Tolkien movie

Tolkien movie

Having been a Green Badge guide in Oxford for over 6 years, JRR Tolkien has become very much part of my every day life!

I was thrilled when I learnt that there was to be a new movie on his life.  It is always helpful to be able to see something played out on screen!

So last weekend I took myself of to the cinema to see #Tolkienmovie with great excitement!

The movie focuses on Tolkien’s time as a young adult. From the loss of his mother and the time he spent in a boarding house.  During the time he met the love of his life, Edith Bratt.  It also very much focussed on the formation of the ‘TCBS’ (the Tea Club and Barrovian Society’ of which Tolkien was a member.

I enjoyed the movie particularly seeing the Oxford locations (some of which I had seen being filmed back in November 2017) although I do feel it may have stretched the truth on occasion!

During the peak summer months of May, June and July (with possible extension beyond) we are operating CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien tours in Oxford.  These are scheduled to operate every Saturday at 2.30pm.

Starting from The Eagle and Child (the pub strongly associated with The Inklings) and will weave through the streets of Oxford.  At the end the tour will visit inside Magdalen college (entry included but subject to availability).  There was a brief scene from the movie filmed inside Magdalen.

As with the majority of our tours, we keep numbers small to ensure the very best experience.  Book early!

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cs-lewis-and-jrr-tolkien-walking-tour-of-oxford-tickets-54793890000

Below are some pictures taken of the filming during November 2017 – come and discover them with us!

#tolkien #tolkienmovie #cslewis #theinklings #tcbs #oxford #walkingtoursofoxford

Tolkien filming

What is a Green Badge Guide?

What is a ‘Green Badge Guide’?

Throughout my website you will find mentions of ‘Green Badge Guide’ but what exactly does that mean?

In theory, anyone can become a guide in Oxford as here in the UK, unlike other countries, Tourist Guides are not regulated.

This means that you could be taking pot luck when you book a tour, with out a regulating body or any official qualifications required.

The governing body for Tour Guides here in the UK is The Institute of Tourist Guiding (https://www.itg.org.uk).

To become a member of The Institute of Tourist Guiding (or ITG for short), there is an admission process to register for one of the course that they offer.  All candidates are interviewed and then selected for various capabilities displayed at that interview.  They would be looking for clarity of speech, presentation skills, calm and customer focussed skilled … to name a few.

Each course is usually run by The Tourist information centre and accredited by the ITG.

There are three levels awarded which are:-

White Badge –

For those thinking of taking up paid or voluntary employment guiding visitors around an attraction such as a stately home, cathedral, museum or theme park, or even a business or industrial estate.

Green Badge –

For those interested in working full or part-time guiding visitors at sites of interest and on walking tours in an area such as a town or city centre or specified countryside area.

Blue Badge –

For those who would like full or part-time work guiding visitors around a region or metropolitan area on walking tours, at sites of interest, and using various methods of transport.

I opted for the Green Badge and this involved an 8 month training programme.  I attended lectures, talk and walks conducted by professional such as academics at The University or other Green / Blue Badge guides. Each week we would have a practice walk where we could demonstrate our knowledge (and marked accordingly).

At the end of the training period, we undertook 4 exams (two walking and three written) and it was only on achieving a high grade at all these examinations that we passed.  Then we were awarded our ‘Green Badge’ in our presentation held at The Town Hall in Oxford and by The Lord Major (patron of The Guild of Oxford Tour Guides).

Guiding is not just about knowledge.  It is also about being able to project your voice but to also know when to lower the volume (when inside a college for example and the students are studying).  It is also about group management and ensuring the safety of the entire group.

It was a pleasure and a privilege to be accepted on to the training course and, although there were many times of stress, I look back on it now as a rewarding time.

Training does not simply stop with the presentation of our badges.  It goes on.  Each year, The Oxford Guild of Tour Guides, runs a Winter training programmed to broaden and enhance our knowledge.

Over the 6 years that I have been guiding, I have met many wonderful people from all over the world.  I love my job and and I wear my badge with pride. #choosequalified

Dictionary result for qualified

adjective
  1. 1.
    officially recognised as being trained to perform a particular job; certified.

 

FEEFO GOLD TRUSTED SERVICE AWARD 2018

WALKING TOURS OF OXFORD RECEIVES FEEFO GOLD TRUSTED SERVICE AWARD 2019

30 JANUARY 2019, Walking Tours of Oxford has won the Feefo Gold Service award, an independent seal of excellence that recognises businesses for delivering exceptional experiences, as rated by real customers.

Created by Feefo, Trusted Service is awarded only to those businesses that use Feefo to collect genuine reviews and insights. Those that meet the high standard, based on the number of reviews they have collected, and their average rating, receive the award. A badge of honour, this accreditation remains unique, as it is based purely on the interactions with real customers. As all reviews are verified as genuine, the accreditation is a true reflection of a business’ commitment to outstanding service.

Walking Tours of Oxford met the criteria of collecting at least 50 reviews between January 1st 2018 and December 31st 2018, with a Feefo service rating of between 4.5 and 5.0.

Heidi Boon Rickard, Walking Tours of Oxford commented: “We’re thrilled to receive this award from Feefo. It recognises how hard we’ve been working to give great experiences to all our customers, who are the most important judges of what we do. We’re committed to delivering the highest quality of service, so it’s important for us to listen, understand and respond to all our customers. We are looking forward to another successful year ahead.”

Congratulating Walking Tours of Oxford on winning this year’s award, Matt West, CEO at Feefo, commented: “The Trusted Service award has always been about recognising those companies that excel beyond the norm. This year we’ve seen many remarkable businesses leveraging the full potential of Feefo to provide outstanding levels of experience for their customers – and rightly being awarded our most prestigious accreditation. I’m looking forward to the continual success of the businesses that work in partnership with us throughout 2019.”

Feefo is a reviews and customer insights technology company that provides businesses with the tools to collect real, purchase-verified reviews and insights. Working with over 3,500 clients, Feefo ensures that all feedback is authentic, by matching it to a legitimate transaction, in order to increase consumer confidence and enable businesses to make smarter business decisions.

 

Parking in Oxford

Throughout 2018 we had a few clients who arrived late for tours due to parking problems.  Please do allow plenty of time when travelling to Oxford. Car parking is not plentiful in the centre of Oxford and is discouraged.  The best option is to use one of the 5 park and rides outside Oxford and then hop on the bus into town.  This is how I always travel in.  It will cost you £2 to park the car for up to 12 hours.  Note that you will require the last 3 digits of your car registration when paying at the machine so if you have a hire car – remember to make a note!  Here is the link to the Park and Ride website:

https://www.oxford.gov.uk/directory/8/car_parks_in_oxford/category/56/categoryInfo/13

If you do prefer to drive into Oxford then you could try The Westgate car park:-

https://westgateoxford.co.uk/your-visit/getting-here

Another car park would be Worcester Street:-

https://www.oxford.gov.uk/directory_record/351/worcester_street_car_park/category/53/city_centre_car_parks

Or Gloucester Green:-

https://www.oxford.gov.uk/directory_record/339/gloucester_green_car_park/category/53/city_centre_car_parks

See you soon!

Heidi and team

Morse / Lewis and Endeavour pub tour 2019

Discovering the pubs of Morse / Lewis and Endeavour

It was a glorious day when I set out on an endeavour to find the pubs of Morse & Lewis located outside of Oxford.  Along with me came Phil, a good friend who also happens to be an excellent photographer!

It wasn’t just about a boozy lunch – sadly I was driving, but about locating and getting to know the scenes in preparation our new tour.  It’s a hard job but someone has to do it.!  The tour will be unescorted and the final details are yet to be confirmed. Please check out my website for more information.

The Perch, Binsey

A charming 17thcentury public house with thatched roof.  Binsey is a small hamlet located approximately 2 miles north west of Oxford. It is possible to walk here from the centre of Oxford and is a pleasant stroll along the canal, across Port Meadow and then following the Thames.

The Perch featured in the Morse episode ‘Daughters of Cain’and the area has many other literary connections.  Gerald Manley Hopkins wrote a poem ‘Binsey Poplars’when he found the riverside trees felled.

During the summer months, it is a busy venue and has an enviable large garden out the back.  Continue through the garden and you will come to the Thames which is defiantly worth a stroll to.  One can imagine the various scenes from Morse / Lewis and Endeavour filmed, if not in this exact location, then surely very close by.

 

After taking our photos, we headed to the church – St Margaret of Antioch.  There has been a church on this site since Saxon times.  We were fortunate that the church was open and able to visit inside.  However, the real interest lies outside in the ‘Treacle Well’ which has connections to the patron saint of Oxford – St Frideswide.  It also features in Lewis Carrol Alice in Wonderland stories.  Three dormouse live down the bottom of the well.  When Alice asks why, the reply is ‘because they were sick’.  The word Treacle is an old English word for medicine.  Discover the full hidden meaning of the Alice stories on a specialist tour!

 

The Victoria Arms, Marston

Affectionately known locally as ‘Vicky Arms’ this is a slightly more modern pub. There has been a public house on the site previously, the one before us today was rebuilt in the 1840’s.  Located on the eastern bank of the River Cherwell, this was the pub I was most excited to visit as I had not been before.

Warm and welcoming, we ordered a couple of drinks from the very friendly barman and then headed into their gardens.  Anyone who knows Morse & Lewis will recognise the outside and it was here that they filmed The Remorseful Day; where Morse recited A.E Housman’s poem – The Remorseful Day.  I could just visualise the film crew setting up and John Thaw and Kevin Whatley preparing for their lines.

A wander around the inside brought us to the plaque (see picture) for The Remorseful Day along with another interesting sign to say that this is where Cromwell prepare to invade the city of Oxford during the English civil war.  Although upon speaking to the Manager, and considering the dates, this is probably a little stretched!

After our lunch, I had wanted to visit the third pub – The Trout at Wolvercote used in the filming but it was with dismay that I realised the time.  I had to get back for the school run!  We headed out to the car and made a brief stop just around the corner where you find ‘Cromwell’s  House’and then it was time for the adventure to end and homeward bound.  I will return to visit The Trout at a later date.

Both these pubs are walkable from the city centre or you can, of course, drive yourself.  It is not a great distance between the locations but who wants to drive when fully immersing themselves in the world of Morse!

I am tempted to join a couple of the tours myself and will certainly be bringing friends along at some point.  Any comments on if you think it would benefit from a guide during the tour are welcome. Please leave comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to read and I hope I have given you a feel for these locations.  They do say that a picture speaks a thousand words and I am grateful to Phil for taking such insightful photos.  All photos are copyright @philknight.

Gift vouchers available

All our tours – public or private – are available to buy as gift vouchers!  Please see home page for the new booking button.  A superb gift that ‘keeps on giving’ as reviewed earlier this year.  Christmas, birthday, anniversary …… Walking Tours of Oxford will ensure the very best experience for that special someone.

 

2019 Morse tours now available to book

I am delighted to advise that the 2019 Morse / Lewis and Endeavour tours are now available to book!  Schedule and booking details as follows:-

All year from Saturday 5th January – Thursday 19th December.  Every Saturday and Thursday @ 2pm.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/morse-lewis-and-endeavour-2019-tickets-49747788976

Plus mid season from 1st April-31st October

Every Tuesday and Friday @ 2pm

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/morse-lewis-and-endeavour-mid-season-2019-tickets-49847180258

Plus peak season from 1st June-30th Sept

Every Monday and Saturday @ 11.30am

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/morse-lewis-and-endeavour-peak-2019-tickets-49847236426

That is 6 glorious tours a week to choose from in peak season.  Tours get booked well in advance so do book early!

New for 2019 and exclusive to Walking Tours of Oxford

Add afternoon tea at The Randolph hotel for the ultimate treat!  Contact me for details.

See you soon!

Heidi, Elizabeth and team!

MORSE / LEWIS AND ENDEAVOUR TOURS IN OXFORD

MORSE / LEWIS AND ENDEAVOUR TOURS – NEWSPAPER ARTICLE

 

Walking Tours of Oxford/Heidi Boon Rickard

OXFORD is renowned as a city of dreaming spires but in recent times it has gained a formidable reputation as the setting for the Colin Dexter crime mysteries.

Morse, Lewis and Hathaway are a trio of detectives who have captured the imagination of millions of television viewers worldwide, three sleuths who can unravel the most complex of cases.

So, ladies, gentlemen and any number of anoraks everywhere… lend me your ears. For if you want a trip around the haunts of the greatest crime-solvers since Sherlock Holmes hung up his deerstalker, then the person you need to see is Heidi Boon Rickard, a tour guide who is not only probably Britain’s leading authority on the crème de la crème of crime-crackers, but was also an acquaintance of the late Colin Dexter himself.

This is a generous, fact-crammed tour, two hours of non-stop information in which no ancient Oxford stone is left unturned, and every nook and cranny probed with an attention to detail that would undoubtedly meet with the approval of the dynamic threesome themselves.

There’s the college green where Morse suffered his fatal heart attack, the mediaeval Bear Inn, festooned with amputated ties, the Bridge of Sighs where Hathaway often paused to call Lewis… plus the numerous alleys and side streets where dark deeds were done and dastardly doings solved.

My advice? Don’t visit Oxford without taking this tour and getting on the trail of these three heroes of the small screen. It’s fabulous.

For information visit www.walkingtoursofoxford.com