Dreamy Oxford...

Following in Christmas holiday tradition, we took to the M40 last Thursday for a day trip to the magnificent Oxford with its gleaming spires, ancient buildings, beautiful walks and fabulous sales shopping. The University of Oxford has received worldwide acclaim for over 800 years, the city itself was established in the 9th Century. Today it is the perfect combination of the cosmopolitan and the ancient bounding with culture, commerce and picturesque photo opportunities.

We left the car in the Thornhill Park and Ride, what a godsend this was when we ventured there for the first time a couple of years ago. We rarely wait more than a couple of minutes for the big green bus that takes us right into the centre of Oxford, it costs only £2 return per person but more importantly it saves a lot of stress trying to find that one lonely parking space that requires you to remortgage your house to cover the hourly rate.

Sadly, the colleges were all locked up for the Christmas break, so we headed to the River bank to let Matilda have a little run around followed by a lovely lunch at our favourite cafe The Vaults. With our tummies full we then decided to have a wander round and partake in some retail therapy. As well as all the normal high street shops there are a number of small independent retailers and, no less exciting than in the Covered Market where there are also three fantastic butchers. We bought a brace of pheasants for £5.99, a pack of stewing venison for £9.99 and a large pack of bacon also for £9.99 all of which will see us through for quite a while. 50 stalls make up the Indoor Market selling all manner of goodies including clothes, electrical goods, fruit and veg, toys and apothecary smellies. I highly recommend a visit here if you go to Oxford especially at this time of year, when it's magically decorate with holly and twinkly lights.

The imposing Bodleian Library.

Just love these figures looking down on us.

Matilda on her run around, one of the only pictures where we could get her standing still.

Fantastic little shop filled with retro household necessities that I spent hours browsing in.

Quirky shopping at the Indoor market

Resting student bikes

All in all we had a gorgeous day, Matilda had fun pulling clothes off hangers, running around the square that houses the spectacular Bodleian Library, rummaging through the excellent Oxfam bookshop and admiring all the Christmas lights illuminating this resplendent city.