Oxford is a beautiful city and so it can be really fun to try and take some free time to explore around Oxford! As I often stay in Oxford during the vacations (thanks to my college, Christ Church, letting me have a college room!), I often have a bit more free time to look around this gorgeous city!
During the last vacation, I tried out some restaurants and cafes that I hadn't been to before. I went to the Handlebar Cafe for breakfast for the first time (pancakes and orange juice!) and tried out Comptoir Lebanon, in Westgate, for an evening meal with some of my friends - both places were delicious. The décor in both places is amazing: the Handlebar is above a bike shop, and so is decorated with bicycles across the roof beams and on the walls, fairy lights, and various plants in every corner. The Handlebar Cafe is also a big supporter of That Oxford Girl, and is where we have our team meetings every term! Comptoir Lebanon has teacups and baskets, amongst other things, for sale, hung up and on shelves to decorate the room, and everything is a riot of colour. I also found a new love for Leon, on Cornmarket Street - they do really good wraps, which are perfect as some warm food at the end of the day - and they even do student discount.
Aside from eating food and drinking coffee, I went to the Ashmolean Museum, in Oxford - which is free! - with a friend of mine, and, as we are both Classical Archaeologists, we paid particular attention to the cast gallery. One of my lecturers had said that we could visit the Lower Cast Gallery, if we had our Bod Cards (our university and library cards). We asked at reception and got directed to the security desk, where we signed and got given a security card giving us access to the Lower Cast Gallery. The Lower Cast Gallery was a really cool space: it's the same size as the Upper Cast Gallery, but the ceilings are twice as big, and its jammed full of so many more casts, some of which have been slightly damaged, or aren't quite as famous - but all of this made them more exciting, in our view. It was really interesting, too, to see casts of some of the things I had been reading about just that morning!
Some of my friends also visited the Botanical Gardens, which is free with a Bod Card, and went on scenic walks (or "pilgrimages", as they called them) to pubs outside of the city centre, such as The Perch in Port Meadow (which TOG has written a blog post about)!