To celebrate the launch of the new Oxford Pocket Guide, Marco Polo invited me to join them on a trip to the City of Dreaming Spires. Together with some travel bloggers (and new friends), I spent the Saturday exploring Oxford with this handy, pocket-sized guide, packed full of insider tips.
We started our day with brunch at Handle Bar which is a cafe-meets-bicycle-shop tucked away from the city’s hustle and bustle on St George’s Street. Luckily for us the shine was shining so I had my sunglasses on and iced latte at the ready! I ordered the most delicious avocado toast which was sprinkled with feta, chilli, crunchy seeds and toasted almond flakes which I must remember to do myself next time I host brunch.
It was lovely to catch up with the girls from Heels In My Backpack, Sophie’s Suitcase, The Wandering Quinn, As The Sparrow Flies and Journeys With Jessica. We shared stories of our most recent adventures and tips on what cameras we recommended for travel photography (as well as for fitting in our handbags on a busy city break).
Full after our delicious brunch and raring to start our sightseeing, we were guided to Oxford’s covered market by our tour books. Amongst the flower stalls brimming with blooming tulips we tasted local cheese, meats and pastries.
Above the market is The Varsity Club, a rooftop bar which Jess recommended, where we made a quick stop for an Aperol Spritz and took time to take in the view of Oxford’s spires from above.
After one cocktail we were all eager to find another summer’s day drink and walked to the famous Turf Tavern which is said to have been a favourite of authors J.R.R Tolkien and CS Lewis. We arrived there at the end of a narrow winding alley of St Helens Passage—on our walk we passed picturesque colleges, boats peacefully punting along the river and the pastel painted houses of Holywell Street.
Refreshed after a drink in the low beams of the pub, we walked past Oxford’s most beautiful monuments: the Bodleian library, Radcliffe Camera and Bridge of Sighs.
Hidden behind the Radcliffe Camera is Vaults & Garden (a wonderful recommendation from the Marco Polo Guide) which is a real hidden secret surrounded by architectural treasures, flowers and aromatic herbs. We stopped for afternoon tea with bubbles and had the most delicious warm scones. The perfect way to end a long day of sightseeing!
I had a fantastic day exploring the cobbled streets of Oxford with Marco Polo Guides. My open return train ticket from London Paddington was only £17 and it was a welcome reminder how many fabulous destinations are just a short journey from the capital. This summer I’m determined to enjoy more day trips in England and I’m thinking Bath and Devon might be next stops…
Have you been to Oxford? Comment below to let me know what you got up to in the city and where you’d recommend I visit next!