I love anything and everything with a bit of quirkiness to it.
Therefore, whilst searching for somewhere a little bit different to celebrate my birthday, I remembered hearing about a place, which takes you ‘down the rabbit hole’ and into an eccentric bar, where not drinking out of a teacup, tankard or jar sets you apart from the rest.
The Mad Hatter on Iffley Road, Oxford is the epitome of quirk.
On arrival, we were greeted by a mysterious front door coated in ‘grass’, a golden mirror and a black and white ‘path’ leading towards a miniature door. Unfortunately, there was no potion to shrink us down small enough to squeeze through the door, so instead, we pushed on the grass-covered intercom and awaited instruction on how to enter.
The intercom came alive and we were asked a riddle to gain access – ‘what is white, black and Asian?’ (write your answers in the comment box below if you know it). Luckily for me (I’m awful at riddles), I had a clever bunch of friends with me and before we knew it, we were lounging on a regal chaise lounge with a teacup of bubbles in hand.
Boasting a crimson red and gold dabbled colour scheme, huge, rustic chests, which were used as tables and a bar stocked to the brim with unique tipples and cocktail concoctions, The Mad Hatter cleverly captures the weird and wonderful illusion, which is so prominent in Alice and Wonderland yet, in bar form.
As there were more than ten of us, we had to choose a chapter from their ‘tea party packages’ prior to our arrival. The Mad Hatter himself, kindly emailed me over the menu, which included themed names such as, ‘Down the Rabbit Hole, ‘Advice from a Caterpillar’ and ‘Who Stole the Tarts’.
Most of these packages included a mixture of prosecco and/or champagne, giant cocktail teacups as well as, shots and ranged from £150 for ten guests to a whopping £500 for thirty guests (although split between everyone, this isn’t toooo extortionate and is perfect for a special occasion).
We ended our evening at The Mad Hatter in true style – shooting tequila at the bar whilst donning some fabulous sombreros.
The Mad Hatter is wacky, extravagant and like no other and I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves a dose of eccentricity before or on a night out.
Have you ever been to The Mad Hatter in Oxford? Let me know what you thought by commenting, Facebooking or Tweeting me :)!
After a fabulously flamboyant morning of watching the Gay Pride Parade march through Oxford Street, London in all its extravagant glory, we headed for, what I have come to coin, ‘linner’ (lunch/dinner).
I had been enticed by Bourne and Hollingsworth’s brunch, after reading about it’s cute decor and bottomless belinnis on The Londoner. After gawping at photos of its airy greenhouse-esque dining area, wacky mish mash of ornate chairs, an abundance of hanging baskets overflowing with exotic foliage and shabby chic garden furnishings, I was on their website booking my Mum, Sister and I a table…
Once we’d weaved our way through the maze, which is Farringdon (in reality, our navigational skills were just horrendous), we arrived at B & H Buildings, ravenous and raring to eat.
We were lead through to a light fresh room, dotted with lashings of tropical colour. The clinical white walls were broken up with vibrant green ivy, copious amounts of rustic hanging baskets, which were sprouting colourful vegetation and eccentric floral patterned, squishy armchairs.
Unfortunately, we weren’t sat in the greenhouse however, we did have a great, leafy view of it…
After ordering an obligatory round of their bottomless bellinis, we were ready to get down to business.
From French toast and drop scones to crispy potato hash and good ol’ full English breakfast, B&H offer up a fab selection of tempting brunch delights.
Fancying something rather sweet and stodgy, I went for a sinfully indulgent combo of french toast, streaky bacon and maple syrup (there is a very thick piece of French toast under there… I promise!!)
My Mum went for the more traditional eggs Florentine…
Whilst my sister opted for the not so traditional, crispy potato hash topped with braised beef, HP Hollandaise and crispy shallots…
Due to the restaurant being so popular, we were only able to get a table right at the end of service (at 3.45pm) so ensure you book well in advance to secure a table at a time, which best suits you.
Oxford is renowned for its ancient beauty. However, when the sun begins to shine, the flowers start to blossom and the tourists frolic to the riverside by the bucket-load, the city acquires an even more majestic glow than usual.
With a treasure trove of exciting sites and activities out there to be uncovered, what are you waiting for? Grab your sandals, a picnic and, of course, a bottle of Pimms and check out my must see sights in Oxford this summer:
Explore the Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens in Oxford display the most diverse range of plants in the world. Thus, this idyllic patch of vibrant flower beds, lily ponds, woodlands, orchards and glasshouses are a must-mooch whilst in Oxford.
Punting is iconic to Oxford. Therefore, jumping in one of these rustic, wooden boats this summer, is a no-brainer. Pack yourself a picnic, a bottle of prosecco and (if you can) a muscly man who is willing to do the punting, and you’re on to a winner of an afternoon…
Wander around the University’s grounds
As expected, the Oxford University grounds are simply stunning. Whether you are wandering around its impressive colleges and libraries or its picturesque gardens and parks, the University will transport you to, what feels like, a scene in Harry Potter.
Uncover the Covered Market
Selling everything from flowers, leather and souvenirs to cookies, milkshakes and pies, Oxford’s Covered Market has plenty of shops and eateries to keep you occupied.
Make sure you check out Moo-Moo’s milkshake bar. Imagine your favourite chocolate bars, all blended into a milkshake… heaven.
Quench your thirst with a cocktail at Varsity’s rooftop bar
Lychee and chilli sling. That is all…
Watch an open-air play
Rent a bike
Feel like a local for the day. Rent a bike and see how many of these must-see sites you can tick off.
Watch a film under the stars
You don’t have to go as far as London to watch a film under the stars… thanks to Cult Screens, you can now watch your favourite films at different, quirky outdoor locations across the city. From the Castle to the Pitt Rivers museum, pull up a beanbag, slump back with a cool, crisp beer and enjoy…