Deck the halls
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Did you have the um-ah moment deciding whether to buy your Christmas tree last weekend? If like me, you have deferred until this weekend to get flouncy with the tinsel and holly, you’ll be interested in a little trip I took yesterday just north of Bicester to Stratton Audley Christmas Barn.
Yeah, the clue is in the name! Apart from selling a range of rather gorgeous, lustrous Christmas trees at seriously good prices (looky here)
… they’ve also diversified for the last couple of years into a Christmas barn of goodies.
It’s not a massive space, but it’s full of well-chosen stock – a pretty array of baubles and tree decorations, as you’d expect, but also lots of traditional and novelty kids presents, a very good men’s selection and – a weakness of mine, I confess it – a faux fur section of Russian hats, wraps etc where you can let rip on your most sensual Doctor Zhivago fantasies. Oh come on, admit it, you have them too!
Anyway, the long and short of it is the Christmas Barn is a place impossible to leave without buying something because it covers all bases – good quality presents to decorative essentials (Christmas lights etc), inexpensive stocking fillers to Secret Santa daftness.
It was lovely to take a drive up to the area actually – Stratton Audley is a gorgeous village, all warm stone buildings and pretty vistas. The church looked beautiful too, more impressive from the outside than within, though look at this whopper of a monument to the local Baronet who died in 1688 aged 48. Quite something to find in a rural church and a bit disconcerting as he looks very much like George Osborne in a wig and centurion costume.
You can make a good day of coming up here, because only ten minutes away is the fab The Muddy Duck in Hethe (yes I checked it out, review to come!), plus a lovely mostly flat walk you can do around the pub in about an hour, and if you still have energy you can pop into Bicester Village, another 10 minutes away. Ho ho ho!
Stratton Audley Christmas Barn, West Farm Barn, Launton Rd, Stratton Audley, Bicester, OX27 9AS. Tel: 01869 278344. www.strattonaudleychristmasbarn.co.uk/