Our tour of Oxford continues with three additional locations featured in A Discovery of Witches. As a reminder, our posts are meant to complement the travel guide written by Deborah Harkness, which is included in the Waterstones paperback edition of The Book of Life. At the end of this series, we’ll compile the guide into one easy-to-download PDF file.
Bridge of Sighs
Modeled and named after the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, Oxford’s Bridge of Sighs is immediately visible when entering New College Lane with the Bodleian Library at your back. The bridge connects two sides of Hertford College and is one of the most photographed (and filmed) locations in Oxford.
The vampire sat in the shadows on the curved expanse of the bridge that spanned New College Lane and connected two parts of Hertford College, his back resting against the worn stone of one of the college’s newer buildings and his feet propped up on the bridge’s roof. Chapter 3, ADOW.
More photos: Bridge of Sighs photo album
Diana’s beautiful college is open to the public for a fee and absolutely worth touring. Check their website or call in advance to verify hours and whether any specific area is closed for a private function. Hours vary widely depending on whether classes are in session, and/or private functions.
A “must see” is the Great Hall, the Cloister (closed at the time of our visit), and the garden.
I skirted under the chapel windows and through the narrow passage into the quad that had views of Oxford’s only surviving medieval garden, complete with the traditional mound that had once offered a green prospect for students to look upon and contemplate the mysteries of God and nature. Chapter 2, ADOW.
Factoid: The stunning Cloister is the filming location of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
More photos: New College photo album
Address: New College, Holywell Street, Oxford OX1 3BN
All Souls College
There was one college in Oxford notorious for its exclusivity and rigid attention to protocol.
It was the same college famous for its brilliant fellows. Chapter 14, ADOW.
All Souls College was a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture, resembling the love child of a wedding cake and a cathedral, with its airy spires and delicate stonework. I sighed with pleasure, unable to
say much—at least not yet. Ch. 14, ADOW.
The only sections of All Souls College open to the public are the Great Quadrangle accessible from High Street, the college front visible from Catte Street, and the chapel (closed at the time of our visit). From Catte Street, you can also admire the ornate gates facing the Radcliffe Camera.
Individuals or larger groups with specific interests in the college’s history or architecture must arrange tours inadvance by contacting the Domestic Bursar, via this email form.
A pair of ornate, scrolled gates guarded his college as if it were Wonderland. Chapter 14, ADOW.
For a stunning panoramic view of All Souls College, we recommend climbing the tower of the nearby University Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
As Deborah Harkness has told us, with the second largest wine cellar in the UK (the largest is in Buckingham Palace), All Souls College is the perfect college for Matthew Clairmont.
Matthew looked down with a shy smile. “Welcome to All Souls.” Chapter 14 , ADOW.
More photos: All Souls College photo album
Address: All Souls College, Oxford OX1 4AL