Sunday, 22 December 2013

Oxford at Christmas

I have wanted to do a post along these lines for a very long time. I've made it no secret that Oxford is one of my favourite places in the world, and I am lucky enough to call it home. From my screeching birth,to after school trips to Costa where we'd all crowd around one coffee, right round to my leaver's dinner in Sixth form, Oxford has been a huge part of my life. And it's something I've wanted to do justice to in blog form for a while.

My dream post in my head was a 'guide' to this endlessly beautiful city, something I put into practice with my two best friends, and fellow Oxford residents, Lucy and Emily. Or at least I have attempted to. The truth is, the whole city is worth exploring, and any sort of tourist itinerary of this town inevitably turns into a bit of a wander. With every twist and turn you'll always find something new, whether stumbling upon Logic or Turn Again lane or finding yourself down the passageway to the Turf Tavern. What's more, I've only covered some of my favourite spots in central Oxford, and I am sure there are many places outside the centre, in suburbs such as Jericho and Cowley, that could do with exploring, but that's really for another post. So what you see here, is pretty condensed. Oxford may be a small city, but there's so many breathtaking places that one blog post simply wouldn't do it! So with a little help from Lucy and Emily, here are some of the loveliest places ('Lovely' is a very fitting adjective for Oxford) for you to see, especially over this Christmas period (oh, and some pictures of my outfit too)...
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The Radcliffe Camera
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Outside the Bodleian Library
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1. Georgina's - Covered Market
Inside the city's famous Covered Market is this gem. I was introduced to it at around the age of 15 by a schoolfriend, who said it would be 'just up my street' - and it really is. To get there you go up a set of illuminated neon pink stairs, and the interior itself is pink, pink, and yet more pink. However, it manages to be adorably twee and quirky without making you nauseous, and serves some lovely food, which is very veggie friendly. Adorning the walls are movie posters of modern and old, perfect conversation topics and prompts for trips down memory lane. At the side you can pick up publications such as Time out and NME for a casual flick through whilst you sip your milkshake, but be warned, this place gets pretty busy at weekends!
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2. The Vaults and Gardens Cafe, The Church of St Mary the Virgin
Looking for a quintessentially Oxford dining experience? They really don't come much better than the Vaults and Gardens cafe. Located within the Church of St Mary the Virgin and opposite the Radcliffe Camera, this could be easily missed if it wasn't for their (frankly genius) marketing method of using bicycles as banners. Inside is a beautifully lit and often bustling eating area serving healthy meals as well as the usual tea and coffee. For our little Christmassy day out, Emily, Lucy and I went here and made the most of the festive atmosphere whilst we sipped hot drinks to ward off the cold. Let's just say it's an instagrammer's daydream.
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My Beautiful friends!
3. Scriptum, Turl Street. 
And on to shops! Of course, Oxford has all the typical high street shops as well as some smaller, tourist friendly havens. A perfect example of this is Scriptum, which, if Harry Potter was real, would inevitably be where he and the other Hogwarts students would be picking up their stationary. It is a shop packed to the brim with gorgeous trinkets, ranging from Venetian masks, puppets, stuffed animals and every sort of notebook you could ever want or need. Though it's a little pricey, you'll find it hard to come away from here without picking up at least one thing, and the layout itself means it could be mistaken for a museum of oddities. 
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4. Unicorn, Ship Street
Just off the main shopping precinct Cornmarket Street is a different shopping experience entirely and one, it must be said, that is of an acquired taste. Unicorn is a vintage/thrift store that is quite literally packed to the rafters with clothing, accessories, and all other sorts of paraphernalia. Let me tell you, this place doesn't do hangers. And there's no guarantee you'll actually get sold the particular item of clothing you want, but nevertheless, it is a truly eccentric experience, and worth it almost to witness the bemused tourists who find themselves in there.
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And just a few snaps of our day out!
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Emily and Lucy!
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The obligatory blogger red telephone box photographs!
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What I wore!
Shirt - From the attic
Playsuit - Topshop
Shoes - Clarks
Bag - Ebay

I hope you enjoyed this post! Thank you so much to Lucy and Emily for helping me photograph and devise it. Another Oxford guide will be forthcoming sometime next year! If you have any suggestions for places to see, please leave these in the comments below! And I've left you with some of my favourite music from Oxford bands (again, pretty obvious choices, but a great starting point...

Oxford playlist

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Garden

Foals - Two Steps Twice

Radiohead - Lotus Flower

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Remix of Foals 'My Number' 

Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x
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  1. Such lovely photos! I love your outfit too! That Unicorn shop just looks amazing!!!

  2. Oxford looks like loads of fun! I love the green bike and the hot chocolate (is it hot chocolate?)

  3. Thanks for taking us on a beautiful virtual tour of the city!! <3

  4. Looks like you had so much fun, the pictures are great felt like i was there with you!

    Jess x

    Ps- Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog have a good Christmas !x

  5. Oh, Oxford it's indeed a lovely place! And even though I just got to spent 2 months of this year there (august and september), they were the most magical ones! Beautiful pictures, I also very much liked your outfit too. This makes me feel not so bad about not being there right now. Looking forward to go back to a place that won such a special spot on my heart <3. Thanks for the post!

  6. I absolutely love the unicorn. I lived in Oxford for a year and enjoyed every minute of it, particularly the charity shops in Headington and all the quirky shops like bead games on Cowley road! spend so much of my youth in the zodiac (before it became the carling/O2)

  7. god what a gorgeous,gorgeous city! i can't get over the architecture- it's so impressive and full of such character! And I love that photo of you in front of the christmas tree- it's so festive :D

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

  8. I love Oxford, I have only been there once but I would love to go back, the atmosphere around the city is so light and cheerful!

    Cornelia - Ineffable Beauty

  9. Lovely photos! I have never been to Oxford before but this post seems like a great starting point to making a list of places to visit! Lucy, xx

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