I wanted to book myself a trip that wouldn’t cost too much and easy to get to using public transport, I chose Oxford as it a great place to visit and there is a bus that goes from Gloucester as well as.
I got the bus from Gloucester in the morning the bus also goes through Cheltenham, so my friend met me from there after they had finished their early morning shift. After a pretty couch journey through the Cotswolds that was around an hour and a half, we got to Oxford at around 12:30 but couldn’t check into our hotel till 2:30 so went to get some lunch from the covered market which we ate at Radcliffe’s Camera, then had a little look around the Bodleian Library finishing with a drink at the Turf Tavern before going to check into our hotel, which we spend mostly getting swarmed by wasps (there was meant to be awful weather but we seemed to luck out with the sunshine).
Our hotel was about a 20-minute walk to town, Oxford is a picturesque town walking we went past the river and saw tourists punting; this is done in both Oxford and Cambridge. A punt is a boat with a flat bottom and a square bow, using a pole to travel along the water.
Oxford shopping centre has had a lot of development since the last time I visited, it has an amazing roof terrace will a variety of restaurants, bars and some panoramic views of Oxford. We found to a great bar called Dirty Bones and it happened to be happy hour so got 2 cocktails for £10, which is always a bonus. After filling ourselves on cocktails we realised that we needed to find somewhere to eat some dinner to sober ourselves up, one of the newer restaurants in the shopping centre was a Lebanese restaurant called Comptoir Libanais were we had some of the best baba ganoush and flatbread I have ever had, and then I had a halloumi and olive wrap with salad and hummus, my friend had a Lebanese Lamb & Halloumi Burger.
After dinner, we walked back to our hotel in the warm summer night air to get a good night sleep for the next day of our mini-break.
The next day my friend found a lovely breakfast spot near Radcliffe’s Camera called The Vaults and Garden, which won the most sustainable restaurant in 2017. They source local, organic and ethically produced ingredients as well as trying to create no waste catering and comprehensive recycling program.
For breakfast I had the best avocado on toast I have ever had, a generous amount sprinkled with seeds and nuts and the butter beans in tomato sauce, instead of the traditional option of baked beans made the meal satisfying without being overly filling. The instead of traditional English breakfast tea the café offered a wide range of options, we had spicy chai and oat milk.
After breakfast we went to drop our bags out at left luggage (His Dark Materials was being filmed near Radcliff’s camera when we left breakfast, was really amazing to be able to see all the behind the scenes of filming) we headed over to the Ashmolean Museum, as the museum is very large we did not get all the way around it. I would recommend Lifelines: The Woodcuts of Naoko Matsubara, showcasing a selection of amazing, and detailed woodcuts created by Naoko Matsubara over the space of 50 years. A nice cup of tea? In this exhibition they are trying to tell the untold story of empire, trade and transatlantic slavery, it is inspired by the Ashmolean’s own European Ceramics collection. Finally, A. R. Penck: I think in pictures, who is a German artist who is known for painting, drawing printmaking and sculpture.
The woodcut was the display I enjoyed most because of the labour and detail that goes into creating these large pieces if you are visiting Oxford, I highly recommend seeing the woodcuts, the bonus is that the exhibition is completely free.
After our visit to the Ashmolean, we headed to a French restaurant recommended by my mum called Pierre Victoire, for their lunch menu. I was very excited to go for lunch here as they serve escargot or snails, which I have only had once before in Paris but was so tasty and as my friend hadn’t tried them before I was looking forward to introducing them to the amazing flavour.
Our second museum visit after finishing lunch was the Pitt River’s (This is my favourite museum in the world) the shrunken heads and witch in a bottle are the highlights of the museum in my eyes. The layout is also not that of a contemporary museum it is arranged by type, it houses a huge amount of display cabinets fitted into the relatively small place there are over 500,00 objects in the collection. The museum was started because Augustus Pitt Rivers donated his private collection to the University of Oxford on the bases that a permanent lecturer in anthropology was appointed and that a dedicated space be created so the collection was not only on temporary display but year-round.
The Pitt Rivers is attached to the Natural History Museum, which has one of the larges taxidermy collections in the UK.
To round off our trip, we found a space on Martyrs Memorial to relax in the sun and wait for our coach back to Cheltenham and Gloucester.
Oxford is an amazing place to visit there is such much to see and do, much more than I have been able to cover in the couple of days I was there.