We arrived to Heathrow airport on Monday September 12th in the early afternoon. We were amazed at the customs procedure. There were several entry stations where you enter singly and put your open passport in a scanner while a camera takes your photo. After the scan, if no red flags pop up, you proceed to the baggage claim area. No human interaction at this point. We were flabbergasted but happy with the streamlined procedure. Next we followed the signs to baggage claim and waited for our bags to appear on the moving belt. Again we were happy to see them both appear and then we looked for signs for the central bus station located at Heathrow Terminal 3 . It was a long walk and when we found the bus station we looked for the The Airline Bus, Oxford. The first bus we spotted was with a cranky bus driver who felt his bus was full but a few stalls down there was another bus with a happy bus driver ready to take our bags and let us know a return ticket would save us money. On board and ready to go. The journey would take at least 80 minutes with the stops involved along the way. When we got to Oxford it was a prime traffic time so the journey took longer. We got off the bus and got our luggage and proceeded to find our apartment. Our Airbnb hostess gave us great directions and instructions. It was only 0.2 miles to our apartment from the bus station.
To get into the apartment complex we had to enter a security code for the door to open.
We found our apartment and entered another code to get the key from a lock box. In and ready to dump our bags and settle in before we headed out to find a pub for a meal.
We found our way to New Inn Hall Street heading for St. Michael Street to find The Plough Pub on Cornmarket and St. Michael Street.
The Plough was closed so we headed back a few businesses on St. Michael to the Three Goats Head Pub. We found a table and placed our order.
We both enjoyed a Steak and Ale Pie and we had a conversation with a couple from Finland. Maybe half a conversation as we both tried to get beyond a language barrier.
On the way back we discovered a connection to the Wesley family on New Inn Hall Street.
Walking back on St. Michael you can see the Wesley Memorial Methodist Church on New Inn Hall Road.
Oxford is full of connections to the Wesley family. John and Charles Wesley followed their elder brother Samuel to Christ Church; their father, also Samuel, was a student at Exeter College; and their grandfather John studied at New Inn Hall (from which New Inn Hall Street takes its name).
If you follow this link you will find some interesting history of the Wesley family in Oxford and beyond.
On the same road we passed St. Peter’s College.
This was the apartment building where our airbnb apartment was located on the Oxford Castle and Prison location (part ruined Norman Castle). The Swan and Castle is a pub in the Wetherspoon Pub chain. A cheaper pub that is open from 9am until 1pm. We weren’t aware of this fact before we booked our apartment. This wasn’t the type of pub we would choose.
The second balcony up is our apartment. Outside tables were situated below our balcony and windows. The drinking age in the UK is 18 and because this pub was one of the cheaper pubs many young people congregated to drink and smoke and enjoy themselves loudly each night. OYE. Such a nice apartment in a wonderful location with this downside. Thankfully we packed earplugs and there was a fan in our bedroom that we utilized for white noise. It was quiet from 2am until 8am so that was a plus. We decided to go with the flow and enjoy the upside to this apartment and not get in a snit about the downside.
Looking out our apartment window we said goodnight to our first day in the United Kingdom.
Back to the present we are getting more acclimated and feeling less tired. Hopefully we’ll be able to sleep longer into the morning, too.