“ A small town located in Oxfordshire. „
~ BICESTER ~
As some of may know I am relocating to the Oxford area next week and I am moving from Bath to the town of Bicester. Before my boyfriend was based there I had not ever heard of it. As this will become my new home from the 17th December I thought I would write a quick review about the town and what I will have nearby. Bicester is a small historical town and has some very unique buildings.
~ INFO ~
Bicester is situated in the county of Oxfordshire and is five minutes away from the city of Oxford. For the past few months I have been driving to and from Bicester and the journey from Bath takes around 90 - 120 minutes. I travel up the M4 and head for Oxford and now I know the journey very well. There is quite a lot of history in Bicester and links to the military and international shopping where people from all over come to the town to shop at the new outlook. To me I think Bicester is quite a small town but there are always a lot of people there.
Even though the size seems small the population in Bicester has reached over 28,000.
The town is known for its historical market centre and is growing very fast in business and homes. It is also linked to the M40 motorway so it has easy access from London, Birmingham and Banbury. It also has its own rail station so you can easily get a train to visit. Bicester is a nice place to be in. It is a busy place but has country surrounding it.
~ HISTORY ~
Bicester has a long history reaching back to the Saxon era. There are many interesting buildings and ruins nearby. A documentary reference for the town is the Doomsday Book survey of 1086 where it is written that Bicester was being held by Robert D'Oily who built Oxford castle and the town became established then as settlements. In 1597 the Lord of the Manor of market End sold 9,999 leases to tenants which gave Bicester its population.
A Roman ruin can be found two miles from the centre. The town was first used as a trading centre with a market running between Oxford and London. Bicester's main form took place in the 1800's when cottages were built and the market place was up and running. The shops, high status houses and market place gave Sheep Street a status which was considered very respectable. Bicester was a mixture of populated trading centre and its north end of overcrowded buildings and poor inhabitants.
The town now has a mixture of buildings which is quite fascinating. From each era there are different structures to see made from all types of materials from that time. Those early buildings which survived including the medieval church of St Edburg and the vicarage are mainly grey built of limestone. There are also timber structures and stonework on the other side of the town. The mixture of buildings gives it a real sense of culture and I think it is a very nice place to visit.
~ MILITARY LINKS ~
Bicester has a long connection with the military which I only really found out when I first went to the town. As my boyfriend lives here they obviously have many military around, but the last month I have been in the town, there have been many parades for the soldiers and found that it is a town that really supports their troops. One of the parades recently was for the return of 23 Pioneer Regiment who have just finished a six month tour in Afghanistan. The town was filled with flags and the parade was really nice to see and a shame that other places do not do the same. There is a real sense of support and culture in the centre of parade days.
It is said that during a civil war in 1642-1649 Bicester was used as the headquarters of the forces. The town has built on their military and from WW1 an airfield was built and the British Army's largest depot including the Royal Logistic Cops.
~ Things to see and do ~
There are many things to do and see in Bicester and surrounding cities. Bicester itself as two shopping areas, the outlet and the town centre which offers other shops which are not expensive such as Argos, Iceland and New look. The town centre is good for parking and costs 60p an hour right next to the local shops. There are also some national shops here and cafes to eat in. The town has many pubs to chill out in and has two nightclubs. In the market square there is a market held every Friday along with farmer's markets and the occasional French markets. This part of Bicester is about to have a £70 million re-development taken place. Despite the gloom over many high street retailers it has been agreed to build a new shopping centre this year.
The town is the fast route between London and Birmingham so many people use the route. The Great First Western trains also stop through the town. Bicester benefited from the Railway mania of the 1840's and they had their own rail link running by 1850.
The centre is also known for being sporty and there are several golf clubs nearby. The Country Club has an 18 hole golf course for you golfing fans. It also provides spa facilities, gyms and tennis courts. The town also has its own rugby club, which I am not sure I will be forgetting about Bath Rugby and supporting Bicester any time soon but it will be nice to go watch a few matches one weekend.
* NEARBY *
Rousham House - found on the B4030 road across from the A43.
The attraction is a 17th century gothic Tudor mansion with gardens and acres of woodland. This is a lovely place to visit and learn about its history even though no children under 15 or dogs are allowed. This is the home of famous Colonel Robert Dormer and it has survived through alterations of the 18th and 19th century.
Opening times- Daily 10:00-16:30. You must arrange by prior engagement if entering the house.
The city of Oxford is only five minutes away and there is plenty to see and do there. The city has fantastic stores, many places to eat and several cinemas. The student city is based to accommodate you in whatever you like to do and for all ages. You can find out about the history, visit museums, go shopping or eat out in the busy town centre. There is a local park and ride service which I would advise on as the parking is very expensive and the traffic is as bad as London. The first time I had to go for an interview there I had to pay three pound an hour for parking, good job I was only forty minutes!
Boarstall Tower - Boarstall, Aylesbury, HP18 9UX. 01280 822850
Boarstall Tower was built in 1312 and is the only surviving Medieval Military building in Buckinghamshire. It was once used as a significant part of the Civil War and much of it was damaged by cannon fire which can still be seen. The building was updated in the 17th century but all it's original features are still intact. A nice place to visit if you like history and historical sites.
~ Bicester Village Shopping Outlook ~
Bicester Village Shopping Centre is the leading outlet destination in Europe and is visited annually by more than three million customers from all over the world. It has approx 120 stores of which are all high end brands such as Ted baker, Gucci and UGG Australia where I have just been offered a job. As well as high quality shops there are restaurants and cafes. It is a huge tourist attraction and I see ques for the centre every weekend. The shopping centre can be found just off the A41.
The first time I visited the shopping centre was a few months ago when Jamie decided to show me around the town. It took ages to park as the car park is always full and cars waiting to get in. There is also a VIP parking section which costs five pounds for someone to park your car for you in a different section. Once parked, we walked from one end to the other. I could see that I would not be spending any money as it was all designer and well to expensive for me. We spent approx fifteen minutes there just looking at all the nice shops and well off people shopping. There were many shops that I hadn't even heard of before which was not welcoming. Each shop was immaculate and everyone there is presented to high standards. This shopping centre will be packed next week when I am supposed to be starting my new job in the UGG shop. I was told that when the shop opened in London people were queuing for an hour just to get inside.
~ WHERE TO STAY ~
There are many fabulous places in Bicester to stay including hotels and bed and breakfasts. I have listed a few for you.
- Bicester Country Club, Chesterton, OX26 1TE. 0870 4786316
The Country Club was recently finished with 52 deluxe rooms with ensuite bathrooms and many including balconies overlooking the golf course. Prices are from £79 a room. It is set in acres of stunning woodland and has a health club, tennis court and many more.
- The Kings Arms Hotel. 40 Market Square, OX26 6AH. 01869 249040.
In the centre of Bicester, this 17th century hotel was once a favourite for Queen Victoria's sons known to consort here with his mistresses. It is a comfortable, clean and famous place to stay where it is rumoured a ghost of a Victorian lady still haunts! So a bad idea for the weak heartened!! There are many facilities including free parking, games room and internet services.
- Bignell Park Hotel. Chesterton, OX26 1UE.
A friendly and lovely country hotel on the outskirts of Bicester in a pretty village called Chesterton. The hotel has beautiful gardens and nice views. The small but beautiful place has twenty two bedrooms all clean and presented with high standards.
~ LIVING THERE ~
Bicester is slightly expensive to live in and the cost of living is slightly higher than the average UK large towns. I found an overview and features of likely sources about living in Bicester-
Family Income- High
Interest in current affairs- Low
Housing (mortgage) - High
Couples with children- High
Most people found in Bicester are young couples and families with children. The young people could be from the student life of Oxford. The income from this town and in Oxfordshire is well above average. There are many benefits and packages that come with certain jobs and many families tend to live well here. The Cherwell Council says it is committed to provide Bicester with outstanding qualities such as excellent public transport and zero carbon technologies.
Even though this area is quite high in costs for living one aspect I really like is how the petrol is cheaper there than it is in Bath. I know it is stupid but when I fill up my car in Bicester it costs at least three pence lower and seems to last a lot longer.
~ FACTS ~
- Police- Thames Valley.
- Bicester has a lot of churches belonging to the ecumenical organisation churches together.
- Bicester is twinned with Canton des Essarts, Western France, Czernichow in southern Poland and Neunkirchen-seelscheid in Western Germany.
Bicester is a lovely place to see and a great place to do some shopping. It has a huge variety of shops, pubs and hotels and some lovely countryside views. Oxford is only down the road which is very handy, and it has its own rail line. I am excited to be moving somewhere new and I hope I like it as much as I love Bath.
Will also be published on Ciao- as soon as they add it on!!
Blackmagicstar4- DEC 09 xx