Over the last few years, when I've wanted to escape or explore somewhere new, I've hopped on a plane.  This year, one of my New Year resolutions was to make the effort to explore some places closer to home, starting with Oxford...


Approximately 40 minutes on the train from my hometown and only £9 for a return ticket with my 16-25 railcard, I'm not sure why I had not visited Oxford before this year.  Famous for having one of the most prestigious universities in the world, Oxford attracts a lot of tourists and for a day, Abi (Travel Tea TV) and I were two of them.

handle bar cafe

chai tea latte

We'd already thought ahead about where to grab some food when we arrived, and after hearing excellent things about The Handle Bar cafe, we decided to stop by to fuel up before a day of architecture and museums.  As you can see, I went all out "blogger" when it came to the food and had their avocado toast topped with almonds, chili and feta, which was delightful, but managed to fail at taking any photos of the decor, which was also really cool.  The bicycles hanging from the whitewashed brick walls, pretty fairy lights sporadically strung up around the ceiling and the exposed wooden beams gave the Handle Bar a really lovely, homely atmosphere.  Everyone in there, both the staff and the customers, just seemed to be in a really good mood.  It was quite busy but we managed to get a little table by the window and it was nice to listen to others doing exactly the same as us; enjoying the excellent food on offer and enthusiastically chatting about anything and everything.  As much as I loved the food and the decor, my favourite part of this cafe was the chai tea latte.  Oh my soul.  I'd probably go as far as to say it was the best I've ever had.  We both ordered one, took a sip, and had that moment where you both look at each other when something tastes really f*cking good and just make an indescribable noise because you can't think of the words to say how you feel.  Part of me wishes I'd ordered another to enjoy with a slice of their homemade cake but I was too full, and eager to explore the city.

museum of natural history

After a good catch-up, we headed to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.  I love museums, I find them super interesting and you can learn so much about so many different things.  I was not a fan of school and education at all, but put me in a museum and I absorb the information like a sponge.  One part of this museum that I loved seeing was the elephant skeletons; I'd never seen one before and the shape of the skull, the spaces where the trunk, tusks and the ears would form, fascinated me.  Behind the Museum of Natural History is the Pitt Rivers Museum. Possibly the strangest museum I've been to, there was a real mixture of, well, everything. Totem poles, a cabinet of feathers, masks, pottery, skulls. If you want something a little different, I would recommend checking it out as it is pretty cool, although I spent most of the time worrying my backpack was going to swing in to one of the glass cabinets and I'd be under arrest for destroying priceless artefacts.  The last museum we visited was the Ashmolean. We didn't stay there too long, and mostly looked at the modern art section, but I'd love to go back one day and spend more time there. Plus the building is gorgeous.

I'd been told that Oxford is a really beautiful city, and I was excited to see the architecture.  We stopped by the Bodleian Library and the Radcliffe Camera, neither of which disappointed.  The Bodleian Library, a gorgeous example of English Gothic architecture, was so much bigger than I had expected and was so impressive. There's a Tolkien exhibition at the Bodleian Libraries later this year that I would love to visit.  Built in the English Palladian style, the Radcliffe Camera, which is not a camera by the way, is known as the most iconic building in Oxford and I can see why, it is beautiful. We also stopped to snap a photo of the Bridge of Sighs, opposite the entrance to the Bodleian Library, and had a little wander down the picture perfect streets.

We ended our day with a pint, some sweet potato fries and a good old gossip in the George Street Social, quite a hipster-y bar with craft beers, an innovative food menu and a really chilled atmosphere.  It was lush to have a cultural, fun day out so close to home. Yes, we have London and all of it's offerings on our doorstep, but it was so nice to explore somewhere new!

Have you ever been to Oxford? Where in the UK would you go on a day trip? 

I can also be found on Instagram, Twitter and Bloglovin

Thanks for stopping by!