Travel // A weekend in Oxford & a Gorgeous Cottage for Two in the Cotswolds

February 22, 2019

We spent last weekend in Oxford and the Cotswolds after we'd been invited to stay at a new cottage for the weekend. The week before that had been really busy and I chucked some clothes into a bag at the last minute on Saturday morning as we were about to leave, not really having much time to think about going away. But as a result, I think the whole weekend was even nicer than I could have pictured it and although it was February, and a little grey, it was all just so lovely. I think partly now too as my husband and I count down these last few weekends together as just us two. We hadn't been to Oxford in a long time and it made the perfect stop before we got to the cottage {which turned out to be even more gorgeous than the photos had shown} and then enjoyed being close to Soho Farmhouse to visit a couple of times over the long weekend. I think I shared most of this on Instagram but wanted these photos on the blog, if you'd like to see... 

Oxford always blows me away with just how incredible the architecture and the university buildings are. We've been a couple of times before, including this memorable summers day, but still I love just wandering around it. It's fairly compact too so you can do it in say, half a day easily. The parking is always a bit of a nightmare, the city isn't built for cars, so you're encouraged to use the park and ride services, or if you look on a map, should be able to find some streets with unrestricted parking if you're willing to walk for about half an hour or so first. We did this and followed the river down to an area just outside Oxford to park, and as such then walked along the river into the city which was fun to see all of the rowers out competitively training {with their trainers on bikes up and down the towpath shouting instructions!}

The Radcliffe Camera building is always my favourite, imagine when that magnolia blooms too.

I love how bikes are such a big part of this city.

We spent the morning hunting out the old, pretty areas {which are almost everywhere} and then I was suddenly famished after being on our feet for so long already so went to Ben's cookies for a mid morning snack {it's in the covered market which is worth a look}, and managed to score a box full of 'yesterday's cookies' for £5. If you haven't had Ben's cookies before, you're missing out, they're the best things ever. And we suddenly then had a wholeee box to eat over that weekend of all of our favourite flavours. 

Such a pretty city.

Franco Manca was on our lunchtime hit-list, although we stuck to small chains for food during our time there I'm sure there are some incredible local known Oxford spots to explore for another time. In fact, when I asked on Instagram, a few of you had recommended Turl Street Kitchen, Port Meadow, Barefoot Bakery, Skogen Kitchen and Gee's Kitchen - which I really need to go back for!

But we had a leftover Birthday voucher for Franco to use and sourdough pizza was calling us that lunchtime. My kind of heaven. Heart shaped as it was a belated Valentine's lunch date <3

The shopping in Oxford is really great, and since we'd started looking at prams that week, suddenly our day out in Oxford became prime for our new favourite buggy spotting sport. 'Which brand is that?', 'Ooh, there's one.'. I also had this yearning to go to John Lewis in Oxford just to look at them all again, yep I've become that obsessive pregnant lady! The Westgate centre is fairly new and so we spent a big chunk of time just shopping, we hadn't been to the UK high street since before Christmas so I was excited to see all the new stock that's finally come in now the sales are out the way.  

 Then we walked back along the river to the car to head to the cottage. If it had been sunny or a bit warmer, we'd have spent more time in Oxford or walked around Christ Church Meadows or something. But it's not too far from us so I hope we can come back later in the Spring or Summer. 

Driving deeper into proper Cotswold country, we reached Thatched Cottage where we'd be staying for the weekend. The lovely owners Vicky and Peter had been in touch whilst they we were renovating it, asking if we'd like to come and stay and when I saw the finished photos, I jumped at the chance as it looked so gorgeous. 

It's set in Whichford, a small village on the Warwickshire/Oxfordshire border near a market town called Shipston on Stour and has only recently been renovated. I'm always on the lookout for gorgeous little cottages for two and this one fit the bill perfectly. 

Close enough to visit other well known parts of the Cotswolds, 20 minutes from Daylesford, 20 minutes from Soho Farmhouse yet there are walks on your doorstep and really, you don't even have to leave the cottage if you feel like just coming and cosying up for a weekend. 

There's a well equipped, yet stylish, Devol kitchen - complete with a dishwasher {ALWAYS my biggest requirement}

A dining area, cosy lounge with a log-burner, comfy sofa and Netflix on the TV. I loved how white-washed this place was, like a White Company catalogue meets the country with all the original beams. As it's a thatched cottage, you're not allowed to use candles which is fair enough but there are some LED ones left for you to use if you wish, and it's a real logburning fire.  

Upstairs, there's a bedroom with a roll-top in {which always feels like a romantic luxury} and a separate shower room. 

That panelling with those beams! It's worth noting just how comfortable that mattress, and high thread count bedding and soft duvet, were. We slept soundly for over 10 hours one night, which has been unheard for us for ages, and because it's SO quiet there.

There were little touches that made it feel more like a boutique hotel than cottage, the robes and slippers for example.

We were greeted with a little welcome package, some sourdough and mini pots of preserves which made for a yummy breakfast the next morning and the most beautiful bunch of flowers from a local florist Tiger by the Tail.

Exhausted from walking for miles that morning around Oxford and down the river, we didn't leave the cottage at all that afternoon/evening. Cooking dinner, taking a long bath and you've guessed it... spending the evening watching YouTube videos on the buggies that we'd narrowed it down to to try and make a final decision haha. Oh how times are changing. 

The next morning, shocked at sleeping in for so long, Ben brought me breakfast in bed before we went for an explore and walk around the local villages. We found a loop from Whichford out to Ascott and back. 

Time goes so fast in the week so I always appreciate walks like these to really catch up with my husband, even if most of what we talk about recently is about this growing bump in some way -  'which NCT class should we book, are we definitely set on that buggy' etc etc. 

Then we spent most of Sunday at Farmhouse. Buying lunch from the deli there before spending the afternoon reading the Sunday Papers and then meeting friends there for dinner. Such a perfect day.

Lizzie and I are bump twins and are due just days apart, so it was really lovely to catch up with them properly after having to whatsapp for so long - they live in Cheltenham and we're in Hertfordshire.

I just wished we'd got photos together, it was dark by the time we'd finished our roasts and there's that no photo at the table rule. We had one last night in the cottage before returning the next morning for breakfast {with the BEST waffles i've had in ages} and then back home to start a new week.

Such a gorgeous couple of days. I think, after getting back from Cali and expecting it to be all bleak for a while yet, I'd forgotten just how fab England can be even in February. And it's suddenly feeling all Spring like and has been REALLY sunny this week!

All of a sudden, another week has gone in a flash and I'm looking forward to the weekend again.

You can find details of Thatched Cottage where we stayed here, I'd really recommend it and small dogs are allowed. - A huge thank you to Vicky & Peter for inviting us, they've done such a fab job.

R <3 xx

{This was a gifted stay but with no obligation to write this review. All opinions are 100% my own and I'm super picky about where we stay & share to make sure it will be somewhere we truly love}

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  1. How picturesque is this cottage?! LOVE all the paneling on the walls, exactly my sort of interior decor! x

  2. How stunning are your photos?! This looks like the perfect weekend away!

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