Welcome to my mini day/staycation series of 2021 highlighting my UK adventures. These posts will be a quick fire guide so I hope you’re inspired and most importantly, enjoy reading them!
My plans to get away during my birthday in June was painfully halted by the lack of exciting destinations in our travel traffic light system so I decided another staycation was in order. I had visited Cambridge just the month before so figured Oxford would be a good shout. However I wanted to explore more than just the city and luckily for me, the Cotswolds was a short car journey away.
We started our trip in the highly esteemed university town. The city centre is full of historic college buildings and quirky quaint shops. It can be done in a day trip or slowly over a weekend if you want to add other destinations like we did.
Punting – a must do when in either Oxford or Cambridge. Either with a local guide or if you’re brave, DIY!
Oxford Botanic Gardens – beautiful gardens to escape from the city noise. As well as checking out the different plants and flowers on the grounds, there are greenhouses with a waterlily centrepiece, palm trees and more!
It’s perfect for a picnic on a warm summer day (and it runs along part of the punting path so you can watch people try and make their way down the River).
Stroll through the city – to appreciate the University buildings – the ones we passed by were Radcliffe Sq, Bridge of Sighs, Bodleian libraries and a few colleges in between.
University Church of St Mary – for epic city views from the church’s tower. It’s gorgeous but also very narrow so not for those who don’t like tight spaces.
Quod restaurant – definitely one to try for a nice lunch /dinner ££
Vaults and Garden – perfect for brunch £. Sit outside for views over RadCam as seen below
Thaikun – for delicious cheap Thai food £. The street noodles were divine!
TVCO – for rooftop drinks at sunset! What a vibe. ££
The Oxford Wine Cafe for all the wine lovers to enjoy a glass of your fave!
The gorgeous rural English garden which sweeps across six counties! Our first taste of it was on the trip was to Woodstock, to check out Blenheim Palace. Only a short driving distance from Oxford so can be incorporated into your trip there alone. It is a World Heritage Site and is interestingly the only non royal English country house to be called a Palace!
For the last 2 days of the trip, we stayed in Winstone which is a Cotswold village sat perfectly in between Cirencester, Gloucester and Cheltenham as the closest bigger cities. Our Airbnb was cottage core goals – I don’t usually to return to accommodation I’ve stayed in but this will have to be the exception!
There’s so much to do (or not if you choose) depending which part of The Cotswolds you are staying in.
We visited The Cotswold Country Park and Beach – beach is used loosely as it’s in the middle of the country but you can have lots of fun there paddle boarding, kayaking and other water sports, mini golf or chill along the lake.
Miserden lake – we discovered this stunning secluded lake on a little walk from our Airbnb which took us literally through someone’s private estate and forest. The walk was looking peak and horror film worthy until this beauty revealed itself!
Cotswold Water Park consists of 140 lakes in Cirencester so there are plenty to pick from! Similar to the beach but with varying aesthetics and more space! We visited Lake no 12 – South Cerney on our last morning for a cool drink and chill by the lake before finding ourselves on a mini hike again (see below!)
So that’s a summary of our 5 days in Oxford and parts of The Cotswolds. I hope this inspires you to visit as the area is so pretty…I know I’ll be checking out another part of The Cotswolds another time soon!