What if I told you that you could stay in your own mini-apartment on a film set in Oxford for just £52 per night?
It sounds mental, but it’s true, I promise. Christ Church College, the setting for films including Harry Potter and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, lets out some of its rooms throughout the summer while students are away so that people from all over the world can get a taste of the Oxonian lifestyle.
While many people may squirm at the thought of staying in student accommodation, at Oxford this needn’t be a problem. After all, where else have you seen student accommodation that looked like this?
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the system, Oxford University is actually broken up into 38 colleges. Each college is where students sleep, eat and learn throughout their time at university. These colleges are spread throughout the city, along with communal facilities such as libraries and the student union.
As a visitor to the city, this arrangement makes things even more exciting. You’ll be walking down a side street and you’ll see a few people gathering around an archway, or trying to peer through a door at the college grounds. And when you are inside walking around the grounds, it feels a world away from the rest of the city, almost like you’re in a secret garden.
Christ Church College
Of all the Oxford University colleges, Christ Church is one of the – if not the – most well-known. The grounds and spectacular 16th Century buildings are certainly some of the most recognisable, with pictures of the neatly-manicured grounds and quadrangle regularly appearing on the front of books, on TV, and on postcards.
Although all of the colleges are beautiful in their own unique way, I was keen to stay in Christ Church College, purely because it summed up everything I thought I knew about Oxford. Plus, the college has churned out notable alumni including 13 British Prime Ministers, scientists and author Lewis Carroll.
Checking it at the front office at 2pm, my friend and I thought we were living the dream as we laced our way around the quadrangle towards our room. It was so quiet that by looking at the building in certain angles, we felt like we were the only ones there, in our own castle!
Our rooms were located on the top floor in a building looking out onto a smaller, just as pretty quadrangle, next to the library. Thankfully, our rooms were next to each other so we could easily slip in and out of each other’s room.
Our rooms both had their own individual sitting room, with sofas, tables, desks, a fridge, a kettle and fireplace. In a separate room was our single bed, complete with wardrobe, loads of storage space and a sink.
This was my room –
While yes the decor could do with a little bit of maintenance, and yes there was a vague musty smell, you’ve got to remember these buildings are hundreds of years old and have such a mountain of history! Who knows who once slept in my room? Lewis Carroll? William Gladstone? I mean, probably not, but even so – it’s a part of Oxford history, so the chance to stay in one of these rooms shouldn’t be passed up.
Bathrooms are shared between rooms. While our toilet was on the floor downstairs (not a problem at night as the hallways are always lit up), we had a bath on our floor, shared with 2 other rooms.
You even get your own towels and a little wash bag, complete with shampoo, soap, body wash, a mini sewing kit and, uh, a coaster.
While the grounds are incredible, the Great Hall – where breakfast is served each morning – is INSANE. You feel like you’ve just arrived at Hogwarts, which is perfectly understandable as scenes were filmed there. (Remember the bit in the first film where Harry and his fellow students are met by Professor McGonagall? That was filmed at the top of the grand staircase, just before you go into the Hall.)
Tea, coffee and toast are already on the long tables, while you can help yourself to a hot breakfast (vegetarian options are available too, hurrah!) and continental extras – all under the watchful gaze of paintings of alumni lining the walls.
One of the most central Oxford colleges, Christ Church is a five-minute walk away from the main high street, shopping centres and Carfax Tower. Meanwhile, a five-minute walk in the opposite direction will bring you to the river where you can go for a punt.
I promise I’m not being paid for this post – I just genuinely love the Universityrooms.com website. On here you can book stays in university accommodation all over the world – usually in summer when students are away, but often during term-time as well if they have space.
It offers an affordable, secure way to travel, with many different styles of rooms available. I’m addicted to looking through the website at accommodation in different countries, as so many of them have historic and cultural features that you wouldn’t necessarily find in run-of-the-mill hotels – unless you pay 5 times the price! And then you’ve also got the modern rooms of universities such as the one in Istanbul where guests even have use of a communal swimming pool for just £50 a night…
Christ Church College Details
- The college’s main entrance is located on Saint Aldate’s
- There are a variety of rooms available in 16th, 17th, 18th and 20th century buildings
- Breakfast is included
- Minimum age of 21