Hem and Away: Oxford

Hem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesterner

We were recently invited by First Great Western to take part in their #BeAGreatWesterner campaign which aims to showcase the excellent places you can visit by hoping on one of their trains. We decided to take this opportunity to venture 90 minutes up the line to beautiful Oxford for a weekend city break as, despite meeting there at a festival, neither of us had ever spent any time in the city itself.

Hem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerox22

Taking our love for hotel bars to the extreme, we checked into The Malmaison – a former prison which just so happens to also be a medieval castle! But of course! It certainly is a very impressive sight and we had a lot of fun exploring the hotel and its impressive grounds. With a central location and incredible cocktail bar, it was without doubt the nicest prison either of us has ever stayed in.

Hem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesterner

Whenever we visit anywhere new we always spend an obscene amount of time scouring Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for nice places to eat and drink. Thankfully Oxford didn’t disappoint! We can highly recommend The Modern Baker for their delicious green macha latte and their ridiculous array of yummy cakes! We also had a great time in Brew drinking coffee whilst listening to The National on their record player – the dream! For dinner we visited SoJo to sample their much raved about dim-sum (turns out it deserves all the raves) and the fab Turl Street Kitchen, whose menu changes every day depending on what’s in season. We thought their two courses for £14.50 deal was a bit of a Saturday night bargain and oh my god look at those puddings!

Hem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesterner

We spent a lot of time just wandering around gawping at all of the pretty buildings as it really is an incredibly stunning city! We coincidentally managed to time our visit to coincide with the last day of exams so the atmosphere was one of great jubilation and we loved watching all the happy students covering each other with flour and silly-string! We also had a great time at the Story Museum which had been at the very top of our ‘to do’ list. We actually had so much fun there that we are going to dedicate a whole post to it! We also found time to visit the very Instagramable Modern Art gallery to see Lynn Hershman’s Origins of the Species (Part 2), as seen above, which is on until 9th August.

Hem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesternerHem and Away: Oxford #beagreatwesterner

See? Pretty beautiful! After spending a long time browsing the historic Covered Market as the rain poured down outside, we were relieved to see some sunshine and decided to make the most of it by paying a visit to the gorgeous Botanic Gardens followed by a mosey around Christ Church college. There’s just so much to look at! Did we miss any Oxford gems? If so, let us know, as we need an excuse to go back!

J&V