We left Sunderland bright and early, around 11 am, to head south toward Oxford. We have a reservation to stay in Oxford Sunday night, and we’re heading to London on Monday, so we had a gap night here to fill. Since we rented a car, we figured we’d drive south toward Oxford and find somewhere neat to stay along the way.
We go online before making a lot of decisions — before choosing a restaurant, booking a hotel, visiting a new doctor, or frequenting a masseuse, we first turn to Yelp or elsewhere on the InterWeb to read reviews. We opted instead to just drive in the general direction of Oxford until we saw something cute. We’d then stop there and spend the night, letting adventure lead us rather than Google.
We ended up heading farther south than we anticipated, pretty close to Oxford, passing about a dozen No Vacancy signs on the way. Our free-wheeling and fancy-free aspirations were further tampered after stopping in at a cute-looking pub/inn. The friendly innkeeper showed us a room. Between the damp carpet, strong smell of bleach, and a coat of freshly thrown paint, we were sure if it was a lackluster renovation or if a crime had just been committed there. We opted instead for a drink in the pub where we could use free Wi-Fi and rest our wearing heads on the sturdy shoulders of TripAdvisor.
Old Swan & Minster Mill had great reviews and an open, albeit tiny, room. Since driving took the bulk of our day, we didn’t explore the area as much as we’d have liked to, but the Cotswolds really are beyond charming. This area knows how to do quaint, cozy, and seriously green well. Old Swan & Minster Mill was no disappointment either — it’s set on beautiful grounds, with a river running through it, and its staff members are really accommodating and friendly.
Our room was super small, with the bed pushed up against a wall, so the person on the inside (not it!) had to climb down the bed to exit it. It did come with nice tea-making facilities. This is the norm with all decent British hotels, and I love this (get with it, ‘merica!) , as well as a complimentary decanter of sloe gin.
The main building’s corridors had neat crevices throughout them. We found our way through them despite the decanter of sloe gin.
We ate at the restaurant twice — you really have little choice since nothing else is nearby. Dinner was less than impressive. The food was fine but the service was pretty bad; it just seemed like they were stretched too thin. Breakfast was a better experience with a full English breakfast buffet as well as continental fare.
On to Oxford!