Considering how close we live to Oxford, we really are rather infrequent visitors to our famous county city. Any excursions have normally involved driving along the A34 to the Park and Ride which may or may not be clogged up with traffic. Towards the end of last year a new Park and Ride service was started from Bicester and when I was asked if I’d like to explore all that Boswell & Co Oxford has to offer it seemed like the perfect time to for try out this new bus service too.
The bus takes around half hour and costs £5.20 for an adult return ticket, parking is free and the buses run pretty much every 15 minutes. A stress free way of getting into the city and a great way to start off my trip to Boswell & Co Oxford. Iona from Redpeffer was staying with me and joined me on the trip, she hadn’t been to Oxford for 20 odd years, so was able to relive her student days too.
The Park and Ride buses stop almost immediately outside Boswell & Co, which has been a landmark on the streets of Oxford since 1738 and is still a fully independent family run department store. The store has been in its current location on Broad Street since 1929.
It reminded me very much of a similar store that I often visited in Farnham as a child with my Mum. A real tardis of a shop, with new delights around every corner and floor. Boswell & Co has a feeling of the way shopping used to be, lots of staff around to help, interesting displays and a cosy feel to the place. But don’t take that to mean it’s stuck in the past, it really isn’t. It made such a refreshing change to walk into a department store with something different to offer.
The Beauty department covers perfumes, make up etc but also has the most delightful display of Bomb Cosmetics soaps, available at affordable prices.
I thought they’d make lovely gifts and for £2.49 a slice, a real bargain too. I was also taken by the handbags in the Accessories department, you know me! Along with handbags, there were a good selection of rucksacks, umbrellas and travel bags.
Iona was busy checking out the variety of pen knives for presents and we both marvelled over the board game selections. I can’t wait until Monkey is old enough to play and enjoy Ticket to Ride.
The Cooking and Dining department is a real Aladdin’s cave, offering everything you could possibly need. I was very close to buying some great cat themed oven gloves with silicon mitts. May have to go back for those.
I’ve been wanting to update our bedding for a while and found a great Newport Creek Kingsize Duvet set for £34.99 in the Home Goods department which I thought was rather reasonably priced. The colours and pattern would work well with my bedroom, so that was me sold.
Now as a parent to a 6 year old, I spend a lot of time looking at toys and I have to say, that both Iona and I were blown away by the Toy department in Boswell & Co Oxford. In fact the Lego section is particularly impressive and we were spoilt for choice. After considerable deliberation I decided on a Lego Creator set for Monkey with options to build a Dragon, Snake and Scorpion. The set was available for £12.99, and there were a number of other sets on special offer.
The staff were attentive, and available. So often you walk into large shops these days and struggle to find anyone to help or serve.
Once we’d made our purchases we decided that it really would be rude not to try out the recently opened 1738 Tea Room & Cafe.
The Tea Room offers waitress service in a bright, uncluttered area and provides a great opportunity to relax and unwind. We were there mid morning, and the selection of cakes on display were truly calling this cakeoholic. I settled on a slice of Salted Caramel cake and Iona chose the cheesecake, both were served with Cappuccino and Hot Chocolate. The cakes were devine and I know I’ll be taking Daddy P along one Sunday soon.
Although we didn’t get to try out the lunchtime menu I did notice that children’s sandwiches are available. I really liked the feeling of space within the Tea Room, which can be especially important when you are accompanied by children. Monkey and I are planning a trip to Oxford for half term, and the 1738 Tea Room will make an excellent lunch time choice for us.
For shop opening times and menu options, visit the Boswells & Co Oxford website, you can also order online if needed. If you are looking for a present, and something a little different then it’s certainly worth popping in for a bit of inspiration at affordable prices.
disclaimer: I was given a gift voucher to spend in store in exchange for an honest review.