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Bed and Breakfast in Oxford University – Yes really!

Bed and breakfast in St Hugh’s College – Oxford’s Secret Garden

Bed and breakfast in Oxford – is something you might consider? Ever thought about St Hugh’s College? Good friends Kathy and Inka wanted a weekend city break with a difference and had considered Oxford with its reputation for history, culture and wonderful architecture. Both are keen museum goers, and often tour Europe together. The idea of a bed and breakfast city break somewhere interesting and not too far from home seemed like a great idea!  They are Buckinghamshire based and Oxford is a short 45-minute drive away. A friend suggested St Hugh’s College for bed & breakfast offering very competitive rates with a small number of rooms available year round and hundreds of rooms available in the long Oxford vacation periods. The University of Oxford has very short 8-week terms! Here is Kathy and Inka’s review of their bed and breakfast stay at St Hugh’s College Oxford, in the Summer Vac.

St Hugh's College Oxford offers Bed & Breakfast

St Hugh’s College, Oxford’s Secret Garden

Kathy’s Oxford bed and breakfast story

Inka and I have travelled extensively together around Europe and further afield. We love discovering Italy together where I have family and we had often talked about a city break closer to home. When I heard about St Hugh’s it seemed like a fun way to have a bed & breakfast stay somewhere entirely different to our usual small friendly hotels of choice. Now that I am retired I can take more time and experiment a little with holiday and travel options. We love the Ashmolean Museum and visit regularly. I had always wanted to see the Bodleian Library and perhaps tour a college or two while in Oxford so an overnight stay seemed like a really good idea.

From the moment we arrived at Porter’s Lodge ready to start our bed and breakfast adventure we found all the staff very welcoming and pleasant.  The porters themselves were very polite and said they were expecting us.  The form filling was kept to a minimum and the permanent parking permit was given and place to park clearly explained.  This was a huge boost considering we were in the centre of Oxford and parking is pretty expensive if you can find it!

One of the porters helped me to my room as the route somewhat complicated and he kindly carried my bag for me!

Bed & Breakfast at St Hugh's College in Oxford

St Hugh’s College – Oxford’s Secret Garden

The Rose Terrace Main Building

My suite of rooms was just lovely, early Arts and Crafts decor with what I had always imagined – the tranquillity and peace of an Oxford college. It was like stepping back in time. There is a lovely sense of history at the College, it was easy to imagine stepping back in time. It had a wonderful feel about the place.

The bed was king size, the linen clean as were the rooms. The bathroom was clean and the shower had copious amounts of hot water, temperature easily adjustable with a good strong flow.

They also provided plenty of tea, coffee and biscuits on a desk in an adjacent space to the bedroom.

This was a Premium double room at the College.

Double bed in Bed & Breakfast room at St Hugh's College Oxford

Bed & Breakfast Double at St Hugh’s College, Oxford

Bed and breakfast with a difference

My room had a fireplace and interesting wooden features. The college dates from 1886 so it was easy to imagine who might have stayed there. I understand Virigina Woolf and Vita Sackefille West came to visit on one occasion… and that Theresa May, Aung San Suu Kyi and Barbara Castle all came here as students.  Perhaps one of them had my room! The folder containing information was comprehensive.  However, a bus timetable would have been useful and I gave that feedback to the Porter’s Lodge.

Inka’s Oxford bed and breakfast story

My bed & breakfast room was a university standard single, which also had clean linen, and a tray for refreshments which is always useful. While the room was in one of the modern blocks on campus, it was simple and bright, and obviously built for use by college students.  We were staying in college halls during the Summer Vacation so there were very few students about and the rooms are available for bed and breakfast.

I did have a lovely view right over those wonderful college gardens, which was great! This bed & breakfast room cost only £55 to book and you can walk into town in 10-15 minutes! Many bed and breakfast hosts, as well as small and large hotels usually charge a single person supplement and I find this is extremely good value so I would heartily recommend it.

Wisteria outside of Maplethorpe Hall student’s entrance

Bed & breakfast single room










The gardens were absolutely lovely!

The gardens were absolutely lovely and at their best in such balmy weather. We walked around the 14 acres of garden before leaving college to discover the city on foot. It became so hot that in the end we hopped on a bus just outside the college to take us to the Oxford Botanical Gardens.  St Hugh’s had really given us the taste for visiting beautiful gardens!

Kathy and Inka on the Rose Terrace at St Hughs during their bed and breakfast stay

Kathy and I on the Rose Terrace

It would have been good to have had a bar/restaurant on site – it is so beautiful and inviting at St Hugh’s that you just forget it is a working College and part of Oxford University. However, we did go to Gee’s which was just a short walk from the College for drinks and supper. It was all very enjoyable.

In the morning we went to the very impressive traditional dining hall for breakfast despite it being the hottest weekend in 40 years we braved the cooked breakfast. It felt rather fun to be dining so close to High Table where the Fellows and Principal eat! And once again wherever we were the staff were all really pleasant.

Dining Hall St Hugh’s College

St Hugh’s has stunning grounds, well maintained beautiful gardens which are really on par with a stately home. In fact, the whole place has a feel of a National Trust property. And there are plenty of spaces to sit and enjoy the gardens.  In summary, though my room was in the modern block it was very light, clean and comfortable.  The bathroom was a wet room and my single didn’t have a hairdryer – but I suppose the students would have their own in term time.

Fancy a break from housesitting or the usual city break? If you are visiting Oxford try a bed and breakfast stay at St Hugh’s College…

St Hugh’s College, Oxford 

Book your bed and breakfast HERE online 

Lamia Walker
Hi, I am Lamia, founder of HouseSit Match. After years of corporate travel and stressing about home and pet care when away from home, I decided to build a solution, online. Now I run HouseSit Match an online network where we help to match home and pet-owners with house-sitters and pet-sitters in a friendly social way! Helping our members combines my passions for pets, travel, marketing and I meet fabulous new people every day!

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