14008
England

Magical Oxford: From the Narnia Chronicles to Harry Potter

Discover the literary side of Oxford as you and your grandchild explore sites of the Harry Potter films, experience medieval life at Warwick Castle and much more.
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Program No. 14008RJ
Length
10 days
Starts at
3,399
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10 days
9 nights
23 meals
8 B 7 L 8 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Oxford, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Oxford
L,D
Hawkwell House

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Lunch: In the hotel dining room, we’ll have a light lunch with beverage choices of fruit juice, coffee, tea, and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After checking in at the hotel, take some time to freshen up, unpack, and relax before our Orientation session. Orientation: 5:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Grandparent program. Grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren. If/when separate age group activities are conducted concurrently, program staff will supervise. Minors are never to be left unsupervised. This program is staffed with a Study Leader who will lecture, conduct field trips, and serve as an information resource on program-related topics; a Children’s Coordinator who will lead grandchildren’s activities; and a Group Leader who will accompany us throughout the program and deal primarily with logistics. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a three-course plated meal with beverage choices of fruit juice, coffee, tea, and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll join our Group Leader on a brief orientation walk to get to know the area around our hotel. The remainder of the evening is at leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Drama Workshop, Morse, The Making of Harry Potter™
Oxford
B,L,D
Hawkwell House

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; total driving about 100 miles, approximately 2.5 hours. Walking about 1.5 miles, standing for approximately 3 hours on field trip; seating available throughout studios. Diagon Alley set includes a cobbled street; Hogwarts Bridge accessible only by steps; boarding Knight Bus requires a single step; some uneven surfaces on other sets.

Breakfast: In the hotel restaurant, have what you like from the breakfast buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, we’ll begin our magical adventure with a Sorting Ceremony. Grandparents will then hear a talk by a guest lecturer on the subject of the “Inspector Morse” television series that is set in Oxford. Grandkids will meet staff from the Oxford Playhouse for the first in a series of drama workshops devising stories inspired by the magical worlds we’ll explore on the program. We’ll then board a motorcoach and ride to Leavesden, just outside London, to Warner Bros. Studio where the Harry Potter films were made.

Lunch: At Warner Bros. Studio.

Afternoon: At Warner Bros. Studio, we’ll learn first-hand how the magical world of Harry Potter was brought to cinema screens. A docent will lead our exploration through sets including Diagon Alley, The Forbidden Forest, and Hogwarts’ Great Hall. We’ll see countless intricately crafted props used in the films and meet animatronic creatures including Buckbeak the Hippogriff, the fearsome Basilisk, and the giant spider Aragog. This field trip will give us fascinating insights into the craft of film-making and a fantastic opportunity to immerse ourselves in the wizarding world. We’ll return to the hotel by motorcoach after our field trip.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At the hotel, grandkids will take part in a workshop on Philip Pullman’s trilogy of fantasy novels, the “His Dark Materials” books. We’ll focus on the familiar but uncanny Oxford of heroine Lyra Belacqua’s parallel universe. Grandparents will have the evening at leisure.

DAY
4
Tolkien’s Worlds, Pitt Rivers Museum, Jericho
Oxford
B,L,D
Hawkwell House

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; total driving about 7 miles, approximately 1 hour. Walking up to 2 miles; walking and standing up to 2 hours on field trips; paved city streets and sidewalks, occasional cobbled areas in central Oxford.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel with our Children’s Coordinator, grandkids will delve deeper into a world of hobbits, orcs, and wizards in a Middle Earth mapping workshop. Grandparents will have an informative talk by our Study Leader who will focus on Tolkien and his magical Oxford.

Lunch: At the hotel, we’ll have a two-course plated meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll board a motorcoach and ride to central Oxford. Our Children’s Coordinator will lead grandkids on a field trip to Oxford University’s Pitt Rivers Museum. There are more than half a million fascinating objects gathered from all over the world by archaeologists, anthropologists, and explorers. As we walk through the galleries, we’ll look into display cabinets and consider the curious histories of the meticulously labelled objects within — many of them used in magic and rituals. It’s easy to see how the city’s museums have inspired Oxford authors to create their own fantastic worlds. Meanwhile, grandparents will take a field trip with our Study Leader to Jericho: an area of Oxford between Walton Street and the Oxford canal that was developed originally for print workers. It is here that the hero of Thomas Hardy’s “Jude the Obscure” lodged, and where Colin Dexter’s “The Dead of Jericho” is set. The Oxford University Press is also located in this area. With plentiful independent businesses and cafés, the area has a close community spirit and a refreshing, bohemian air. Most famous in the area is the massive Church of St. Barnabas, built in 1868 next to the canal. Its impressive High Anglican interior is evidence of 19th Century nostalgia for religious displays of the Middle Ages. After our field trips, we’ll return to the hotel by motorcoach.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At the hotel, we’ll all gather for a presentation by our Study Leader as we look at the world of Harry Potter on film with clips from the movies.

DAY
5
Warwick Castle
Oxford
B,L,D
Hawkwell House

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; total driving about 100 miles, approximately 2.5 hours. Walking approximately 1.5 miles and standing up to 3 hours at Warwick Castle, seating available; paved paths and grassy areas, some uneven cobbled areas; step-free access to most outside areas, some steep spiral staircases within buildings.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll board a motorcoach for a full-day field trip to Warwick Castle that rises majestically on the banks of the River Avon. This is one of the finest castles in England. The first structure was a wooden motte and bailey — the motte was a mound and the bailey was the fortified enclosure — built on the order of William the Conqueror in 1068. For centuries, this was home to the mighty Earls of Warwick, who played key roles in the War of the Roses between competing royal families and the Hundred Year War with France. Richard III once owned the castle before falling at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. We’ll begin our field trip with an informative docent-led walk through the castle, then have time to explore independently at our own pace.

Lunch: At Warwick Castle.

Afternoon: We’ll continue with a self-directed exploration of the grounds, battlements, and towers of Warwick Castle. In the Horrible Histories maze, we can learn more about the gruesome side of British history from vicious Vikings to stormin’ Normans, terrible Tudors, slimy Stuarts, and more. We’ll return to the hotel by motorcoach after our field trip.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: After dinner, we’ll gather in the hotel for an entertaining evening of illusion and prestidigitation, a private show by a visiting magician.

DAY
6
Storyteller, Footsteps of Harry Potter, Drama Workshop
Oxford
B,L,D
Hawkwell House

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 6 miles, approximately 1/2 hour. Walking up to 2 miles, paved city streets and sidewalks, occasional cobbled areas in central Oxford and college grounds; walking and standing up to 2 hours on field trips. The colleges are active academic institutions; in some areas, we will need to remain as quiet as possible to avoid disturbing students and researchers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, grandkids and grandparents alike will hone their storytelling skills in an expert-led workshop.

Lunch: Hotel plated meal.

Afternoon: We’ll board a motorcoach and ride into the academic heart of Oxford, Broad Street, to set out on a walk in the footsteps of Harry Potter with our Study Leader. The architecture of Oxford’s colleges will no doubt look familiar to avid viewers of the Potter movies, as many of them have stood in for the “School of Witchcraft and Wizardry” on screen. We’ll explore Hogwarts filming locations in University buildings including the Divinity School, attached to the Bodleian Library, that served as the Hogwarts Infirmary, and the cloisters of New College. We’ll walk back to the hotel together after our field trip. Grandkids will remain at the hotel for dinner and an evening workshop, while grandparents will take taxis to Jericho for dinner and an evening field trip.

Dinner: At the hotel, grandkids will have a two-course dinner with soft drinks and water included. At the pub, grandparents will have a three-course plated meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Grandparents will follow in the footsteps of Inspector Morse on a literary pub trail to The Old Bookbinders Ale House, a Jericho institution since 1869 that was featured in the Inspector Morse episode “The Dead of Jericho.” In the original novel, the pub was called the Printer’s Devil. At the hotel, grandkids will take part in a drama workshop, coming up with ideas for a play continuing one of the stories we’ve been exploring.

DAY
7
Blenheim Palace, Maze, Film Screening & Discussion
Oxford
B,L,D
Hawkwell House

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 26 miles, approximately 1 hour. Walking approximately 2.5 miles at Blenheim Palace, gravel paths and grass; standing up to 2 hours at a time on field trips. Main Palace entrance accessed by steps, lift available, step-free access to the majority of areas within the Palace.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll board a motorcoach and ride to historic Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site, given by the English nation to John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, in recognition of his victory over the French troops at the Battle of Blenheim, Bavaria, in 1704. It was also the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Blenheim Palace is situated in a park created by the famous landscape gardener “Capability” Brown. It is a perfect example of an 18th-century princely home. During our docent-led field trip, we’ll explore the palace and its grounds while considering how its residents through history lived what must have been a fairytale existence compared to that of the surrounding community.

Lunch: At Blenheim Palace, we’ll have a two-course plated meal with beverage choices of juice/squash coffee, tea, and water, included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our field trip at Blenheim Palace, and explore the Palace Maze, one of the world's largest figurative hedge mazes. We’ll return to the hotel by motorcoach after our field trip, with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At the hotel, we will attend a screening of one of the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” films, with discussion over beverages afterwards.

DAY
8
C. S. Lewis, Ashmolean Museum, Drama Workshop & Performance
Oxford
B,L,D
Hawkwell House

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 7 miles, approximately 1/2 hour. Walking about 1 mile, standing up to 2 hours on field trip; step-free access to all areas at the Ashmolean Museum.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, we’ll divide for morning activities. Grandparents will hear a lecture by our Study Leader on the life and works of C. S. Lewis. Grandkids will take part in another drama workshop, continuing to develop and rehearse their newly devised play for performance this evening.

Lunch: Hotel plated meal.

Afternoon: We’ll board a motorcoach and ride to one of Oxford’s most renowned museums, The Ashmolean. We’ll have a docent-led field trip exploring the museum’s fantastic collections of art and archaeology that span the period from 4000 BCE to the present. Highlights of the collection include ancient Egyptian mummies, Assyrian and Roman sculpture, Japanese Samurai armor, and the lantern carried by Guy Fawkes during the Gunpowder Plot — one of the most infamous events in English history! We’ll return to the hotel by motorcoach after our field trip.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: We’ll gather at the hotel for the event our drama workshops have been leading up to: grandkids will perform their play for grandparents!

DAY
9
Spirit of Oxford, Quidditch, Christ Church, Banquet
Oxford
B,D
Hawkwell House

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 6 miles, approximately 1/2 hour. Walking about 1 mile, standing up to 2 hours on field trip; many cobbled areas at Christ Church, some areas accessible only by stairs.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll divide once more with grandparents having a lecture by our Study Leader on the spirit of Oxford. Meanwhile, grandkids will play a game of Quidditch for Muggles! In the late morning, we’ll board a motorcoach together and ride to central Oxford, where we’ll have some time to explore independently, seeing and doing what interests each of us most.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: We’ll have some more time in the early part of the afternoon to continue our independent explorations, then regroup in the mid-afternoon at one of Oxford’s largest and most famous colleges, Christ Church. We’ll meet a college custodian, who will lead us through grounds and buildings that were used as filming locations for many scenes in the Harry Potter movies. Christ Church also has a strong connection with Alice in Wonderland, which Lewis Carroll wrote during his time as a Fellow at the college.

Dinner: We’ll enjoy a special Harry Potter-themed farewell dinner. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: We’ll have a closing session where scrapbooks will be presented. The rest of the evening is at leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure tomorrow.

DAY
10
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet depending on departure times. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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