3 Hotels For Alice In Wonderland Fans
Every July, Oxford celebrates its Alice in Wonderland connections with Alice’s Day, a festival packed with Alice-themed events and activities. In 2016, the theme is ‘Animals in Wonderland’ and there will be a White Rabbit scavenger hunt, a dance with the Lobster Quadrille, and words of wisdom readily but no doubt bafflingly dispensed by the Caterpillar.
With its grand colleges, old-fashioned bikes and students in gowns, we reckon Oxford is something of a Wonderland all year round, and there are plenty of Alice-themed activities available whenever you visit. Join one of the Official Oxford Walking Tour’s Alice in Wonderland-themed walks; spot the Cheshire Cat’s tree in Christ Church College, where CS Lewis studied; or while away the hours on a Madhatter’s Tea Party Cruise as you drift along the same stretch of river that Lewis Carroll was on when he dreamt up Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland one golden afternoon in 1862.
Whatever you do, base yourself at one of these hotels for Alice in Wonderland fans, as chosen by the Good Hotel Guide, Britain’s leading independent guide to hotels, inns an B&Bs.
1. Old Bank, High Street, Oxford
Slap bang in the centre of Oxford, Old Bank is surrounded by Oxford’s famous universities, including Lewis Carroll’s Christ Church, as well as the Bodleian Library and Radcliffe Camera. And if the Bodleian feels too far away, tea and coffee are available in the small library downstairs. Many of the hotel’s 42 luxury bedrooms have views of Oxford’s landmarks – if you need a frabjous view, book the ‘Spires’ room – and display an eclectic collection of art by young British artists such as Sandra Blow and Gary Hume. You won’t have to travel far to eat well here either. Quod, the hotel’s bar and brasserie in the former banking hall, is popular with town and gown. It has a seasonal menu of dishes such as a daily changing risotto; salmon fishcakes, spinach, sorrel sauce; and Rofford farm ribeye steak & chips.
2. The Feathers, Market Street, Woodstock
You won’t find The Feathers in Oxford itself, but the hotel’s afternoon tea with its impressive range of speciality teas is well worth the trip, and so is its record-breaking collection of gins in the Courtyard gin bar (400 and counting). The Mad Hatter would approve. The Feathers is in a 17th century townhouse at the centre of Woodstock, a handsome market town on the edge of the Blenheim estate, which is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site with James Bond, Winston Churchill and Capability Brown connections. Feathers hotel offsets its traditional features with modern colours and bold wallpaper, and most of the 21 bedrooms (there are five categories) are reached by a series of winding staircases. Expect decent-sized, high-ceilinged rooms with superb bathrooms warmed by underfloor heating. Ask for the room with the enormous sleigh bed.
3. Old Parsonage, Banbury Road, Oxford
This is one for book lovers in general as well as Lewis Carroll fans. Old Parsonage, a luxury hotel in a 17th-century building, has installed a modern, intimate library well-stocked with interesting books. Set up camp on the enormous sofa, order a long drink, and read all about Oxford and its history. And it’s the perfect place to re-read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Contrasting nicely with the glassy library is the ancient fireplace in the lobby and the sunny walled terrace. The bedrooms blend calming modern design with period features and are filled with natural materials – think crisp white linen, soft grey wool and deep red velvets. We highly recommend you take advantage of the daily free walking tour and bicycle use too.
This selection is taken from the Good Hotel Guide’s Best Hotels in Oxfordshire.