On our second to last day of the trip, we went to Oxford and visited Christchurch College and Blenheim Palace. It was a lovely day for walking around and exploring what the city and the palace had to offer!
When we got to Oxford, we got off near this impressive art museum. Not only did it hold beautiful pieces of art, but also included individual historical items. To connect it with US and Native American history, the museum houses the cape Pocahontas’s father wore. As we continued on, we were told that Oxford University is made up of 39 colleges. I had always just thought that Oxford University was one, set building. You certainly learn something new everyday! As we made our way to Christchurch College, we walked by more of the colleges that made up Oxford University. One college only admitted graduate students since it did not have any undergraduate programs and another college was named after a brass doorknob. Moving through the center of Oxford, we finally reached Christchurch College.
As soon as we entered, there was a lovely peace garden right outside the main building of Christchurch. Shortly after, we got our self guided tour devices and started touring Christchurch College. The architecture was quite stunning and it looked a bit out of place in Harry Potter. Well, when we got to the stairs leading to the Grand Hall, it was said these stairs were used when they filmed the first Harry Potter movie. These stairs can be seen when the students are waiting outside the Great Hall with Professor McGonagall before they are taken in to be sorted by the Sorting Hat. And once we entered the Grand Hall, you could visualize the Great Hall from Harry Potter. It was said that the Great Hall in Harry Potter was modeled after the Grand Hall in Christchurch College. We then made our way past the oldest example of vandalism with the writing “no peel” on a door and out into the quad area. The area was nice and well kept. It also had a water fountain in the middle which added a nice touch I think. After doing all I could in the quad area, I waited until 11:45 am to visit the church. Christchurch College is different because not only is the college there but inside the college is a public church open to all. It was quite lovely on the inside. The stained glass was gorgeous and there were flags that were brought back by the British soldiers from the area that fought in the Napoleonic Wars hanging up as well. After checking out the church, the group I had joined up with went and got lunch, did some shopping, and then met back at 1 to go to Blenheim Palace.
The entrance we came through to get to Blenheim Palace was lovely and well kept so we thought it was the front of the palace. However, it was only the side of the palace. The property itself was so huge that I could never imagine what to do with all of the space. Inside the main part of the palace, there were weapons, clothing, and artwork traditional of what would have been in the 1700s. One room that was interesting to go into was the birthing room of Winston Churchill. After exploring the palace, the group I was with wanted to go and visit the gardens. But, we did not end up going to the gardens. Instead, we got ice cream near where we entered Blenheim Palace and went across the bridge that was over the lake. The lake was very pretty with multitudes of ducks everywhere. And it was not just the ducks, but their ducklings too! Once we got to the other side of the bridge, we walked along a path that led us to an embankment by the lake. While we were there, we found a tree that had an information stand in front of it. The stand said that this tree was used as the Whomping Willow in the fifth Harry Potter movie. Lots of Harry Potter information I got today without intending to! However, we then walked back to the meeting spot and soon were on our merry way back to Birmingham.
I had a wonderful time today exploring Oxford and Blenheim Palace! Tonight will be our last night in Birmingham before we spend our final day tomorrow in London! Then the day after, it is back to the US! However, the group will get to have one last hurrah as we get to go and see Mamma Mia at the West End in London!