With its historic vibe and stunning architecture, the city of Oxford is a no-brainer destination for a weekend away from London – but we suggest you broaden your scope. Beyond the university towers lies an entire county filled with heritage-packed country houses, cool restaurants and sleek modern hotels waiting to be explored, sampled and slept-in respectively. Here, we plan a proper American-style road trip through Oxfordshire – one that celebrates some of the best bits of both countries through architecture, art and design.
WHERE TO STAY IN OXFORDSHIRE
Mollie’s Motel & Diner
No true road trip would be complete without a motel stop-over. Soho House’s mid-century take on the genre incorporates pared-down rooms and a restaurant serving luxurious riffs on American diner food. Can’t stop? The drive-thru lets you grab restaurant-quality food without delaying your journey.
Rooms from £75. Mollie’s Motel & Diner, A420, Faringdon, Oxfordshire, SN7 4PY, molliesmotel.com
WHAT TO VISIT IN OXFORDSHIRE
Jeff Koons’ high-shine neon-kitchness is currently providing a cool counterpoint to the storied, sandy-stone grandeur of Oxford. The American artist’s retrospective at The Ashmolean (said to be the world’s oldest public museum) features a variety of his works from the 1980s to today, 14 of which have never been seen here in Britain before.
Entry, £12.25. Until 9 June, ashmolean.org
Designed by untrained architect Sir John Vanbrugh in the early 1700s, Blenheim Palace is one of the few surviving examples of English Baroque architecture in the country. While it’s perhaps most famous as the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, it’s now well-known for its regular supper clubs, too – something we feel Winny would have thoroughly approved of.
Entry £27, blenheimpalace.com
WHERE TO EAT IN OXFORDSHIRE
The Grand Cafe
If you’re a dedicated disciple of a drip filter, then this place is a must-visit site of holy pilgrimage. According to Samuel Pepys, The Grand Cafe sits on the spot where the very first coffee house in England was established in 1650. All these years later, you’re guaranteed to still be served an exceptional cup of the dark stuff today – plus a rather impressive afternoon tea.
84 High St, Oxford OX1 4BG, thegrandcafe.co.uk