Oxford City Council has launched a Christmas campaign to help promote Oxford Covered Market.
The campaign, which launched on Saturday 17 November and will run up to Christmas, will encourage people to ‘follow the White Rabbit’ into the 18th century building.
Posters at the entrances to Oxford, including at park and rides and along main roads into the city, will feature the iconic White Rabbit from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and will encourage shoppers to visit the Covered Market.
A trail of rabbit footprints will then lead people from Cornmarket Street and High Street into the market, where they will be greeted by a giant White Rabbit lantern in the central market square.
Throughout the campaign there will also be activities taking place in the market, including an Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland -themed treasure hunt and a photography competition.
On Saturday, two White Rabbit street performers bounced along the rabbit footprints to draw people into the Covered Market.
The aim of the campaign is to encourage more people to explore the Covered Market, and create more of an experience inside the market for those that do.
Oxford Covered Market first opened in 1774 – almost 100 years before the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was first told by Charles Dodgson (more famously known by his pen name Lewis Carroll) on a boat ride through Oxford with Alice Liddell and her sisters.
The market, which is Grade II-listed, sells fresh produce, gifts, fashion, flowers and jewellery, and provides a unique showcase of the very best in local crafts, food and drink.
Tourists from across the world visit Oxford every year to see the city that inspired Charles Dodgson to write Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Alongside tours of Christ Church College, where Dodgson was a tutor in mathematics, and the Alice’s Shop in St Aldate’s, Oxford now hosts the annual Alice’s Day celebrations and features references to the famous story throughout the city.
Councillor Mary Clarkson, Executive Board Member for Culture and City Centre, said: “The Covered Market, with its pink vaulted ceiling, its original shop facades dating from the early 19th century, and its rabbit warren of traditional and modern retailers, already has an incredible wow-factor for tourists and new visitors.
“But we thought we could add to this in the run-up to Christmas to create more of an experience for those doing their Christmas shopping in Oxford. So, whether it’s buying gifts for loved ones or doing your weekly food shop, follow the White Rabbit… to Oxford’s Covered Market.”