Hope everyone is having a great start of the year!
We had the most amazing two weeks in the UK for Christmas and New Year holidays.
Life is so unpredictable, really. I went from having no connection with the UK to getting married in Oxford and now visiting quite frequently (my husband’s family lives there). This time around, since we had already seen majority of Oxford on previous trips, we made it a point to explore the English countryside and go on day trips outside of the city. It’s incredible the amount of choices out there! On this post, I gathered our top favorite day trip destinations from Oxford. There’s definitely something for everyone!
For the history buff
Famous for its natural hot springs and 18th-century Georgian architecture, Bath is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK (in my opinion).
The Roman Baths is a must see. The entrance fee is fairly expensive but totally worth it – this site is one of the best preserved Roman remains in the world!
Tip: Listen to audio guides provided to learn fascinating history facts, it will make a great difference.
After that why not grab a quick lunch at Roman Bath Cafe, located right opposite the Roman Baths. It’s a neighborhood brasserie with a lovely and warm atmosphere that serves seasonal dishes using locally sourced ingredients.
During the afternoon, you can continue to stroll around the city. One of the highlights for us was Royal Crescent, an impressive row of 30 Georgian style houses.
Another great day trip idea is Stratford-upon-Avon, a town synonymous with William Shakespeare.
You get to see the house where he was allegedly born and to be honest while the house itself didn’t live up to our expectations, we found the town quite charming. The highlight was the stroll we took along the canal, with a flock of birds and swans on sight.
If you visit during lunch or dinner time, I recommend a Greek restaurant called El Greco. The restaurant is ran by a Greek and British couple and serve authentic greek cuisine.
If you are into Christmas decorations or want to buy a souvenir, check out The Nutcracker Christmas Shop. It sells Christmas related items all year round, in all shapes and forms.
Another unmissable place for the history and art fanatic is Waddesdon Manor. It is located in the Aylesbury Vale (Buckinghamshire) and was built in the 19th century for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild as a weekend residence for grand entertaining and as a setting for his collection. Waddesdon Manor is famous for its collection of French 18th-century decorative arts and 17th- and 18th-century paintings.
Tip: If you plan to visit, early ticket booking is highly advised. Unfortunately we weren’t able to purchase tickets on the day, so just got an entrance ticket to walk around the estate grounds (which are stunning as well).
For the shopping enthusiast
If shopping is your thing, you probably heard of Bicester Village, one of the most famous designer outlets in the UK. It recently underwent a huge renovation and has added some popular brands such as Acne Studios.
While I’m not a huge designer shopper, Bicester Village has character and I really enjoyed strolling around the beautiful shops and we had a lovely coffee & cake at Farmshop. Overall it makes a great outing idea!
For the nature lover
If you are an outdoor fanatic you will definitely enjoy The Chilterns, one of the most beautiful areas of countryside in the UK, where you can find rolling hills, woodland walks and grand houses to visit.
Since it was winter when we visited, we mainly drove around instead of hiking (way to cold to do that!). On our drive, we made a stop at the Lacey Green Windmill and a beautiful tucked away village called Turville. It is very small, it literally consists of a village church, some houses & cottages and one pub, The Bull and the Butcher, where I had the best English pie ever! Highly recommend it as a lunch spot option if you’re in the area.
On our way back to Oxford, we took a tea break at The Hand and the Flowers, a Michelin-star restaurant. We didn’t try the food, but the experience of having tea by the fire was priceless.
Linch Hill Fishery
Another favorite of ours is Linch Hill Fishery, which is a hidden gem for a leisurely walk along the lakes that house hundreds of ducks and swans. If you close your eyes, you can hear tens of different singing birds – it’s truly magical! Go in the afternoon in time for sunset and you’ll be in for a special treat.
Tip: Bring your own wellies as it gets muddy.
For the afternoon tea lover
Ok, this has to be one of my favorite ways to spend a day. What’s better than having tea & cake at an English style country house! The best thing is that you can enjoy nature, learn some history while doing so and best of all, it’s affordable.
On this trip, we managed to discover a few favorites:
Hartwell House – if it’s not a busy day, you might be assigned a whole room just for yourself. A manor that houses stunning historic artwork and decor coupled with splendid grounds make it a very special place to visit
The Old Swan & Minster Mill – best scones I’ve ever had in my life!
Eynsham Hall – you can have tea by the fire or if you’re lucky with the weather you can sit outside overlooking its fabulous gardens
Have you been to the UK? What are some of your favorites spots? Please share in the comments down below 🙂
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