We started the day off bright and early by heading to Victoria Coach Station to join our tour group to Cambridge and Oxford. Since we booked our hotels with Costco, we got a Golden Tours voucher of $200 per person. My mom wanted to go to Cambridge (to see memorial stone of Chinese poet Xu Zhimo) and I wanted to go to Oxford (because Harry Potter).
The day started off rainy and despite the forecast for rain in London, Oxford, and Cambridge, it only rained for a brief 5 minutes before we left London. Our first stop was Cambridge. Upon arriving there, we got a brief tour of the town before our tour guide dropped us off at King’s College Chapel. The inside of the chapel is beautiful with high stained glass windows. Apparently, it was inspired by Sainte Chapelle!
Unfortunately, it was exam season so we weren’t allowed to explore the rest of the college grounds.
We also had the opportunity to see Trinity College, which has the largest amount of Nobel Prize winners from Cambridge. In front of it, they also have an apple tree that was grown from a branch of the apple tree that helped Newton discover gravity.
Despite the college grounds being closed to visitors, the town itself was beautiful to explore. Despite being filled with tourists, it was quite enjoyable to walk around. The pub where Watson and Crick discovered the double helix DNA is here so make sure to check it out if you have the time. Unfortunately, we had a limited two hours here and all too soon we had to leave and go to Oxford. Lunch was provided by Golden Tours and was waiting for us when we got back on the coach.
At Oxford, we visited Christchurch College, where a large number of British prime ministers have graduated from. Like Cambridge, exams were going on so we weren’t allowed to explore college grounds. However, we still got to see the interior, like the Great Hall, where many Harry Potter dining hall scenes were filled (Fun Fact: University of Toronto’s Victoria College dining hall is based off the Christchurch one).
One of the stained glass windows is the Lewis Carroll window and depicts characters from Alice in Wonderland.
We explored the rest of Oxford, which like Cambridge, was quite busy. We walked along the riverside and saw cows and also got to see the pub, The Eagle and Child, where CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien used to meet up.
Oxford and Cambridge was really fun and I enjoyed both towns immensely. Both towns are worth a visit, but I would highly recommend that you do the trip yourself and just explore one of either Oxford and Cambridge. I definitely felt that I didn’t get to experience either place thoroughly. I hope to return one day!