On this occasion I found myself in Oxford for a good old literary fix, primarily to visit the exhibition on Tolkien at the Bodleian Library, and also to wander the endless miles of bookshelves to be found in places like Blackwell’s. It’s impossible to escape students in trendy bookshops, writing out flashcards, tapping away on macs, and being engrossed in the latest book, but on a wet and dreary day like this, coffee breaks come frequently. I darted in to The Missing Bean five or so minutes after it opened, sat down to enjoy my not-yet-well-earned mocha, and turned around to see not only had the whole shop filled out, but there was a queue out the door too! This is a popular spot with only a few seats, and though tucked out of the way, if this is on your list, be sure to get there early.
Rain does little to keep the tourists away, with group upon group descending on the city to admire the architecture and spot famous locations from their favourite movies. Tour groups in mis-matched brollies block the pathways, seemingly descending on the beautiful city from the early afternoon, clogging up the otherwise-empty streets. Wander the back streets, and you’ll have less than ten seconds to frame and shoot an image with no one else in, even in the rain.
There’s time for some sightseeing amidst darting in and out of Blackwell’s (you have three shops to peruse), Oxford University Press, and lunch with a great view of some bookshelves over in Waterstones (where there are five floors of deliciousness – yes, I mean the books!)