for nice houses and cottages to move from big cities to live a typical and calm country life. If you want to buy a new house and you have 400 thousand pounds to spend (minimum), feel free to buy a house here! You won’t be disappointed for sure! You have to consider few pounds for renovation too.

I saw Cotswolds pictures on Pinterest first, I was so stubborn to get here and to see Bourton – On The Water and Woodstock – and I finally did it! It was hard to find cheap way to travel around full area – there are some busses but if you want to take a glimpse of a whole Cotswolds area, you need to take an organised one – day tour. Searching for coaches for specific villages is possible, but it takes too much time to get from one village to another, believe me. You would have to consider few days there. But if you will choose one village or town to stay in  –  do it and take a long walk around this beautiful English countryside, you won’t be disappointed. You will truly fall in love witha rchitecture, atmosphere and landscape.

How to get here?

There are busses f.e. from Oxford Coach Station. If you stay in Oxford for a bit longer, you can visit many Cotswolds places. Renting a car is quite expensive, especially if you earn your salary in Polish zloty (like me), driving on the left side will be a challenge, especially on a roundabouts (how do they do it?). There are some tour companies which provide one – day tours around Cotswolds – some links at the end of this post, check it! You can also organise a private tour as well as cycle tour.

I took a trip with “Cotswolds Romming Tours”, it was the last chance to took this trip, because the owner retired few months after that. The owner was also our driver. As a historician, he had huge knowledge about the places we visited. I think I’ve seen as many places as can be done in one day. He was also a really charming person. Such kind of tours are really nice if you are open person, even if you travel by yourself, you can meet some nice people!
Below you can find my Cotswolds tour itinerary from non – existing company, if you have or hire a car, you can check it and organise your day in Cotswolds by yourself. Be aware that Oxford traffic is quite annoying and you have to include some time in this traffic in your tour itinerary.

Cotsolwds Tour Itinerary – starting point: Oxford

Great Barrington
Little Barrington
Great Rissington
Bourton – on – the – Water (stop for 45 minutes) – a charming centre, a Cotswolds iconic village!
Lower Slaughter (20 minutes break)
Upper Slaughter
Windrush Valley
Chipping Campden (1,5 hour break for sighsteeing and lunch, you ca take a bus to Stratford – Upon- Avon from the centre)
Broadway (25 minutes stop) – one of the most popular and most photographed places in Cotswolds
Stow – on – the – Wold (45 minutes break)
Chipping Norton – you can get to Stratford – Upon – Avon from here
Woodstock – 15 minutes from Oxford, a beautiful village with Blenheim Palace – one of the most popular places in Britain.

Price for such kind of tour is about 45 GBP/person, it was really worth it! It’s a shame I didn’t had a camera I have right now, but I did my best to show you this beautiful place with the equipment I had. Last photos from Woodstock village are taken with professional Canon camera. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.





This is how “new” buildings in Cotswolds look like. Famous cottages are historic, so everyone who wants to build a new house or cottage, must build it in style of old cottages – this is the responsibility of The Cotswolds Convservation Board. Cotswolds stone in old houses is “natural”, building material in new houses is made by people.

If you are interested in this subject, you have to watch “Escape to the Country” – originally from BBC Two. Aren’t these thatched roofs lovely?

Cotswolds episode

Bourton – on – the – Water – one of the most popular Cotswolds places. Full of tourists, nice tea roms and cafes. Perfect place for retirement. You can visit “Modern village” here.

What a beautiful contrast between “new” and “historical”

It was probably the most beautiful Autumn day I’ve ever seen.

Our journey ends in Woodstock – a beautiful village where you can visit famous Blenheim Palace – place, where Sir Winston Churchill grew up. I must stay it’s a very nice place to grow up, indeed. On my second visit (X 2016) I took some nice pictures of Blenheim Palace from the outside, a marathon that took place in Blenheim gardens and Woodstock village itself. Next time I want to visit Blenheim inside, it will take probably about 3 hours. It’s an impressive palace!


fot. Katarzyna Pracuch
fot. Katarzyna Pracuch

Magical Woodstock Village 🙂


Check some companies which provides one – day (or more if you want) tours to Cotswolds.

Cotswold Tours :
They provide:

– Oxford, Stratford and Cotswolds tour (one day)
– Downton Abbey location tour & Blenheim Palace (one day)
– Oxford, Stratford, Cotswolds & Warwick Castle (day tour)
– Cotswolds tour with lunch (11 hour)
– Warwick Castle, Stratford, Oxford & Cotswolds (one day)
– London, Oxford, Stratford & CHristmas lunch in the Cotswolds (one day)
– Stonehenge, Stratford, Bath & Cotswolds (one day)
– Blenheim Palace, Downton Village & the Cotswolds (one day)
– Stonehenge, Stratford – Christmas tour (one day)
– Oxford, Stratford, Warwick Castle New Year’s Day tour (one day)

Cotswolds Adventures:

– Classic Cotswolds day tour – group (one day)
– Cotswolds Cycle tour

Cotswolds tours from London

The most interesting places in Cotswolds:
Broadway Tower

Movie sets in Cotswolds

Important links:
The official Cotswolds website
The Cotswolds Tourism


Szimpla Kert – Szimpla Pub + Szimpla Farmer’s Market, Budapeszt

Szimpla Kert – Szimpla Pub + Szimpla Farmer’s Market, Budapeszt

Szimpla Kert Market w Budapeszcie

Szimpla Kert to pub i wyjątkowy niedzielny targ w jednym miejscu. Historia tego miejsca sięga 2000 roku. Szimpla Pub funcjonuje codziennie i jest jednym z najpopularniejszych pub’ów w Budapeszcie. Znajduje się w dzielnicy Kazinczy, słynącej z tzw. ruin pubs, które tworzą niezwykły klimat. Można wręcz powiedzieć, że są bardziej “ruined” niż nasz macierzysty, krakowski Kazimierz. To, co łączy obydwa miejsca to umiłowanie do staroci, recyklingu i specyficzny, absurdalny klimat. Tworzenie czegoś z niczego, nawiązanie do historii, kultury i tradycji, ale nie przekształcanie jej na siłę, a adaptowanie do współczesnych realiów. Do mnie takie miejsca przemawiały zawsze i przemawiać będą, za cel postanowiłam sobie zatem choćby krótką wizytę w Szimpla Pub, o którym czytałam już podczas pierwszej wizyty w Budapeszcie. Obowiązkowo wypiłam również kawę podczas niedzielnego targu.

Szimpla Pub, Budapest

W Szimpla Pub jest gwarno i tłoczno, to miejsce bardzo popularne, mające swoją legendę i przyciągające nietuzinkowych ludzi. Nie ma dwóch takich samych krzeseł, są za to obdrapane, pokolorowane w różnoraki sposób ściany, obwieszone Bóg – wie – czym.  Pewnie nawet on nie wie. Pomieszczeń jest kilka, centralne pomieszczenie i wejście od bramy udostępniane jest na niedzielny targ. Na górnym piętrze odbywają się koncerty, polecam Wam live music co czwartki. Należy nadmienić, że dzielnica ogólnie jest centrum alkoholowym Budapesztu, co osobiście odczułam mając nocleg naprzeciw synagogi, która to nocami zamieniała się w kamienny toi – toi i miejsce wycia pijanej młodzieży. Nic to, wracamy do Szimpla… Oto migawki ode mnie, zapraszam!


Szimpla Pub, Budapest

Szimpla Pub, Budapest

Szimpla Pub, Budapest


Na stronie Szimpla Pub (swoją drogą – strona jest genialna!), zapoznać się można ze wszystkimi wydarzeniami, które wkrótce się tam odbędą. Strona jest bardzo żywa, aktualna.
Możecie tutaj także wynająć rower!

Szimpla Pub, Budapest

Zapraszam teraz na krótki spacer po Szimpla Farmer’s Market – targ żywnościowy, który od 2012 roku odbywa się co niedzielę między 9:00 a 14:00. Nie mogłam się oprzeć, by nie zawitać tutaj z aparatem w niedzielny poranek. Zwłaszcza, że mieszkałam na Kazinczy Utca, parę kroków dalej. Same ekologiczne pyszności, mnóstwo lokalnych produktów, wyśmienite pieczywo i sery, węgierskie przysmaki, wędliny, ostre papryczki. To też gratka dla fanów syropów, dżemów i miodów. Tanio niestety nie jest, ale Szimpla Market to miejsce dla łowców smaków, których do Budapesztu przyjeżdża zapewne niemało. Wszystkiego można spróbować, podyskutować ze sprzedawcą na temat pochodzenia produktu – jest to swoiste miejsce wymiany doświadczeń kulinarnych i bezpośredniego kontaktu z wytwórcami. Można zaopatrzyć się również w warzywa, owoce, świeże soki, wszelkiego rodzaju mięsiwo, zioła i kwiaty.

Atmosfera targu przyciąga już od wejścia, brama jest otwarta – nic tylko wejść, buszować i smakować!




Szimpla Pub, Budapest



Architecto wis mauris

Architecto wis mauris

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