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

FREE charity tours

Walking Tours of Oxford is once again delighted to be involved with this fundraising initive by the students of Oxford Univerisry.  Teams are selected from the 22,000 studying here at Oxford and they will go head to head in a race across the globle – to see which team can get the furthest – with no money!

Firstly they must raise several hunderd pounds for local charitites such as rape victims and the homeless.  All proceeds go 100% to charity.

To assist them is this very worthwhile cause, Walking Tours of Oxford guides will give up her time complelty free and offering a 1.5-2 hour walking tour of this stunning Univeristy town.  We will walk through the very heart of Oxford University and see such sites as The Radcliffe Camera, The Bodlean library, The Weston library, The Bridge of Signs, many of the 38 colleges (from the outside) AND A VISIT INSIDE ONE OF THE MOST BREATHTAKING COLLEGES. You will see the stunning arcitecture and hear the stories of how it all began with a little Harry Potter thrown in – and indeed anything that interests you.  All guide are fully qualified and hold the Green Badge accrediation for the Guild of registered Tourist Guides as well as a member of The Oxford Guild of Tour Guides

One of the student taking part in Jailbreak will meet us during the tour and talk to you about life as a student here.

These tours are normally priced at £15 per person but you can now join totally free – for a limited time.  If you enjoy the tour – and we are confident that you will (we are number 2 on TripAdvisor with over 400 positive reviews!), then we would be delighted if you would make a donation towards the charities.

Please only book a place if you are sure that you can intend.  Please email me info@walkingtoursofoxford.com to confirm your place and with your mobile telephone number.

We hope to see you in Oxford soon.

Colin Dexter

Meeting Colin

When I was 18 years old Morse was first aired on TV.  It was the 6th January 1987.

Fast forward 30 years and I am now an avid ‘fan’.  More than that, I get to share my stories and findings with my guests on my tours that I conduct in Oxford. I certainly would not mind going to the pub with young Endeavour any day!

The family home that I talk about was in Buckinghamshire. When I started a family of my own, I settled in Oxfordshire.  As time passed and the family grew up, I decided to re-train as a Green Badge guide for Oxford.  It was a challenging time but I loved learning all about this stunning city.  When you first qualify, you do so as a ‘University and City’ guide only.

Brief thoughts flickered through my mind about becoming a Morse guide but did I really want to do more training after such an intense 9 months*?  The work I was receiving was sufficient and I had my family which kept me pretty busy!

So what changed my mind?  I think it was meeting Colin Dexter that was the turning point.

It was a bitterly cold winter day and I was in The Morse Bar at The Randolph.  I am sure many of you have already been but if not, you must add to your list!  Anyway, I digress.

There I was looking at the photos of John Thaw and perhaps reflecting quietly on my youth and watching Morse with my parents.  I glanced down and thought ‘hang on a minute’.  There was Colin.  He had some signed Morse books (how I wish I had brought one).  Colin kindly allowed me to sit down and chat for a few minutes.  What a delightful and amusing gentleman he was.  We chatted about Morse and had a giggle.  He was fun and a little flirtatious but I did not mind at all – rather made my day!  Our time was all too brief as I had to start my tour.  I bid him farewell with a kiss on each cheek and in hopefulness that our paths would cross again. Sadly, it was not to be. Colin’s health was detoriating and he died a few years later – 21st March 2017.

I had my photo taken with Colin and would proudly show anyone that displayed a flicker of interest.

It is perhaps with poignancy but pleasure and privilege too, that I have recently been invited and accepted an invitation to Colin’s memorial service. I have no idea as yet who will be there but I am just looking forward to adding my personal thanks to this wonderful man and without whom, I would be unable to conduct these tours and pass on the stories.

There are plans to erect a statue to Colin in Summertown, just outside the centre of Oxford and you can read more about that here:-

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/15571071.Plans_for_Colin_Dexter_statue_take_shape_as_design_is_revealed/

Thank you Colin.

Qualifications

  • Heidi, like all guides working for Walking Tours of Oxford is a fully qualified green badge guide – member of The Institute of Tourist Guiding and The Oxford Guild of Tour Guides and that is what stands us apart from some of the other Operators in Oxford.

 

 

 

 

Morse / Lewis and Endeavour Tours

Morse / Lewis and Endeavour tours

Another busy summer with lots of new tours. Morse / Lewis and Endeavour continues to be ever popular. I was thrilled to meet Shaun Evans and Roger Allam (Endeavour and Fred Thursday) during the filming for season 5. Here are a few snaps taken over the course of the year.

I am already looking forward to January and the return of Endeavour – it helps lift my post Christmas blues! The great news is that it will be 6 episodes (rather than the normal 4).

During the winter months, these tours will operate on a Thursday and Saturday at 2pm. Additional tours maybe added. Book early to avoid disappointment!

The 2018 schedule is almost ready so watch this space for additional days and times being added.

All our guides are fully qualified and hold the Green or Blue badge accreditation, awarded by the Institute of Tourist Guiding, so you can be assured of a quality tour.

Christ Church Tours Oxford

A good friend of mine loves photography; Phil and he was kind enough to come with me into Oxford on a cold, crisp but bright morning in January.

We followed a route many of my tours take.

Meeting down at Christ Church memorial gardens

Christ Church College

Christ Church is a beautiful college to visit inside and there is so much to talk about and see – we have tours that do visit inside. Such as the wonderful Christ Church Tour.

From here we meandered through the meadows, a peaceful haven on a winter morning but can get exceptionally busy during the summer months!

Through the kissing gate and into Merton Street. This is used a lot in the filming of Morse/Lewis and Endeavour. Join one of our specialist tours to learn more about the programmes and filming.

Merton Street

Crossing the High Street we were in Radcliffe Square, it is hard to imagine a more iconic setting for Oxford University; it is dominated by the baroque Radcliffe Camera.

Radcliffe Square

We then entered The Old School Quadrangle of The Bodleian library where you can see rooms for the teaching of ‘the old schools’

No trip to Oxford would be complete without a photo under the bridge of Sigh which links two sides of Hertford College.

The Bridge of Sighs

I simply had to take Phil through The Turf Tavern. He has lived with his family just outside Oxford for 15+ years and had never discovered this gem before.

Turf Tavern

Finally we ended on Broad Street with a view of The Sheldonian Theatre.

Sheldonian Theatre

There was no time to relax and enjoy coffee though, we met some clients and headed of on the Morse/ Lewis and Endeavour tour, starting from The Martyrs Memorial on St Giles and opposite the world famous Randolph Hotel.

The Randolph

Tour guiding for me is a vocation and no two tours are ever the same. I love my job and I love meeting people from all over the world. I hope to meet you one day!

Photo credits ©Phil Knight