Boswells Blog

10th August 2018

Outdoor Play: 5 Ways to Combine Fitness and Fun During the Summer Holidays

Outdoor Play: 5 Ways to Combine Fitness and Fun During the Summer Holidays

Image source: Pixabay 

With the Summer holidays finally upon us, thoughts are turning to the inevitable challenge of keeping young ones active and entertained while school’s out. From trips to the coast, when the weather permits, to making the most of local parks and playgrounds, in today’s post, we’re looking at ways you can get your kids back outside and active this Summer.

1. Encourage family time

One of the best things about the Summer holidays is it’s a great time for families to spend some quality time together—and while in the evenings this might mean cosying up on the sofa to watch a classic blockbuster, the world is yours for the exploring during the daytime.

Whether you’re blessed with an outdoor area or heading off in search of an open space, outdoor toys are great for encouraging activity in the summer months. From the beach to the park, make sure you’ve packed playtime essentials like the  Extreme Fun Tech Ring Frisbee in order to enjoy hours of family fun while the sun shines.

2. Explore the great outdoors

The UK is a veritable treasure trove of outdoor hotspots - essentially providing your family with their very own playground which is ripe for exploration. We’re fortunate enough to have naturally beautiful locations on our doorstep—so why not make a map of places to visit and let your children choose their next destination?

Keep costs to a minimum by making the most of free travel by heading out on foot or on road bikes as a family or investing in weekly transport passes that allow you to explore further afield. With a little research, you’ll soon find there are a number of exciting places for you and your family to discover together.

3. Get animals involved

Girl with Dog Image

Image source: Unsplash

Part of the problem with exercise is that it seems like such a strenuous task, particularly for those who have grown up surrounded by mobility-limiting technology. One way to counteract this is to work fitness into ordinary aspects of life.

Whether your family pet is a dog, cat, rabbit or hamster, you’ll be surprised at how you can use this to your advantage when encouraging your youngsters to become more active. From dog walks together around the local area to cleaning out the rabbit hutch, why not combine fitness with practicality and experiment with giving your little ones more responsibility for their pets?

4. Turn chores into activities

While school might be out for Summer, for parents, carers and family friends who are helping out with the little ones, day-to-day jobs still need carrying out—so why not turn these into an activity? Getting the kids involved with everything from washing the car to putting away the grocery shopping will free up your time and help them get up and moving.

It doesn’t need to stop with the everyday activities, either. If you’ve been meaning to clear out the garage, paint the decking or just tidy up the spare room, you can turn these mundane jobs into fun projects for children to get involved with. This way, even if you’re not fortunate enough to have the whole Summer off, you can make the most of your time together and square away those long-standing chores.

5. Get involved in the community

Whether you’re out saving the bees or litter picking in the park, getting involved in local community projects is a great way to get your kids away from their computer games and out in the fresh air. With play schemes, Summer fairs and council-led events popping up at this time of year, you shouldn’t need to look too far to see what’s on in your local area.

If there’s nothing happening that quite suits what you’re looking for, why not set up your own activities? Encourage your youngsters and their friends to pick plastic up from the beach or paint pictures for nearby care homes. This will help them learn essential life values as well as keeping them stimulated during the long period off school.

However long your little ones have off this Summer and whatever budget you’re working with, with a little creative thinking, you can find plenty of ways to combine fitness and fun during the school holidays.

Permalink
3rd August 2018

How to Create a Cosy, Ambient Bathroom on a Budget

How to Create a Cosy, Ambient Bathroom on a Budget

Image: Pexels

For some, the bathroom is a purely transactional space, where you have a quick shower before work and get on with your day—but the truth is there’s so much untapped potential in the bathroom as a relaxing space in which to truly unwind. If the rest of your home is optimised for your comfort, why can’t your bathroom be that way, too?

This post will run through some ways in which you can inject a little cosiness into your bathroom without breaking the bank.

Bath Mats: Upgrade for Luxury

There’s little worse than stepping on cold tiles after a Winter-time shower, except for stepping on a damp, thin bath mat that needs upgrading. If your toes curl at the sight and feel of your bathroom floor, it might be time to invest in a more luxuriantly coiffed bath mat that’ll give your shower or bath-fresh feet the pampering they deserve.

In terms of improving the room’s ambience, the effect is much the same as adding a rug to a living area. Opt for a sharp, citrusy colour like lime green or orange to give the space a fresh feel, or go for a more luxurious, regal colour such as purple or gold for an indulgent ambience fit for royalty.

Candles: An Ambient Essential

There’s no better way to ramp up the ambience in your bathroom than lighting a few scented candles and letting their subtle, flickering light dance across the room. Ideally paired with a long, warm bath at the end of a hard day, making your bathroom into a luxe space filled with dancing candlelight is the epitome of cosiness.

This can be done incredibly cheaply, too. A large pack of tea lights isn’t very expensive, and you can invest in tea light holders, but the effect is largely the same. Also, if you’re wary of having open flames in your home, there are a wide range of small LED tea lights available right here at Boswells that can have the same effect without the fire risk!

Colour Palette: Choose Wisely

Getting your bathroom colour palette right can make the difference between a super-chill ambient space and one that’s completely missing that indulgent cosiness you’re striving for. Pastel shades can work well in a bathroom designed to create a relaxed vibe—for example, you could combine a baby blue or periwinkle colour scheme with playful nautical touches, such as model boats.

Alternatively, you could go bold and paint a feature wall or fixture in a sharp primary colour, as a striking focal point for the room. Sink cabinets or bathroom radiators in a rich crimson or yellow can add a charming ambience to your bathroom—and you won’t need to spend big on paint.

Ornaments: To Add Character

When you strip away all the functional items in your bathroom, the space can feel a little bare and devoid of personality. This can be easily combated by adding a few characterful ornaments such as a hand-painted metal frog or a flamingo—additions that’ll impress and amuse guests while making your bathroom cosy and personalised to you. A refresh of your shower curtain also wouldn’t go amiss - replacing an old curtain with an eclectic design can transform the whole mood of a room for a very reasonable price.

Unsplash Ambient Bathroom Image

Image: Unsplash

Of course, adding your own individual touches to your bathroom is the way to go to truly make it a cosy and calm space, ripe for relaxation. So, take these tips on board and indulge your own creativity alongside them to perfect your budget-conscious bathroom upgrade.

Permalink
26th July 2018

Make the Most of Long Distance Flying with These 10 Tips

Make the Most of Long Distance Flying with These 10 Tips

It’s that time of year again, when thousands of us stuff our suitcases, stock up on sunscreen and jet off for another amazing holiday. We don’t doubt that fantastic adventures, lazy days on the beach and some of the best food the world has to offer await you, but first there’s the flight to deal with. Few people enjoy long flights, so here are a few tips to help make your flight as easy and enjoyable as possible.

 

Window Seat Image

10. Find Your Perfect Seat

Before you even get to the airport, you have an important decision to make…where to sit? No pressure, but the seat you choose could make or break how much you enjoy your journey. There are different opinions about where the perfect place to sit on a plane is, the trick is to find the seat that’s right for you. Here are a few things to consider...

The Window Seat

The window seat is an old favourite for many. It provides a view of the world below, a nice wall to rest your head against, and you are entirely free from having to get up to let other passengers get out of their seat. On the other hand, in these seats, you will find it much more difficult to get out of your own seat. This makes it much harder to make trips to the toilet or to simply stretch your legs.

 

The Aisle Seat

The aisle seat, on the other hand, will allow you ample opportunity to get up and wander about pretty much any time you like (turbulence permitting). You will, however, have to contend with frequent disturbances from other passengers wanting to climb out over your seat, and airline staff moving up and down the aisles throughout the flight. If you’re planning to sleep through the entire flight, this may not be the seat for you.

9. Eat Well…But Not Too Well!

Airline Food Image

Apparently eating foods rich in carbohydrates can help your body to adjust to a new time zone. Pack a few snacks for the journey, so that if you feel hungry between meals you have something to nibble, but be careful not to overdo it. Your body digests food slower when you fly, so lots of bulky food isn’t necessarily the best idea.

If you’ve never been on a long-haul flight before, you may be surprised to discover that your meals will probably come based on which time zone you’re currently in, which means you may get lunch, followed a few hours later by breakfast. The best we can say is, just go with it…

 

Image Credit

8. Don’t Forget to Pack These Essentials…

There are 2 kinds of things you need to remember to pack when going abroad. The first is everything you will need when you reach your destination. The second, and easier to forget things, are all the bits and pieces you might need for the journey. Here are some easily forgotten essentials:

  • A Pen: Make sure you have a pen to hand to fill in any necessary immigration documents on the plane (and bring a spare for your neighbour, who will inevitably have forgotten to pack one!)
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Brushing your teeth will add a touch of normality to your day, not to mention keep your teeth nice and healthy.
  • Packing ImageHeadphone Adaptor: Some airlines have special headphone sockets, so it’s worth checking this in advance, and if you’d prefer to use your own headphones, we suggest getting an adaptor to give you this option.
  • Prescription Medication: If you take any prescription medication, make sure you have this with you in case you need it (and in case your checked luggage goes astray). Keep the prescription to hand in case customs need to check this later.
  • Hand Sanitiser: We highly recommend taking a small bottle of hand sanitiser with you…you probably don’t want to know just how dirty planes can get, but trust us, you’ll need this!

The trick to packing the right amount of carry on luggage—everything you need, but not too much—is finding the right cabin case or bag for the job. Pop in and speak to the very knowledgeable staff in our Luggage Department, or have a browse for yourself on our website, here.

7. Keep Yourself Entertained

Entertainment on Plane Image

Most long-haul flights come stocked with a vast selection of films, TV series, music and games to keep you occupied. You can usually look this up in advance to see whether there is likely to be anything that you’re going to want to settle down to for several hours of flying. If not, or if in any doubt, filling your tablet, e-book reader or mp3 player with things you know you love can be a smart move.

If you’re not travelling solo, a pack of cards can be fun, and make keeping yourselves occupied a more sociable experience than simply watching the inflight movies.

6. Soothe your Flying-Nerves

If you’re a nervous flyer, you’re not alone. It’s quite common to have a little apprehension about flying, but we hope that doesn’t stop you from getting out there and seeing what the rest of the world has to offer!

Statistically, you will reach your destination safely, and although at times during the flight you may not feel completely safe, you really are in expert hands.

Plane Image

It may be helpful to inform a member of the crew that you’re a nervous flyer, as they will be able to talk you through any concerns you have and check on you throughout the flight.

The middle of the plane, near the wings, is said to be the most stable place to sit, so should there be any turbulence, you’ll feel it that little bit less if you sit here. Distractions are also a great way to soothe your mind…indulge in films you like, a good book, or the company of a level-headed friend to take your mind off your worst imaginings. It’s important to acknowledge and address your anxieties, but try, also, to counter them with the excitement of your destination, and the holiday ahead.

5. Battle the In-Flight Insomnia

Some people can sleep pretty much anywhere, but for others it might not be that easy. Bear this in mind before flying long distance, and make sure that, at the very least, you’re well rested before you get on the plane…it may be a while before you get some proper sleep.

Travel Pillow ImageTo help you get your 40 winks, we recommend getting your hands on a travel pillow, an eye mask and some noise cancelling earplugs to block out the hum of the engines (although it’s always comforting to know that those are still working away while you doze). Some swear by sleeping pills to help them with sleeping on long flights, however, we would recommend popping in and speaking to one of our friendly Pharmacists for some advice before going down this route.

If you’re one of the unlucky souls that simply will not be able to sleep sat upright in economy class, no matter what you try, there are a few things you can do to help make this more bearable. Find yourself some good films, music or a book to help while away the hours in the air, but remember that if it’s a night flight you may be sitting awake in the dark for several hours. You could also try taking occasional breaks from the in-flight entertainment, curling up with your pillow, and closing your eyes for half an hour or so to allow your brain a little respite.

And finally, if (and when, eventually) you do sleep, try to sleep according to the time zone you’re headed towards, rather than the one you’ve just left. This will help you to combat jet lag and adjust to the new time zone a little more smoothly!

4. Stay Hydrated

Stay Hydrated ImageStaying hydrated when flying is extremely important, as the airconditioned air you breathe on a plane can be especially dry. Being dehydrated can cause your blood to thicken and increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis when flying. The trick is to drink plenty of water, little and often, and avoid drinks like tea, coffee and alcohol, which can contribute to dehydration. We recommend buying a bottle or 2 of water in duty free before you board, so that you have water to hand throughout the flight—although you can always ask the flight crew for a drink later. We would strongly advise against drinking water from the taps on the plane.

Bear in mind that some countries do have restrictions in place when buying water before a flight, such as requiring you to keep the bottle sealed in a bag until you board. If you’re flying out of Malaysia, for example, all water in duty free is served in disposable cups, rather than a resealable bottle. It's always a good idea to check what the restrictions are in advance. 

You may also find that your skin, lips, eyes and nose feel very dry from flying, but a little moisturiser, chap stick, nasal spray or some eye drops may help with this. Drop in and speak to our Cosmetics and Pharmacy staff for a little advice on which of these to choose.

3. Dress Comfortably

Wardrobe ImageUnsurprisingly, sitting in the same small space for hours on end as you hurtle across the globe isn’t always the most comfortable of experiences. So, when you’re preparing for your flight, give some serious thought to clothing that is loose fitting, and has some give in it. Whatever you’re wearing needs to be suitable for checking in for your flight, sleeping, eating and lots and lots of sitting. We also heartily recommend turning to a trusty pair of fluffy bed socks to add to your comfort.

Some people prefer to take a change of clothes with them, or even get into their pyjamas after take-off, it really all is a matter of preference. We also suggest bringing some layers, as the aircon can sometimes mean the temperature can fluctuate. Layers will mean you can cool down or warm up as needed.

2. Look After Yourself

Moving Around Plane ImageIt’s important to take good care of yourself when you’re flying, as being inactive for long periods of time and dehydration can put you at risk of deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot that can cause serious complications). To keep yourself in tip top condition, try to get up and move around the cabin every couple of hours. If this isn’t possible, there are exercises that you can do in your seat that will help with your circulation. Flexing your feet back towards yourself, and then pointing them towards the toe repeatedly can help, as can rotating each foot in small circles in your seat. Loose fitting clothing will also help the flow of blood around the body.

You may want to consider flight socks, however it’s important that these are properly fitted for you, so we recommend speaking to a pharmacist if you think this might be a good option for you. If you are concerned that you may be at risk of deep vein thrombosis, it’s wise to visit your GP well before you travel, so that they can prescribe any necessary medication, or fit you for the correct flight socks. Visit www.nhs.uk for more information and advice on deep vein thrombosis.

1. Plan Ahead!


Travelling with Children ImageFinally, planning makes all the difference. If you’re travelling a long distance with the family, for example, a little extra planning can make the journey much easier and more enjoyable for everyone. This handy Sainsbury’s Bank guide to travelling with children is a great place to start your planning for a journey with the kids.

Putting a little thought into where you’d like to sit, what to pack, what to wear and how to take care of yourself well in advance of your trip means that you have fewer things to worry about on the day. Simply sit back, enjoy the ride, and make the most of the adventure that lies ahead! 

Check out our other travel blogs here!

Permalink
25th June 2018

Making The Most Of Your Kitchen Worktop: 4 Top Tips

Making The Most Of Your Kitchen Worktop: 4 Top Tips

Image: Unsplash

Buying a stylish yet practical granite or quartz worktop is a must for homeowners who are serious about achieving a luxury kitchen look. Expanses of shimmering stone can inspire a homeowner to cook up some delicious culinary delights, and are hardy enough to be a fixture of a family kitchen for generations.

However, eye-catching worktops can soon be swamped by kitchen clutter, relegating their elegant shine to a mere backdrop. Nobody wants this, least of all homeowners who have saved for their granite worktop and want to make it the centrepiece of their kitchen.

In today’s post, we’re going to run through some easy tips to help you utilise this surface while still allowing it to shine - meaning you’ll have a super-functional kitchen that’ll also wow family members and guests alike.

1. Protect the worktop

Most granite worktops are incredibly hardy and will last for years with the correct care and treatment. However, this doesn’t mean that you have carte blanche to chop produce directly on to the surface - so make sure you stick to culinary best practices by investing in a chopping board and making use of trivets to keep your surfaces shining for longer.

A well-protected worktop will look even better once you’ve cleared away your cooking equipment. Remember that with pots and pans in regular use, scratches and burns can easily occur - even on the hardiest of surfaces. So, avoid this by protecting your surfaces and clearing up after every cooking session.

2. Consider a simple style

Chances are, you’ll have a number of appliances vying for space atop your work surface—and making sure that their style fits well with a premium stone or ceramic worktop is an important consideration. Choosing neutrally coloured kitchen products or items in one colour will make it easier to complement your worktops and tie the whole kitchen aesthetic together.

Having a high-quality knife block poised and ready for action is a great first consideration. A dark stone worktop could benefit from a simple wooden knife block, epitomising the elemental nature of the space, both plain wood and plain stone work well in a room where raw ingredients are made into delicious meals.

3. Know what’s functional

Despite the kitchen’s primary purpose as a functional space in which meals are prepared, you can often get caught in a clutter trap, hoarding items that take up space and obscure the fine finish of your worktop.

Carrying out a quick audit and working out which items you actually use on a day-to-day basis is an important step that’s often overlooked—but you can start by storing away rarely-used items in your cupboards, and leaving everyday-use appliances like toasters and kettles on the surfaces. After doing this, your kitchen will become a more functional space, and you’ll have plenty of surface area to enjoy.

4. Invest in some smart appliances

A new worktop will benefit from some cutting-edge appliances alongside it to really give it that finishing touch, so once you’ve completed your audit of kitchen items, why not treat yourself to some new appliances?

The timelessly stylish Kitchenaid Artisan Food Stand Mixer will undoubtedly give your kitchen a premium edge, while the Empire Red 2 Slot Toaster by the same manufacturer will add a sharp burst of colour that can truly brighten up the room - and with a pull-out crumb tray, your bespoke stone worktop won’t be blighted by toast detritus!

Kitchen Worktop Image Unsplash

Image: Unsplash

Of course, your kitchen should be a reflection of your own culinary creativity, so make sure you use that as your principal point of inspiration before actioning any of these steps. Adding a dash of your own style is always a great idea, and it’ll mean that your kitchen will sparkle for years to come.

Permalink
15th May 2018

Memories of Boswells

Memories of Boswells

To kick off our 280th birthday celebrations, we’ve been gathering up memories of Boswells from staff and customers alike. We’ve been learning all sorts of fascinating things about our own history along the way, and so we’d like to give you a little taste of what we’ve learned so far…

Fond Childhood Memories 

A little childhood magic can really forge fond memories. We’re truly honoured to hear that we are a part of so many of your wonderful, early memories!

Whitey ImageJan Barnard sent us this picture of a toy she got from Boswells as a child. We’re told that he’s called Whitey, and it looks to us like he’s had a long, happy life. Here’s Jan’s memory of getting Whitey: “My parents used to take me to the toy department in the 60’s when we lived in Oxford. You used to walk down a big wooden staircase into the toy department that was magnificent and enter a magical world. When I broke my arm and had to have it set at the old Radcliffe Mum took me there to treat me to a toy and I picked a toy dog which I still have. Wonderful childhood memories.”

We’ve also been hearing lots of magnificent tales of trips to see Father Christmas in store. Susan Walters sent us this fantastic memory of a visit to the North Pole (via Broad Street, of course):

“I am 70 years old and this is my most favourite memory of my childhood. The Father Christmas train ride to meet him. I honestly thought we were on a train as we sat in a carriage and watched the land go by through the windows. Then when we arrived, we went to the end of the carriage to see Father Christmas to get a present. Never dawned on me when we went out of another door that we were still in the shop but hadn't travelled back! Wonderful magical memory.”

Entering the World of Work

Boswells 1960s Image

There’s nothing quite like your first job to prepare you for what life has to offer, and so we’re very proud to have been somewhere where so many of you could make your first ventures into the working world!

Matt Muller got in touch to tell us about his first job, working as a Saturday boy in 1962:

“I can’t remember exactly when I started, but I recall looking forward to earning real money in order to indulge in my passion–pop records. Mr Piper was my boss. He was in charge of Linen and Leather. I have fond memories of Mr Piper, he was a small man, kind and supportive of his staff, thorough but someone you would not mess about! I met my longest standing friend in Boswells, John, another Saturday boy who now lives in Holland.”

Mary Anne Brown, who worked for Boswells in 1982, also fondly remembered her time here:

“Working in the upstairs office at Boswells was my first job after leaving school in 1982. I counted the takings each day in a time when credit cards were used much less and people often paid with cheques and cash. We had no computers. All accounts were recorded in ledgers. We worked at decades old wooden desks and chairs; it was quite a big deal when we had wheeled office chairs bought for us! I remember the two brothers that owned/ran the store; Mr. Tony and Mr. Christopher. Their first names were used since they shared the same last name, which would be confusing; but they were still always referred to as ‘Mr.’ In fact, all the department heads were called ‘Mr.’ or ‘Mrs.’ –never by their first name.”

Things have changed quite a lot around here since 1982, although the novelty of the wheeled chairs still hasn’t worn off…especially in those parts of the store where the 1920s flooring isn’t quite close to level…

First Impressions

Cookshop Team ImageThe staff here at Boswells have been sharing some of their memories of what the store was like when they first started working here.

Linda in our Cookshop has been with us for an impressive 27 years and has seen the shop change a lot in that time.

“I was amazed at how big the store was. The Gift department had a large till in the middle of the shop floor which was very busy, went in to the China department, which is now the Pharmacy. There was lots of large stands with many different manufacturers names on and full of all sorts of china.” Getting to grips with the size and scale of the store is something that a lot of Boswells staff remember finding tricky at first, but the building really does have its own special charm!

Laura in our Luggage Department started working at Boswells 10 and a half years ago and has worked in most departments at one point or other.

She told us that her “First week consisted of Saturdays at the beginning. My first day I was quiet, shy maybe. I had a lot to learn, I started on a department that is no longer there. Also, the building at the time was a maze to whoever didn’t know where they were going.” Laura quickly got the hang of things and is now quite skilled at helping newer members of the Boswells team come out of their shells.

Expect the Unexpected...

Sometimes it’s the amusing, but unplanned moments that stay with us. Marion Rea sent us this fantastic memory about when she first came to Oxford:

Gifts Image

“As newly arrived students my friends Lisa, Jane and I bought a casserole dish together in Boswells in order to recreate the tastes of home that we were all missing. We proceeded to blow it up—even Pyrex isn't able to withstand being heated on a hob—causing a spectacular shower of glass across our shared kitchen, a fire alarm, and a long-standing reputation for domestic incompetence. But... we learned our lesson and the replacement Boswells casserole dish is still going strong, nearly 30 years later, and we three students remain great friends.”

Strange and unexpected things have also been known to happen to our staff. Lorraine in our Gifts Department recalled a time when a “Pigeon flew into the Broad St window and while everyone else was trying to rescue it Phil [who worked in Luggage at the time] went and got his camera to photograph the people running around.” Jen from Gifts informs us that in the middle of this kerfuffle, the pigeon actually landed on a member of staff, and stayed there long enough for Phil to get his camera! 

Fun and Games

Emma Meets the Queen ImageEmma in our stock room has been telling us about the celebrations the staff held for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. “We all dressed up in red, white and blue costumes and had a tea party in our staff room. I won the prize for best costume, as pictured, and won a giant chocolate gold medal!!!” Unfortunately Her Majesty was rather busy that day, so a cardboard "lookalike" stood in to do the honours...

Serena in our Cookshop has worked for Boswells for 32 years, and so unsurprisingly has plenty of stories to tell about her time here. This one particularly made us chuckle:

“[In the old lift] you would slam the inside door and there was a little window, and you could see when the lift was coming up. And when it literally died, my old boss, Mavis, put a bunch of flowers in there, put in there ‘R.I.P’. Of course, everyone, when the doors opened, thought somebody had died in there. She didn’t do it for that. It was because the lift was gonna be taken out…so it was like ‘goodbye’ to that lift. It served us well.”

A Little Piece of History

Boswells Building Design ImageAnd finally we were delighted to recently hear from Janice Bridges, who has a very special family connection to Boswells…

“I remember when I was a child that every time my mother and I shopped at Boswells she would say my Grandfather built this shop. Indeed, she was correct; E Organ and Sons created a fabulous piece of architecture for Oxford… Stand back and look up at the building next time you are shopping at Boswells. My family are so proud of the connection with such a wonderful store.”

How to Enter Our Memories Competition

We’re very lucky to have been surrounded by such wonderful people for the past 280 years! Boswells is the world’s second oldest independent department store, and made up of all of our stories, memories and experiences of it. With our memories, we all get to be a part of Boswells’ heritage, and we think that’s really quite wonderful.

A huge thank you to everyone who has entered our Memories of Boswells competition so far. I you haven’t entered it yet, we’d love to hear your recollections too!

The winner of our prize draw will win a £50 gift card, and have their memory included in our very own time capsule! To enter, all you need to do is send us your memories or photos of the store during May (more info on how to enter and the full terms and conditions can be found here).

So, what are your fondest memories of Boswells?

Permalink
29th April 2018

Celebrating 280 Years of Boswells of Oxford

Celebrating 280 Years of Boswells of Oxford


In celebration of our 280th year, we’ve been exploring our archives, digging through old photos, and marvelling at all of the changes the store has witnessed over the course of its long and illustrious life. So, let us take you back in time through our archives, and show you a little of our history…

Read on to discover our story, or choose from one of the below links to find out about a particular era of Boswells history!

 

1738-1845

1846-1861

   1862-1890  

1890-1927

1928-1991

1992-2018

 

Celebrating Boswells

Key Dates 

 

Boswells' Beginnings (1738-1845)

Old Trunk Image
A trunk manufactured by F. Boswell, date unknown.

In 1738 Francis Boswell opened a trunk and portmanteau (luggage) shop at 50 Cornmarket Street, Oxford (where Clarks Shoes now is). He might have imagined that his small family business, making cases and leather goods for the people of Oxford, would offer him a comfortable enough living, and a stable inheritance for his son. It seems doubtful that he would have had any notion that Boswells would grow to what it is today.

We’re extremely proud to have kept the Boswells tradition of selling luggage going continuously for 280 years, and we hope that Francis Boswell would approve of the skilled craftmanship of the Samsonite and American Tourister cases we sell today!

In the 18th century it was quite common for children to learn their family trade, and so Francis’s eldest son, Henry, was taught how to make luggage—and very fine luggage we understand too! And so Boswells, and the skills of the trade, passed from one generation to the next. And the next…

Soon, Francis Boswells’ small start-up had become a well reputed family business, spanning generations. 

The Eighteenth Century (1846-1861)

Charlotte Boswell Advert 
An advert for Charlotte Boswell's shop at 48 Cornmarket Street, 1846.

By 1846 the 4th generation of the Boswell family inherited the family business, with three of the children each taking on a different speciality. The eldest son, Francis, inherited his father’s trunk making shop at 50 Cornmarket Street, and his sister Charlotte took on 48 Cornmarket Street. Charlotte became a cooper and turner, specialising in wood turning. Henry Boswell, the youngest of the family, moved part of the business from 48 Cornmarket St to 2 George Street, and worked as a cabinet maker and upholsterer.

Francis Boswell married a woman named Jane, and together they raised 6 little Boswells above the shop. They were to be the 5th and final generation of the Boswell family to take on the business.

Henry Boswell (1862-1890)


Boswells 1870 Image

Boswells in about 1865-70. We believe the men standing outside the shop may have been Henry Boswell and his employees. 
 


 When the business finally passed to the young Henry Boswell in 1862, the company name changed from F. Boswell to H. Boswell (and officially remains H. Boswell & Co. to this day). Henry Boswell was an ambitious man. He wasn't afraid to make changes to his great, great grandfather's company, and was a keen to modernise and grow the business. 

Around 1871, Boswells expanded into 49 Cornmarket Street, adding hosiery to its bag of tricks. In 1874 Henry rebuilt 47-51 Cornmarket Street entirely, and the buildings that are there today are the product of his vision and enterprise. Nice work Henry Boswell (we particularly like the little turret on the end)!

47-51 Cornmarket St in 2018 Image

47-50 Cornmarket Street today. The building was commissioned by Henry Boswell in about 1874.
Henry Boswell was also an Oxford graduate, specialising in a type of biology called bryology—the study of mosses. He wrote and published a number of articles on the subject, while somehow also running a successful business. Oxford Botanic Gardens still look after his collection of mosses, which is a rather lovely continuation of his work. 

Henry and his wife, Catherine, didn't have any children, and so the company passed to Arthur Pearson in 1890. While 152 years and 5 generations of Boswell family involvement had come to an end, this was the beginning of several generations of Pearsons who would take care of the company, and keep its long-standing family outlook alive and well, right into the 21st century. 

Enter the Pearsons (1890-1927)

Pearsons, date unknown image

Pearson & Co at 31 Cornmarket Street. Date unknown.

Arthur Pearson was a local business owner and pharmacist. He ran The Oxford Drug Company at 1 Broad Street, and had recently purchased Lowe & Co. Ironmongers at 31 Cornmarket Street. It seems that H. Boswell & Co. had such a good reputation locally that Boswells proudly kept its name. And here we still are!

Around 1913 The Oxford Drug Company (which is still Boswells’ Pharmacy) moved to 31 Cornmarket Street. Today this part of the shop is our Accessories and Games Departments, but 31 Cornmarket Street was a separate shop unit until the 1950s. The Cornmarket entrance to Boswells is the most historic part of the building, and its history is what helps create its “Tardis-like” illusion of being the frontage to something much smaller than it is (we do like to keep our customers pleasantly surprised!)

City Wall, Martyrs Tower Image

One of the few remaining parts of Oxford's city walls, Martyr's Tower. View from Boswells.

This older portion of Boswells is where the old city walls and moat once ran. We’re told that Cornmarket Street used to be called Northgate Street, because it was the Northern entrance to Oxford through the medieval city walls. Behind the store, hidden, we have lovely view of one of the few remaining parts of the city walls, "Martyrs Tower."

Apparently, when our basement was first dug out (we think around 1912/13) some remaining parts of the city walls were excavated. Unfortunately, these parts of the wall had been holding up St Michael’s church’s graveyard for hundreds of years, and when portions of the wall were removed, skeletons came tumbling into what is now Boswells Cookshop Department! We’re assured that these were swiftly removed and re-buried at St Michael’s…

 

The Move to Broad Street (1928-1991)

Boswells House Drawing Image

The original design for Boswells House, 1920s.

In the 1920s plans began to move Boswells to a new building on Broad Street. By the time ground was broken on the new site, it was Arthur Pearson’s son, Arthur Hearne Pearson, who was running things. In order to make way for the new Boswell House at 1-4 Broad Street, the existing buildings on the spot were demolished, including the dilapidated former home of the celebrated poet W.B. Yeats, and the end of the street was widened.

Boswells moved into its new home between 1928-29. When we revamped the 2nd floor in 2015, we discovered that some of the walls had been made from straw, which we can only put down to depression era resourcefulness! The builders had great trouble removing these, and it turns out that Straw is actually a very strong and stubborn building material!

Boswells 1960s Image

Boswells, late 1960s-early 1970s.

Boswells, having always been a company to embrace change—perhaps the secret to long life—continued to adapt, and in the 1950s The Oxford Drug Company and Boswells House were united by a passage, to form the building as it now is.

The store operated as a sort of arcade until the 1960s, when Tony and Christopher Pearson (the sons of Arthur Hearne Pearson) took on the company. This generation of Pearson's brought the departments together in a new way, forming the store we now know and love.

Many of our staff still fondly recall Tony Pearson handing out the wages in person, and stopping to chat with staff and customers alike. Its fair to say that as Boswells has grown and expanded, so has the Boswells family, and the staff of Boswells really are a big family, many of which have worked here for a decade or two.

Into the 21st Century (1992-2018)

Tea Room

Boswells 1738 Tea Room on the day of its launch, November 2015.

In the early 1990s, just over 100 years after Boswells had passed into the Pearson family, Jonathan and Sarah Pearson (cousins) took the helm, modernising things somewhat, but also retaining that old Boswells charm that has seen us through the centuries.

And, of course, we’ve not been idle since. We added a website in 2014, www.boswells.co.uk, our popular 1738 Room in 2015 and added our Broad Street Café this March. 

The company has been in the Pearson family now for 4 generations; that's 128 years, and still going strong!

Celebrating Boswells

Boswells Staff Photo 2016 Image

Some of the wonderful staff of Boswells on International Women's Day, 2016.

 

It’s probably fair to say, that in some ways we aren’t quite your typical old department store. We think that the thing that has become traditional about Boswells is not necessarily the building or what we sell, but Boswells itself. It's been passed from generation to generation of owners for 280 years, but it has also been passed down through generations of customers and employees. We proudly serve the community around us, knowing that it's the people of Oxford that have made our 280 years so special.

In that spirit, we welcome you to celebrate our 280th year with us! We’d love to hear your memories of the store! We’re offering you a chance to win a £50 gift voucher and for your memory to be included in our time capsule in our competition! Simply send us your memories or photos of the store this May to enter (more info here).

We’ll also be sharing some more treasures from our archives throughout the year, along with our staff’s recollections of their time here. Keep your eyes peeled for news of exciting 280th year celebrations throughout 2018!

Key Dates in Boswells' History

  • 1738 - Francis Boswell opens his trunk making shop on Cornmarket Street.
  • 1840s - The 4th generation of the Boswell family starts to branch out and take on new skills. Francis Boswell runs his great grandfather's original trunk making shop, while his sister Charlotte is running the shop 2 doors down as a cooper and turner. The youngest of the siblings, Henry, is a cabinet maker on George Street.
  • 1860s - Henry Boswell inherits Boswells. He is the 5th and final Boswell to own the company.
  • 1870s - Henry Boswell expands his shop into 49 Cornmarket Street, and after a few years rebuilds 47-51 Cornmarket Street. The building is still there today. 
  • 1890s - Henry Boswell has no heirs, and so Boswells passes to Arthur Pearson, who also owns the Oxford Drug Company, as well as an iron monger's shop, Lowe & Co.
  • 1910s - The Oxford Drug Company moves from 1 Broad Street to 31 Cornmarket Street (previously Lowe & Co.). When excavating the basement, parts of the old city walls are unearthed, along with medieval artefacts in what was once the city moat. Skeletons from St Michael's graveyard fall through into the basement during the excavation, and are reburied. 
  • 1920s - Arthur Hearne Pearson inherits the company. Boswells moves to its new home in Boswells House at 1-4 Broad Street, where it is today.
  • 1950s - A connecting passage is constructed, finally joining The Oxford Drug Company to the rest of Boswell House. 
  • 1960s - Tony and Christopher Pearson run the store, transforming it from being an arcade of departments into a more fully unified department store. 
  • 1990s - Jonathan and Sarah Pearson join Boswells. The building and technology are modernised, preparing Boswells for the new millennium. 
  • 2010s - Boswells opens its first fully trading website, its 1738 Tea Room and the Broad Street cafe. 
Permalink
18th April 2018

Discover this Great New Game, Bears vs Babies!

Discover this Great New Game, Bears vs Babies!

“It's all about building amazing monsters, eating delicious babies and destroying the competition!” bearsvsbabies.com

Bears vs BabiesFrom the fantastically furry box to the amazing card artwork Bears Vs Babies is very much a part of the Exploding Kittens universe – random and raucous fun that’s open to everyone.

If you’re a first-time player, you can start by using the brilliant step by step tutorial to guide you through the process of building your own monsters ready to battle against one of the three baby armies.

Bears vs BabiesOnce you’ve got the hang on the basics more advanced cards are introduced raising the strategy, and hilarity, contained within. Do you focus on the Land army or do you make sure you can battle Sea and Air as well? Do you conceal your monster identity with a ninja mask ready to strike? when should you use the powerful, yet highly vulnerable, rainbow bear heads?

If all of this sounds just a little silly, it most definitely is, but that’s where the fun lies. Imagine the world where poor defenceless monsters are overrun by provoked armies of babies without laughing out loud and you’re doing better than any of my family did over the weekend.

I would highly recommend this game to everyone who’s after having a good chuckle whilst playing a family-friendly, highly-strategic (if utterly bizarre) party game.

Permalink
27th February 2018

Top Ideas for Planning the Perfect Mother's Day

Top Ideas for Planning the Perfect Mother's Day

Our mums are amazing people, well deserving of a special day where we recognise all the incredible things they’ve done for us. Finding the perfect way to thank the person that brought you into the world, and has run around tirelessly (or in many cases, tiredly) after you ever since, is not the easiest task. Where to even begin?

Mother’s Day is all about Mum, so the most important thing to consider here is what her interests are—what would she like to do? What does she enjoy? Once you’ve figured out this part, the rest should be much, much easier. With that in mind, we’ve put together a few suggestions to help get you on your way to making Mother’s Day really special.

Take in a Little Culture

If your mum is really into music, history or the arts, why not treat her to a day filled with cultural delights? One of the truly great things about Oxford is that it has no shortage of amazing things to see and do, even if you know the city well.

Make a trip to one of the city’s fantastic, free museums and take in the paintings at the Ashmolean, the dinosaurs at Oxford University Museum of Natural History, or the shrunken heads at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Or maybe check out a little local history at the Museum of Oxford or Oxford Town Hall. If you both already know these places well, then why not try one of the latest exhibitions? There are tonnes to choose from, many of which won’t even cost you a penny!

Ashmolean Museum

Here are a few that are on Sunday 11th March

  • Archaeological Finds on the Berkshire DownsAshmolean Museum 10am-5pm (free)

If your mum loves a little music, why not check out the live jazz and swing trio on the 11th March at The Isis Farmhouse? For some beautiful choral music, Exeter College Chapel has Vox Chamber Choir that same evening. The ever-wonderful Holywell Music Room also has the Marman String Quartet playing Beethoven and Schubert over a little coffee the morning of the 11th, followed by Kitty McFarlane singing folk that evening. It all sounds extraordinary to us!

And, finally, taking in a little culture can be as straight forward as treating your mum to a trip to the cinema…her choice of film, of course! Just sit back, and let the silver screen take you away somewhere incredible.

Try Something New

Guitar ImagePerhaps your mum is active and adventurous, or maybe just yearning to learn a new skill. There are absolutely tonnes of lessons and activities available to try in and around Oxford, which could be a great way to treat your mum to something a bit different.

There are classes and workshops aplenty in this fair city, so there’s probably one out there to suit. This Mothering Sunday, for example, Oxford Playhouse are hosting their popular 40+ Acting Company. Or perhaps Mum longs to learn a language, or a musical instrument, so why not get her enrolled on that course she’s always wanted to take?

For those with a mum who’s shown an interest in yoga, for instance, you could take her along to her first session, and give her the courage she needs to try something new! There are tonnes of yoga classes out there to choose from, so there’s likely to be one near you.

Hot Air Balloon Image

If your mum has always wanted to take a hot air balloon trip, go rock climbing or learn how to ride a horse (or something else wonderfully exciting), but has never had the opportunity, this could be just the thing to make her day. Find out what sort of activities are on offer near you, and an adventurous, adrenaline fuelled Mother’s Day may well be on the cards!

Take a Trip

Blenheim Palace Image

There’s tons of amazing places within easy reach of Oxford, and so there’s bound to be one that would make a great day trip for you and your mum! Just remember to think about what Mum is interested in, and tailor your choices to that!

If you’d prefer not to have to go too far away, luckily Oxfordshire is full of great places to head off to for a day out. This leafy county boasts a wide variety of attractions, from Blenheim Palace in Woodstock to Crocodiles of the World in Brize Norton. For animal lovers there’s Cotswolds Wildlife Park and Millets Farm Falconry Centre, and Bicester Village is pure shopping heaven for the fashionable mum. Or if your mum has a very specific interest or hobby, perhaps something like a trip to Didcot Railway Centre, or a tour of Hook Norton’s historic brewery, would be just the thing to make her smile?

If you’d prefer to venture further afield, though, there are tons of exciting places to choose from within a relative stones throw, such as London, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick, Winchester and Bath.

Spoil Mum Rotten

Pampering ImageIf your mum loves to be pampered, make this a day for her to put her feet up and just relax while you take care of everything. There are lots of ways to go about doing this, so make sure you plan ahead!

Start Mum’s day with breakfast in bed. Cook up a storm with something she loves, like a full English or a continental breakfast, and surprise her. Or, if she prefers her breakfasts to be unsurprising, how about a tea party or a picnic later in the day? And don’t worry, there’s no need to let the chilly Winter weather ruin your plans, improvising a picnic on the living room floor could be kinda fun!

Afternoon Tea Image

If you really want to help out, and let her relax for the day, find out if your mum has any chores or tasks that need completing on Mother's Day, and then take them off her hands by doing them for her…yes, all of them!

Alternatively, you could take Mum out for a special treat such as a trip to a spa, or for a special Mother’s Day lunch. Afternoon tea can be a fantastic way to make your mum feel appreciated…and also full of cake.

Pop into our 1738 Tea Room to try our Traditional Afternoon Tea for Two, or if you’re feeling especially extravagant, we definitely recommend a Sparkling Wine Afternoon Tea for Two. Be sure to book ahead on 01865 255531 to make sure we have space for everyone!

And that’s really all there is to it! Figure out how Mum would like to spend her day, and then make it one she’s bound to remember!

Permalink
15th February 2018

How to Make a Travel Itinerary

How to Make a Travel Itinerary

A travel itinerary is like a small database which outlines all of the elements of your trip, from hotel stops to destinations. Even though it can feel overwhelming and time consuming, it's quite easy to make one.

The advantages of having a travel itinerary for you trip are that it actually saves you money and time, as well as avoiding a lot of stress. Just imagine not finding any connecting flights to your dream destination, or no available accommodation once you get there… An itinerary can help prevent problems like these from spoiling your trip.

 Hiking Image

Plan

It’s important for you to decide how you’d like to spend your time from the outset. Are you an outdoor person? Will you want to visit museums and other cultural attractions? What will you want to do for nights out, and for food?

Take all of these factors into account and then create a list of everything you want to see and do on your trip. The internet will be your best friend when making a travel itinerary, so start using it now to research your destination. Check out things such as tourist attractions and activities, local holidays, events and markets. Don’t forget to also look for hidden gems, which don’t always make it into the tourist guides!

Based on how much money and time you have, now you can figure out where you’ll be staying and how to get there. You can either choose to stay in a 5-star hotel, or, if you’re feeling more adventurous and frugal, go couch surfing and backpacking! Setting a budget from the start will help you to figure out where you want to stay.

When planning out your holiday, it’s also a good idea to remember to check what to expect from the weather in advance. Will you need gloves, umbrellas, or swimming shorts? If it's likely to be very hot you may want to read up on the best ways to cope with the heat first. Keep your budget in mind at all times too, as you don’t want to plan activities for a whole week just to find out you’re out of money by day 3 once you’re there!

 Travelling Image

Organise

Once you have all these ideas written into a list, a great next step is to put them in order of location and priority. It’s much easier, and faster, to visit places in the same area then move on to the next one, rather than going back and forth randomly.

Make sure you allocate enough time for each activity. For example, it might take a whole day to explore a big museum. Consulting online forums and reviews from other travellers is also a good idea when deciding what to see and do.

If you want to get really organised and be prepared, spend time researching your options and always have a plan B. In terms of transport, keep in mind that planes save you the most time, however they can be expensive. To stay within your budget, you can look into trains, boats and rental cars. These can be more time consuming, but also way more adventurous, and a great way to see more of where you’re visiting.

A travel insurance policy can cover you against things such as bad weather, trip delays, lost or stolen luggage, emergency transportation, evacuation and medical problems, so it’s always a good idea to travel with an insurance plan in place. The level of cover needed for your trip will depend entirely on your needs, where you’re going and what activities you’ll be doing while you’re away.

 Notebook Planning Image

Store Your Itinerary

There’s a variety of mobile apps you can download to help you with your travel itinerary and stay organised. It’s very important that you have a hard copy of your itinerary first, rather than relying only on your phone. For this reason we would recommend drafting your itinerary on paper before adding it to an app.

These websites and apps make it much easier to store, sort and share your lists. Some of them even go the extra mile by automatically including weather and flight updates, maps, directions, activity suggestions and many more useful features. Some of the top apps of this kind are Tripit.com, TripCase.com, TripHobo.com and Google’s My Maps app. Again, make sure you have a plan B – your hard copy itinerary written in a notebook or journal!

Finally, what you need to do is add essential travel information to your itinerary: hotel reservations, rental car confirmations, important information for tours, trains and buses, and last but not least: information that you don’t want to have to use. This includes your home address, emergency contact details, addresses and phone numbers of your home country’s embassies, consulates etc. Read our blog on travel security for a bit more information on how to plan for a safe trip.

 Train Image

Relax!

All in all, flexible itineraries tend to be the best ones. Don’t try to micromanage every hour of your holiday, and it’s often good to leave an extra day for the unexpected. It’s very likely that you’ll discover some hidden attraction on the way, plus your trip will be very rewarding if you’re more laid back about it!

Some would argue that creating a travel itinerary is the most important step of a journey. Even though it’s not the easiest thing to do, planning doesn’t have to be a painstaking process either. You can learn to have fun while you plan, and now that you’ve learned how to make an itinerary, you can use the same template for all your future adventures. Happy packing!

Permalink
12th February 2018

February Half Term Activities in Oxfordshire

February Half Term Activities in Oxfordshire

We know how difficult it can be keeping the kids entertained during the holidays, so we’ve put together a list of our favourite Oxford activities that both kids and adults will love.

Crocodiles of the World

Here in Oxfordshire we’re very lucky to have the United Kingdom’s only Crocodile zoo. Just a short drive outside of the city is your chance to get up close with 14 different species of crocodiles, alligators and caimans from around the world.

Crocodiles of the World not only gives you the chance to view crocodiles swimming underwater, but there are also opportunities to feed and handle some of the worlds most feared predators. This is sure to be an amazing day out for the whole family, and not one that will be forgotten any time soon.

http://www.crocodilesoftheworld.co.uk/

The Ashmolean MuseumAshmolean Museum

One of our favourite Oxford museums, the Ashmolean has an extensive range of collections from across the ages, exploring art and archaeology. You can learn about ancient Egypt in one room, and then have a look at Renaissance Italian art in another.

On the 14th and 15th February the Ashmolean are hosting a Chinese New Year Party between 1-4pm, which is not to be missed. Apart from being the oldest museum in the World, one of the amazing things about the Ashmolean is that it’s free to visit (excluding some exhibitions).

www.ashmolean.org

(Image Credit)

The Story Museum

The Story Museum is always a fun place to visit, with loads to see and do for the whole family, as well as having a great little shop and café. The Story Museum gets even more exciting during the school holidays.

This half term, along with all the usual fun and educational activities that are going on, there are loads of extras including The Science of Magic and a book signing with author Lauren Child. 

http://www.storymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/

The Pitt Rivers Museum

Another firm Oxford favourite, the Pitt Rivers museum is just as well known for its shrunken heads as it is for its amazing educational programme of events. From learning about the freezing Siberian regions to seeing 17th century masks worn by actors in Japanese Noh dramas, there is always something exciting to see and do at the Pitt Rivers Museum.

There are all sorts of family trails that you can download or pick up when you visit to guide you and your family around the museum collections. There's also object handling sessions on Saturdays between 11am and 1pm, to get a little closer to some of the fascinating items on display. 

www.prm.ox.ac.uk/

Cotswold Wildlife Park

Cotswold Wildlife Park

Rhinos, giraffes, meerkats and penguins might not be what you would usually expect to find in the Oxfordshire countryside, but just outside Burford you will find all of these exotic animals, and many more, at the Cotswold Wildlife Park. With a huge range of animals spread out in the beautiful Cotswold gardens, this is the perfect place to spend the day for both young and old.

With restaurants and cafes on site as well as a great adventure playground, you really can spend the whole day exploring the Cotswold Wildlife Park.

www.cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk

(Image Credits)

Oxford Castle Unlocked

The Oxford Castle is a must for anyone visiting Oxford; you can explore the history in the Castle and Crypt, you can climb the mound or you can simply relax in one of the many restaurants. The Oxford Castle Unlocked experience is a great way to learn, have fun and meet some interesting characters this half term. 

https://www.oxfordcastleunlocked.co.uk/

Didcot Railway Centre

Didcot Railway Centre ImageThe Didcot Railway Centre is a great place for visitors of a wide range of ages, after all you're never too young or too old to enjoy a ride on a steam engine. Located right by Didcot station, the Railway Centre is easy to get to, and easy to find. The Centre will be running their usual weekend Steam Days this half term, with two different lines open to take a trip along, and an impressive collection of locomotives and coaches to take a peek at. There should be plenty to keep the family occupied here, and you could also pick up a quiz and puzzle sheet for the kids.

During half term they're open on Wednesday 14th Feb for an extra Steam Day, so there's no need to miss out if your half term weekends are starting to look a little busy with all of the other exciting activities taking place.

http://www.didcotrailwaycentre.org.uk/

(Image Credits)

Millets Farm Centre

Located just a short drive out of Oxford, Millets Farm Centre is another family favourite. At its falconry centre, for example, you get a great chance to see over 80 different kinds of birds of prey and they have some wonderful flying demonstrations and hands on experiences that are sure to make this a fun day out for all. At the Millets Farm Zoo you can go say hello to farmyard favourites such as cows, pigs, sheep and horses, not to mention they have some rather special alpacas too! While you're there why not also check out the Meerkat Experience and the farm shop and garden centre. 

This half term there are plenty of great activities going on at Millets Farm Centre for the kids get stuck into, such as the Children's Jewellery Making Workshop and a magic show.

http://www.milletsfarmcentre.com/

Oxford PlayhouseOxford Playhouse

Currently showing at the Oxford Playhouse is The Little Match Girl (and other happier tales), which is inspired by the tales of Hans Christian Anderson.

Hurry though, performances end on 17th February, and tickets are selling very fast!

https://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/

(Image Credit) 

If you can think of any more great Oxford activities that we've missed, let us know!

Permalink
« Previous | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | Next »