Hello you beautiful people!
I know it has been a while since I’ve actually been to Oxford, but I still think about it A LOT and I’m already trying to work out when I can go back! So I thought I’d tell you all the great things I managed to cram into the two days I was there. My main reason for going was to visit my sister during her last few days of summer school in Oxford (as you do) and I wasn’t going to waste an opportunity like that.
So I spent some time with my sister and dad, but most of the time I spent wondering about Oxford and browsing through bookstores. Seriously, so many amazing bookstores! There were also some great pubs, actually there were so many that I’m going to do a blog post entirely about Oxford’s pubs… who’s excited? (Me!)
Anyways… I arrived in Oxford at about lunch time and had a chat with my absolutely lovely Airbnb host Hilary. She gave me a very detailed list of things to see and do and had so many great insider tips. We immediately hit it off when we discovered our mutual love for historic pubs, which lead to me having an entire list of pubs to visit.
My Airbnb was about a 20 minute walk outside the town centre on Cowley Road. Now the weather wasn’t amazing, but I’m a firm believer in getting to know a place by walking around, so I didn’t take the bus, but walked down Cowley Road. And it was so worth it! That road is filled with cute and hip coffee shops and bakeries during the day and (as I would find out later) just as many cool bars at night. There were so many young and diverse people there and the athmosphere is just an incredibly lively and vibrant in the whole area, which I really wasn’t expecting.
Yet as soon as you pass Magdalen Bridge, you enter this whole other world of beautiful historic colleges and the ghosts of so many brilliant people who studied there. That’s the Oxford you see on postcards and the one I was expecting, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint! I can’t even describe the atmosphere there, it’s no wonder so many people come here to get inspired in the midst of all of that history and brilliance. The weekend I was there, there were a lot of graduations going on, so I actually felt as if I were in some kind of Oxford crime series, which got me really excited!
The first day I went to all of the classic sights of Oxford. I peeked into Magdalen College and walked around Christ Church Meadow, where as soon as I got to the water some young and beautiful people punted by me. I mean, does it get more cliché than that? I then continued to walk around all of the colleges aimlessly, ’cause you literally can’t look anywhere without seeing beautiful architecture, history and breathtaking literature…
And don’t even get me started on the bookstores. I LOVE bookstores, and Oxford is just filled with them, most have huge sections dedicated to Oxford alumni, which included more authors I admire than I could have guessed. The highlights were definitely Blackwell’s with their secret Norrington’s room and the Oxford University Press Shop, which has a great selection of all the classics of literature.
I also loved Alice’s shop, which isn’t strictly a bookshop, but more an entire shop dedicated to Lewis Carrol’s world of Alice in Wonderland.
At this point, I was already carrying some pretty heavy bags full of books that had been on my reading list forever and whose author’s apparently studied at Oxford. I mean, that’s a dream come true for me, so I might have gone a little crazy…
As much as I fancy myself a local whenever I travel, I’m actually not. So I did another tourist-y thing and went to the Covered Market. And I’m absolutely convinced that this place exists in a different universe where time works differently, because when I left the market again, somehow a couple of hours had gone by. There was just SO MUCH to discover in that space! It was definitely the most random yet eclectic mix of amazing little shops I have ever seen… I can’t even describe it, just have a look at just some of the things I found in there:
I had a quick shop on High Street and then followed St Giles to visit two pubs directly opposite of each other. One of them, The Eagle and Child had been on my agenda since I knew I’d be in Oxford and the other one, Lamb and Flag, was a recommendation from Hilary, whose father taught at St. John’s College, the college that runs this pub to this day, but I’ll tell you more about those in my pub post… 😛
And finally, I met my dad who drove down from Manchester in – you guessed it – yet another pub. We had a nice catch up, a pitcher of Pimm’s and some sad talks about my grandma. But it was still a nice day and I fell fast and hard for the beautiful Oxford.
I hope you enjoyed the first part of my Oxford trips and keep tuned for part two and the special pub edition!
Love you, H.