The origins of the Bodleian Library date to a time when books were still written by hand. Today, the Bodleian is housed across five buildings – looking much more like a castle than a library – and many of these manuscripts are still part of its collection (now 12-million items strong).
Visiting the library is not as easy as you might imagine, as new readers are required to first recite an oath promising never to remove, mark or deface any of the contents of the library, and especially not to set fire to them. But once inside, a treasure trove of the world’s rarest and most extraordinary knowledge unfurls before you, housed beneath some of the grandest oak and stone ever to be sculpted by human hands.
While it may seem rather lazy drawing comparisons to Hogwarts, there really is no better alternative. Everything from the hand-carved, pitched ceilings, to the framed murals of old Oxford Dons on the walls smacks of traditions you might have thought only existed in fairy tales.
While pacing the corridors or sitting at the tables, let your mind imagine the many kings, prime ministers, famous authors and leading academics who have strolled those halls before you.