I thought I'd tell you a bit about my recent trip to Woodstock in Oxfordshire because it was so lovely, I had to share.  If you haven't ever been to Woodstock, I highly recommend a visit.  It's such a pretty town with Blenheim Palace right on its doorstep (we could walk to one of the gates from our lovely little pub with rooms).  I don't think I've ever seen so many pubs (yes, we tried to visit all of them!) and pretty much all of them were charmingly decorated with a warm welcome and great food.  Our favourites were The King's Arms (where we stayed) which had live music on the day we arrived and some decent grub.  The Woodstock Arms is almost opposite the King's Arms and was always packed with friendly people, great service and a brilliant atmosphere.  The Crown was beautifully decorated with a more Scandinavian feel and the food was very good (sharing plates/tapas and wood fired pizzas) and they do a mean margarita cocktail!  So many to choose from though so I recommend a trip to Woodstock incorporating a good old-fashioned pub crawl!

The reason we went to Woodstock in the first place was because of the Icons of British Fashion Exhibition at Blenheim Palace.  It didn't disappoint (if you like fashion and stately homes - two of my favourite things!)  There were exhibits in the state rooms by eponymous British designers such as Alice Temperley (obviously one of the best exhibits and I'm not just biased because she has a shop in Ilminster), Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, the list goes on.  

The house is stunning with amazing grounds and some really nice restaurants, beautiful gardens and loads of stuff to do for kids, teenagers and adults alike (think a lot of the kids entertainment was laid on specially for Easter weekend including a fairground with rides, garden games, Easter Egg hunts and more).  We also visited the Churchill exhibition as it's 150 years since he was born at Blenheim Palace - very interesting indeed although I had to bribe the children to go round it with us but they were pleased they did!  A lovely day out in a stunning setting with some culture thrown in and a delicious lunch - can’t go wrong!

Whilst in the area, we also visited Bicester Village which is a huge shopping complex (outdoors) with discount designer stores which no doubt sounds like your worst nightmare but the teenagers loved it and there were some genuine bargains to be had. Plus it was beautifully done with live entertainment, fabulous restaurants (they have an Ottolenghi amongst their substantial offering) and the loos were super amazing (if you didn't know already, it's always about the loos with me - I've been known to base an entire experience on the state of the washrooms!)  Highly recommend a visit (to the whole place, not just the loos!).

And lastly, as we hadn't quite had enough of shopping (!) we went into Oxford for a peek at the university and all the beautiful architecture in the city.  Well worth a visit and a spin on the open top bus.  So, that was our weekend in a nutshell.  We fitted loads in and got to spend some quality time together whilst experiencing a bit of culture, shopping and some wonderful hospitality.  What's not to like?

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