Another proper English weekend here, with day trips to Oxford, Savill Gardens and Richmond! It’s always nice to step away from busy city life into these more tranquil settings. Oxford was my Saturday stop, and it’s conveniently accessible by train. While you can rent a car or bike upon arrival, it’s very easy to get around this college town by bus or foot. More hidden gems to discover this way, as well!
Oxford is made up of 38 colleges, and there is no limit to the rich architecture within. Perhaps my favorite was Trinity College, whose gated courtyard played host to a few games of croquet and an English couple sipping tea. I wouldn’t be surprised if they escaped the 2 dimension boundaries of Downton Abbey itself! It was the most idyllic setting, and I’m happy to say I spent a few quiet hours just reading in this garden. With a light drizzle stirring, I set off on a search to find the best cappuccino in town. Luckily, I stumbled upon The Missing Bean – a cozy cafe tucked into a pocket of Turl Street (it’s the one in Caroline blue). This place is overflowing with students cramming for exams, but that’s also part of it’s charm.
After my cap, I found myself walking towards Turl Street Cafe (an old favorite). I opted for the hearty pork belly and was delighted to find it would fill me up for the rest of the day. My next stop was the Ashmolean Museum, where I admired everything from ancient Roman coins depicting the various caesars to a collection of Dutch still life paintings. This museum is vast in both size and century, so be sure to allocate a few hours here! And be on the lookout for special pop-up exhibits as well. Degas + Picasso were the stars of this month.
I chose to pass on Christ College this time around, but for those of you who are Harry Potter buffs, this is the college that inspired the famous grand staircase at Hogwarts. Christ College also contains a flower-filled garden with gravel-laden trails, so it’s perfect for a lazy stroll in the warmer months. I’ll definitely have to visit again when the sun comes out, and activities like punting will be first on my list!
The next day, Lex and Ben took me to Savill Gardens and the very spot where he proposed just one year ago. Charming rhodendendrums in 50 shades of pink cascaded in every direction, and the intimate pathways between made this spot udneniably romantic. Who wouldn’t say yes? As you wind your way through these labyrinthine blooms, you eventually come upon a bowl-shaped valley below. And ladies + gents, this valley was teeming with pups! My favorite new canine friend was easily Arthur, a sable spaniel with the most stoic personality. We had an instant bond, and he honestly put every other view that day to shame.
But eventually we were off to Richmond for a quick drive through it’s deer-filled park and a birthday dinner for one of Ben’s cousins. Richmond is considered the most enviable suburb of London, and its quiet overlook of the city at sunset makes me understand why. Delightful weekend all around, and definitely one for the books. Thanks of course to Arthur, my sable-coated friend.