The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was an absolute favourite of mine growing up. The beautiful settings and fantastical characters made it such a magical read. So, you can imagine how excited I was when I found out C.S Lewis had studied at Oxford.
Lewis studied at University College and later went onto become a fellow at Magdalen.
The statues around the cloisters in Magdalen are said to have inspired the frozen statues of people in Narnia.
But it's St Mary's Passage which feels most like the entrance to Narnia. It has become quite the favourite with tourists:
As you walk through the passage, from the High Street, on your left hand side there is a doorway surrounded by two sculptures of fawns which will bring the image of Mr. Tumnus to mind. This is surely reminiscent of the entrance to Narnia. Then, as you look ahead of you, you'll see the lamp post and remember Lucy walking past a very similar one each time she entered Narnia.
Both Univ and Magdalen are only a few minutes’ walk away, so Lewis would no doubt have wandered through the passage on a regular basis.
Every time I walk through it, my childhood memories of fantasy landscapes come flooding back but as I look around at the dreaming spires Oxford, it too feels like a magical land away from reality; it's no surprise Lewis found inspiration here!
Next time you're in Oxford be sure to keep your eyes peeled, there are so many intricate details which are easy to miss.
St Mary's Passage is located off the High Street towards Radcliffe Square and is well worth a look!