Back in March I turned 25, which also coincided with having visited 25 countries by 25. I love birthdays and often manage to stretch my celebrations out throughout the entire month of March, after I’ve seen friends, family and spent time with my other half. This year was no different: I had lunch at Denbies with my loved ones, afternoon cake with work friends and went white water rafting (one ticked off the bucket list) with my university friends. The focus of this blog however is on my boating birthday celebration….
My partner and I have developed a tradition of planning a weekend of surprises for each of our birthdays and in the run up to mine this year he actually had me a little concerned with his constant remarks of ‘You’re going to hate the weekend’ ‘this could go quite badly wrong’ and ‘people told me this might not be a good idea’.
As we approached the signs for Oxford though the excitement took over.
One of my favourite cities in the UK and one I could quite happily live in, Oxford is the beautiful city of spires and I was delighted to be returning to visit again. If you are planning to visit, look at my top tips for 24 hours in Oxford – the location of my brilliant boating birthday…
“Have you ever stayed on a houseboat before?”
Eight words I never expected to hear from our AirBnB host, yet as we parked up by the river and my other half asked ‘have you guessed it?’ perhaps it’s something I should have anticipated. You see I love boats, sailing boats mainly… ferries and cruises are not my idea of a good holiday experience. But most of all I love experiencing things that are different, a bit quirky and hipster so when I heard those eight words: “Have you ever stayed on a houseboat before?” I was both shocked and happy!
Set on a houseboat (clues in the title right) this AirBnB is charming and the coolest place I’ve stayed in my 25 years of travel. After a quick tour of the charming little boat and an explanation about how the compost toilet worked (one that led to an anxious look towards me from my other half), I wasn’t fazed just excited to start settling in and experiencing a night living on a houseboat. Although we were left with no water or electricity, our time “living off the grid” and falling asleep to the gentle rocking of the boat against the riverbed is something I would highly recommend you trying at least once in your lifetime.
“Are you up for some punting good fun?”
No trip to Oxford is complete without an afternoon of punting on the river. Head to Magdalen Bridge Boathouse where you can join a boat steered by a professional, but the real question is: “Are you up for some punting good fun?” Hire a boat and have a go at the traditional sport of punting for a fun way to see the city sights. Armed with a massive (and heavy) metal pole make sure you steer the right way around the river and enjoy admiring the sights of Oxford along the route… I mean which idiots would go the wrong way, and then have to avoid the other punters by turning the boat round without falling in and crashing? ….
A folly good time
During your 24 hours in Oxford be sure to dine at the Folly Restaurant. Perched beside the River Thames this restaurant serves modern British cuisine from classics like apple crumble to fine dining duck dishes all served against a beautiful riverside setting with stunning stylish interiors.
Having visited this restaurant back in December for our anniversary we were thrilled to be back again to sample the tantalising cuisine and tick off some more Gins from our ever-expanding repertoire. After a lovely meal we headed to watch some stand up comedy and spent the rest of the evening crying with laughter!
One thing is for sure, 24 hours in Oxford is never enough and I’m sure I’ll be back again very soon.
Have you spent 24 hours in Oxford or are you yet to visit? Let me know in the comments section below – I would love to hear what you think!