Originally posted June 24, 2012, this blog post series is an undergraduate short-term study abroad trip in Oxford, UK in partnership with Salve Regina University and St. Clare’s Oxford. The blog post may have been edited for clarity and updated with relevant travel information and links.
After spending one month studying abroad in Oxford, UK—during the Diamond Jubilee, no less!—it’s hard to believe that I made it back home to the United States.
It was such a special experience to study abroad at St. Clare’s, Oxford in partnership with professors and peers at Salve Regina University, my undergraduate university based in Newport, Rhode Island.
In an effort to procrastinate from packing, I would much rather reflect on my favorite experiences in Oxford.
It is going to be a bit of a random list, but I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed doing these things (especially if you’re an American student in Oxford!):
- Favorite Pubs and Restaurants in Oxford, UK
- Best Sandwich Shop: Le Parisien
- Coolest Pub: The Turf Tavern
- Best Atmosphere Pub/Restaurant: The Perch
- Best Pimms Cup Cocktail: Eagle and Child
- Best Fish and Chips: The Anchor
- Honorable Mention for Best Fish and Chips: White Horse for presentation
- Best Afternoon Tea: The Old Parsonage Hotel (Oxford); Ladurée (London)
- Best Chips and Cheese: The Boss Kebab Stand in Summertown
- Favorite Excursions Outside of Oxford, UK
Favorite Pubs and Restaurants in Oxford, UK
Best Sandwich Shop: Le Parisien
Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella panini at Le Parisien. Two pounds, fifty pence of pure delicious—no other way to describe it. Le Parisien also wins for best pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant).
Coolest Pub: The Turf Tavern
A former bear pit tucked away in downtown Oxford, The Turf Tavern is only a few steps from Oxford’s main sites, like the Bridge of Sighs, the Bodleian Library, and the Sheldonian Theatre.
The Turf Tavern | 4 Bath Pl, Oxford OX1 3SU, United Kingdom
Best Atmosphere Pub/Restaurant: The Perch
Think Paradise in Wonderland. Walk through Binsey village, the willow trees, Port Meadow, and find the Isis River and watch the river boats…It’s an absolutely stunning experience in the warm weather.
The Perch | Binsey Ln, Binsey, Oxford OX2 0NG, United Kingdom
Best Pimms Cup Cocktail: Eagle and Child
When you think of eating dinner out in England, ordering fish and chips with either ale or Pimms is your best bet—Pimms Cup is a signature English cocktail and each pub or restaurant makes it differently. Eagle and Child used all fresh ingredients and made a beautiful presentation using mint sprigs and fruit.
Fact: J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis would come to Eagle and Child regularly for a pint or two to discuss politics and their literary ventures.
Eagle and Child | 49 St Giles’, Oxford OX1 3LU, United Kingdom
Best Fish and Chips: The Anchor
A lot of pubs in Oxford claimed to have the “best fish and chips”—I had quite a few fish and chips at different pubs, and The Anchor definitely won.
The Anchor | 2 Hayfield Rd, Oxford OX2 6TT, United Kingdom
Honorable Mention for Best Fish and Chips: White Horse for presentation
White Horse: 52 Broad St, Oxford OX1 3BB, United Kingdom
Best Afternoon Tea: The Old Parsonage Hotel (Oxford); Ladurée (London)
I loved the Grand Cafe—the oldest coffee house in England—but The Old Parsonage Hotel had the best scones combined with a great atmosphere.
Since Laduree is technically a French tea house, I cannot count it as my favorite place in England, but definitely one of my favorite experiences period.
The Old Parsonage Hotel | 1-3 Banbury Rd, Oxford OX2 6NN, United Kingdom
Best Chips and Cheese: The Boss Kebab Stand in Summertown
Also should be categorized under “Best Bargain for 2 pounds.”
Favorite Excursions Outside of Oxford, UK
Favorite Weekend Trip: Brighton
Visiting Bath, London, and York were also beautiful in their own way, but Brighton was by far my favorite. It is probably a win by default because it is by the ocean and has an awesome pier. Seeing Brighton Fashion Week certainly does not hurt its ranking either.
Honorable Mention for Favorite Weekend Trip: London
Going to the Christian Louboutin exhibit and having tea at Laduree in Harrods makes a close second.
Favorite Affordable Shopping: Primark
Think Forever 21 but cooler. The fashion at Primark is trendy, but it is still wearable for seasons to come. Also, a great place to get souvenirs which are less expensive than the tourist shops in the city center.
Favorite Historical Monument: Roman Baths
The best thing about the Roman Bath is that they remain active because of the hot spring they are built on. It was great to see wonderfully preserved Roman architecture in England.
Favorite Museum Exhibit: Christian Louboutin 20th Anniversary at the London Design Museum
I suppose if I was a truly academic individual, I would put the Renaissance Art Display at the Ashmolean Museum or the Dodo Exhibit at the Oxford Museum of Natural History, but seeing all of those red-sole shoes was a feast for the fashion-hungry eyes.
Best Souvenir Purchase: Wall Art
I have to say, the souvenir for my oldest brother is amazing—a small, black-and-white triptych of London featuring Big Ben and one of the red buses—and not just because I picked it up on sale. He is tough to buy for, but I figured this was something he would love.
Best Classroom Memory
Convincing my Shakespeare professor that a homo-erotic relationship exists between Brutus and Cassius in Julius Caesar and the lecture on the significance of nonsense during Literature of Oxford at The Perch.
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