It’s felt like a long time coming but… today I get to pick up the keys to a home of my very own! To be fair, the sales process has been a relatively smooth one — it’s been about four months since I viewed the place for the first time – but even these short months have been quite difficult for someone who does not do well at the waiting game. And the last few weeks are always the most agonising when you’re waiting for anything exciting to hurry up and happen! That’s why, when we were offered a car for 24 hours by Travel Supermarket, we jumped at the chance to get out of town, get distracted and go on a mini-adventure. 24 hours in Oxford, here we come!
24 hours in Oxford
2.30pm: Check in. As our getaway was a bit last minute, all the Air BnBs were well and truly booked. But we were here for a good time, not a long time, and never underestimate the power of the British B&B. We chose The Gables, even though it was a short bus ride from the city centre, because the reviews were great and they provide you with a decanter of brandy on the bedside table. Needless to say that lasted all of two seconds once we arrived to check in. Nice touch!
3pm: These boots were made for walking… well, Sophie’s weren’t. Her stylish little pumps we nicknamed ‘the trotters’ were not the best choice for rambling walks around Oxford’s historic city centre, but we had fun exploring anyway. Think quaint buildings, charming streets and lots of Oxford University hoodies – after all, this is a town built around the famous uni. We pottered through the covered market to pick up a delish salad box for grazing on the move. No rabbit food here, these were chock-full of feta, spiced chickpeas, baba ganoush and the like.
3.30pm: Let’s get historical. Oxford oozes history so we decided to get our medieval hats on and head to the castle quarter. It costs about a tenner to get into the castle itself and you can book yourself onto the entertaining Oxford Unlocked guided tour, headed up by a theatrical but quite amusing costumed guide.
There are lots of interesting stories like that of Empress Matilda who allegedly escaped a castle siege in the depths of winter by waiting for the Castle Mill Stream to freeze over, dressing in white to camouflage herself against the snow and escaping through the soldiers lines in the night. Oh, it’s all very Game of Thrones, only sans dragons and flayed men roasting on an open fire.
5.30pm: Time for a treat. It was a bit late in the day for shopping but we took a stroll to the Jericho area of Oxford – we’d heard it had more of an arty/boho vibe – to have a little nose. En route we dribbled over the glorious ice-creamy treats in the window of George and Davis’ ice cream cafe. G&D’s is something of an Oxford institution and from the amount of people crowding in for a creamy treat, we weren’t the only ones to know about it!
However, cocktails won out over ice-cream and we popped into Raoul’s, just next door to the quirky Albion Beatnik Bookshop where they frequently hold book readings and have their own little cafe. Sophie’s a bit of a cocktail connoisseur whereas I am happy popping bubbles but I have to admit the selection was pretty awesome and the quality was tip-top. It would have been rude not to try a couple of different ones!
7.30pm: Dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, Batman! Feeling nicely refreshed it was time to get some grub and we found a dreamy restaurant over on Cowley Road that suited us down to the ground. Kazbar had plenty of seating out front, perfect for a balmy eve, but with decor this pretty inside we decided to stay indoors. Spain meets Morocco in Kazbar with mosaic tables and a candlelit atmosphere. The tapas and cava cocktails were awesome, but it was the friendly staff that made our night. Two thumbs up for this one! Then it was back to the B&B to chill out and enjoy our extra king-size bed.
9.30am: Up and at ‘em. Halfway through our 24 hours in Oxford and time to tuck into a tasty veggie breakfast to fuel us up for the day. We also said a little prayer for sunshine because our plans for the day were going to be oh-so much more perfect with a little bit of blue sky action… Let Sunday Funday begin!
11am: We hit up the Magdalen Bridge Boathouse for what can only be described as the quintessential Oxford activity – a spot of punting! Luckily, Sophie’s boyfriend, Sam, is a surfer so has an impeccable sense of balance and was eager to take on the role of Lord of the Punt. It took him a while to get his bearings (ask for tips from the boat hirers if you’re a newbie or spend a little extra for a pro to do it for you) but it wasn’t long before he was punting here, there and everywhere while we relaxed, popped the Prosecco and enjoyed a little ‘this is the life moment’.
1pm: The sun was out in all its glory by this point so we hopped in the bat-mobile and headed off into the Oxfordshire countryside for a tasty Sunday lunch at The Perch, a stunning country pub set in gorgeous grounds dotted with draping weeping willows. The roasts were fab and the location is perfect for a post-lunch stroll down to the river. We came across a field of buttercups – watch out for the thistles though!
Then our 24 hours in Oxford came to an end. We piled back into the trusty steed and headed back to Bristol to make the most of the blazing sunshine.
A 24 hour adventure is just the thing for when you are in dire need of a holiday but most of your spare cash has been sucked up by life (or in our case, a house!). We’re a big fan of impartial comparison sites to get the most bang for our buck and we were pleasantly surprised to find deals online to hire a car with a full tank of petrol for £36 (pick-up at 10am Saturday, drop-off by 4pm Sunday). Split between our squad of four that was less than a tenner each for transport! Happy faces all round!
We were given a hire car for our 24 hour adventure courtesy of Travel Supermarket – but all thoughts and opinions in this piece are our own.