We took a short trip to the UK to visit some friends of mine that I had met in California while volunteering at the bay. We were also going to meet up with some friends that had just moved to London, but it turned out that they were going to be in Paris that weekend after all (more on that later). Originally I had worried that our train might be cancelled due to the strikes, but it looks like the Eurostar usually survives those cuts (as long as it is direct to London). Once we arrived at St. Pancras station, we walked to one of the Dishoom locations for lunch. We love that place and are usually there for breakfast, but lunch was just as good. Bottomless chai…
After lunch we walked to Paddington Station to take the train to Reading. We spotted Paddington there while we were waiting.
Howard and Frances met us at the train station and took us back to their place to settle in. They served us scones with clotted cream on the patio and for dinner that night we decided to stay in. Frances had a recipe that she had been meaning to try out and Andrew assisted her in the kitchen. It was a fantastic dinner!
Frances prepared an English breakfast for us the next morning!
After breakfast, Howard and Frances took us to Oxford for a bit of sight-seeing. Our first stop was Malmaison Hotel. This hotel is a converted Victorian prison (part of Oxford Castle). We didn’t stay the night and only had coffee, but this would be an interesting experience!
After coffee Andrew and I headed to explore the rest of Oxford Castle while our hosts did a bit of shopping. Oxford Castle is a Norman medieval castle and started to be used as Oxford’s prison in the 18th century until 1996.
Another view of Oxford from the shopping center balcony.
We had lunch at Comptoir Libanais. I spotted this picture of Michael Jackson! The food was pretty good! My hot chocolate was yummy.
Here is Carfax Tower. It is all that remains of the 12th-century St Martin’s Church.
We made it to Christ Church! This is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. The big hall was featured in the Harry Potter films (I think they built a replica). The architecture is beautiful. It would be amazing to be a student here.
Wandering around Oxford… I cannot remember what Frances was talking about in this photo, but it looks funny to me 🙂
The building on the left is Radcliffe Camera (a building of Oxford University). It was designed by James Gibbs in neo-classical style and housed the Radcliffe Science Library. The library opened its doors on April 13, 1749. However, the library (due to being out of date) eventually merged with the University and the library’s books were moved to a newly constructed library. The building today serves as a reading room for the Bodleian (the main research library of the University of Oxford).
Here we are at the Bridge of Sighs. Oh wait, does that mean we’re in Venice? No, no. That’s a different Bridge of Sighs. We’re still right here in Oxford. This Bridge of Sighs (or the Hertford Bridge) is a walkway connecting the two parts of Hertford College. The Hertford Bridge was nicknamed the Bridge of Sighs due to its supposed similarity to the one in Venice, however, it is closer in looks to the Rialto Bridge.
On our way to Turf Tavern – follow me!
This tavern was frequented by the cast for Harry Potter during filming. It’s a nice spot for a pint or two 🙂
Bye, Oxford! It was a nice day.
That evening we had dinner at The Crooked Billet. Dinner was fabulous and the restaurant décor was nice. Heads up there are naked ladies in the men’s restroom. Not sure about the women’s, I didn’t get up to go!
The next morning, they took us over to Wallingford. We parked a little ways away and walked over the bridge into town. Frances told us that this town has been used as a location for filming Midsomer Murders as the fictional town of Causton. We’ll have to check it out sometime. Agatha Christie also lived and died in Wallingford.
There was a market going on. Fyi – Wallingford is a historic Market Town.
This is the Church of St Mary-le-More.
This old post office is now a restaurant/pub!
This theatre is located in the Corn Exchange building. They host plays and productions and this also serves as the town cinema. The theatre was dedicated to Agatha Christie.
We picked up some cheese and bread and headed back to their place for a cheese heavy lunch.
After lunch, they dropped us off at the station and before we knew it we were back in London at Paddington Station! We had such a great time with them and hopefully we’ll be able to make it back sometime. We made our way across town to Nohemi and Ben’s flat to settle in for the evening.
The next day we went to St. Pancras Churchyard to see the Hardy Tree. The novelist and poet, Tom Hardy studied architecture before turning to writing full time. During the construction of the Midland Railway over part of the St Pancras Churchyard, it became necessary to move human remains and tombs. This task fell to Hardy. I’m not sure how many bodies/tombs were removed, but at least some of the tombs were placed around this Ash tree. It’s crazy how the tree has grown amongst the stones.
We had lunch at The Pig and Butcher on Nohemi and Ben’s recommendation. The food was good, but not amazing for me. The restaurant was cute. I would go again if friends were going, but might try other restaurants first. I’d definitely order something different. I have to keep in mind that we didn’t want to eat too much since we were having afternoon tea later.
Later that day we had afternoon tea at the Mirror Room in the Rosewood Hotel. Everything was good, but I liked our first afternoon tea experience better (we went to Sketch back in 2016). The desserts were pretty cool though! I love that they were Rodin themed. Plus they gave me a bonus one for my birthday. After we were finished, we headed to the Duchess Theatre to watch The Play That Goes Wrong! It was a pretty fun play to experience! There was a really annoying audience member with no regard for anyone else around her, but she left after the first act – good riddance! It was a fun day!
On our last day we just chilled out and made sure to make one more trip to Dishoom. We love that place! Until next time…