Oxford has been on my UK bucket list for as long as I can remember so when the opportunity came up for a girly weekend away this Spring I jumped at the chance. Mini breaks and day trips are fast becoming my favourite way to take a mental timeout from reality. A quick easy escape, that doesn’t take too much planning or break the bank. So with my very bestest girl on board, and dates in the diary I quickly began researching how we could make the most of two days in this glorious county.
First up on the hit list was the beautiful Bicester Village. Just half an hour from our accomodation I’d read a lot recently about this amazing designer destination and although it is far beyond my budget, even with their phenomenal discounts, it was a fantastic space to daydream and indulge in some escapism. Strolling amongst the beautiful coats and scarves at Burberry, bags in Mulberry and stunning dresses in Maje was like living inside a fashion bloggers fairytale. Lunch at Le Pain Quotidien was fantastic, with an incredible menu brimming with healthy, clean options I opted for soup with avo toast and a turmeric latte before grabbing some macaroons from the stunning Laduree cart. As I was determined to walk away with something and nothing screams luxury to me like these colourful treats. I had been worried about feeling out of place somewhere so high end but its a credit to Bicester that there is such a clever mix of brands and a truly welcoming vibe amongst the big spenders in what is easily the most beautifully presented shopping experience you could ever visit.
Next it was time to check in. After a really amazing experience using Air BnB throughout our travels last summer I decided this was the perfect opportunity to finally dip our toe into what the UK hosts have to offer. The choices were plentiful but we quickly settled on Brook Lodge, hidden away in the village of Stonesfield. Hosted by Sharon & Richard they were attentive and welcoming from the moment we booked in, and when we finally arrived we found the perfect country paradise. A wooden lodge, with fresh, modern, decor. An immaculate double height lounge/kitchen with doors opening up onto our own private decking and views across the fields. Chickens pottered around in the garden, croissants were ready in the freezer, it was my idea of heaven. I could have moved in there and then.
Saturday was to be our day in the city, so we hopped on a train and made a beeline for The Grand Cafe. I’d found this gem through The Culture Trip (another blog that had been invaluable during our summer travels) and it did not disappoint. Looking like something out of a Wes Anderson movie this gold gilded cafe is decked out in the most beautiful bar with mirrors on every wall, and after a short wait for a table to become available we were treated to excellent coffee and a modest but satisfying afternoon tea. Anywhere with refillable jam/cream is a winner in my book and it was the perfect spot to hide away for a few hours from the main shopping strip.
We were blessed with glorious spring sunshine so managed to catch all the usual tourist hot spots as well as picking some new artwork up from the gorgeous Makers Market that happened to be visiting that day. Finished off with a drink in The Jam Factory (what a find! Hooray for delayed trains!) it was a perfect day in a picture perfect city.
What are your favourite weekend breaks? Did we miss something in Oxford? Pop your suggestions in the comments!