A week-end gateway outside London to Banbury
It was finally time to explore the UK!
After nearly three years wandering around the beautiful streets of London, I realized that beside the pretty neighborhoods of our capital, I didn’t know that much of the rest of the country. I have been to Bath, Bristol and Brighton and that was pretty much it! So this year, one of my biggest resolutions was to explore the U.K a little bit more and finally see some of the cities, villages and little towns I have been dreaming to visit for so long!
Have you ever heard of Banbury?
For this first weekend exploration outside London, I decided to choose Banbury, a charming little town in Oxfordshire, located only one hour away from London. I know, I know, there are many other cities I could have gone to: Oxford or Cambridge to name a few, but I wanted to really enjoy a weekend to myself without running from places to places with a list of a thousand instagramable spots to shoot like I usually do. As I had never heard of Banbury before, it seemed to me like it was the perfect place to spend a cosy and quiet weekend away from the busy London life we are all having in this crazy city!
The charm of the old Britain
And I was completely right, Banbury has the charm of the old Britain. The city is quite small so a half day would be more than enough to explore the high street with all the shops and boutiques but there is plenty of things to do around the city. We planned to visit the Broughton castle which a little bit outside of Banbury but it started to rain (and basically never stopped after that…what would you expected? It’s not London but it still England after all!) so we just wandered around the town and visited the market place where a fruits and vegetables market takes place every Saturday.
The Mercure Banbury Whately Hall hotel
After that, we decided that it was time to go back to our hotel! We had the chance to stay at the Mercure Banbury Whately Hall Hotel, a beautiful 17th century 3-star hotel located right in the center of the city. And yes, I forgot to mention it but this year, all my weekend gateways from London would be in collaboration with Mercure Hotels. My first impression after entering the establishment was that I was actually stepping into the history of Banbury. The hotel looks like an old countryside cottage, you know, the type of place you would see yourself having a cup of hot chocolate in by the fire during one of those long winter nights. Our room, or suite should I say, was facing the lovely little garden on the back of the property. Decorated nicely with an elegant minimalist touch, the room was very confortable for the three of us! That’s always good to know when you travel with kids!
What about the food?
The food (as everybody will agree on!) is really important when choosing a hotel! This time, we had the chance to try the breakfast and we ordered some food from the restaurant. The breakfast was very good in a beautiful room facing the garden but what I absolutely loved was the dishes from the restaurant. I sadly didn’t take any picture because it was too dark but believe me, the restaurant itself is worth it: Fresh ingredients and very tasty! We had a prawn linguine and the Nicoise Salad and both very delicious!
Would I come back to Banbury? Probably someday in a different season! The city is charming and there is also a little river with boats that we didn’t have enough time to explore. I would love to see the city in spring as I am sure it would be lovely! And plus, it’s a great way to explore more of the Cotswold if you have a car!