DAY 1 OF OUR 24 HOURS IN OXFORD #MERCURECITYSWAPPERS | QUEENBEADY

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Coat MaxMara | Jumper C/O SheIn | Jeans New Look | Belt ASOS

One footstep inside Oxford and suddenly you are transported in to a world of magic and wonder (not least because the city was used a lot for the Harry Potter films) but everywhere you look, it has that charming, oldy-worldy backdrop that just takes you away to another dimension. The drive in, we missed our turn off to the Mercure Oxford Eastgate hotel just off the High Street because we were too busy looking up at the buildings in wonderment. A 15 minute detour, that quite frankly, we didn’t actually mind. Warning, this post is photo heavy because I don’t think I’ve ever been to such a gorgeous city (in my life!) With January blue’s setting in, it was the perfect getaway to rid myself of them. With plenty of deals available with Mercure, I know I’ll be doing it much more in the future.

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On a grey, early, January morning, Mr C & I headed on the road from our beloved Yorkshire down to Oxford on a three and a half hour journey. Making a short pit stop for coffee (because hell, early mornings are not the one.) we arrived just shy of 12pm and headed straight to the hotel to see if there was the possibility we could drop off our bags and get exploring right away. Luckily, the two very helpful receptionists were happy to check us in and explained our room would be ready in around 20 minutes. We took a seat in the lobby, politely declined a hot drink and instead planned a little route on the map we were given (oh and copious amounts of insta-storying, twitters and instagramming, obvs.)

As I got to have a little explore around the hotel lobby, I uncovered the Harry Potter themed key box and a shelf filled with C.S. Lewis & J.R.R Tolkien books. Three very prominent things that relate to Oxford and it’s history and culture. The attention to detail was second to none (and let’s face it, it had me hook, line & sinker with the Hazza P references as you probably saw from my Instagram!)

As we headed up the lift to our room, the walls were aligned with artwork. (FYI Human bodies with animal heads, riding bikes?!) Not something you see everyday. But once again, it all became clear because Oxford is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the UK, second to Cambridge, so the theme started to make sense.

We left our bags and headed out straight away as part of the #MercureCitySwappers we were to partake in something that another local blogger, Melissa, would suggest doing and of course at the top of that list was to see the Harry Potter filming spots. And like any Hazza P geek would do, it was the top of my agenda. But not before we climbed Carfax Tower which gave us the most stunning views over Oxford and world below.

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With stunning views across the city of Oxford and also the nearby countryside, despite me weasing the whole way up, it was so worth the 90 odd steps to the top. Whilst I caught my breath we took in each corner of Oxford. The Tower is considered the centre of the city, with four main streets leading off to various sights around the centre. It made me fall in love with Oxford just that little bit more.

After spending about 15 minutes taking everything in it was time to head to Christ Church and navigate the small huddle of crowds. For such a beautiful, tourist hot spot it was so nice to not feel like we were being trampled on, hurried along or getting stuck behind day walkers to each attraction. It made for exploring a lot easier.

Christ Church is a short 5 minute walk away and is one of the colleges of Oxford University. Sitting in the heart of the city, right next to the Thames, it has wonderful buildings that date back from 1546. The sheer scale of the beautiful building makes it no surprise that this was home to the filming of many Harry Potter Films. From the Great Hall that they took inspiration from and also features, along with the ornate staircase and corridors that Harry, Ron & Hermione frequent in the movie franchise. I was in my element.

Not least home to the stunning Cathedral making this City what it is. Looking up at all the lead windows was just awe-inspring!

Can you spot some of the filming spots from Harry Potter & can you guess which film they were in?

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We had a little wander down the main high street & I bobbed my head in to Topshop, but I was so full of joy from exploring the city, shopping was not high on my agenda and we swiftly made an exit and headed back to the hotel via the covered market, we ate steak & ale pies at PieMinster, complete with mash, mushy peas and gravy (nom nom) and finished it off with a MooMoo’s Nutella & peanut butter shake which FYI is pretty incred. Thanks for the recommendation Laura! We headed to the Scence History Museum, which is a free attraction (but you can leave a donation like we did) and we got to see Eintein’s Blackboard which is pretty awesome!

After indulging in all things that go over my head (maths / science) we headed through the winding streets whilst passing the oldest pub in Oxford, we made our way back to the hotel for a 5pm nap. (Not before a beer in the room though!)

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After our nice beer & nap, we started to get ready to go down to dinner at the Marco Pierre White restaurant which was part of the hotel. We got showers (and oh my god, the waterfall showers are incred!) and put on our finest to head down to enjoy some of the American/Italian fused dishes on offer. We didn’t want to go too crazy (although, I was hankering for the £26.95 fillet steak) so we shared the Fisherman’s sharing platter, with crisp calamari, king prawns and crab fishcake which were all very tasty, especially with the spicy mayo that accompanied it.

James went for the Seabream fillet, whilst I went all Miss Piggy and got the BBQ ribs with fries and ‘slaw. James said his was delicious, mine was too except it was a humongous portion and my appetite wasn’t up to much with this terrible cold/cough I’ve got. The one thing I really loved about my ribs, were that there was plenty on meat on them which can sometimes, otherwise lack in other restaurants (so much so you have to suck the bones to get any sort of meat off) so top marks for that.

As I was feeling delicate, I had one glass of prosecco and Mr C had a Moretti Beer (seemingly this is his first choice for beer at the moment) neither of us were really feeling the alcohol to be fair but I think that may have just been because we weren’t feeling 100%. We ended the meal with a mango sorbet (for me) and an Americano for Mr C (it came in the coolest coffee cup, but my battery died so couldn’t get a photo. Boo.) Which ended the meal on a nice high.

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We were going to head out to find a nice cocktail bar but we decided to sink back in to our bed and watch some TV instead. SNUGGLE TIME. However, this sited me fine as I wanted to get up and explore a little bit more of this gorgeous city before we made tracks back home to Yorkshire.

Have you ever been to Oxford or stayed with Mercure Hotels? What did you experience?

Bee 
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*Our stay with Mercure Hotels was complimentary but all opinions of this gorgeous hotel are my own.

34 comments so far.
  • Ah your photos are so stunning! I loved Oxford, it is such a lovely city, the old University buildings are so impressive!

    • Thank you so much Jasmin! It is gorgeous isn’t it? You’re right, the buildings just completely blew me away!
      Bee xxx

  • Ellie

    Looks amazing! I’m heading there on Saturday and this has made me very excited! 🙂

    Ellie xxx

    http://www.eleanorgraceful.com

    • Oh Ellie, you will LOVE it! I’m so glad we got the opportunity to go!
      Bee xxx

  • I love Oxford, it’s one city I keep going back to time after time. Probably coz of all the historical stuff and pretty buildings, I’m big on that kind of thing 😉

    • Oh Frankie, I completely understand why. Everywhere you turn there is something beautiful to look at.
      Bee xxx

  • Oxford is so gorgeous! It’s up there on my “top cities” list. It looks like you had a great time! x

    • It really is, I think it has to be one of my top UK cities (maybe possibly worldwide as well!) We had the best time exploring!
      Bee xxx

  • Ahhhh it looks like you had such a fab time Bee! X
    Sophie Cliff

    • Oh Sophie, it was magical. I highly recommend heading there for a weekend!
      Bee xxx

  • Lovely photos! Looks like you had a great time in Oxford!

    Kate | http://www.petiteadventures.org/

    • Thanks Kate, it is a VERY photogenic place!
      Bee xxx

  • Kel

    It’s been years and years since I’ve been to Oxford and my memories are hazy at best – it looks like a beautiful place to spend a couple of days!

    • I would LOVE to go again, one day! Possibly as a long weekend because 1 night was okay, but to have had longer to explore the river / canals etc would have been wonderful, maybe a summer adventure!
      Bee xxx

  • I’ve not been to Oxford before, but I’m certainly thinking about it after reading your blog post. It sounds (and looks) wonderful. Brilliant photos, btw!

    • Oh Nikki-Ann, I would definitely say “get yo’ booty there!” – it’s stunning. Everywhere you look there is something highly majestic about it.
      Bee xxx

  • Gorgeous photos! I have been thinking about visiting Oxford for a little while now, and these photos have convinced me to properly look into it. The hotel looks like the perfect place to relax for a weekend!

    Suitcase and Sandals Blog XX

    • YES HANNAH! As I’ve said time and time again, it really is a stunning place but it feels really magical as well. I love the old buildings, you must go!
      Bee xxx

  • Oxford looks so gorgeous! It’s definitely somewhere I’d love to visit. xx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

    • Jessie, you really must. It’s incredible, I’m so glad we had the opportunity to go!
      Bee xxx

  • Beautiful photos as always. I saw your video on YouTube which was wonderfully put together too. Glad to hear you had a nice trip.

    Danielle xo
    http://www.underlandtowonderland.com

    • Thank you so much Danielle, I feel like I’ve come a long way with my photography and style this last year! It was a gorgeous trip, thank you.
      Bee xxx

  • Gosh these photos are INSANE. Incredible. On the new lens?

    Oxford is firmly on my list again – it is so close by I could probably do a day trip, but that hotel bed looks so dreamy it sort of seems criminal not to visit it. I always thought Oxford was a summertime city, but you’ve convinced me that a winter visit is just, if not more, beautiful!

    Sam xx
    asthesparrowflies.com | unsorry.co.uk

    • THE NEW LENS! Isn’t it just awesome? I am so pleased with it.

      You must do a day trip but if you do want to make a nice weekend of it, the Mercure is delightful. Really cosy and personal, we loved it.

      Yes, it was stunning in winter, but I really am loving the whole moody vibes at the moment! Ha!

      Bee xxx

  • I love a photo heavy post and this one is beautiful! In another life i’d have known Oxford well (as I applied, and failed to get in, twice!) but instead I headed to sunny Cornwall and had the best time of my life. I do love Oxford though, it’s history and quirkiness and beauty! Alice xxx

    http://www.woodenwindowsills.co.uk

    • Cornwall sounds divine though, the beaches and sunshine! Gimme that please. It’s years since I’ve been down that way, it was mine & Mr C’s first holiday together! You clearly don’t need Oxford 😉
      Bee xxx

  • AnnaInternational

    This has made me so nostalgic for my uni days! I loved Oxford so much. And I spent three years there trying to capture the amazing moodiness of the city in the winter in a photograph, and totally failed. You however have nailed it in every single one of these pics – just gorgeous!
    You should definitely go again in summer – the city does come alive. Punting down the river to the pub (and attempting to return after a few drinks!) is an experience not to be missed, and all the pubs are rammed with outdoor seating and people enjoying the sunshine. The college grounds are also beautiful and perfect for lazy hazy days, and obviously the heat provides ample excuses to eat all the flavours of ice cream from G&D’s.
    And next time check out Brasenose (the best college IMHO!) – the quad there was used for filming the broomstick flying lessons in the early HPs! xx

    • AnnaInternational

      Oh, and there is also a very, ahem, *impressive* unicorn carving above the top table in the dining room which has to be seen to be believed! x

      • I so want to go back in the summer to enjoy the punting! I did like the way it seemed so very moody and magical though in Winter, like you say it is a stunning place even at this time of the year. However you do make it sound VERY scrumptious in the summer, especially mentioning ice-cream – my fave!

        Wish I’d spotted the unicorn carving as well. Shucks.

        Bee xxx

  • Wow, that hotel is stunning; such beautiful little details!
    I’ve never been to Oxford before, but now I really want to go, even if it is to see some of the Harry Potter locations!! 🙂 x
    Holly ∣ Closingwinter

    • The little touches were just amazing! They really have taken Oxford’s heritage and created this cute little boutique hotel that I am so glad we got to stay at.
      You really must go! It’s fantastic.
      Bee xxx

  • Milenka Millie

    Oxford is such a wonderful place! Looking around the colleges and spotting the Harry Potter scenery is so exciting. I didn’t get a chance to look around Christ Church as it was getting late but I did see Merton College which was really pretty. I’d love to stay in this hotel next time I visit as it looks soooo cosy. Your photos are absolutely beautiful! I’m seriously in awe.

    Milenka Millie
    millieonhearts.com

    xx

  • caroline

    BEE, these pictures are stunning.
    I;ve visited Oxford a few times, but as a child. I’d love to go back and these post may of made me move it closer to the top of my list! I’m not clued up on Harry Potter (shocking, i know!) but would be lovely to visit some places. 🙂
    The hotel.room and food look incredible.

    Caroline.x
    http://www.carolineelgeywhite.com

  • I’m so glad you loved it! Your photos are gorgeous and capture the beauty of Oxford perfectly. I’m really pleased I suggested Harry Potter filming spots as a good activity to do. I know that anyone would love it but, not knowing you were such a fan, I’m so pleased! It looks like you had a great time there. I still work in the city centre and don’t fully appreciate what a lovely city Oxford is when I see it all the time. This reminds me how much there is so see and do there. I think once we finally get a good shopping experience when all the work in the centre is finished, Oxford will have the full package for a weekend getaway. I’m off to York this weekend and so excited to check out Betty’s Tea Rooms for a start. Thanks in advance for the recommendation 🙂 I’ve only been to York once, many years ago for a night out. I didn’t get to see much and can’t wait to see York in all its glory (and in the daylight, for a start!).

I’M BEE

I’M BEE

I'm Bee. 27 year old who is finally starting to understand herself. A Scorpio that's too nice to use that sting in her tail, regularly found searching for holidays or online shopping. Happiest when being fed, travelling & spending time with Mr C.

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