A Lovely English Weekend

With a dog sitter already on the books for this coming weekend, Drew and I were furiously planning our next getaway.  Given my 2014 goal of visiting 10 new countries we assumed a quick trip to Ireland or Belgium would be a fun and easy trip.  Then work got in the way.  I keep forgetting to mention here that we are living in UK because of actual work with an actual company and actual clients.  I love how I skim over that major fact so effortlessly when we discuss our travels and books I like to read.Anyway, with a 2-day training scheduled in Oxford this week (about 90 minutes from London by car), I was no longer able to take Friday off, so we decided to do a weekend in England instead.Oxford is the primary city in a region called Oxfordshire – this naming convention is pretty normal in these parts (Buckinghamshire, Herefordshire, etc.).  Oxfordshire, specifically, encompasses Oxford and all of the tiny surrounding towns and villages.  The major highlight of Oxford, is, of course, its university and all of the fun perks that go with a university town (restaurants, multiculturalism, young people!).  But the surrounding area also has a lot to offer.  Here are some highlights that we’re considering.

Oxford City Walking Tour

I did one of these tours back in 2004 (or was it 2005?), and it was a treat.  Oxford University is just dripping in history so the insider perspective and historical knowledge that comes with a proper, scheduled tour just can’t be beat.  And they’re pretty economical as well.

Bodleian Library

Touted as England’s most beautiful building, this centrepiece of the university would probably do with a quick walk through.  However, if you’re ambitious or it’s raining, there are also self-guided or guided tours available.

Historical Pubs

The fact that there are a handful of old pubs in this historic area is expected.  Opinions vary, of course but one man’s guide to peruse is here.

Take a Walk

Walking is central to British holiday culture.  I picture men in tweed with hats and rain boots rambling through the countryside along a well-kept trail.  Clearly I’ve seen too many movies but I am a huge fan of the walking trails we’ve seen in the UK thus far.  They are well organized, well kept and well documented.  Particularly in Oxfordshire, where many films and TV shows are produced, you can walk along a trail featuring locations from Harry Potter, Inspector Morse or others.  An exhaustive list of other walks is available here.

Visit Windsor

While Windsor (and its famous castle) is not really in Oxfordshire, it is nearby.  I have visited the grounds previously and they’re amazing and awe inspiring.  We may take a drive to check it out if the weather is nice.

Lunch at The Hind’s Head

this is on no official list you’ll find, but we travel to eat and we have already booked lunch reservations here for Sunday on our way back to London.  It’s a Michelin-starred pub, which is fun, and it’s one of Heston Blumenthal’s restaurants, so we’ll get to experience his unique style of cooking without paying for it like we would at The Fat Duck (next door, 3-star) or Dinner (in the Mandarin Oriental in London).

Looking forward to a wonderful weekend and an extended celebration of Drew’s birthday (on the 22nd!).

  • March 19, 2014

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