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Oxford Water Walks

Historical & Literary Walks & Talks, and Books by Oxford Towpath Press

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Most of my WALKS are for pre-booked tours (starting at £60 inclusive for up to 20/24 people). However, if you as an individual, or as part of a small group, would like to come on a Christ Church Meadow ‘Alice in Waterland’ walk, do please still feel free to get in touch at oxfordtowpathpress@gmail.com, as it may be that you can join others in a similar situation or join a pre-booked larger group. Or, for £30 for up to five people (lasting 90 minutes or so), you can suit yourself as to start time time and exact route.

Not sure? Have a look at my ‘Customer Comments’ page!



OXFORD FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS – www.artsfestivaloxford.org

Sunday 24 June 4-5 pm

TALK: ‘King of all Balloons’: James Sadler, Oxford Pastry Cook and First English Aeronaut

Monday 2 July 7pm-9pm

A ‘Playful Imagination’ Literary Thames Cruise

Wednesday 4 July 6pm to 8pm

A Literary Oxford Pub Perambulation


Saturday 7 July – Alice’s Day

Alice’s Parks and Pleasure WALK. 10.30am. A 90-minute journey with Mark Davies, Oxford local historian and author, through some of the less-visited, quieter parts of the city, via the resting place of two Hatters, through University Parks (for Pleasure and Delight!), to end at ‘loveliest building of the plain’: the University Museum of Natural History (for more Alice’s Day activities). On the walk some of the real people, places, and events which inspired Alice’s Adventures will be revealed, as well as other landmarks of historical and literary interest. The walk is designed for adults, so there is no charge for accompanied children. Limited to 20 places. Price £3. Book here.

Alice in Waterland WALK. 3pm. A 90-minute journey to and around beautiful Christ Church Meadow, with Mark Davies, Oxford local historian and author, ending at Alice’s Shop in St Aldate’s. The route will include waterside paths familiar to the real Alice and Lewis Carroll to highlight in particular the all-important role of the River Thames in the creation of Alice’s Adventures and as the inspiration for some of the episodes. There will also be references to other Oxford classics of children’s literature, and to important aspects of related Oxford history and geography.  The walk is designed for adults, so there is no charge for accompanied children. Limited to 20 places. Price £3. Book here.

TALK: Lewis Carroll’s Adventures in Russia. 1pm at the Bodleian Library. Free. On the only time that Charles Dodgson ever went abroad he chose Russia as his surprisingly ambitious destination. Travelling mostly by train, his journal demonstrates his enthusiam for the new architecture, food, traditions and peoples he encoutnered, as well as his love of the absurd. The farthest east he and his travelling companion reached was Nizhny Novgorod, to experience the “world’s fair”, where, coincidentally, England will have played a World Cup football match two weeks before this talk.  This is one of four Lewis Carroll Society talks (at 10am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm) www.storymuseum.org.uk


Sunday 8 July – Looking-glass WALKS. Price £6

New for 2018! A walk of about two miles based on the chess theme of Through the Looking-glass, Lewis Carroll’s sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with local historian and author Mark Davies, the only Oxford guide endorsed by the Lewis Carroll Society.

Starting at Oxford Castle, the walk will pass through Paradise and along the River Thames to skirt Christ Church Meadow, and end at Alice’s Shop in St Aldate’s.

The walk will reveal many of the real people, places, and events which inspired Carroll’s writing, with reference to characters such as Hatta, the Red Queen, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and Humpty Dumpty, and to episodes such as ‘The Garden of Live Flowers’, ‘The Lion and the Unicorn’ and ‘Wool and Water’.

The route will include a section of the Thames along which Carroll took the real Alice and her sisters (daughters of the Dean of Christ Church) on boat trips, most importantly the one on which the story was first told in July 1862. There will also be reference to important Wonderland locations which are farther away: the ‘Treacle Well’, for instance, and ‘The Pool of Tears’. Other classics of fantasy and children’s literature will also be referenced, as too important historical and geographical landmarks along the route.

Please note that as this walk is designed primarily for adults and older children there is no charge for primary-age children. Places limited to 20 persons. The walk does NOT include entrance to the college of Christ Church itself.




Thursday 26 July 6pm to 7.30pm

Botanic Garden Stroll: a  historical wander through a botanical wonder.

Oxford’s Botanic Garden is the oldest in Britain and amongst the oldest in Europe. This gentle 75-minute walk with Oxford local historian, guide, and author Mark Davies will concentrate on some of the more colourful individuals who have been associated with the 400-year-old Physick Garden and some of the notable events which have been held there. Hear about the Garden’s first superintendent, Jacob Bobart, ‘the German Prince of Plants’, and his remarkable descendants; learn about some of Britain’s earliest hot-air balloon launches made by  Oxford’s very own first English aeronaut, the pastry cook James Sadler; and discover the Garden’s  associations with Lewis Carroll and other celebrated writers. Price £15, including a drink. Book here








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