I was going to re-visit Woodstock in Oxfordshire for my New Year’s Resolution and then I read about Great Tew in my Britain magazine and it talked about thatched cottages…and well you know what I’m like, I would sell G to the circus just so that I could visit a thatched cottage.  It also helped that Great Tew was less than a 10 minute drive from my hotel… and Woodstock was over half an hour (it was Sunday…you need an easy life on a Sunday).

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

After a few twisty and twirly roads to get into the tiny little village, I parked the car in the public car park…it’s so tiny that you need to park here and walk in (it takes no more than 2 minutes before you spot your first cottage).

First impressions…I basically had kittens!!!!

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

^^Yes there was even a sign to prove this!

A number of the cottages were built in the 17th century…making them older than New Zealand…and most of them have thatched roofs…

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

…here…

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

…is…

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

…the…

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

…proof!  ^^A peek-a-boo thatched cottage!

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

England, gardens and thatched cottages are a match made in heaven and Great Tew delivers…

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

…to honey coloured houses with sweet honey suckle flowers…

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

…to full on out of control English gardens…

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

…to rambling roses and cute little windows…

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

…to rambling roses and little front doors!

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

And of course, Great Tew delivered on the ol’ door porn as well…17th century style…

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

…totally charming door porn…

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

…honestly I would happily move into this house, actually any of them!

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

Now if you think, I could never drag my partner in crime to Great Tew then don’t fret…the village pub is one of the oldest in England…

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

…and it’s pretty darn cute!

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

Just look at the inside of this pub…

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

…and you can stay…

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

…eat…

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

…or be merry!  I may have enjoyed a pint of lemonade and orange first thing on Sunday morning. (remember I was driving…and only idiots drink and drive…the New Zealand drink driving ad campaigns worked a charm on this Kiwi!).

I totally fell in love with Great Tew in Oxfordshire; it’s charming and pretty untouched by tourism however like all good things, I’m sure that will change with time.  If you’re heading to the Cotswolds then I highly recommend a visit to Great Tew, this was the highlight for me personally on my weekend away.

Travel Tips for Great Tew, Oxfordshire

  • You will need a car to visit Great Tew as it’s a tiny little village
  • There is a car park right at the entrance to the village and it will only take seconds to get to the centre of the village by foot
  • If you wish to have lunch at The Falkland Arms then make sure you make a reservation especially on the weekend
  • You can stay at The Falklands Arms as they offer rooms
  • Remember that these are private properties so you need to be respectful and not enter private property unless invited
  • Great Tew is approximately a 30 minute drive from Bicester Shopping Village, making it a lovely day out to Oxfordshire.
  • You can read my other posts on Oxfordshire including Heythorp Park (where we stayed again however service wasn’t as good as before), my Weekend Guide to Oxfordshire and the Bicester Shopping Village.

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

Have you visited Great Tew or Oxfordshire before – what are your thoughts on the village and county?  You can check out more at the Experience Oxfordshire website.

England Travel Inspiration - Looking for a hidden gem in The Cotswolds then a visit to Great Tew in Oxfordshire is just what you're after. Close to the beautiful town of Chipping Norton and the Bicester Shopping Village, the honey thatched cottages will make you have kittens as they're perfect. Don't miss out on this Cotswolds travel gem! Click the link to read my Oxfordshire Travel Tips!

xx

If you liked this post on Visiting All The English Counties 11/48 – Visiting Great Tew, Oxfordshire then why not come and join me on TwitterGoogle+InstagramFacebook and Pinterest – I won’t bite!

A few weeks back G and I headed to Oxfordshire for a few nights as G had a training course nearby on the Saturday so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to do a little bit of sightseeing in the area on our weekend break to Oxfordshire.

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

I whizzed from work to Oxfordshire stopping off in Bicester for a wee stop and a little bit of window shopping…

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

before arriving to the De Vere Hotel property, Milton Hill House which was our home for two nights!  (A full review to come!).

After not having the best of sleeps (mainly due to the fire alarm going off twice during the night) I got up and made my way into Oxford.  This was my third visit and I was determined to fall in love with the city even though I did feel like I was cheating on my beloved Cambridge.

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

Every time I visit Oxford it rains and I end up with soggy feet and this time was no different but I was determined (and there is nothing like a determined Kiwi!) to explore the city including doing a walking tour in the rain; my walking tour of choice was the aptly named Oxford Walking Tour and our guide liked to laugh at his own jokes…a lot which I loved!  This tour is perfect if you’re on a weekend break to Oxfordshire as the guide will give you a lot of recommendations on places to visit.

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

I love learning about the history of the famous cities in England and Oxford didn’t disappoint…The Bridge of Sighs was built so students could easily walk between buildings after curfew…

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

…the famous heads of Oxford…

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

…now work out where the inspiration came from for these buildings…

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

…and the house of Edmond Halley!

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

Then the tour descended on the Divinity School at Oxford University…

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

…obviously for Harry Potter reasons as this is the famous Hospital Wing in the Harry Potter movies!  Pretty exciting stuff really for Harry Potter fans which I am!

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

I was a tad hungry and getting grouchy by the end of the tour (I was wet, cold and hungry – never a good mix and don’t get me started about the soggy feet situation as my shoe has sprung a leak!) so I ate cake in a church called The Vaults and Garden Cafe and they have a seriously good amount of gluten free options.

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

On a summers day it would be the perfect place to enjoy a cake or two slices in the front courtyard between the headstones if you like that kind of stuff which I do!

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

Around this time some of the students were finishing their final exams due to the colour of their carnations (something I had learnt from the walking tour).  A red carnation shows that they are sitting their final exam; white indicates their first exam and pink is that they’re in the middle of their exams.  These red carnation boys were covered in streamers and drinking bubbles straight from the bottle…

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

As it was still pouring down I decided to venture inside the Indoor Market for some shopping but left empty handed; it was okay if you wanted some meat and fresh flowers and other bits and bobs but I wouldn’t write a whole blog post on it. (there are a few gluten free food options to be found in a few of the cafes inside though)

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

I may have done a little bit of window shopping as well; Oxford has really really good shopping!  If you love book shops then you’re going to love Oxford.

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

Venturing outside again and determined, really determined to explore some more I sudden realised that as well as soggy feet, the rain was getting heavier and I now had a soggy bottom…I decided it was time to head home via GBK to pick up a Lime Milkshake…milkshakes make the world a better place!

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

The reason why everything is so lush and green in Oxford…it always rains when I visit…I’m the water bearer!

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

The following morning (in glorious sunshine) after a peaceful nights sleep we headed to the Harcourt Arboretum which is part of the University of Oxford and comprises of 130 acres of trees, wild flowers, bluebells and many more floral treats…

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

…including a field of buttercups.  I hadn’t seen buttercups for years!

Weekend-Break-to-Oxford-Oxfordshire

After a long wander through the gardens we decided to head back to Bedfordshire with G leading the way.

What’s your favourite city / county to explore in the UK?

xx

If you liked this post on my Weekend Break to Oxfordshire then why not come and join me on TwitterGoogle+Instagram and Pinterest – I won’t bite!

This weekend I’m having a little staycation in Oxfordshire so on my way to the hotel I decided I needed to go designer window shopping at Bicester Shopping Village which offers luxury brands for less; as you do on a Friday afternoon!

Luxury-Shopping-at-Bicester-Shopping-Village-Oxfordshire

In my mind I had no intention of buying anything but wandering into the Mulberry shop is totally allowed…until you leave with an iPad cover for G as it was only £50!  I was seriously tempted to buy a Mulberry Lily bag but left empty handed – the next photo was sums up my chain of thoughts on the bag….

Luxury-Shopping-at-Bicester-Shopping-Village-Oxfordshire

Certain shops were packed at Bicester Shopping Village…I still don’t understand the obsession with Pandora…EVER!

Luxury-Shopping-at-Bicester-Shopping-Village-Oxfordshire

I love visiting Marc Jacobs and Kate Spade due to the ultra girly and bright colour accessories on offer…

Luxury-Shopping-at-Bicester-Shopping-Village-Oxfordshire

…and their pretty pastels, there were a lot of pastels at Kate Spade!

Luxury-Shopping-at-Bicester-Shopping-Village-Oxfordshire

I poked my head inside Coach to photograph the handbags and gave them a friendly little stroke.

Luxury-Shopping-at-Bicester-Shopping-Village-Oxfordshire

Tourists go wild shopping at Bicester Shopping Village and obviously feel a bit guilty of not doing touristy stuff in London as quite a few were posing beside the iconic red Telephone boxes.  And yeah there were giant macarons; I promise I didn’t lick them!

Luxury-Shopping-at-Bicester-Shopping-Village-Oxfordshire

Cinderella shoes caught my attention at Oscar de la Renta…pretty but honestly when would I wear them and I’m sure G would call them slippers?

Luxury-Shopping-at-Bicester-Shopping-Village-Oxfordshire

But of course Cinderella needs a pretty frock for the ball and check out this beauty!  (Also left at Bicester Shopping Village…even though I would have earnt quite a few avios points).  So so beautiful!

Luxury-Shopping-at-Bicester-Shopping-Village-Oxfordshire

I left with the Mulberry iPad cover; a cardie from Ralph Lauren and a pair of simple tan heels from LK Bennett (which I needed to add to my shoe room as I didn’t own a pair) which are currently hidden in the back of my car from G!

Shopping Tips for Bicester Shopping Village

  • Check out the shops that you usually shop at first
  • Don’t buy clothes or shoes that don’t fit; even though you have good intentions to slim down!
  • Quality is better than Quantity (completely lost on me when it comes to shoes!)
  • Only buy items that you know you will use and stick to your own style (don’t let a salesperson talk you into an expensive item; if you don’t love it then don’t buy it!)
  • While Bicester Shopping Village offers luxury shopping from less; you won’t find a pair of Valentino Rockstuds for £20 and if for some crazy reason you do please tweet me immediately on @80pairsofshoes
  • Avoid visiting on a bank holiday weekend; advice given to me from a staff member working at Bicester
  • If arriving by car, get there early to get yourself a car park otherwise you will end up getting dizzy going round and round the carpark.
  • If arriving by train, there is a shuttle bus between Bicester North train station and Bicester Shopping Village.

You can find out more information about Bicester Shopping Village here.

So have you visited Bicester before?  What did you end up buying, fess up!

xx

If you liked this post on Luxury Shopping at Bicester Shopping Village, Oxfordshire then why not come and join me on TwitterGoogle+Instagram and Pinterest – I won’t bite!

Winston Churchill once said “I’m easily satisfied with the very best” and as far as quotes go this is probably one of my favourites.

After a slightly dismal week, I needed a good old fashioned weekend break, as you do! I was thinking about Paris but then couldn’t face all the bother of dealing with airports so my next option was something close to home which had a pool and a big slice of cake located nearby (Don’t judge me – I will travel for cake!).

As it was Thursday by the time I had made the decision to flag the whole Paris idea and have a mini staycation, I knew I didn’t have a great amount of time to trawl through websites finding something suitable and that’s where the trusty IHG brand came in handy with the Crowne Plaza Heythorp Park, located very close to Woodstock in the Oxfordshire countryside.

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park crowne plaza lobby

I booked us into a King Bed Executive Room which was lovely although a bit basic when it came to the in room amenities however I did enjoy the fresh light colour of the room as I normally find the Crowne Plaza brand to be very dark and gloomy.

80 pairs of shoes crowne plaza heythorp park oxfordshire

After spending almost two nights a week staying in the Crowne Plaza Leeds hotel for 6 months many years ago, the Oxfordshire property is definitely a breathe of fresh air.

80 pairs of shoes crowne plaza heythorp park toiletries

Due to the inclement English weather and not wishing to freeze to death in Oxfordshire or get soaked through to the skin due to the pelting rain and hail, we decided to take a snoop around the other hotel.

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park oxfordshire luxury hotel entrance

Just to confuse matters, there are two hotel properties at Heythorp Park – the Crowne Plaza is the very modern section of the property while the De Vere Venues Heythorp Park Hotel is the very traditional English Country Estate.  Both properties are linked through a series of passages and you can charge bills to your room between the two properties.

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park luxury hotel oxfordshire lobby flowers

Little did we know that on our snoop around that we would find out that Afternoon Tea could be served in the Wedgwood Room or in the bar area at De Vere Venues Park Hotel; with it pouring with rain outside we decided that this meant it was cake time.

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park oxfordshire luxury hotel wedgwood

The kitchen managed to rustle me up part of a gluten free Afternoon Tea however I didn’t get any cakes or pastries but still got charged full price. (I won’t moan too much as we didn’t give them any pre-warning).

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park afternoon tea gluten free oxfordshire

G on the other hand got stuffed with sandwiches, scones and cakes – so much so he was struggling and then fell into a cake coma i.e. he fell asleep on the comfy sofa – he will deny this charge and also that he was snoring however both are fact!

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park afternoon tea oxfordshire

Needing to walk off that cake we continued our snoop session around the De Vere Hotel; it was like walking around a beautiful National Trust property.

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park oxfordshire luxury hotel bars and lounge area

We booked in for a late night dinner at the Brassy restaurant which is in the Crowne Plaza section of the hotel and had an enjoyable albeit slightly confusing dinner when certain items from the menu weren’t included on the dinner plate (my mushrooms) or were included on the plate – case in point, G had two helpings of potatoes after getting told his meal came with no potatoes so he ordered a side only for his plate to arrive with potatoes! Oh so confusing and poor G almost turned into a spud.

I will say the restaurant staff were fantastic in providing me with gluten free options from the menu, so a big thank you!

The next morning we had breakfast back in the Brassy Restaurant; if you are staying I suggest you prebook breakfast the day before as you get 25% off the price. I was quickly provided with toasted gluten free bread without any fuss which was super as I’m a monster when I don’t get my food.

Okay this doesn’t really have anything to do with the hotel but more with me; I don’t like scrambled eggs – I tried them again at breakfast and I still don’t like them. After a few mouthfuls I gave up and G asked if we could have boiled eggs which the staff were more than happy to provide (thank you!). I should probably point out that I’m not a fan of omelettes either; I’m a googly boiled egg with soldiers kind of girl or poached. (My egg rant is now over!).

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park crowne plaza boiled eggs

After packing up we decided to have a dip in the pool and just relax for a few hours before heading back. Unfortunately both the sauna and the steam room where out of order on Sunday, grr!  But alas it had stopped raining and we had a little walk around the estate.

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park oxfordshire luxury hotel grounds

The hotels are surrounded by a lovely golf course if you are that way inclined; I’m more inclined to hunt out a piece of cake then to follow a little white ball around.

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park oxfordshire luxury hotel golf course

After leaving Heythorp Park we stopped off in Woodstock, it’s just one of those gorgeous honeycomb villages in Oxfordshire which makes you want to pack up all your belongings and move there.

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park woodstock oxfordshire high street

The shopping is pretty amazing with cute antique shops which resemble museums, craft shops, cake shops, along with a large abundance of pubs…

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park woodstock oxfordshire signs

…great door knockers

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park woodstock oxfordshire knockers

…and don’t forgot the gorgeous church

80 pairs of shoes heythorp park woodstock oxfordshire church

Close to Woodstock is Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill; the Palace isn’t open until mid February however you can still visit the grounds. I have still yet to visit inside the Palace so as they say – third time lucky!

What’s your favourite part of Oxfordshire? Can you recommend a truly fabulous property in the Cotswolds to stay in?

xx

P.S. Rebecca, Emma and I are having a travel link up on the 1st of February; if you are keen to get involved please email me and I will send you the details.