A beauty, lifestyle & photography blog.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

a day discovering oxford with marco polo guides

On a very sunny and warm Saturday morning I left my little town and headed to Oxford, which is only 15 minutes away by train, to spend an afternoon with the team at Marco Polo Guides, fellow travel and lifestyle bloggers along with travel industry professionals for a great all day event. 

Marco Polo Guides have been relaunching all their best guides including the guide for Oxford so what  better way to rediscover with them this beautiful and architectural city of Oxford with their latest guide in hand. 
This ancient city has so much to offer from museums, art galleries, world renowned colleges (that all look like sets of Harry Potter films), bars, restaurants... and everything that just makes this city a must see!
About a dozen of us met first for a brunch at The Handle Bar Cafe & Kitchen because what better way to start your day with a brunch somewhere trendy and especially with an avocado on toast and some latte art and spending as much time snapping away your food than eating it. Hey! Bloggers will be bloggers! By the way just a little shout out to The Handle Bar Cafe & Kitchen for their very friendly and welcoming staff (especially our French waiter) and let's say the food was just... Top Notch (I'll go back with toddler and partner for sure!). 





After an introduction to the Marco Polo Guides and what we were expecting to see and do while following the walking tour right from the guide, we all tucked in and chatted away about, you know... what Oxford meant to all of us (some were locals others just studied there etc. so we all had our little story to add) and anything blogging related of course!
Then we got sun glasses and cameras at the ready and we all headed down to town to start our Marco Polo walking tour.












Our first stop was the Covered Market situated right in the middle of the city (off High Street) this market has everything to offer from everyday food to amazing bakery stands, latest fashion, very instagram-able coffee shops to the must try Moo milkshake stand. We spent a good hour wondering between stands and taking all in. Also enjoying the smell: you know! that market mix of fresh fruits, vegetables, brewing coffee, freshly baked bread etc. a mix and match of odour all as delightful as each other.
Then a little walk down the High Street we reached Queen's College founded in 1341 with its fabulous grand entrance. This place just makes you want to go back to Uni and if the aspect to study does not attract you anymore then do not worry! you can visit the Queen's College but make sure to check here for their open day. 
After a few snaps for Instagram and the blog of course, we carried on our walk tour to our 3rd stop: The oxford canal and in particular the Magdalen Bridge where you can go on a punting tour and see parts of the city in a different and romantic perspective. I actually do think that if you come to visit Oxford one day you have to go on a punting boat its an experience I highly recommend and so is the Marco Polo guided tour.


Then we all head back up to Holywell Street for the most instagram-able street of all Oxford for its very colourful pastel little houses. In fact we probably spent more time taking pictures here than seeing all the other sites! But for a little story, No. 99 was home to J.R.R. Tolkien which holds a special place in my heart, yes! I'm a big fan of Lord of the Rings, and these have been my favourite books of all time, so if you are a fan of Tolkien then you know where to go (The Marco Polo guide also included other areas where Tolkien used to hang out so make sure to check these too!) . 


Then hidden away in the cutest and tiniest street off Holywell Street we reached our break pub from our walking tour the famous Turf Tavern for a well deserved, refreshing drink. This crooked, wonky pub that dates from the middle age is literally hidden away and mostly known by the locals and students. Known also for its great pub food. This place has seen and served some of last decades most famous personalities such as Emma Watson, Barack Obama and some older legends like Ernest Hemmingway, J.R.R.Tolkien, C.S. Lewis etc. Just stop there and get that cheesy burger or mac and cheese, a local beer and after your feet have rested head down for the final tour of our day, The Bridge Of Sights between Hertford College and New College Lane one of the most famous land marks in Oxford, this bridge was completed in 1914 & is a passage for the students from the old and new Hertford College.

And finally our last visit was the Radcliffe Camera right on a square situated just behind the High Street  between Brasenose and All Souls College. This beautiful round library founded in 1749 is very impressive to see from the outside and ends perfectly our walking tour on a highlight. You must take a picture in front of this amazing tall building with it's bikes (as so Oxford!) in the background for the perfect shot and if you can get a few students in gowns too then this is perfection at it's best!
But we could not finish our Marco Polo walking tour of Oxford without a well deserved Afternoon Tea. The Marco Polo Guides's team had it all organised for us, and it is highly recommended in their guide. To try and see the Vault & Garden literally just opposite the Radcliffe Camera. It's a perfect place to eat scones & sandwiches in the garden while admiring the square or inside for the impressive arch and high ceiling. A beautiful table was already dressed and waiting for us with yummy scones, sandwiches, organic teas and of course some bubbly.
For the little story this place is the Oxford University's Old congregation (dated 1320) but now its a beautiful cafe using local and organic products so it's the perfect place to bring the family visiting or your besties. Shout out to all the waiters at the Vault & Garden for being the most friendliest bunch ever. 



So there you have it, my little guide to Oxford using the excellent handy pocket size Marco Polo Guides which you can find here. Highly recommended if you are looking for a guide that condenses all in one from where to eat, what to do, visit etc. including transport, where to stay and even including a map! 
Also I am not stopping there, look out for a future post where I'll guide you through Oxford where you can find anything Harry Potter related (where a few scenes from movies have been filmed etc.) as being a big fan I can not resist doing it, right!? using of course Marco Polo Guide Oxford Edition to help me through my next adventure. 
PS: I would like also to say a big thank you to Hayley, Petra, Senja & Diane that made this event so much fun and made all of us feel so welcomed. Cheers girls!!!

Have you visited Oxford before? What was your favourite place? Tell me all by commenting below.


All above though , comment are my own as per usual...you know the drill. 

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