A new area of England for me....
Banbury Travel Blog› entry 4 of 14 › view all entries
April 22nd, 2008 – by: pooterbug
Last night, we returned from another short trip to England. This time, (after a short stop in London) we were in Banbury. It is located about half-way between Birmingham and London past Oxford.
We arrived early in the evening and were very pleased with our hotel and the room. The staff could not have been nicer, more accomodating, or friendlier. Our room was on the ground floor and came directly out onto the courtyard. It was quiet and peaceful, while being downtown. I might mention that the hotel was made from two old cottages being combined and converted. Still remaining, are many of the original features of the buildings. Old wooden beams, massive fireplaces, worn wooden floors. The atmosphere was very charming and pleasant without being too "pub-ish".
After settling into our room, we walked around the town and explored. There is no shortage of restaraunts, pubs, clubs, etc for nightlife. Otherwise, the streets were pretty quiet. Never was there a sense of foreboding or of being unsafe while walking around at night (in a strange town). Personally, I like checking out a town in the evening. You get to see it in a different light and there aren't as many people about. You can take your time. Find a nice place to eat, stop in a pub and chat with the locals and really experience a place. After all of this, we very much enjoyed a really comfy bed.
The following morning, we enjoyed a very nice English breakfast before beginning our day. My husband's day revolved around work as that was the reason for our journey to England.
Firstly, Banbury is not very big in size, but certainly big on charm and warmness. There is a good mix of medieval buildings nestled between newer buildings. Little details such as street lamps in the style of the Victorian age also add to the charm of the town. Much of the centre is closed off to cars and makes for peaceful wandering without the fear of traffic.
There is a very large church in the centre of town. I still have not figured out excactly what style it is in, but it dominates the skyline. You are also free to go inside and look around as well. After doing that, I ventured down the small side streets into little shops.
Since I love to cook and to bake, I am always drawn into food stores. A great way to see what the locals eat, is by going into the grocery stores. I always like to bring something new home when I travel from the groceries. Well, I certainly couldn't pass up the oriental food stores or the polish food stores. I'm pretty sure that I brought home sort of pudding mix from the Polish store, but not 100% sure. That's part of the fun for me.
I ventured in all of the charity shops as well and scored some cookbooks. Plus, I enjoyed several conversations with the workers there. Being the only customer, the clerks had plenty of time to chat.
Anyway, the people were very friendly towards me. I had conversations in almost every shop that I ventured into and that was quite a few. One conversation about Van Gogh since I live in the Netherlands. Another conversation about being an expat with a Finnish woman living in Banbury. Another about travel and the US. The topics were pretty endless.
Sadly, my day in Banbury came to a close as my husband's work was completed. So, we set back out towards Dover to catch our ferry. I would have loved to have spent a longer time in Banbury and hope that I can visit there again some time.
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