Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Christ Church College, Oxford
Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Oxford’s Christ Church college to discover its many associations with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland stories. Afterwards, you’re invited to a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
This is so popular it sells out at the start of the summer so be sure to book ahead. It’s a wonderful way to discover the story behind this much-loved children’s book and enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea, inspired by the story of Alice in Wonderland, in a unique and historical setting in one of Oxford’s magnificent colleges.
- Tour Christ Church college
- Learn about Alice in Wonderland
- Go to a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
- Take a walk in Christ Church meadows
Tour Christ Church College
Christ Church college is the jewel in the crown of Oxford’s 38 colleges. Established in 1546, the college has produced 13 British Prime Ministers. During the Civil War, King Charles I held his Parliament in the Great Hall which is now known as Hogwarts Hall because it was used to film scenes for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The college has its own cathedral and a famous bell tower ‘Old Tom’ which, to this day, is still rung 101 times at 9.05pm.
Learn About Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
One of the famous alumni of the college is the author Lewis Carroll whose real name was Charles Dodgson. In 1855, he was appointed a lecturer in mathematics and at this time, he met Alice Liddell, the young girl who would inspire one of the world’s most famous children’s stories. Charles Dodgson often took Alice and her sisters for boat trips along the river Cherwell or met them in Christ Church meadow on their walks with their governess. It was during these encounters that he would entertain them with stories.
Enjoy a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter and March Hare are stuck at 6pm forever so they’re always having tea. The tea party, when Alice arrives, is characterised by switching places on the table, asking unanswerable riddles and reciting nonsensical poetry, all of which eventually drive Alice away. Don’t worry your Mad Hatter’s Tea Party will be far less confusing and it won’t last forever. You’ll hear a talk about Charles Dodgson and his extraordinary stories before tucking into a tea of finger sandwiches, cakes and tartlets, all carefully crafted by Christ Church’s chefs to reflect the unique association with Alice in Wonderland.
- Head to Alice’s Shop to buy Alice memorabilia such as mugs with the words ‘Drink Me’
- Alice’s Day is celebrated each year at Oxford’s The Story Museum on the first Saturday of July
- If you’re in London, go for the very popular Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at The Sanderson Hotel. It comes with a chocolate watch and is served on vintage crockery in the courtyard garden
- For an good alternative, go for Afternoon Tea at the Old Bank on Oxford’s High Street
Create your own Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for a child’s birthday. Bake jam tart hearts and cup cakes piped with ‘eat me’. You can also use cookie cutters to shape sandwiches.
Where To Stay in Oxford
Old Bank Hotel
Situated in the heart of historical Oxford, The Old Bank offers luxury rooms and a buzzy brasserie.
Rooms from £189 a night.
You can take me for a walk in the meadow but I’m not allowed in the college itself.
How To Find Christ Church College
Christ Church College, St Aldate’s, Oxford OX1 1DP
The Foodie Travel Guide
Sally is the founder and editor of The Foodie Travel Guide. She travels around the UK and beyond in search of the best foodie days out, tasting experiences and delicious places to stay. She loves a glass of English sparkling wine, afternoon tea with friends and escaping London for gastronomic adventures.