As much as I love travelling, getting on a plane, making the conscious effort to put all of my best outfits together and do a little dance whilst I’m packing, I’ve let this love for travelling abroad shy me away from seeing more of the place I live, here in the UK.
Late last year it came to my attention that whenever I thought of seeing new places, I instantly thought the only way to do so was through getting on a plane and travelling somewhere overseas. Clearly, that’s not the case.
I’ve seen and heard about so many places in the UK that are equally as beautiful, vibrant and cultural as those abroad, so this year I’m making it a priority to see more of all areas of the UK. So far I’ve been to Shere in Surrey back in Janurary. Shere is a quintessential little village in Surrey and is in fact the place where The Holiday was filmed. We wrapped up warm, got brunch and wandered the village and it was a really fulfilling experience seeing a new place so close to home that I’d never seen before.
So this month I decided to go on another little adventure to the beautiful city of Oxford. Again, somewhere I’d heard so much about, its incredible history, its beautiful colleges and scenery, and I hadn’t been.
We arrived to Oxford mid-morning and I had one thing in mind… brunch. Yep, you guessed it. As well as visiting these new places in the UK, I am making it a thing to try a brunch spot in each one. Brunch is my favourite meal of the day, when I get to have it, so why wouldn’t I experience new hot spots and talk about them? It only seems right. We went to The Handle Bar Café, located in one of Oxford’s gorgeous little side streets.
This café was defineitly a popular one as it was pretty full at 10am, and it’s no wonder why. As well as a quirky interior with bikes hanging from the ceilings, copper finishing’s and beautiful plants, the menu was a delight. I love sweet brunch treats usually, but this particular morning I was craving some avo and eggs. The dish I chose came with smashed avocado and poached eggs with chilli, paprika, lemon, almonds, seeds and beetroot hummus on a bed of kale – you can get sourdough toast but I went with the gluten free option. Just have to say, the beetroot hummus was heaven in my mouth. The Handle Bar Café really did satisfy my Saturday morning brunch needs. Aimee went with the coconut stack pancakes, which comes with maple syrup, ground coconut and a choice of berry compote as the topping (you can also choose from bacon or banana). They looked so yum and her verdict was a strong 11/10 I’d say.
With v full tummies, it was time for a wander.
SHOP THE POST
Starting just outside the café we wandered the centre, past shops and endless amounts of pretty buildings before making our first stop at the Christ Church Cathedral. This building is one of the prettiest from the entire day and we saw a lot of buildings. We didn’t get to go in as there was a charge and we had a lot more to see, but you get to wander the grounds and it was so peaceful and calming it was so what I expected Oxford to be.
Not long after walking around here we stumbled upon a cute little street with endless backdrops for pictures so of course, I had to stop to take a few. Then we walked further and came out onto some of the colleges and also quite a few museums. I didn’t quite expect as many museums as there were, but we went into quite a few, I mean why not hey. All that we came across were free of charge to.
My favourite was probably the Science museum as it was enriched with history of all those great scientists who studied in Oxford and pretty much changed the face of science. It was so interesting and a good little find. Even if you’re not into museums I would definitely recommend going, its free like the others are and it’s part of the culture, right? I did apologise to for dragging Aimee into so many museums I have to admit, oops.
Before going to Oxford I’d previously heard a great coffee stop was The Missing Bean, and so right that recommendation was. It was a busy little coffee shop just off of the high street, and although it was super busy we managed to grab the best seats in the house, right by the window. I’m a real people watcher so this was perfect for a mid-morning wake me up whilst watching the world go by. The café also serve avo on toast as well as sweet treats and might I say, amazing coffee. I got a soya flat white and oh how I wish I could make coffees like that. Coffee buzz, check, time to wander some more.
Although Oxford is fairly small, there is quite a lot to see. With so many colleges and beautiful buildings, there are also a fair few shops and many many restaurants. Honestly, you could never get hungry here as they literally have all the good restaurants, bars and cafes.
We stopped off for an afternoon tipple at a bar recommended to me by Holly, called Varsity Bar. From their rooftop terrace, it has views off Oxford as far as the eye can see and that was enjoyed with a good old G&T. The sun was actually shining for once and it couldn’t have been more perfect. I can imagine this bar is the go to during the summer. Out of all of the places, I’d say this is a definite must not miss recommendation.
Before heading off to the shops, we stopped as an Art Exhibition just at the back of the Westgate Shopping Mall. We didn’t actually know what to expect, we just knew there was a Modern Art exhibition on and I love seeing things like that, which I wouldn’t normally get time to do. It was a tapestry exhibit, showcasing early tapestries and how they relate to world issues of today. It was really quite interesting and the Modern Art Museum showcase different exhibitions all the time, so if you ever get time to visit its worth seeing what’s on.
After wandering around for the morning, seeing the buildings, museums and coffee stops, the afternoon was spent looking around some shops.
The Westgate Shopping Mall is as grand as Oxford and I expected nothing less. It has some of the best shops (IMO) and a beautiful rooftop terrace that is home to its restaurants. We headed straight to The Alchemist as we were craving picky foods as we shared the Veggie Platter for 2 and it was so good. We had nachos, sushi, gyozas, Spanish pardon peppers, edamame beans and mac & cheese balls. I’d never eaten at The Alchemist before, just been for there incredible mixology cocktails that are like no other, and the food lived up to that standard. With pretty views of Oxford to, I just couldn’t complain.
Before heading off I grabbed a coffee and Aimee got some churros from the Los Churros Amigos stand on the rooftop terrace and oh my, they looked good.
Another day out in the UK was a very good success. I would definitely head back to Oxford in a minute, especially in the summer. There is so much to see and do, yet so many places to kick back and chill out. It was uber pretty, I tell you that.
Where in the UK would you recommend checking out?