Reading Around the World: Oxford

Reading Around the World is a feature that combines my love of travelling with my love of reading. Each month I plan to spotlight either a city I have visited, or a city I plan to visit in the near future, and recommend some of my favourite books set there. After all even if you can’t visit these cities yourself the next best thing has to be reading about them and living the experience through the eyes of the characters.

Oxford (1)

Oxford is known as the city of dreaming spires, and it is so beautiful there; the streets we walked through, the buildings we passed, the churches we wandered in and the colleges students studied in all had such incredible architecture and all seemed steeped in history. My mum and I were only in Oxford for the day, so we had to do a quick tour but we still saw a lot the city had to offer. We went to the Divinity School in the Bodleian Library and saw the grounds of New College where scenes from Harry Potter had been filmed, visited St. Mary’s Church and climbed the Saxon Tower. Oxford is a very affluent city, but it’s a must-visit location for any bookworm.

Oxford (2)

Oxford (3)

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Oxford (8)

Oxford (9)


The first series, and the main one, that comes to mind when I think of Oxford is His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. Northern Lights is set in Lyra’s version of Oxford, which is slightly different to the Oxford I visited, I didn’t see Jordan College on my trip there that’s for sure, but we do get glimpses of our Oxford when we’re introduced to Will Parry in The Subtle Knife.

His Dark Materials

The first book in Samantha Shannon’s The Bone Season series is also set in Oxford. When Paige is captured by the Scion she’s taken to Sheol I, a penal colony in the heart of Oxford. While it’s not quite the Oxford I saw one of the things I love about Samantha Shannon’s books is that even though they’re set in a dystopian version of our world there are still recognizable locations and sights

The Bone Season


Have you ever been to Oxford before; what was your favourite part of the city to see and explore? Also what are some of the amazing books you’ve read set in Oxford, or England, that you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments.

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42 thoughts on “Reading Around the World: Oxford

  1. Oh my god, Oxford is absolutely gorgeous! I know I say this about all the pictures you take but they truly are beautiful and show how stunning each of the places are. ❤ I'm hoping to one day travel all over Europe and visit Oxford as well! And aahh I haven't read any of the books you picked for this one but I heard that the Bone Season was set in England. I know it's one of your favorite series though so I'll have to pick it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is, and oh thanks so so much May. 🙂 I took a lot of pictures in Oxford (it was so gorgeous I wanted to capture everything) so I had a lot to choose from for this post.
      I’m sure you’ll love Europe, and there are plenty of gorgeous cities on England alone to have you falling in love. 🙂
      Definitely, I’d be really interested to see what you think (although obviously I’ll be hoping you love it!) 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. omg OXFORD!! ♥ I went there for a class trip a few years ago and totally loved the city, it’s so beautiful and I wish I could visit it again 😍😍😍 I totally forgot that The Golden Compass plays in an alternate version of Oxford though, but it has been a while since I read the books.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Beth ❤
    Sounds like a fun day trip, and these are some nice photos that you shared! I haven't been to Oxford though it's on my list of places to visit. I've been to London and went on a Harry Potter tour where they showed us some of the places where scenes were filmed (like Diagon Alley and Platform 9 3/4 I think) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sophie. ❤
      Oh thanks so much and yeah it was an incredible day, very cold but a gorgeous city to explore some. That must have been a great tour, there are so many places in the UK that have been inspired by Harry Potter and where the films were filmed, maybe one day I'll do a tour of them all or something, that could be fun! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I bet it would be an amazing experience if you tour all the places that HP was filmed! Since you’re closer, you’ll probably get to it before I do, in which case I expect lots of pictures 😀 ❤

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh it seems like there are a few people who have studied/are studying/are going to be studying in oxford and I’m a little jealous I have to admit! 😀 It’s a gorgeous city and you’re the second person who’s mentioned Blackwell’s so I’m making a note for the next time I go there!
      Thanks so much. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As someone currently studying abroad in Oxford for the year, I ADORE this post! ❤ My favorite parts of the city probably have to do with Mansfield College, where I study. I love Holywell Street and the pubs we go to and stopping by Hassan's for chips at 2am after a night out. It's such a lovely city!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow I’m kind of jealous that you’re studying in oxford right now! I said to my mum while I was there that I would have loved to have had the opportunity to study in Oxford when I was at uni, but it sounds like you’re making the most of your time there which is great. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oxford is such a stunning city! I went there once a couple years ago, we only stayed for one day as well, but just that glimpse of the city made me want to go back right away. I loved the buildings, the feelings overall, the Harry Potter spots… it’s such a gorgeous place 🙂
    Lovely post, Beth! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is, and I can’t believe I hadn’t visited there before. I’m going to have to go again and see more of the city because it was kind of a quick tour more than anything else. 🙂
      It’s beautiful isn’t it, the harry potter spots were a positive too because I wasn’t aware how much had been filmed there.
      Thanks so much Marie! 🙂 ❤

      Like

  6. I went to uni in Oxford, it is the most magical place ever. We used to go round and try and figure out where they’d filmed Harry Potter lol 😀 Did you visit Blackwells? The Oxford one is one of my fave bookshops in the UK for sure x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. God I would have loved to go to university in Oxford, or I’d love to live there now but I know I could never afford it. 🙂 I didn’t even realise how much Harry Potter had been filmed there which was a nice surprise.
      I didn’t no, but I’ll make a note for the next time I’m there for sure. God knows I love bookshops! 😀

      Like

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