I was so excited about this little mini-break to Oxford. I love my family to bits, but sometimes it’s nice to be alone and have a little headspace all to yourself! I also find it difficult to relax at home because there’s always so much to do there. I don’t think it helps that I work from home either, so no matter if it’s the evening or weekend, I still always feel I should either be working or doing something towards fixing the house. I was also a little bit nervous because I’m not great at driving and get flustered easily, but the journey was good; I didn’t get lost once and made it to the park and ride with no problems following the sat nav!….
The park and ride isn’t cheap – you have to pay to park the car, as well as to get on the bus, but it’s still a lot cheaper than Oxford car parks and I would rather avoid driving in a city anyway. The first thing I did when I got there was look for somewhere to eat as I hadn’t had time for a proper breakfast and by then it was early afternoon. So I just wandered about to get my bearings and ideally find an independent cafe to eat in. Amazingly this is much more difficult than you’d think in Oxford! It would be fine if I just wanted a cup of tea and a baguette, but I didn’t fancy a baguette and I don’t like tea. So I found myself looking round some of the major tourist areas and as it seemed quiet, I took the opportunity to take photos without many people getting in the way.
I gave up looking for a cute tea room in the end and went back to the covered market where I’d began! Although a little table squashed against a window wasn’t perhaps the setting I’d imagined for my lunch, I have to say I’ve never had so much filling on a jacket potato – and for just £4! Bargain! So, I do recommend the Sofi de France cafe. I’d already bought my pudding from there earlier – I couldn’t decide between the peanut cake and the praline cake, so I got them both! They were in handy takeaway boxes, so they went back with me to eat later.
So then I did some more wandering and typically passed about four cafes with food along some small side streets, (though I never did find them again) and stepped into the most wonderful vintage shop I’ve ever seen. I thought I was a hoarder! I think the shop owner was somewhere at the back, but it was difficult to tell over the piles of
clothes that were taller than me!
I decided there was just enough time to squeeze in afternoon tea at the Vaults and Garden Cafe near the Radcliffe Camera. I’ve briefly been to Oxford twice before, but somehow couldn’t find it! It now seems so obvious, but that’s how it goes isn’t it! It’s so much smaller than expected, having seen it in Morse and Lewis, and absolutely packed full of people. I didn’t have to wait long to be served though,
and just about managed to squeeze past the closely packed tables with my hot chocolate and scone to a free spot near the back. I have to say it was the most delicious hot chocolate I’ve ever had!
NB. This is not a cafe for getting a quick drink so you can use the loo. First of all they’re really difficult to get to – up the staff stairs while they’re trying to carry things; and second of all they’re the tiniest loos ever and don’t have a mirror. It also happened to smell so bad that I decided to save it and left, hoping the next person didn’t think that was me!
A little more shop browsing, and then I went to the hotel I was staying at for two nights. I’ve already written a full review of the Oxford Thames Four Pillars Hotel. I stayed in my room for a while writing; and tried taking a selfie in the mirror of my dress. It’s a burgundy patchwork with pieces of tweed included, so I thought it was perfect for Oxford. It’s called the ‘Mix it up dress’ from Joe Browns and this year they’re doing the same design in teal and chocolate and I have to say, I’m tempted!
After a swim I walked from the hotel to The King’s Arms in Sandford-on-Thames for a late dinner, but I’ll do a review of that pub restaurant another time,
so apart from having a relaxing bath, that was the end of that day. There are two more days to come, in which I visit almost every museum in Oxford, so if you’d like to catch that, please subscribe by hitting that Bloglovin button and you’ll get notifications of my future posts. Thank you!