Free Self-Guided Tour: Tolkien's Oxford - All Essential Locations

Home > Articles > Enjoying Oxford

Free Self-Guided Tour: Tolkien’s Oxford

Free Self-Guided Tour: Tolkien's Oxford - All Essential Locations

Here’s a self-guided walking tour inspired by J.R.R Tolkien and his incredible literary journey. 

Duration: Approximately 2-3 hours

Tolkien's Oxford Free Self-Guided Walking Tour

It’s time to embark on a journey through the enchanting city that inspired one of the greatest fantasy writers of all time, J.R.R. Tolkien. From his academic pursuits to the landscapes that fueled his imagination, let’s explore the places that shaped Tolkien and his legendary works.

The itinerary below shows the most significant locations linked to J.R.R Tolkien, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings in Oxford. If you want to read about these places in some more detail, please refer to the following article: J. R. R. Tolkien at Oxford – Hobbits, the Inklings, and the University.

  1. Exeter College: Our journey begins at Exeter College, where Tolkien spent much of his academic career as a student and later as a professor of Anglo-Saxon literature. Wander through the college grounds and imagine young Tolkien strolling along the corridors, drawing inspiration from medieval architecture and scholarly atmosphere.

  2. The Eagle and Child: Next, we venture to The Eagle and Child, a historic pub where Tolkien and fellow writers, including C.S. Lewis and the Inklings literary group, gathered for lively discussions and shared readings of their works. Step inside this cozy establishment and raise a toast to the creative camaraderie that flourished within these walls.

  3. Merton College: Our tour takes us to Merton College, where Tolkien served as a professor of English Language and Literature. Explore the tranquil courtyards and gardens of this picturesque college, reflecting on Tolkien’s academic legacy and his contributions to the study of literature.

  4. Botanic Garden: As we wander through the Botanic Garden, take in the sights and scents of the lush flora that inspired Tolkien’s vivid descriptions of Middle-earth’s landscapes. From towering trees to delicate flowers, let your imagination soar as you envision the enchanted forests and gardens of his mythical realm.

  5. University Parks: Our journey concludes in the serene surroundings of University Parks, where Tolkien often took leisurely strolls and found solace in nature. Follow the winding paths along the riverbanks and under the shade of ancient trees, reflecting on the themes of friendship, courage, and adventure that permeate Tolkien’s stories.

Exeter College Fellow's Garden. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Exeter College Fellow's Garden. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
Oxford Botanic Gardens - Image courtesy of Tejvan Pettinger
Oxford Botanic Gardens - Image courtesy of Tejvan Pettinger.

As we bid farewell to this Tolkien-inspired walking tour of Oxford, may you carry with you the spirit of creativity, imagination, and fellowship that defined the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Until we meet again on our next adventure, may your journeys be filled with wonder and discovery. Safe travels, my friends!

Learn More About Oxford and Tolkien

Discover the rich tapestry of Oxford University that shaped the lives and friendships of two literary giants, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and delve into the academic and social landscapes of Oxford during their time.

Explore new and familiar locations, visit the parks, step into a college, or drop by one of the many quirky shops Oxford has to offer. Browse All >

Our collection of articles with ideas for things to do and see, the history of this incredible city, the University, its museums, literature and movie inspirations, filming locations, and much more.