Monday, 25 January 2021

My Oxford Travel Guide

 I've spoken about our trip to Oxford late last year a few times now on my blog and I've posted quite a few photos over on Instagram but like I've shared travel guides for other places in the UK that I love, I really wanted to do one for Oxford too. I might not know everything about the city but I absolutely adored it when we visited and I think personal travel guides like this can really help you get a feel for a place. George and I visited just as Summer was coming to an end and I miss it a lot, I just keep looking back over the photos and wishing we were there again. But before I ramble on too much, here's my tips on the top places to stay in Oxford, aswell as must see attractions, restaurants to try and lots more.collage with pink background, photos of Oxford

Where to Stay
If you want to splash out on a hotel then I recommend the Malmaison Prison Hotel. This had been on my travel bucket list for years and I was so glad we finally found an opportunity to stay there. I'm fascinated by prisons so to stay in one was just so incredibly cool. Part of the prison has been refurbished and turned into a boutique hotel and the rest has been kept as it was & you can even do a tour! It can be about £100 a night depending on which room you'd like to stay in but they do regularly have offers on so it's well worth checking back. The reason I'd be tempted to stay at the Malmaison again is because of the location. It's slap bang in the middle of Oxford, you're minutes away from Westgate Shopping Centre and not far from attractions like Radcliffe Camera. There are plenty of hotels like Premier Inn, Holiday Inn, Mercure etc. dotted around the city though if you're looking to visit the city on a budget. Another hotel that looks so unique though is Museum Hotel which looks to be in a fab location and has some really cool decor.
Malmaison Prison HotelMalmaison Prison Hotel exterior

What to See

Radcliffe Camera
I had to start with one of the main attractions Oxford is known for. This is a building of Oxford University and it is breathtaking. When we walked round a corner and saw this, I was in awe of it. It is beautiful and the whole area is such a gorgeous place to walk around.

University Church of St Mary the Virgin
Just next to Radcliffe Camera is the University Church of St Mary the Virgin (part of what I loved about Oxford was that so many beautiful buildings like this were so close together so lots could be seen at once). It's free to enter, though they do appreciate any donation you can give, and it is stunning. Given we visited in Summer and life was feeling a bit more 'normal' than it is now, the streets and shops were busy, but this felt like a real moment of calm. I'm not religious but there was something really special about this. Whilst there, you can pay £5 to climb the 127 steps to the top of tower which apparently gives the best views of Oxford. This is something I definitely want to do next time!University Church of St Mary The Virgin

Oxford Castle & Prison
As I briefly mentioned earlier, you can take a tour of Oxford Prison and for £13 per person, I think it's totally worth it. In a small group, led by a costumed guide, you find out the fascinating history of Oxford and its castle & prison. There's a chance to climb the Saxon St George's Tower which is one of the oldest buildings in Oxford, you descend underground into the 900 year old crypt, the only surviving remains of St. George's Chapel, you explore the Prison D-Wing and there's even a chance towards the end to roam around as you wish and take part in some fun activities.Oxford Castle & Prison

Westgate Shopping Centre
I always like a bit of retail therapy when away in a different city and Westgate Shopping Centre may be one of my new favourites. It's set out in such a different way to others I've been to before and there's such a variety. There's a really cool roof terrace which allows for al fresco dining and there are all sorts of different restaurants to suit whatever you fancy. The whole city centre of Oxford is full of shops, cafes and restaurants aswell. Plenty of book shops too which I was thrilled about!

The Covered Market
If you want to be away from the busy streets of Oxford then The Covered Market is the place to go. A little like Borough Market in London, it's full of independent traders selling a range of different things. You'll find cafes, quirky clothes shops, chocolate shops, local bakeries and lots more.The Covered Market, OxfordGenerally Oxford is such a beautiful place and just walking around, you'll find lots of hidden gems. So many areas are picturesque and it's easy to just want to stop and look around all the time!

I had to mention Mowgli when talking about food in Oxford. Yes, Mowgli can be found in various cities so it's one I'd recommend regardless of location but we'd never been before our trip to Oxford. It's located on the roof terrace of Westgate so the view of the city was beautiful but it's just such an incredible restaurant. The food was some of the best I've ever had. I will never get over the Himalayan Cheese on Toast, wow.Mowgli, Oxford. Tea-steeped chickpeas, rotis, ginger chicken

The Breakfast Club
For a top breakfast to set you up for the day, whilst in Oxford, I couldn't recommend a visit to The Breakfast Club enough. Whether it's pancakes, waffles or a full English you're after, they've got you covered. I'm a sucker for fried bread and hash browns (#health) and both were insane.
Breakfast at The Breakfast Club, Oxford

Vaults & Garden
This is located within the University Church of St Mary the Virgin so is a fab spot to chill after climbing to the top of the tower! With outdoor seating, it's such a gorgeous spot to relax and take in your surroundings. We stopped here for a drink in the Sun and the view of Radcliffe Camera was just lovely.

One thing I really liked about Oxford was that it was full of independent cafes and restaurants who will need our support more than ever once they're allowed to re-open. One place I wish I could recommend is Cafe Loco, the first place we visited in Oxford and we had some of the best cake EVER and the yummiest smoothies but unfortunately due to Covid, they had to close and have announced they won't be re-opening. A few other places I think are worth checking out and on my list for next time are the Art Cafe and Cafe Tarifa but there's plenty on each street to choose from.

The great thing about Oxford is that it's so accessible by foot. We walked everywhere whilst we were there and everything was quite close-by to one another so a lot can be seen in a matter of hours. Due to where our hotel was located, we ended up seeing a lot of what we wanted to see in the first afternoon. If you choose to stay a little further out of Oxford though, they have 5 park and rides so you could easily park up and leave your car for the duration of your trip and just get the bus into the centre or wherever you wanted to be. View of Oxford from Westgate Shopping Centre Roof Terrace

So, that wraps up my Oxford Travel Guide! I loved writing this and it's only made me want to go back even more. I think it will be the first place we visit for a break when it's allowed again!

Have you ever visited Oxford? Where do you want to travel to when lockdown is over?

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Kelly~Diane said...

Oxford has been on my bucket list for a while. Staying overnight in an old prison sounds like so much fun.

Julia said...

Oxford is such a beautiful city! I've been many times and never got tired of it. Didn't do the tour of the prison and castle, but it must have been a lot of fun! Thanks for sharing this!

Julia x
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Nikki - Notes of Life said...

Somehow I've not yet been to Oxford, but it's on my list of places to visit once we can finally go places.

beautyqueenuk said...

Oxford is somewhere I would love to visit. Somewhere in told is stunning and a definite must x

jennyinneverland said...

I’ve never been to Oxford but it’s definitely on my list now. I would LOVE to stay in the prison hotel - what a unique place to stay!

Nic said...

Thanks for sharing, I have been to Oxford before, but not the areas you have suggested I do hope to do them one day :)

Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes

Alice Anne said...

Ah I haven't been to Oxford in years! xx

Heather Nixon said...

I would love to visit Oxford x

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