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Eight Dooyoo-ers Go Mad In Oxford!
Oxford in General
Member Name: karenuk
Oxford in General
Date: 20/08/01, updated on 20/08/01 (126 review reads)
Advantages: good facilities, nice shops, lots of places to eat
Disadvantages: extortionate car park prices, aggressive beggars
Today, I went to Oxford for the day. It wasn’t an ordinary visit though. It was a Dooyoo day out!
The fifteen of us there includes some familiar Dooyoo names – I went along with my other half and two of our kids, then there were Linda (Linda01865) and Noel, Louise (Wulise) and Shane, Louise (Squiggles), Angus (angusreid) and Sherry, Karen (Wiggglypufff) and Paul, Kathryn (KathrynPenguin), and Ophelia (offy).
We were due to meet at 10am, but most of us were a bit later than that. We had our first problem trying to park. The car park near the Westgate Shopping Centre didn’t seem to be open, so we had to drive round looking for an alternative. Thankfully, there are several car parks in this area, convenient for the main part of the city.
We finally ended up in Worcester Street car park, only to find that parking for 6+ hours costs £12 (!!) most of the time, but being Sunday, it was “only” £7!! So I had to go on a little trek to find an open shop for change. There’s a nice delicatessen up the little street opposite the cinema, where I bought a baguette for £1.90 and went back to the car park, clutching pound coins.
We had arranged to meet at The Disney Store in Queen Street, which was easily found, thanks to Linda’s emailed map. It was only a few minutes away from the car park and on the way, we walked past an internet café and some lovely eating places. Unfortunately, we never did get into the Haagen-Dazs café. (Next time, eh, Kathryn??)
The Disney Store is situated in one of the main shopping areas of the city. After meeting up, we went into the shopping arcade next to it and had cups of tea in the restaurant in Allders.
The shop seemed much the same as any department store, with three floors with sections for menswear, ladieswear, childrenswear, household items, bedding, cosmetics, jewellery, accessories and so on – with access via lifts, stairs or escalators.
The restaurant was nice enough, spacious with pine tables. It cost £4.30 for a tea, a hot chocolate, a glass of milk and a coke.
After this, we walked all along the main shopping streets, heading for one of the few child-friendly pubs in Oxford. The shopping centre has such things as WHSmith, Carphone Warehouse, Clinton Cards, HSBC bank, Boots, Thorntons, etc.
It is pretty much the same as any city shopping centre in this aspect, but one thing we found surprising was the amount of beggars we encountered – and often aggressive ones. We had men approaching us with long spiels about needing money, one in the car park asking for parking tickets which had some time left on them, plus umpteen beggars in doorways and walking round. It was very unsettling and I found them quite intimidating.
This is not to suggest that Oxford is awful, far from it. It is very pretty, with lots of old buildings and lovely architecture. The streets were generally clean and it seemed to have everything you could want in a city (although we failed to find a beanie shop!).
It was quite a long walk to the pub, but not unpleasant. The pub itself (Head of the River) was perfect with long benches outside (although we needed two between us!) in a large garden area. It was next to the river, which provided a lovely view, although there were no railings on part of it, so you would have to keep an eye on young children.
You could also hire a small boat, £5 each for half an hour, for up to six people – but only a couple of us fancied it, so we didn’t get to try it out.
The pub inside was quite dark and there were no seats on the toilets, but it was perfect sitting outside. In fact, it was hard shifting some of us (!) but others were desperate for food, so we eventually made the long journey back through the shopping centre and into George Street.
We ate at Pizza Hut and despite the initial raised eyebrows at wanting
seats for FIFTEEN PEOPLE, we had a lovely meal there, staying for around two hours. (Separate opinion to follow!) A meal for us four cost just over £32.
Some had to retrieve their cars at 4pm, but the rest of us walked to Debenhams afterwards. This is similar to Allders, but has a glass lift (which is a bit scary and very fast!) and has posh orangey cups in the restaurant!! The assistants in the perfume and cosmetics department seemed rather snobby, but perhaps it was because a few of us were discussing Wigggly’s condom ops at the time!
The restaurant there was again large and nicely furnished, with round tables on two levels. This time, we had a hot chocolate (“chocolate supreme” for £1.30) and a tea (92p) to go with the great company and interesting conversation.
By then it was past 5pm and we all started to go. A quick look round showed that most of the shops had closed or were about to, but then again, it was a Sunday.
Overall, Oxford is a nice place and I wouldn’t mind going again, although the beggars might put me off a bit. My best memories of the day though are of the lovely people I met, who I hope to see again as soon as possible.
*Dedicated to Angus, Karen M, Kathryn, Linda, Louise, Louise R, Noel, Ophelia, Paul, Shane and Sherry. Thanks for a wonderful day :-) *