Chelsea’s Adventures in Oxfordland (Week One)

We packed a lot into our first week. I’m still waiting until it calms down so I can do wild things like sleep or buy a curling iron. Exciting stuff! Here’s just a tiny overview of a few faves from the last week. Loads more to come!

Oxford

Pubs & Food

Saturday was the quarter finals of the World Cup and (spoiler alert from several days ago) England trounced Sweden! It’s the first time England’s gone so far in the cup in ages, so the city was abuzz with excitement! We had an impossible time finding a pub at which to watch the match—everywhere was stuffed to the gills with people spilling outside and watching through the windows. They’re playing again Wednesday (against Croatia) and we’re camping out at St. Aldate’s nice and early to watch!

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The Covered Market is so, so cool. It’s like a tiny version of Farmer’s Market in L.A.

Pro tip about (at least this area of) England: every. bloody. place. has. vegetarian options. It’s absolutely incredible. Even the morning English Breakfast buffet could please a vegan. Just note that it’s soya milk, not soy! Also, figure out what the hell Pimm’s is before you come here.

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Other pubs/restaurants that we’re falling in love with every day: The King’s Arms, The Crown, The White Horse, Turf Tavern, The Old Tom, The Varsity Club, George Street Social, The Lamb & Flag

Still to try: The Wig & Pen, The Eagle & Child, O’Neills, The Bear Inn, The Oxford Retreat, The Trout

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Shops

You can’t go to England without making a pilgrimage to Boots. It’s like a Sephora-meets-CVS, and it’s the nearest chemist to school. We’ve been getting our groceries at Tesco & Sainsbury’s. I got a tattoo at Oxford Tattoo and it was the best experience I’ve ever had. 10/10 would recommend. And Blackwell’s! What can I possibly say about Blackwell’s that hasn’t already been said. You remember the song “Almost Paradise“? It started playing in my heart when I walked in. It’s 3 floors of wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor books, and I’m moving in there ASAP.

Sights

Holywell Cemetary was spooky af. Go at dusk! Here’s a list of graves. The Martyrs’ Memorial should make your list. The Bodleian Libraries are so gorgeous it’s unfair. The Radcliffe Camera is an extreme photo op. And well, everything here is perfect, so just walk around and ogle the buildings!

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Wales

Tintern Abbey, Chepstow Castle, Raglan Castle

Cymru for life. These ruined medieval relics are stunning beyond belief. Granted it was about 4,000 degrees Celsius, seeing these living legends was an unmissable experience. Get thee to the land of the dragon!

Abergavenny

The Hen & Chickens pub is clearly the local watering hole, and we were so lucky to have stopped in here. We met an Irish ex-pat named Collin and a mysterious vest-wearing Welshman who went by the name of Reality Jones. There is no way to really capture how magical our Wales experience was…suffice it to say that I’m definitely going back, and I’m probably getting a Reality Jones tattoo. P.S. Welsh cheddar and cole slaw sandwich. Iconic.

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In my next post, I’ll go off about coffee and food in Oxford (hint: it’s very good).

Only 16 more days! It’s going by way too quickly!

-chels

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