Marc West takes a trip down the rabbit hole by joining in the fun of Oxford's Alice's Day

One golden afternoon on 4th July 1862, Christchurch don Charles Dodgson told a story to 10-year-old Alice Liddell and her sisters on a boating trip up the River Thames in Oxford.

This tale so delighted the girls that they begged him to write it down and just three years later it was published under the pen name Lewis Carroll.

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland marked a turning point in children’s literature and remains one of the most popular, widely quoted and translated books ever written.

When Alice fell down the rabbit hole and found herself in a land of wonder she came face-to-face with some very strange characters indeed. And, it’s possible to do so on any given day in and around OX1, but no more so than on Alice’s Day – when for just 24 hours the 'city of dreaming spires' transforms into the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life.

An essential pilgrimage for any fiction fanatic, this story starts at Rochester House – where a right royal ruckus draws me in from Pembroke Street. As servants of the Queen of Hearts, a pack of anxious looking playing cards are keen to keep Her Majesty amused by performing tricks at whim. However, an angry array of hedgehogs are less compliant. Fed-up with being abused during games of croquet, they refuse to simply roll over and hold a spiky revolt in the courtyard – encouraging passers-by to join their protest. Knowing HM’s fondness for the sport, I ensure to let her win for fear of losing my head.

Meanwhile, across the city in Bonn Square, the Mad Hatter invites us all to take a seat upon a talking chair at his human table.

Ever since the best butter got into his watch and caused it to stop, the Hatter has been stuck himself – enjoying a cup of (insani) tea with his friends the Dormouse and March Hare. I’m offered a tiny vessel containing a colourful liquid called Jabberwocky Juice – with a hand-written label saying “Drink Me”. From that moment on, the day just gets curiouser and curiouser – reality (whatever that is) is seemingly suspended and my kaleidoscopic imagination runs wild. I’ve never met so many little girls (and guys) all called…you guessed it, Alice! I wonder if the hoards of tourists crowding round the throng of activity think this is just another day on the streets of Oxford?

The Story Museum celebrates stories in all forms and explores their enduring power to teach and delight. In their quirky city centre home, they offer visitors of all ages great ways to engage with great stories – through riddles, craft, quizzes, music and more.

New for this summer, the museum has launched a fantastical story craft called Ever After. Visit mission control and help steer the ship by writing, drawing, filming and recording your suggestions for the 1001 tall tales that the crew should bring back to Earth to be added to the museum’s own never-ending story collection.