Alice’s Day

Alice's Day 2012. Pic: Marc West

Key facts


Events are free unless otherwise stated.


Events take place throughout the day, between 09.00 – 17.00

About the event

Follow the rabbit hole down, down, down! Oxford transforms into Wonderland for one magical day packed with mad tea parties, exhibitions, storytelling, music and Alice activities – and most events are FREE!

Alice’s Shop

The real Alice’s favourite sweet shop. Come along for a free bookmark (when you present your map and guide) and hear a short talk about the shop’s connections to an underground stream.

Ashmolean Museum

13.00 – 16.00
Alice’s Day: ‘Underground’ Codes
From Lewis Carroll’s Nyctograph to Egyptian hieroglyphs. Try creating your own secret codes and deciphering others.
Family drop-in, no booking required.
All ages welcome but particularly suitable for children aged 8+

Blackwell’s Bookshop

11.00 – 16.00
Crafts, drawing, a trail, storytelling and music, with face-painting and balloons.

Bodleian Library

10.00 – 15.30 in the Divinity School.
A display of children’s fantasy literature, featuring Tolkien and a buried treasure.

Central Library

11.00 – 12.30: Children’s Library
Local author Tom Moorhouse talks about The River Singers, his popular fast-paced adventure story for 7-11 year-olds of life underground and along the river for a family of water-voles.
Win a signed copy in our Animals Underground quiz, and stay for animal mask-making and crafts.
14.00 – 16.00: Children’s Library
Come and watch Alice’s Underground Animals balloon modelling.
All day: Hunt for clues about Alice’s friends around the main library.

Christ Church Library

10.00 – 16.00
Exhibition of Alice illustrations with an underground theme. There will also be original photographs of Carroll and Alice, colourful editions of the Alice books and manuscripts of Carroll’s work.

Museum of Natural History & Pitt Rivers Museum

13.00 – 16.00
Underground Explorers
Family drop-in, no booking required.
Step into our underground wonderland; come face to face and touch burrowing animals, fossils and minerals in the Museum of Natural History and uncover ancient remains from beneath the earth in the Pitt Rivers. With crafts and a trail to help you dig deeper.

Oxford Town Hall  and Museum of Oxford

Celebrate Alice Day with us and join in with our fun family activities. Create playing card character badges or make tea party food, as well as dressing up as your favourite Wonderland character and listening to the stories of Alice. Also discover more about museum objects that belonged to the real Alice with our Alice trail!

Old Fire Station

Talks on Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, the tale that grew into Lewis Carroll’s famous novel.
10.30: The story behind the story: how ‘Alice’ came into being.
11.00 (approx) What became of the “real” Alice: the fascinating life of Carroll’s muse.
11.30 (approx) Down the Rabbit-Hole to the Centre of the Earth and Beyond: magical undergound journeys in children’s literature.

Oxford Castle Quarter: Oxford Castle Unlocked

Giant croquet, giant chess and underground storytelling. The castle mound will also be open for free, with a ‘rabbit hole’ makeover.

Oxford Castle Quarter: O3 Gallery

11.00 – 16.00
Exhibition of modern art with an underground theme.

The Story Museum

Meet the Mad Hatter and Queen of Hearts in our 26 Characters exhibition. Storytelling, crafts and fun for all the family as Wonderland takes over our courtyard.

University of Oxford Botanic Garden

13.00 – 16.00
Family picnic afternoon. Music, stories, crafts, sowing & growing and refreshments and ice creams.

Visitor Information Centre

Information about Oxford, and an Alice-themed tour of the city.

Walks and Talks

10.00, 12.00 & 14.00
(Not Really) Underground Walk.
One hour walk with Mark Davies (local historian and author of Alice in Waterland and Stories of Oxford Castle: from Dungeon to Dunghill), following the course of the underground Trill Mill Stream – from Christ Church to the underground crypt of Oxford Castle. The walk will explore various themes of local history and literature as well as the Stream’s relevance to Alice and Lewis Carroll.
The ticket price will entitle holders to a £1 discount on the cost of a full guided tour of Oxford Castle. The nearby underground cells accessed via County Hall will also be open to the public on the day, as too the underground well chamber on the Castle Mound.
Cost: £3 Book now.

16.00 – 18.15 (approx)
Pilgrimage Walk
A walk of about three miles following the route from Folly Bridge of the famous river outing of 4 July 1862, the day on which the story of ‘Alice’ was first begun, resulting in Lewis Carroll’s first version of Wonderland, which he called “Alice’s Adventures under Ground“. The walk starts at Alice’s Shop, 83 St Aldates, the setting for ‘Wool & Water’ in Through the Looking-Glass.
Cost: £6 Book now.

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