Oxford and More Cotswolds

Time for another quick UK day trip.  This time the destination was Oxford, and a few surrounding areas.  The trip down took less than 2 hours so it was a very doable day trip.  Tara did all the planning for this trip so she gets all the credit.  In addition to Oxford, we went to the Hidcote gardens, Chipping Campden, and the Fleece Inn pub.  Man, do I sound British or what.

Route to Oxford

Route to Oxford

First up on the agenda was the oldest English speaking university in the world: Oxford.  Don’t get too excited just yet.  If you are waiting to see a picturesque ivy covered college (university) campus, you may have to actually enroll in the college.  From what we could gather, the campus seemed very close, but very separated from the town itself.  If you looked at Google maps, it would appear like we were in the middle of campus, but in reality, we were just on a street and all you could see were the front of buildings.  We did end up paying a few pounds to go inside one of the “colleges” and check it out to get the full experience.  It was not like a typical US college, but I guess they probably have it setup that way for a reason.  You wouldn’t want tour busses full of foreigners trudging all over your grass and getting in the way of your learning.

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This kinda sums up the city centre of Oxford. Some old looking buildings, tons of tourists, and people selling stuff on the street

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Check out that queue. No Thanks

Oxford is famous for “Punting”, which means navigating a boat using a long stick to push yourself along the waterway by means of the bottom of the floor of the riverbed.  You could “hire” a boat for 20 GPB for an hour, but we had enough fun watching all these people struggle to navigate the river.

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Some Struggling Punters

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Lots of Punters

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This guy is trying to use the force to direct the boat because his stick is not getting the job done

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Artsy boat pic

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Campus buildings

After we figured out that you couldn’t actually get on to campus, we paid a few pounds to get inside one of the colleges.  The one we found turned out to be the oldest college on campus, founded in 1249.  It was called University College, which is not a very original name.  Some others are called:  Corpus Christi, Exeter, Kellogg, Magdelen, and Wolfson.  I later figured out that there are 38 “colleges” within Oxford.  Colleges are basically mini communities that have their own coat of arms, name, dorms, etc…… Is anyone else thinking that Oxford copied the structure of Hogwarts Academy for Wizards?

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University “College” Quad

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University Chapel

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University Dining Hall. This definitely looks like Harry Potter’s dining hall

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More Quad

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View of some college from the street.

After we got our fill of colleges and punting, we headed out in search of lavender.  Tara figured out that we were at the very tail end of lavender season.  This area of England is really famous for having vast fields of bright purple lavender.  Since we were at the tail end of the season, we did not find these fields.  We went to a lavender farm and found the last bit of lavender that hadn’t already been harvested.  I made sure to angle the photos so that it looked like we were in a huge field.

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Next up was the Hidcote Gardens, which is a National Trust site.  Tara figured this out as well.  This place was a massive outdoor garden with all sorts of different plants and whatnot.  I agree that this sounds lame, but it wasn’t too bad.  The weather was great, all of the plants were in bloom, and I got some cool pictures with macro mode.  Before we started exploring the gardens, we decided to get some afternoon tea.  This turned out to be a horrible idea because we attracted a swarm of a dozen wasps to our food.  It was awful.  I quickly scarfed down my cake to avoid the bees.  Tara eats at the speed of molasses so she was a prime target for the hungry wasps.  She was really stressing out, and I don’t blame her.  In fact, a nearby British lady noticed how bad she was struggling and actually came over, shooed the bees away, prepared Tara’s scone, and gave her some words of encouragement.  That kept the bees at bay for about 30 seconds.  Tara eventually gave up and we headed into the gardens.

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Get out of my jam bees!

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These guys were ruthless

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The start of the garden pics

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Macro Mode!

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Holy Macro Mode Batman

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Aint nothin but a macro party….

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Looks like a plant from Avatar

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Back to Macro Mode

We found some old school tennis racquets and a free court to hit some balls on.  These older wooden racquets had a lot less pop to them.

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Flagged - 38 Glass honeycomb made for a cool view of the worker bees

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After Hidcote, we headed for the historic town of Chipping Campden.  It’s a historic Cotswolds market town with picturesque buildings and whatnot.  We got lucky and found free parking at the entrance to the Cotswold Way, which is a 102 mile walking trail that spans from Chipping Campden to Bath.  We walked a portion of it with Jeff and Kerry on our last UK road trip together.  I wonder if they still read our blog now that they are back in the USA.  Anyway, back to the pictures.  Here are some Chipping Campden shots:

Chipping Campden

Chipping Campden

Thatched Roofs!

Thatched Roofs!

Tara gets credit for this gem

Tara gets credit for this gem.  Good looking Chevy

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Inside the famous market

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Chipping Campden Market

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Look at the wavy roof line

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Old church

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Tiny Doorway

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One more thatched roof for good measure

After exploring the old city, we made our way to a nearby famous pub called the Fleece Inn.  A few of Tara’s work mates knew this place and recommended it for its food, beer and atmosphere.  It was a pub inside an old farmhouse and it was a nice way to end the day.

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Cheese molds overhead

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Those circles on the ground were used for keeping witches out. Seriously

Welp, that sums up our little day trip to Oxford and the Cotswolds.  Until next time.


11 thoughts on “Oxford and More Cotswolds

  1. Of course I still read your blog! It makes me miss day trips and pubs and cider and sheep and rolling green hills….But then I remember that I now have a car, pizza, appliances that work and more than 6 forks.

    • This is the funniest comment I’ve ever read, yet sad because it’s true. Now that we only have 6 months left I’m kinda looking forward to those American amenities such as availability of forks and cars.

  2. Fun trips, we enjoyed both places as well. Did you visit Clinton’s pub in Oxford where he famously didn’t inhale? Inspector Morris is pretty good. I have started watching the British Law and Order tv show now because I am starting to miss living there a bit. Not a lot, just a little bit.

  3. I’m also reading the blog with significant delay! Haha, hilarious post. That garden looked amazing and I miss that stuff for sure. Funny that I thought Cambridge was famous for punting, didn’t know they had Oxford punters too.

  4. Pingback: Cambridge, England | Schetzels in the UK

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