Top 5 things to do in Bicester

Planning a trip to Bicester? Here are five fantastic shopping and sightseeing hotspots that you might like to visit:

Bicester Village

Home to over a hundred stores, Bicester Village is a fantastic Outlet shopping area set in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside. You’ll find high street favourites and boutiques as well as designer brands like Alexander McQueen, Dior, Gucci and Jimmy Choo in the outdoor outlet; perfect for shoppers looking for luxury fashion at a discounted price. There are also plenty of cafés and restaurants that make the ideal pit stop for a coffee, a quick bite or a fancy dinner, like Villandry Grand Café, Stone Ground Donuts and Pret a Manger.

 Blenheim Palace

Visit Blenheim Palace to add a touch of history, culture and opulence to your sightseeing trip in Oxfordshire. Built in the 1700s, the Baroque Style building was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and is now the home of the Duke of Marlborough. Take a tour of the inside of the palace to view stunning architecture, tapestries and furniture and then head outside to experience the grandeur of the landscaped gardens. You can take a buggy tour of the parkland or follow a suggested walking track towards the picturesque waterfall called the Grand Cascades. See the Pleasure Gardens with a short trip on the miniature train, wander through the Marlborough Hedge Maze or marvel at the dozens of exotic butterflies found in the Butterfly House.

The Pitt Rivers Museum

Home to one of the world’s finest collections of anthropology and archaeology from around the world, the Pitt Rivers Museum is just across the street from Bicester Village. There are new exhibitions held all year round as well as talks, workshops and special events. Plus there are lots of free family friendly activities too, such as family trails and half-term events that are held over the school holidays.

Tour the city of Oxford

Famous for its world-renowned university, the city of Oxford is lovely place to visit for the weekend and is just 10 miles south of Bicester. Boasting beautiful architecture, a selection of ancient colleges and museums, there’s plenty to see from the Ashmolean Museum and Christ Church College to the Bodleian Library. Why not book a river cruise down the Thames or hire a punt, pedallo or rowing boat for the afternoon to experience the very best that the water has to offer?

Minster Lovell Hall

Situated in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, you’ll find the ruins of Minster Lovell Hall. The 15th century Manor House is set beside the River Windrush and is a wonderful sightseeing spot that makes the perfect place to picnic with the kids. The children can play on the ruins, walk through the trails and stroll down the river bank.

Introducing our New Website

Let us introduce our super-convenient new website! Designed to make it quicker and easier to arrange your stay at Bignell Park, our mobile-friendly booking system features the best rates on our rooms and suites, news of our latest offers and info on our tailor-made packages.

Browse and book a room, view our seasonal discounts and find tips on the top attractions in the local area from shopping at Bicester Village to sightseeing at Blenheim Palace in one handy place. Better yet, you can make bookings on your phone or tablet even when you’re on the go, giving you the ultimate flexibility and freedom to plan your stay in seconds.

Check out the menu at The Oak’s Restaurant, explore galleries of our facilities and enquire about organising conferences and celebrations at our charming hotel too.

To mark the launch of our new website, we are offering a special launch rate! Book a one-night stay for two people in an executive double room (breakfast included) for just £99. This offer only applies to bookings between 1st February and 3rd April 2016. Book now using the promotional code WEBBB.

Why not follow us on social media and be one of the first to access competitions, special offers and news about the Bignell Park Hotel? You’ll find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+.


Wine & Food Pairing – Just in time for Christmas!

The perfect glass of wine can amp up your Christmas menu to create a delicious festive meal that’s scrumptious from start to finish. But how can you tell which wine matches which dish? Here are a few tips to help you choose the right wines for your yuletide feast:

The basic rule to remember is that the higher the tannin levels in a wine the drier, or more astringent, it will taste. Each wine will also have a different depth of flavour – full-bodied red wines tend to work beautifully with beef and pork where as lighter wines like the Louis Eschenauer Chardonnay featured on our wine list will perfectly match our traditional turkey main course.  This is because turkey has a low fat content and works well with lighter white wines; if you pair turkey with a strong red wine with more tannins it will make everything taste too harsh. However, a red wine may be ideal if the trimmings include richer ingredients like butter and cream or if you’re having fattier duck or goose instead of turkey as your main course.

If you’re searching for the perfect wine to serve alongside salty canapés at a Christmas party then choose dry sparkling wines, such as champagne or cava that are slightly sweet.  For tart appetisers choose a zesty Sauvignon Blanc and to tame the heat of spicy snacks opt for a dry Riesling.

Most sweet wines are white and are if you’re planning on serving them with dessert you should make sure they complement the flavours in your pudding. Noble rot wines, such as Sauternes and Tokaji Aszú, are perfect for very sweet desserts served with custard, such as sticky toffee pudding. Fortified red wines are better paired with chocolate based desserts, truffles or even cheese.

The most important thing of course is to trust your own palate. Try a selection of wines and choose the one that pleases your tastes above all others; after all it’s your party!


Five reasons to have a Winter Wedding

Winter weddings can be wonderfully enchanting. Here are our top five reasons for tying the knot in winter if you need a little encouragement to set the date:

Seasonal charm

A crisp winter morning and a blanket of fresh snow make the perfect bewitching backdrop for a magical wedding. The frosty chill outside wonderfully complements the warmth of the party indoors, creating a memorable atmosphere for the guests and the bride and groom. Here at Bignell Park you can even hold the reception outdoors by opting for a heated marquee! Traditional winter locations for weddings and ceremonies are especially attractive because they feature warming fire places, extensive gardens and historic buildings.

Wintery decorations

You’ll have plenty of seasonal decorations on hand to deck out your wedding venue, from mistletoe and golden angels to silvery baubles and elegant, metallic stars. Better yet, many venues will already be decked out with boughs of holly and a Christmas tree if you’re tying the knot close to Christmas Day, which means lots of free decorations and less leg work. You can even opt for a festive menu and offer guests seasonal drinks like mulled wine.

The perfect way to bring in the New Year

It couldn’t get any more romantic than getting married on New Year’s Eve! You’ll start the New Year with a bang and the entire world will be celebrating with you. Plus your guests will automatically get the next day off, which means you can continue with the party well into the early hours of the morning.

Be different

Why not be that bit different and opt for a wintery wedding over a summer one? Most brides tend to favour summer weddings but there’s something to be said for going against the grain and opting for the unexpected. Better yet, you’ll be able to make your money go that bit further because fewer couples tie the knot over the winter months; there’ll be better availability in terms of your venue choice as well as a cheaper caterers, florists and bands to select from. Moreover you’ll likely be able to secure a weekend booking, which makes it much easier for guests to attend your nuptials.

Hot honeymoon

Once you’ve walked down the aisle and finished up with the celebrations there’ll be the small matter of the honeymoon to attend to! Choosing a winter wedding means that you’ll probably be able to jet off somewhere sunny, like the Maldives, at a reduced rate because you’ve avoided the summer school holiday season. So why not top off the perfect white wedding at home with a sun-filled honeymoon abroad? You’ll get the best of both worlds!

How to host the perfect Christmas party

If you’ve ever planned a Christmas party before you’ll know it takes more than mince pies, mistletoe and mulled wine to create the perfect Noël celebration. Here are some useful tips on how to get into the holiday spirit and plan a party full of festive cheer for your friends, family and colleagues this Christmas:

Curate the perfect guest list

Are you organising a close-knit Christmas party with your nearest and dearest, a professional work event or a full out celebration incorporating your entire friends list? Whatever you choose make sure you draw up a list of everyone you want to invite so you can stay on top of numbers and find a venue and budget that fits. Bignell Park caters for private dining as well as larger parties, which can include music, dancing and a festive menu at your request.

Send out your invitations early

Give your guests plenty of advance notice by sending your invites as early as possible. Traditional paper invites are a seasonal classic but you can also send out emails or video messages for an extra touch of personalised sparkle this Christmas.

Choose a theme and create a personalised playlist

The party atmosphere will depend on the time of day that you hold your event. Daytime get-togethers tend to be brighter, breezier and shorter where as evening affairs can last well into the early hours of the morning. Choose a theme that fits in with the time of day and the type of people on your guest list – classic Christmas decor, tableware and napkins are ideal for family events with children but bolder options that don’t fit the traditional mould can be perfect for an event with friends, like a murder mystery theme or fancy dress. Spend time creating a playlist that guests can dance to or allow the expert Christmas party planners at Bignell Park to do it for you; you get all the glory with none of the leg work!

Cater for every taste

Traditional Christmas lunch is a must at any Xmas party and Bignell Park offers a show-stopping yuletide menu featuring turkey and all the trimmings, fillet of beef, venison and cod loin alongside decadent desserts like crème caramel, chocolate tart and Christmas pudding. However, remember to include an option for vegetarians, vegans and other guests with special diets. Caterers will always make adjustments to the menu to ensure everyone has something delicious to feast on. Choose a buffet for larger groups or opt for a sit-down meal for smaller get-togethers with crackers and party poppers. If you’re hosting the party at home make sure everyone gets a drink and something to nibble on as soon as they arrive.

Organise transportation

The finishing touch is to organise everyone’s transportation home. Remember it can be challenging to get taxis during Christmas week so a little pre-booking will ensure all your guests get home safely.