This weekend we decided to explore the countryside for a bit outside of London and took the train up to Oxford.
Before we departed, we found the famous Paddington Bear statues in the train station!
The trip there was filled with views of British cows, golden rolling plains, and adorable homes.
It took us almost two hours to travel from Paddington Station to Oxford, but when we finally arrived we were embraced by the charm of the little town. Oxford University spans the town, so everywhere you go, there is some sort of historical educational building to admire; It was fascinating to think about the history of the college that was founded 1249.
We decided to explore without a plan, so we just wandered around until we happened upon an interesting sight. Our first stop was the Oxford Castle. The castle was grounds for medieval executions. Now, in the court they hold Shakespeare performances and around the corner are restaurants in the garden square.
We took a short stroll through the Oxford Canal, which is lined with long boats and a plethora of overgrown greenery, creating a spooky, mystical aura.
Next, we happened upon a charming open square road where we found Trinity College and the Bodleian Library, which is the oldest library in Europe and the second largest library in England. We were able to see the modern library, however, the old Oxford library was closed for graduation.
We continued to wander the old, narrow streets, finding a covered market, similar to Reading Terminal Market, minus the too-crowded aisles. I finally found some cold brew iced coffee in this country, which made my caffeine-addicted heart very happy on the warm day.
We struggled to navigate through the Cathedral Meadows to find the actual church, so we eventually settled on looking at the old brick buildings from afar, circling back to the main road lined with shops and craft sales. Around here, we passed many crumbling cemeteries and looked in awe at just how old this city is. Places like these puts America’s youth into perspective in comparison with England’s long history of culture and character.
For dinner we found the Eagle and Child Pub, established in 1650, where C.S. Lewis and J.R. Tolkien used to frequent for literary meetings with “The Inklings.” I had to enjoy a classic fish and chips with mushy peas while I sat in awe of all the past discussions that were held within the walls.
After stuffing ourselves, we sat in a little park before wandering down yet another street lined with colorful and quirky doors. On this walk I met four beautiful cats and my whole day was made instantly!
I was very sad to board the train that night as Oxford was one of my favorite sights thus far in England. (I contemplated trying to transfer to Oxford University.)