My Winter Escape to the Country Side

Anyone living in London knows (or will soon learn) the importance of balancing your fast-paced city life with something else to maintain sanity. No wonder many Londoners retire to the country side over weekends – I can’t think of any better way of disconnecting from the city’s buzz, than with a home-made meal accompanied by a full-bodied red wine, a thrilling book and a real fireplace.

That’s how I had imagined the weekends in the english country side – and this couldn’t have gotten any closer to my reality.

My first visit to the english country side was on the snowiest day of the year. My destination? Ramsden – a tiny little village in Oxfordshire. Attracted by their award-winning public house, The Royal Oak, we drove one and a half hours towards the north-west from London.

The land was covered in a sugar white coat of fresh snow – turning the otherwise common surroundings into a fairy tale land. As soon as we got off the highway, roads became narrower, icy, less trafficked and, consequently, more adventurous.

Sheep in Oxfordshire, UK

Sheep in Oxfordshire, UK

Sheep were staring at us as we attempted not to lose traction in one of the road’s many curves.

Ramsden, Oxfordshire, UK

Ramsden, Oxfordshire, UK

We did arrive at Ramsden, eventually. The village is a beautiful Cotswold village tucked away off the beaten track. It might not be large, but it has class and style. Every house is built individually. No two homes are the same, but all of them share something in common – the use of stone in construction.

Ramsden, Oxfordshire, UK

The Royal Oak is a popular meeting place for locals, and an attraction for the occasional strangers like us – the ones that are willing to drive hundreds of km for fantastic food and genuine beers and wine (including rare beers from independent breweries!).

The chef uses local suppliers whenever possible, which also allows them to have fantastic daily specials. The pheasant – my order – was incredibly juicy and tender; and was dressed with an orange-infused gravy that complimented its taste perfectly. Although plates were of reasonable size (and you’re probably ok with one), we didn’t drive all this way to not order one of my favorite deserts – red fruit crumble.

Brunch at the Royal Oak (Ramsden Village, Oxfordshire)

Brunch at the Royal Oak (Ramsden Village, Oxfordshire)

With our tummies full, we took a short walk around Ramsden, visiting their church and war memorial, but soon felt our frozen feet and headed back home into our noisy (but heated) flats. It was a great way to experience a little adventure, inhale fresh air and slow the otherwise hectic pace.

Important Information:

Have you been to the English country side? How do you escape from the city?

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9 thoughts on “My Winter Escape to the Country Side

  1. Oxfordshire is lovely, great to hear that you got to enjoy some of it. There are many magical villages scattered all around the UK.

    You did well to drive like you did. Us Brits are notorious for struggling with any snow on the road.

    By the way, that crumble looks divine.

  2. Hi Kat,

    You are still living in my dream! I am so tired of the buzz in the city and the Beijing fog, but wherelse can I go?

    Miss you~~

    Liyun

  3. After our 18 month trip in Asia one of our missions was to see more of the English countryside especially as we live in London too.

    We went up to The Lake district last October and I can honestly say it was one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited. If you have not been, go! You will not be disappointed.

    Take care,
    Paul (globalhelpswap)

  4. Beautiful photos, looks like a lovely weekend! I grew up out in the country (in California, though) so now whenever I need a break from “city life” I always enjoy seeking respite at my parent’s house where there are cows mooing, pastures of golden grass, and blackberries to be picked on the side of a country road. 🙂

  5. French love to escape the city s well. When I lived in Nantes, we simply drove to the seaside, about 60 kilometers from the city. In Canada, we escape to small towns in Ontario, or even in NY State. Changing scenery is good once in a while!

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