I would definitely recommend Oxford to you day trippers as it was lovely! Huge thanks to all the people who suggested shops, I would never ever have found them other wise!
Of course the most striking factor of the town for an urban inner city person like me is how many cyclists there are! I've never seen so many bikes in my whole life, not even in a bike shop! We arrived quite early at 9am after a slightly scary train journey where a conductor announced 'Would the owner of the unattended black suitcase in carriage F please claim it immediately or it will be removed from the train and destroyed' over and over again, while all us passengers looked at each other nervously! It was OK though and we got to Oxford in an hour, armed with my hand drawn map and lots of recommendations.
The town is SO pretty, loads of old architecture and trees, it just flows history and tradition. I can see why you wouldn't want to get round in a car. We went to Unicorn first and from your reviews I was expecting what we saw- a window into a very small shop but crammed to the rafters FULL of stuff! It looked like a cave and the window was a wall of clothes. I was excited to go in but like we found out, most places aren't open until 11. My Mom and I went to a cafe, of which there are loooads to choose from, and we kept seeing students in their graduation gowns, some even with fur round. You really get a sense of how academic the place is, especially as the streets are so calm and dignified, and so clean!
My Mom's friend was about to arrive so I went off to search out the other shops and then meet up for lunch. Another thing is the hoards of international students on trips wandering round in big groups. I was pleasantly surprised by Age Concern charity shop because it was stuffed with stock to rummage through. I wandered down Cowley Road but found the places I wanted to go weren't open yet so I carried on and looked in more charity shops, finding some sunglasses and the best Laura Ashley dress ever!
I waked back up the road into Bead Games which was a dressing up shop come vintage store with loads of second hand toys and even a huge range of pic'n'mix! I asked if I could take photos but the owner didn't really want me to, in the future I should stop being so polite and be sneaky! There were some original pieces and loads of extravagant tutu skirts and piles of glasses and bow ties. It was more theatrical wear than plain old fancy dress.
I walked back down the road the other way again as Reign Wear was now open. This is a usual vintage stuff but the shop has loads of stock compared to an average boutique and it's all beautifully set out on cushioned hangers in a bright, airy shop, which is always a bonus. Also their range of dresses were all wearable, clean and very cute, rather than having strange vintage stock that you couldn't imagine anyone looking great in like some places. I found a Laura Ashley dress in blue identical to the pink one I sold on eBay last week, weird! There was a lot of guys stuff too, all carefully labelled and set out.
The guy let me take photos so I used the chance and took loads to show. Speaking of him, there are a load of hot guys in Oxford! Maybe it was the feeling that they were all smart and refined but I saw lots with style too. I only saw two girls who caught my eye, one with a big floppy hair bow, which I think is how I'm going to start wearing mine, and one in mustard tights.
After feeling a bit shopped out all before 11.30 I walked back up to the town centre to Unicorn. Walking in was crazy, there was just enough space for me and the owner to stand near the door and the rest of the shop was full to the max with piles and piles and piles of stock. I've never seen so much in my whole life, it was mental! The owner was really friendly but didn't want me to take photos because there was a fire or something? She started showing me some things and I looked through a rail but it was so full I had to dig! Every time I tried to pull something out I nearly knocked over another pile. I could have spent all day hunting but didn't have much time so I didn't buy anything but she said a few dresses were around a tenner and one that I would have bought was for hire, though maybe she just wanted to keep it! I then met my Mom and her friend and she took us round the city to other boutiques and markets and cute little corners.
By the afternoon the city was packed full of bustling shoppers and it was time to go! You have to visit Oxford once, it's like a different realm! Seriously it's like the total opposite to Birmingham. I wore my sailor dress which gets creased so easily and took this photo at 6am, eeek that is not an hour I hope to see again this holiday!
This is the dress I got today with the crazy cape thing on the back, I might alter the front so it's shorter but with the back still long.