On April 7th, I took the underground out to Heathrow to meet mom and dad. I hadn't seen them since Christmas, so this was very exciting. We grabbed our rental car, a compact SUV with a built in SAT NAV, and headed to Oxford. Little did we know, 'Jane' (as we fondly and sometimes not so fondly called her) would save our trip, and our relationships!
One of the challenges we faced this trip was me being the third wheel, tagging along with my parents. While it is quite easy to stick a third body in most North American Hotel rooms, Europe is not so friendly when it comes to grown children shacking up with their parents. We were often told the roll-aways were only for children, or that all of the rooms were too small to accommodate 3 adults. We were hoping to cut down costs by taking only one room when possible, otherwise it was going to be a pricey two weeks.
The Head of the River Pub and Inn in Oxford, was our first Hotel, and one of the few that would accommodate all of us in one room. The pub is cute and has a prime location on a branch of the Thames. Our room came with a complimentary beer, and as would be the trend for the next two weeks, a Full English Breakfast.
After checking in, I rushed mom and dad off for their first attempt at punting. My favourite spot to punt from in Oxford is the Cherwell Boathouse. I like it because instead of just punting up and down the river, you can punt to the Victoria Arms pub for dinner.
As dad soon found out, punting is not easy. I am terrible, but at least I can get the boat going in the right direction! If you plan on punting in Oxford, remember it's a seasonal activity. Although the boathouse was open for business, our hands were frrrreeeezing, and they weren't yet keeping summer hours, so we really had to move quickly to get the boat back in time.
We made it to the pub. Well, actually, we had to ditch the boat at the side of the river, run up the path, order some 'chips' to go, and then head back to the punt, as it took us a little longer to get upstream. Little did we know, with the current helping us, it would only take us ten minutes to row back.
The Chips were some of the best I've had, and I worked hard to get them!
The following day, after our full English Breakfast, we went for a stroll around Christ Church Meadow. This was my old running route when I was working at Corpus Christi. While not completely in bloom, it was still beautiful.
A view of my room for two summers on Magpie Lane.
The Cloisters in Corpus Christi.
Don't forget to head to the covered Market for Ben's Cookies, Moo Moo's Milkshakes, and the Alpha Bar.
St. Mary's Church. For a £3 you can climb the stairs to the top of the tower and get an amazing view of Oxford and the surrounding hills.
|A yarn bombed fence surrounding the Radcliffe Camera.|
|Full view of the Radcliffe Camera.|
|The Bodleian Libarary. One of the oldest and largest in Europe. The Bodleian has a copy of every book ever published in England.|
|The Bridge of Sighs, joining two parts of Hertford College.|
|Affectionately called 'The K.A'- One of our favourite pubs in the city.|
|The Sheldonian Theatre|
|The Bear Pub- oldest pub in the city (and the best!)|
Head to the Bear Pub on Tuesday nights (@ 8:30pm) for the most competitive pub quiz in the city, and this is Oxford, so you KNOW they mean business.
|Snippets of ties in frames line the walls and ceiling of the back room.|
Here are some things we didn't do, but had we more time, I would recommend:
Sandwiches at Olives
A Drink at The Turf Tavern
A walk through University Parks
Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral
...and don't forget, if you're tight on cash, you can always stay in one of the college rooms. Click here to check for availability.