The honey-stone walls of Oxford city centre conjure all kinds of wishes and whimsy – and each time that I’ve stayed overnight in Oxford, it’s like slipping into an architectural Narnia. Disclaimer: On this visit I was an invited guest of Mercure Hotels and Experience Oxfordshire, but all thoughts and laboured literary metaphors are very much my own.
Oxford is one of those cities that seems unaffected by the passing of time.
I have a confession to make. I have a full blown cat addiction, and, I’m not even sorry. Those soft little ears, twitching tails and indifferent faces cast a spell that have us dashing around the globe and visiting enough cat cafes to have a shortlist of 10 of the best cat cafes in the world. All the while a sleepy little tabby cat snoozes at home in London…
Once we’ve booked flights and perused hotels, Google searching for a cat cafe is one of the first things I do – and I’ve been accused of carrying out those 3 tasks in a slightly different order. It’s something I can neither confirm nor deny, but we do have a rather high hit rate of booking accommodation close to cat cafes. I’ll just leave that there, shall I?
One of the main reasons for going up to stay at the lovely Tewkesbury Park (a full review of our hotel stay here) was to try the delicious dishes served in the newly refurbished Mint Restaurant. Disclaimer: We were invited to spend a weekend at Tewkesbury Park but all thoughts, images and fork twirlings are very much my own.
Hotel restaurants can be hit and miss – we stayed in a hotel a fortnight later that didn’t hold a candle to just how delicious Mint Restaurant at Tewkesbury Park was.
A black and white tail eagerly skidded past me – intent on the pink squishy ball flying over the snow and nothing else in the entire world – 3 nanoseconds later he flashed past again in a delighted blur of Collie fur. We were playing in the snow-dusted lawns before our booking for lunch at Cliveden House, earning ourselves a tasty repast.
The skies were blue after a thick snow flurry the day before, and we wandered through the grounds with rosy cheeks and a fair amount of giggling.
We tumbled out of our cab like thirsty gazelles, doe-eyed and excited to be leaving London for the day. We were having lunch at Coworth Park with one of our favourite people in the world – that fabulous Sophia, accompanied by her Mum, Polly, the English rose who has transplanted herself to the desert sands of Doha.
We get to see them whenever we sneak over to their corner of the Middle East, or more often when they comes home to see their family. They kindly makestime to see us, her internet family, and each time we seem to visit somewhere even more beautiful (our cosy day at Calcot Manor in Gloucestershire, sipping wine overlooking the river bend in Windsor, brunch at the Ivy, or our first lunch at Kettners).