Study Abroad Lewes England

There and Back Again: Write Fantasy in Tolkien’s England in Oxford and Bath

DATES for 2024: May 15 through May 31 in Oxford and Bath
Led by Alex Dawson, Assistant Teaching Professor and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Senior Program Administrator 

Scholarships available for English majors. 


DEADLINE to apply: March 1, 2024

See the real-world inspirations for Saruman’s Tower, the Barrow Downs, Weathertop, the Prancing Pony, the Doors of Durin, Amon Hen, the temple of Morgoth, and the jeweled caverns of Algaron. Plus King Arthur’s grave, the Bird & Baby, the Narnia lamppost, House of Frankenstein, sunrise at Stonehenge, and the “mama of Yoda!”

We'll start with a four night stay in Oxford, where Tolkien served as a Professor of Anglo-Saxon from 1925-1945 (during which time he wrote The Hobbit and LOTR). In Oxford, we'll visit the Eagle and Child, (Tolkien's local for over 30 years; where he and C. S. Lewis formed a literary club called the Inklings), the Bodleian Library (where many of Tolkien's manuscripts/original drawings are kept; also a prominent shooting location for Harry Potter), Faringdon Folly (which inspired Orthanc, Saruman's dark tower), Wayland Smithy's (an ancient chamber of the dead said to be the basis for the Barrow Downs), The Bell Inn (the real-world Prancing Pony), Stow-on-Wold (the Doors of Durin), Dragon Hill (Weathertop), and Wolvercote Cemetery (where Tolkien is buried). And more!

In Bath, we'll kick off our twelve day stay with dinner and drinks at The Raven with the great Joe Abercrombie (First Law Trilogy, Red Country, which Lev Grossman, writing for the Wall Street Journal, called "Lord of the Rings directed by Kurosawa”). We’ll also take day trips to Glastonbury Tor (said to be where King Arthur freed Queen Guinevere; home to the scared Chalice Well, which runs red, and is said to be the resting place of the Holy Grail), Cheddar Gorge (and the jeweled caves of Algaron, which Gimli called one of the marvels of the Northern World and which left Legolas speechless), the Devon studio of Brian & Wendy (the “mama of Yoda”) Froud (designers/fabricators for The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and Yoda in Empire Strikes Back), Tintagel Castle (King Arthur’s birthplace) and Merlin’s Caves, the charming Cotswold village of Lacock (where features numerous locations from Harry Potter: The Babberton Arms, Lily & James Potter’s House, Snape’s Classroom, Quirrel’s classroom, Hogwart’s hallways, Horace Slughorn’s Hideaway), and, of course, sunrise at Stonehenge ('nuff said). It all ends with a public reading at Bath Spa University in Corsham with local Creative Writing MFAs.