Sunday, 17 August 2014
Since the start of the summer holidays, I'd come to the startling realisation that I hadn't travelled out of the city much at all since I moved to London. Now with the time on my hands, what better way to start than taking an impromptu day trip to Oxford, a most picturesque English town I'd always wanted to visit, known for it's beautiful heritage buildings and being home to the world's oldest university. After much debate over train ticket prices, my friend & I decided to take a bus instead. It only took an hour and thirty minutes to get there from London, and that was including a few stops along the way, plus the bus was really comfortable and had free wifi so I'd really recommend it. We had planned on checking out the Bodleian library as soon as we arrived but unfortunate timing meant that it was closed to public as there was an event going on inside. Instead we admired it from the outside (Radcliffe Camera), before walking to Hertfort Bridge, which is also known as the Bridge of Sighs as it resembles a Venetian bridge of the same name.
Our plan was just to circle the town so we came across a couple of little gardens off the street where flowers merged seamlessly with the surrounding old buildings to create the most beautiful views. Many people had taken time out of their day to sit on the benches to read and relax. We very aptly reached the city centre at lunchtime and decided upon an Italian restaurant called Branca that in my opinion served some of the best Italian food I'd ever tasted and for really great prices too. I had a really tasty sausage ragu pasta (cooked perfectly al dente) and my friend opted for a roast beef salad that was equally delicious. We were most excited for dessert though as we had ordered the tasting platter (profiteroles, banana cake, brownie, lemon tart) and we were definitely not disappointed.
Full and content, we proceeded to Christ Church Meadow and wandered around the perimeter, where runs a small river known as The Isis which is actually still part of Thames River. Small boats are available to hire and paddle along the river. The last stop for the day was the Botanic Garden (apparently the oldest in Britain) where plants of every shape and size bloomed in pretty arrangements within the walls. There are also several glasshouses inside and although I'm not much for the heat inside them, there's just something so visually appealing about them to me and these ones were no exception.
We had a bit of time before our bus departed so lastly we went to check out some of the shops in the city centre before heading home. It was such a lovely day and I would much like to return (I still need to see the Bodleian library from the inside). I'm looking forward to planning more trips out of London, so if you have any recommendations on where I should go next, please leave them down below in the comments. Thank you!