Ever since the first homework was assigned in 1167, the University of Oxford's stellar graduates have influenced Western civilization. Its alumni include 27 British prime ministers, more than 60 Nobel Prize winners, well-known writers and actors, and even 11 saints. You can stroll the garden where Lewis Carroll dreamed up his adventures for Alice, pop in to the dining hall that inspired the one where Harry Potter eats, or grab a pint in the pub where J. R. R. Tolkien first spoke about hobbits. The university buildings are surrounded by a fun college town, filled with cheap eats and rowdy, rollicking pubs nestled in honey-colored limestone buildings. Just outside town is the magnificent Blenheim Palace, England's finest countryside estate.