Grace Carroll, our girl in London, takes a trip to Oxford with her brother, Jackson, for some old-fashioned fun. A regular contributor to The Style Notebook, Grace is a Toronto fashion writer who moved to London to “conquer the fashion world” and live with her rock star BF.

Hot weather and extra sweaty tubes have hit London—a getaway to the lovely English countryside is calling. I don’t really care that it’s only my brother Jackson’s second day in London. When I say it’s time to go, we go.

I’ve arranged for us to take a day trip to Oxford and visit my friend Neil, one half of Toronto’s fantastic duo, The Carps. Currently completing his last year at the prestigious university, he is a musician with style, looks and brains (p.s. girls, he’s single!). We take the Oxford Tube, a modern double-decker bus equipped with AC and WiFi for the 90-minute journey. Conveniently, it picks up and drops off passengers at a number of central London spots every 15 minutes and allows you to purchase tickets upon boarding. At £15 a pop per round trip, it’s one of my favourite ways to get out of the city on a whim.

Oxford is a quaint English town, filled with incredible old buildings, tiny cobbled roads and plenty of lush gardens. Keeping with tradition, we meet Neil upon arrival and head down to the river where he rents us a punting boat for one hour. Apparently a keenness for group participation does not run in the family, as Jackson and I both adamantly refuse to attempt to learn to “punt”. Which leaves poor Neil to push us around for the full hour whilst we sit back and relax, soaking in the sun and scenery. (Click to watch a video!)

Post-punt, we head to the secret rooftop patio of the Ashmolean Museum.

Sleek, modern and spacious, the terrace offers a breathtaking view that overlooks Oxford’s historical rooftops. We indulge in a traditional English afternoon tea, complete with mini sandwiches, cakes, scones, clotted cream and a spot of wonderfully fragrant Early Grey tea. Later we finish with three dirty martinis: two vodka, one gin. A very happy ending indeed!

Even though Jackson and I are both happy to return to London at the end of the day, I can’t help but look forward to our weekend ahead. We will be taking a trip down to the Isle of Wight to visit my boyfriend William’s family and celebrate his mother’s 55th birthday. Situated in the very south of England, the island’s coasts provide gorgeous pink, black and white sand beaches. The natural surroundings morph from typically English countryside to tropical Mediterranean coast to French Riviera as you venture from place to place. This will be the first time William’s family will be meeting a member of mine and I can’t wait!

Below, more pics from Oxford, then snaps from the family weekend at the Isle of Wight.

Grace on Ryde Beach in the Isle of Wight.

Jackson in the town of Ventnor, on the Isle of Wight.

Another view of Ventnor…

Grace with a cuppa in the kitchen of her boyfriend’s parents’ home.

Read more from Grace, and other stylish adventurers, in our Letter From…section!

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