City of Dreaming Spires and Tales of the Shire

A recent visit to Oxford, England exposed the literary side of a country largely known for their Dickensian history in London. Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland was created in the midst of these stone cottages and impressive academic buildings, as well as Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows, which took place along the banks of the River Thames. We walked past innumerable buildings dating well past anything found in the United States. From 11th century church towers to landmarks honoring victims of religious tyranny, the history of this place was both inspiring and overwhelming at once.

It seemed most visitors only wanted to pick up souvenirs in the form of the Oxford pullovers that overflowed from the tourist shops lining the High and Broad streets. Surely some were also there to take part in one of many walking tours that Blackwell bookstore organizes each day (as we were, one particular day). For me though, one of the greatest attractions was found in an empty, back corner of a seemingly ordinary pub. Read more

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You MUST Have a Cup of Tea

Step into London and you wander into its storied past, filled with foggy streets reminiscent of Jack the Ripper, warm pubs inviting images of Charles Dickens having a political debate, and corner shops quirky enough to potentially be owned by someone as Mad as a Hatter.

What I discovered while planning an upcoming trip not only took me by surprise, but had me longing to pack my bags for a more permanent stay. Welcome to England, where storybooks come to life in the most unusual of ways.

At the Sanderson Hotel, guests are invited to plummet down the rabbit hole with the promise of a Wonderland Tea awaiting on the other side. Set among flowers that seem to whisper with gossip and stories of guests long past, the Courtyard Garden is the setting of an afternoon tea with Mr. Carroll himself in mind. Read more