Philip Pullman’s Oxford Tour


Experience the places and stories that inspired Philip Pullman’s best-selling books on a walking tour of Oxford, endorsed by the author himself!

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This tour visits key locations from Lyra’s Oxford and La Belle Sauvage, including the Bodley’s Library, The Covered Market, Jordan College and the Pitt Rivers Museum. It will provide a fascinating insight into the stories and places that inspired the world-renowned book.

Further details on the key locations visited on Philip Pullman’s Oxford Tour:

  • Bodley’s Library: Bodley’s Library features prominently in His Dark Materials and also features in the new book La Belle Sauvage.
  • The Covered Market: the market is a favourite haunt for Lyra and friends in Northern Lights.
  • An Oxford College similar to Jordan College: where Lyra grows up. She climbs out of an attic window there in Northern Lights.
  • (All subject to availability)

Lyra’s stomping ground, and that of new character Malcolm, reaches beyond central Oxford.

If you’d like to extend the experience, other places which can be visited after your tour could include:

  • Botanic Gardens: In The Amber Spyglass, Lyra and Will promise to sit on the bench at the back of the Botanic Gardens for an hour at noon on Midsummer’s Day every year so that they may feel each other’s presence next to one another in their own worlds. See the actual bench!
  • Godstow Abbey: an abbey where the nuns look after the baby Lyra in La Belle Sauvage (You can read an extract from La Belle Sauvage on the Guardian website here).
  • Jericho: where Gyptians board boats in Northern Lights. It is also where the main character lives in La Belle Sauvage and where some of the action takes place.
  • The Trout Inn, Wolvercote: this real pub is where Malcolm lives with his parents, the landlords, in La Belle Sauvage.
  • Port Meadow: in Northern Lights, this is the site of the Horse Fair where the disappearance of a young boy ‘from a gyptian family she knew’ helps to trigger Lyra’s adventures. It’s referenced in the other His Dark Materials books and in La Belle Sauvage.


Book this as a private tour

For details on how to book this as a private tailor-made tour on this or a combination of themes, for yourself or family and friends, please call us on +44 1865 686 441 or see our Group and Private Tours page. Groups can also book by email at

Meeting Point

All Oxford Official Walking Tours meet at the Cool Britannia gift shop entrance on the corner of Turl Street and Broad Street (Broad Street Numbers 23-25, OX1 3DH). Your Guide will be holding an Oxford Official Walking Tours paddleboard.

Group size

Groups are limited to 20 people to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant experience and can ask your Guide questions as you walk around with them.

More information:

  • Your 2-hour tour will cover 1.5 – 2 miles walking (stopping every so often to admire the architecture and learn about the quirky university traditions) and not travelling further than a 10/15 minute walk away from the City centre and the Meeting Point OX1 3AS.
  • Guide dogs are welcome on all tours. Unfortunately, other dogs and pets are not allowed.
  • Children under 16 are welcome on this tour but must be accompanied by at least 1 adult per two children. Children under 5 go free but tickets must be booked for them.
  • The City centre is very flat and walkable – however, some of the most ancient colleges do have steps. If you have any mobility difficulties, please let us know in advance by phone on +44 1865 686 441 or email  before you book, so that we can arrange with the guide ahead of the tour how to best accommodate you.
  • Tours go ahead whatever the weather, however, we do advise you to come prepared and warmly dressed for winter, prepared for rain whatever the season with comfortable footwear.
  • We recommend the Park and Ride service. The nearest site will be signposted on your entry route to Oxford and the buses leave regularly. Please allow at least 20 minutes for the journey into the City Centre and ask for the stop nearest to the Visitor Information Centre in Broad St. For more parking information please see




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