Oxford Morse sites are very popular with visitors to our city. We would love to help you find these sites and show you around some of them.
Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse and the associated spin-offs Lewis and Endeavour are well known for their classic whodunnit storylines, strong characters and of course their setting against the beautiful backdrop of Oxford. Admittedly, as a local it is often puzzling as to why the detectives wander in aimless circles around the Radcliffe Camera, but we do understand the regularity of which they visit Oxford’s pubs.
The White Horse
If you are visiting Oxford and want to take in some Morse scenes then joining one of our free walking tours is a good way to see some of these sites. If you want a photo drinking a pint where Morse, Lewis, Endeavour and Gently have all sat, then the White Horse in Broad Street is a good place to head and you can also enjoy, what are in my opinion, the best fish and chips in Oxford. The White Horse is located on a site that was originally an Augustinian Priory in 1268 and has been a pub since 1607. Until 1973 the White Horse was a male only establishment, but we are pleased to say nowadays all are welcome.
The Turf Tavern
Another Morse pub, frequented by locals is well hidden away and actually only accessible on foot, the Turf Tavern. Located just outside the original city wall of Oxford you can still see a rare intact section of the wall today. The Turf’s location here was strategic, being outside of the city wall allowed it to escape the jurisdiction of the Oxford colleges. Originally named The Spotted Cow, it is believed it became The Turf as reference to its activities as an illegal bookmaker or ‘Turf Accountant’. The Turf is an interesting venue with two of my favourite claims to shame, Bob Hawke set a world record for downing a yard of ale in just 11 seconds and Bill Clinton smoked a suspicious cigarette here, but as he confirmed – never inhaled.
Our Oxford walking tours also pass Exeter college, one of the 38 colleges that make up Oxford University. Founded in 1318 by the Bishop of Exeter, the college has many notable alumni including, Philip Pullman, Roger Bannister and J.R.R. Tolkien. It was on the quad of Exeter college that Inspector Morse met his untimely end and collapsed in “The Remorseful Day” – Colin Dexter 1999.
The Eagle and Child
The Eagle and Child, or the Bird and Brat as we know it locally, is a short walk out of the centre, but definitely worth a visit. It is alleged that whilst Oxford was the Royalist capital during the English Civil war (1642-1649), the pub was lodging to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Owned by St John’s college the pub has been frequented by many authors including Colin Dexter himself and was a favourite haunt of ‘The Inklings’ – a famous group of Oxford writers who met here that included J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Hugo Dyson. Of course. Morse also liked to have a pint of real ale here too.
Admittedly, we are only scratching the surface of Morse’s Oxford here, but we encourage you to join our free walking tour of Oxford to find out more.