Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Blenheim Palace in England, Europe_P

The Spirit of Oxford

Road Scholar Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
90%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
12 days
From: $ 3,599 $ 300 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Walk in the footsteps of literary legends such as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Colin Dexter, Lewis Carroll and more.
  • Admire the architecture of St. Barnabas Church, the Divinity School, and Sheldonian Theater, some of Oxford’s most notable landmarks.
  • Go on behind-the-scenes explorations of Christ Church, Keble College and the Ashmolean Museum.

Short Description

Home to the oldest English-speaking university in the world, the city of Oxford is nothing if not a hub of scholarship and tradition. World-class writers — the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien and Lewis Carroll — studied and were inspired here, while seven of England’s prime ministers were members of the local student union. With scholars and local experts, go behind the scenes of Oxford’s iconic colleges and museums and visit the homes of some of its renowned residents — then, enjoy opportunities for independent exploration and study, a key to experiencing the true spirit of Oxford.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Oxford
End City Oxford

Destinations

N/A

Cities & Attractions

London Oxford

N/A
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Trip Includes

  • 10 nights of accommodations
  • 8 expert-led lectures
  • 9 expert-led field trips
  • 6 hands-on experiences
  • An experienced Group Leader
  • Customary gratuities throughout the program
  • The Road Scholar Travel Protection Plan, 24-hour-a-day emergency assistance coverage
  • Taxes

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Itinerary

Day 1: In Transit to Program

In Flight

Day 2: Arrival Day, Oxford

Meals: Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Linton Lodge Hotel.

Lunch: In the hotel dining room for those arriving by lunchtime. A light lunch with coffee, tea and water. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Afternoon: Arrivals continue, with free time for those who have already arrived. At 5pm we will have an Orientation in the hotel. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. This program is staffed with both a Group Leader, who will accompany us throughout the program and deal primarily with logistics, and a Study Leader who will lecture, conduct field trips and serve as an information resource on program-related topics. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities and answer any questions you may have. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: A seated dinner will be taken in the hotel dining room with coffee, tea and water. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: After dinner take an orientation walk.

Day 3: Classical and Gothic Oxford

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Linton Lodge Hotel.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room. A breakfast buffet with a range of hot and cold items, as well as coffee, tea, water and fruit juices.

Morning: We begin our educational adventure as your Study Leader lectures on “The Architecture of Oxford”, before visiting the Bodleian Library for an expertly-led look at one of the oldest libraries in Europe.

Lunch: Taken out at the Mitre in Oxford. The present Mitre Inn dates from around 1630, but there has been an inn on this site since around 1300. It has always belonged to Lincoln College, and its name probably derives from the College coat of arms, which depicts the mitre of the Bishop of Lincoln. It was an important coaching inn and, as early as 1671, there were coaches running between London and the Mitre on three days a week. It is a Grade II* listed building.

Afternoon: Take a walk of Classical and Gothic Oxford. Enjoy a guided walk of the centre of Oxford showing examples of Gothic and Classical styles and explaining not only the difference between them but the reasons for them. Mention will also be made of the Codrington library at All Souls which has a Gothic exterior and a Classical interior. Buildings visited will include the Radcliffe Camera, Sheldonian Theatre, the Clarendon Building, the Divinity School and St. Mary’s Church. Radcliffe Square is surrounded by one of the most amazing collections of Gothic and Classical buildings which somehow seem to harmonise. The walk includes entrance to Exeter College, the fourth oldest of the Oxford colleges, founded in 1314. A lively College, it is in the centre of Oxford and Exeter’s exquisite Chapel, tranquil Fellows’ Garden and terrace overlooking Radcliffe Square are famously beautiful. The College is full of history; J.R.R. Tolkein was an undergraduate here, as were Alan Bennett, Martin Amis and former President Kufour of Ghana. Other former students include two Supreme Court judges (one from Australia and another from Canada) as well as Nobel Laureate Sydney Brenner. Phillip Pullman, another Exonian, based his fictional Jordan College on Exeter and the fictitious Inspector Morse collapsed on the lawn in the front quad. Exeter College Chapel and the whole of Keble College provide beautiful reminders of the impact of the Oxford Movement’s Anglo-Catholicism and the mid-19th Century Gothic revival.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: This evening watch a DVD of “The Dead of Jericho”, the Inspector Morse novel featuring an American tourist group and a mysterious death.

Day 4: Tolkien and the Jericho area of Oxford

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Linton Lodge Hotel.

Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Lecture on the Oxford Don and author of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkein.

Lunch: In the hotel.

Afternoon: A field trip explores the Jericho area of Oxford – an area between Walton Street and the Oxford canal which was developed 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 was located. The Oxford University Press is also located in this area. With individual shops and cafes, 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 by the canal in 1868. Its impressive High Anglican gilt interior is further evidence of the 19th Century nostalgia for the religion of the Middle Ages.

Dinner: Taken at the Old Bookbinders Ale House, a Jericho institution since 1869.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 5: Inspector Morse, Oxford

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Linton Lodge Hotel.

Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: This morning guest lecturer Dr Anthony Richards will talk on the subject of Inspector Morse.

Lunch: In the hotel.

Afternoon: Free time to explore Oxford at your leisure.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Enjoy a DVD, “Desperate Romantics” – a drama about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

Day 6: The Pre-Raphaelites and Dinner in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Linton Lodge Hotel.

Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Lectures in the hotel on “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Pre-Raphaelites”.

Lunch: In the hotel.

Afternoon: A free afternoon to explore Oxford at your leisure.

Dinner: Take a special dinner in the world famous Ashmolean Museum.

Evening: At leisure after dinner.

Day 7: Blenheim Palace, Oxford

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Linton Lodge Hotel.

Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Field trip to Blenheim Palace. Blenheim Palace is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and a World Heritage Site. The Palace was originally a gift from Queen Anne and a grateful nation to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough following his famous victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. Visit the gilded State Rooms, which house one of the finest collections in Europe, and the fascinating visitor experience “Blenheim Palace: The Untold Story”. The Churchill Exhibition includes the room where Sir Winston Churchill was born in 1874. Situated in Woodstock, just 8 miles from Oxford, the Palace is surrounded by over 2,000 acres of “Capability” Brown landscaped parkland, the great lake and beautiful formal gardens.

Lunch: Taken in Blenheim Palace.

Afternoon: The field trip continues.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: DVD showing of “Shadowlands”, a 1993 British biographical film about the relationship between Oxford academics C.S Lewis and American poet Joy Davidman, her tragic death from cancer, and how this challenged Lewis’ Christian faith. It is directed by Richard Attenborough with a screenplay by William Nicholson.

Day 8: Christ Church, an Oxford college

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Linton Lodge Hotel.

Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Lecture on The Inklings, Oxford and C.S Lewis.

Lunch: In the hotel.

Afternoon: This afternoon’s field trip reveals the grandeur of Henry VIII’s Christ Church. Founded in 1546 and one of the largest Oxford colleges, Henry’s Lord Chancellor Thomas Wolsey planned the impressive Great Quadrangle, the Tudor kitchen and the Great Hall. Subsequent centuries have added to this architectural heritage and the Cathedral now houses some splendid medieval, 17th Century and Pre-Raphaelites stained glass. Christ Church is, uniquely, the Cathedral seat of Oxford and occupies a 150 acre site in the centre of the city. This includes the Meadow, a tranquil area of pasture bounded by the rivers Isis and Cherwell. Continue then onwards to Manchester College to view the Pre-Raphaelite stained glass windows in its Chapel.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 9: The Cotswolds, Burford and Bibury

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Linton Lodge Hotel.

Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Field trip out of Oxford into the picturesque Cotswolds countryside. The trip will include the villages of Burford and Bibury, called by William Morris “the prettiest village in England”.

Lunch: Taken out at Maison Blanc in Burford.

Afternoon: The field trip continues.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: A lecture from your Study Leader on William Morris.

Day 10: Kelmscott Manor, Oxford

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Linton Lodge Hotel.

Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Today we have a full day to Bampton, the village location for Downton Abbey, and Kelmscott Manor – William Morris’ Thames-side home. The interior is furnished with his own textiles, wallpapers and a portrait of his wife Jane, painted by Rossetti. Morris was a student of Exeter College, Oxford and became part of the group known as the “Pembroke Set”. He went on to be associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement.

Lunch: Packed lunch.

Afternoon: The field trip continues.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Enjoy a special guest lecture.

Day 11: Farewell Dinner in the Cherwell Boathouse, Oxford

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Accommodation: Linton Lodge Hotel.

Breakfast: Full English breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Lecture: "The Spirit of Oxford".

Lunch: Excluded to give you more free time on your last day in this great city.

Afternoon: Free time.

Dinner: Dinner out in the Cherwell Boathouse. The Cherwell Boathouse is an iconic Oxford punt station and restaurant on the banks of the river Cherwell.

Evening: At leisure.

Day 12: Oxford

Meals: Breakfast

Breakfast: In the hotel depending on departure times. This concludes our program. 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.

Availability

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Price From $ 3,599
Price Per Day: $ 300 per day
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Stride Featured in

Stride Feature In

41 Road Scholar Travel Reviews & Ratings

90%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 34
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 2
Value
4.6
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.5
Meals
4.5

The Spirit of Oxford

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Old Cuba is fantastic and should be seen before it's spoiled by capitalism.

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals3.0
This was my wife's and my first trip with Road Scholar. At the time (April, 2012), it was not possible for Americans to directly visit Cuba. You had to do it with a cultural/educational group, often associated with a university. Or, you could fly to Canada, Mexico, or Europe first and then get a flight to Cuba from there (while risking a ~$10,000 fine from the US Government). We opted for the legal route with Road Scholar.

It was a fantastic trip! We had a small-ish group of about 20 people and a wonderful guide, José Luis (who, like most Cubans, had never been off the island).
The trip began in Miami where we had an orientation and spent the night. Then we flew to Havana and stayed in the Hotel Nacional for four nights. It doesn't get more historic -- or fun -- than the Nacional:
https://vimeo.com/41612444

While in Havana, we enjoyed great history/culture lectures from experts, toured various parts of Havana (including Hemmingway's home in the hills nearby), and, on our own, had the opportunity to have dinner at a paladar -- a restaurant inside someone's home.

The Cuban people are friendly but the infrastructure of their country is in shambles. It's been a long time since Russia's deep pockets left the island (1991), and you see poverty everywhere. But not the begging-in-the-street kind. Cuba provides universal health care, education (including room and board all the way through grad/med school!), food staples, and a very modest income (~$30/month) to everyone. Most people add to that income by working on the side.

After Havana, we traveled to Cienfuegos. From there we saw the infamous Bay Of Pigs, but also the wonderful Benny Moré Art School where we learned of the fantastic support for the arts by the Cuban government. Children are identified in grade school as having artistic talent and then funneled into magnet schools like Benny Moré to study art for their entire scholastic career!

Don't go to Cuba for the food. It's edible (and won't make you sick) but rather boring. You mainly get the "three amigos": fish, pork, or chicken, along with rice and/or black beans. But the aged rum is superb and so are the cigars!

Probably my favorite thing on the island, though, was the music -- whether on the street or in a more formal setting:
https://vimeo.com/43273083

Cuba is fantastic. Go enjoy it!
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Best trip I ever took!

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Loved the variety of different hotels, the expertise of the individual tour guides, the meals and especially the beautiful countryside. All 17 of us on the t rip got to know each other well, thanks to the kindness, the personality and the organizational skill of Mark, our tour director. Keep up the good work!
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Sunrise, Sunset, Learning Photography

5.0
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Value4.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals4.0
Road Scholar offers many tours starting in Utah. The one I took focused of photography of the National Parks in Utah, with a professional photographer traveling with us. The schedule was set up such that we would get "the golden light" at each of the parks. Those not familiar with the term must know that the best light occurs at either sunrise or sunset, when the impact of the sun on objects is diffused by having to travel through the earth's atmosphere on a diagonal rather than vertically.

As such, you can now expect that sleep will be an issue as you will get to bed late and rise early. But the territory is beautiful at all times, and more so illuminated by the golden light.

In order to maximize your sleeping ability, the tour is only offered in the spring and the fall. Doing this in the winter would be pretty cold and require special equipment to traverse the snow. Doing it in the summer would basically mean no sleep as the daylight is so long.

A great learning experience in beautiful territory.
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Thank you Road Scholar

5.0
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Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Thank you Road Scholar Staff for planning a wonderful introduction to Cuba today. My previous knowledge was from people who felt they had to leave Cuba more than fifty years ago. I learned from qualified professors, tour guides and from talking to Cuban people from different parts of Cuba who work in different kinds of jobs. I could see how the Cuban people have come together to meet the challenges of the past and to prepare for a brighter future.
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Thank you Road Scholar!

5.0
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Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Road Scholar tours are the best bang for your buck

Fabulous!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This is a fabulous program for young and old. The instructors are great with kids and adults. The activities are very well organized and varied. My grandson is already making plans for next year.
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 24

Accomodations

Linton Lodge Hotel: 10 nights  Oxford.

Set in a residential area of North Oxford with a pleasant garden and croquet lawn.

Guides

John Hudson

As principal of the College of International Education, John Hudson has been sharing “magical” Oxford with Road Scholar participants since 2007. A resident of Oxford since 1966, John recognizes the impact of the city on writers, thinkers, artists and architects throughout the ages. He has extensive experience in education, having been deputy head of an upper comprehensive school for many years, as well as a teacher of history, philosophy and politics at one of the UK’s top boarding schools.

Trip ID#:

TheSpiRoa

Meals Included:

10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches and 10 Dinners

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