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Magical Oxford: From the Narnia Chronicles to Harry Potter

Program Number: 14008RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/31/2013 - 8/9/2013; 7/6/2016 - 7/15/2016; 7/20/2016 - 7/29/2016;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: England, UK:England
Price starting at: $2,849.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Intergenerational
Meals: 23; 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Program intended for grandchildren from 9 - 11 years of age.

Embrace the magical worlds of Narnia, Alice’s Wonderland, Middle Earth and Harry Potter’s Hogwarts through this journey of enchanted Oxford. Explore locales and meet characters made famous by some of the world’s most creative and intriguing authors -- Lewis Carroll, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Roald Dahl and Philip Pullman. During interactive discussions with local experts, delve into these legendary tales of elves and hobbits, wizards and muggles, to discover their indelible mark on world literature.


• Enjoy a magical banquet in the Great Hall of Christ Church, famous from its film role as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
• Explore Warwick Castle’s mysterious Ghost Town and Dungeons.
• Discover the significance of the “city of dreaming spires.”

Activity Particulars

Walking of up to two miles and standing on some days on city sidewalks. Stairs in historic buildings.

Program is for grandchildren ages 9-11. Most rooms are double or single occupancy; some triples are available but must be requested upon enrollment.

Date Specific Information

7-31-2013, 7-6-2016, 7-20-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival London, coach to Oxford, 8 nights; coach to London, departure.

Overnight flight from U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival London
Coach to Oxford
8 nights
Coach to London for departure

Investigate the magical world of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien's Oxford, the Harry Potter phenomenon and Inspector Morse. Participate in a children's book illustration workshop, journey to the medieval Warwick Castle to explore the Ghost Tower and Dungeons. Enjoy a discovery session at the Ashmolean Museum, an optional afternoon punting on the river at Magdalen Bridge and then step inside the world of Hogwarts at Warner Bros. studios. Adults engage in a writer's pub trail in the footsteps of authors C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, while children take storytelling, map making and drama workshops with local writers and actors. Cap off this extraordinary experience with a magical banquet in the Great Hall of Christ Church. Enjoy excursions to Blenheim Palace and be entertained by a magician.


It was the seat of an empire on which the sun never set. It has been Merry, Dickensian and Victorian. It has given us common law, Shakespeare, tennis, the Rolls-Royce and the Beatles. England and its people have played an outsize role in shaping world history. It is a country whose past, politics, culture and characters never cease to captivate.

North Oxford: Comfortable hotel with pleasant garden and croquet lawn.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
John Hudson

As principal of the College of International Education, John Hudson has been sharing “magical” Oxford with Road Scholar participants since 2007. A resident of Oxford since 1966, John recognizes the impact of the city on writers, thinkers, artists and architects throughout the ages. He has extensive experience in education, having been deputy head of an upper comprehensive school for many years, as well as a teacher of history, philosophy and politics at one of the UK’s top boarding schools.
Meals and Lodgings
   Linton Lodge Hotel.
  Oxford, UK:England 8 nights
 Linton Lodge Hotel.
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Set in a residential area of North Oxford with a pleasant garden and croquet lawn.
  Contact info: Linton Road.
Oxford.,  OX2 6UJ. UK:England
phone: +44 1865 553461.
  Room amenities: TV, direct dial telephone, hairdryer, tea and coffee facilities.
  Facility amenities: Room Service. Restaurant, lounge and bar.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior:  For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to
  Check in time: 2:00 PM
  Additional nights after:  For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to
  Check out time: 11:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
A light lunch is served at the Linton Lodge Hotel for those arriving by lunchtime. Check-in is after 2:00pm. The welcome meeting is at 5:00pm in the hotel. You will be staying at Linton Lodge Hotel. that night.
  End of Program:
The program ends after breakfast. Some departures will leave before breakfast. Breakfast ends at 10:00am and check out is by 11:00am. You will be staying at Linton Lodge Hotel. the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
No parking.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Train and coach available.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Oxford
  Nearest city or town:  Oxford.
  Nearest airport:  London Heathrow.
  Transportation to site: From LHR, Heathrow Express train to Paddington. Every 15 minutes cost GBP15 one way. From LGW take the Gatwick Express train to Victoria. Every 15 minutes, cost GBP12 one way. Train to Oxford from Paddington. The Oxford Tube (a bus) is a convenient way of travelling from Grosvenor Gardens adjacent to Victoria Station in London to Oxford's Gloucester Green Bus Station. Buses run every 10-15 minutes and take about 2 hours depending on traffic. The single cost is GBP14. From there take a taxi.
  From End of Program
  Location: Oxford
  Transportation from site: Reverse of ground transfer to first location.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1:
(Wednesday, July 31)
 Depart From: Depart US for UK. Overnight flight.

Day 2:
(Thursday, August 1)
 Morning: Transfers from London Heathrow to Linton Lodge Hotel.
 Lunch: In hotel dining room, for those who arrive by lunchtime.
 Afternoon: Transfers continue. Free afternoon. Welcome meeting around 5.00pm.
 Dinner: In hotel dining room.
 Evening: Workshop for all: Orientation walk.
Accommodations: Linton Lodge Hotel.
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Middle Earth and Narnia Day/walk Lyra's Oxford
(Friday, August 2)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy a Sorting Ceremony. The adult's programme begins today with a talk on the Magical Oxford of Tolkien and C S Lewis, while the children enjoy a Middle Earth mapping workshop.
 Lunch: In hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: This afternoon walk Lyra's Oxford including the Pitt Rivers Museum for children.
 Dinner: In hotel dining room for children. Adults enjoy a meal out.
 Evening: Lecture for children on "Harry Potter's Film World". Adults follow in the footsteps of renowned Oxford writers, continuing the literary pub trail to The Eagle and Child. The pub has associations with the Inklings writers' group which included J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis.
Accommodations: Linton Lodge Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Guest lecturer for adults and Oxford Playhouse drama workshop for children. Discover the new Warner Bros. Studio "The Making of Harry Potter".
(Saturday, August 3)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Oxford based guest lecturer such as Colin Dexter talking about the Inspector Morse series for the adults. Children enjoy a drama workshop with staff from the Oxford Playhouse.
 Lunch: Take a quick snack lunch in the hotel before departing for the afternoon field trip.
 Afternoon: Enjoy an exciting field trip to the newly opened Warner Bros. Studio at Leavesden for "The Making of Harry Potter". The Warner Bros. website describes the experience: "People the world-over have been enchanted by the Harry Potter films for nearly a decade. The wonderful special effects and amazing creatures have made this iconic series beloved to both young and old and, now, for the first time, the doors are going to be opened for everyone at the studio where it first began. You'll have the chance to go behind-the-scenes and see many things the camera never showed. From breathtakingly detailed sets to stunning costumes, props and animatronics, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London provides a unique showcase of the extraordinary British artistry, technology and talent that went into making the most successful film series of all time." See the Great Hall at Hogwarts, walk down Diagon Alley, explore Dumbledore's office and other wizarding sets from the movies.
 Dinner: In hotel dining room.
 Evening: The children have a Lyra's Oxford workshop. Adults are at leisure.
Accommodations: Linton Lodge Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Workshop with a children's storyteller or illustrator / Literary river cruise
(Sunday, August 4)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy a workshop with a children's storyteller or illustrator for all.
 Lunch: In the hotel.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we take a special Oxford river cruise following in the footsteps of Lewis Carrol, CS Lewis and Narnia and Wind in the Willows.
 Dinner: In the hotel dining room for children. Adults enjoy a meal out at the Bookbinders in Jericho.
 Evening: Children take a drama workshop. Adults begin the literary pub trail with dinner out at The Old Book Binders Ale House, a Jericho pub, featured in the Inspector Morse episode The Dead of Jericho. In the original novel, the pub was called the Printer’s Devil
Accommodations: Linton Lodge Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Warwick Castle.
(Monday, August 5)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Today we have an all day excursion to Warwick Castle, including a tour of the castle and its towers and dungeons. The finest medieval castle in England rises majestically from the banks of the River Avon on a site fortified by William the Conqueror in 1068. For centuries, Warwick castle was home to the mighty Earls of Warwick, who were to play such key roles in the War of the Roses and the Hundred Year War with France. Richard III once owned the castle before meeting his death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
 Lunch: Packed lunch.
 Afternoon: The excursion continues.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Enjoy entertainment by a Magician.
Accommodations: Linton Lodge Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: The Maze at Blenheim Palace.
(Tuesday, August 6)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Today we have a full day field trip to Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Blenheim Palace is situated in a park created by the famous landscape gardener "Capability" Brown. It was given by the English nation to John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, in recognition of his victory over the French troops in 1704. It is a perfect example of an 18th century princely home. The field trip at Blenheim Palace continues with a chance to explore the Palace Maze, one of the world's largest figurative hedge mazes.
 Lunch: At Blenheim Place.
 Afternoon: The coach returns to the hotel at 3:00pm.
 Dinner: In hotel dining room.
 Evening: The adults view and discuss the video Shadowlands over a glass of wine while the children enjoy a drama rehearsal.
Accommodations: Linton Lodge Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Oxford Highlights/Harry Potter walk
(Wednesday, August 7)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: This morning adults hear a lecture on C.S.Lewis' life and works. Children have a Harry Potter workshop.
 Lunch: In the hotel.
 Afternoon: After lunch we follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter to New College and the Divinity School.
 Dinner: In hotel dining room.
 Evening: The children perform a play for the adults.
Accommodations: Linton Lodge Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Alice's Christ Church.
(Thursday, August 8)
 Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Grandparents hear a lecture by John Hudson, course director. Children play Quidditch for Muggles. The coach departs for Oxford at 11:15am.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we have a special guided walk around Christ Church where much of Harry Potter was filmed and where Lewis Carroll lived and was Dean.
 Dinner: A Harry Potter themed banquet in the Great Hall at Christ Church.
 Evening: Farewell and scrapbook presentation.
Accommodations: Linton Lodge Hotel.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10:
(Friday, August 9)
 Depart From: Transfers to London Heathrow airport for flights to N America.
 Breakfast: In hotel dining room. Some participants may depart prior to breakfast.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Author: Lewis Carroll

Description: Famous Victorian children's story featuring the rabbit hole, Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter's Tea Party and Chess game.

All Souls

Author: Javier Marias (trans. Margaret Jull Costa)

Description: Independent ‘Crackles with deliciously sly observations about Oxford mores’ Independent on Sunday ‘An intelligent and well-executed book with exceptionally funny set pieces’

Brideshead Revisted

Author: Evelyn Waugh

Description: The New York Times "Waugh's most deeply felt novel . . . Brideshead Revisited tells an absorbing story in imaginative terms . . . Mr. Waugh is very definitely an artist, with something like a genius for precision and clarity not surpassed by any novelist writing in English in his time."

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Author: Roald Dahl

Gaudy Nights: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery

Author: Dorothy L. Sayers

Description: Or any in the Peter Wimsey series set in Oxford. ‘I admire her novels . . . she has great fertility of invention, ingenuity and a wonderful eye for detail’ (Ruth Rendell ). ‘She brought to the detective novel originality, intelligence, energy and wit.’ (P. D. James ).

Harry Potter

Author: J.K.Rowling

Description: All novels in the Harry Potter series.

His Dark Materials Trilogy: Northern Lights, Subtle Knife, Amber Spyglass.

Author: Philip Pullman

Description: Acclaimed series from Oxford author Philip Pullman. See also The Golden Compass DVD. The storyis primarily that of 12-year old Lyra, who is in search of her friend who has been kidnapped. Naturally, this proves to be quite a challenging adventure, not least because it’s through Pullman’s vividly imagined world, crossing dimensions as Lyra travels. The film, while toning down some elements of the source material, stays quite close to the book, and it proves to be a good, if not Lord Of The Rings-standard, adaptation.

James and the Giant Peach

Author: Roald Dahl

Just William

Author: Richard Crompton

Description: Any books in the English schoolboy series.

Oxford Book of Oxford

Author: Jan Morris

Description: 'Few cities,' Jan Morris observes, 'have been much more loved, loathed, and celebrated.' This book has become a classic account of the character, history, mores, buildings, climate, and people of one of Britain's most fascinating cities. 'A book of outstanding excellence, with a sweep of knowledge and a distinction of style such as I have never before encountered in a work of this sort ... Brilliant alike in observation and imagination ... brings the very stones of Oxford to life' Sunday Telegraph

Oxford Insight Compact Guide

Author: Apa

Description: This Insight Compact Guide is the ideal companion for your trip to the famous university city of Oxford. The top 10 sights are highlighted to help you plan your visit and include Christ Church College, the Botanic Garden and the Sheldonian Theatre. Clear, colour-coded sections cover everything from history and culture, to entertainment, food and drink in an easy-to-read format. Sights are cross-referenced on detailed full-colour maps throughout, providing instant orientation and allowing you to tailor your chosen routes exactly to the places you most want to visit. Full-colour photographs throughout the guide provide a visual introduction to this architecturally attractive city and enable you to recognise sights, such as the famous colleges, whilst out and about.

Oxford – An Architectural Guide

Author: Geoffrey Tyack

Description: Few cities have a greater concentration of significant architecture than Oxford. Within a city of only 130,000 inhabitants there are important buildings, many of them of great beauty, from every period from the 11th century down to the present. Geoffrey Tyack chronicles the architectural development of Oxford - both University and City - from its origins to the late-20th century, explaining the idiosyncracies of Oxford's architectural history, and placing the buildings within their historical context. His approach is chronological, and his emphasis on what can actually be seen

The B.F.G.

Author: Roald Dahl

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 1: Charmed Life/The Lives of Christopher Chant

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

Description: Winner of the Guardian Award for Children's Books, Charmed Life has been a favourite escape to parallel fantastical worlds since 1977, and remains refreshingly captivating and reassuringly addictive in its latest paperback edition with a wonderful new jacket illustration. The adventure begins in a strange and not-quite contemporary England that is still peppered with paddle steamers, horse-drawn carriages and girls wearing petticoats. Orphans Eric Chant (nicknamed Cat) and his sister Gwendolen, a gifted witch, are whisked away to live in a castle with Chrestromanci, a much-revered man of magic, wealth and mysterious ways. Their new life is full of the surreal and unexpected, and there are several crazy new rules to master--not least by Gwendolen who must learn to channel her astonishing powers for good instead of mischief as she forever seems determined to do! Chrestomanci is a truly original creation, and Charmed Life introduces this dandy nine-lived enchanter--the king of the regal dressing gown--and his associated colourful characters in a story of pace and substance, twists and turns, treachery and bravado. There's also humour amid the author's very immediate writing, and enough puzzles and mystery to keep an inquisitive mind captivated until the very end.

The Dead of Jericho

Author: Colin Dexter

Description: Or any Inspector Morse novel or TV series.

The Narnia Chronicles

Author: C.S.Lewis

Description: Boxed set. If reading only one-The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The Railway Children

Author: E. Nesbit

Description: When Father goes away with two strangers one evening, the lives of Roberta, Peter and Phyllis are shattered. They and their mother have to move from their comfortable London home to go and live in a simple country cottage, where Mother writes books to make ends meet. However, they soon come to love the railway that runs near their cottage, and they make a habit of waving to the Old Gentleman who rides on it. They befriend the porter, Perks, and through him learn railway lore and much else. They have many adventures, and when they save a train from disaster, they are helped by the Old Gentleman to solve the mystery of their father's disappearance. Also DVD 2006 with Jenny Agutter-a classic.

The Wind in the Willows

Author: Kenneth Grahame

Description: The tales of Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad. When Mole goes boating with the Water Rat instead of spring-cleaning, he discovers a new world. As well as the river and the Wild Wood, there is Toad's craze for fast travel which leads him and his friends on a whirl of trains, barges, gipsy caravans and motor cars and even into battle. See also DVDs.

The Worst Witch series

Author: Jill Murphy

Description: Mildred Hubble is the worst witch at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches - she's always getting her spells wrong. But she manages to get by until she turns Ethel, the teacher's pet, into her deadly enemy . . . Jill Murphy started putting books together (literally with a stapler), when she was six. The Worst Witch was first published in 1974 and this much-loved classic has been enjoyed by readers for more than 30 years. Jill Murphy also written and illustrated several award-winning picture books for younger children.

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