Shopping in Oxford
Oxford has an extensive collection of shops ranging from small boutiques and second-hand bookshops to department stores and shopping centres – ‘malls’ to our American guests.
Many shops are open seven days a week, even during the winter. The main shopping areas are around Cornmarket Street, Queen Street and along the High Street, right at the heart of the city. Parking is not easy – deliberately so – but there is an excellent Park & Ride bus service that runs into the city centre from the surrounding ring-road car parks.
Just a little further afield, the famous Bicester Village “designer outlet” offers top quality brands at discount prices, and has grown enormously in recent years to become one of Britain’s largest such retail parks.
The Covered Market
Oxford’s Victorian Covered Market dating back to 1774 houses a variety of small boutiques, souvenir shops and speciality food shops including traditional butchers, greengrocers and speciality cheeses. There is also a good selection of cafes and restaurants. The market simply shouldn’t be missed! There are entrances on Market Street and the High Street.
High-Street shops and Department Stores
Many of the more familiar high-street names are found in Cornmarket Street and the nearby Clarendon shopping centre. The High Street has a number of small and stylish boutiques. Oxford has three main department stores – Debenhams (Magdalen Street), Boswells (Cornmarket Street), and a flagship John Lewis in the newly reopened Westgate Centre …
The Westgate Centre
Extensively refurbished and extended at a cost of some £440 million, Oxford’s latest shopping destination opened in October 2017. Major retailers housed in the new complex include John Lewis, Levi’s, Primark, Timberland, Vans, Joules, Cath Kitson and over 60 other top outlets. In addition, the Westgate Centre also houses a “boutique” cinema, indoor “crazy” golf range, a roof terrace and over 20 restaurants and cafés. From time to time the Centre also hosts social and cultural events.
Little Clarendon Street
A quaint street with a number of small boutiques selling stylish clothing, designer furniture and china. There are also some fine restaurants in Little Clarendon Street.
Bicester Village Retail Park
If you have half a day to spare and have access to a car, a trip to the designer retail park at Bicester Village is worthwhile. Take the A34 to Bicester from Oxford (around 20 minutes). A good variety of designer outlets with bargains to be found at knockdown prices. With the opening recently of a major extension, Bicester Village now houses over 160 retail outlets, including many famous names such as Ralph Lauren, Escada, Donna Karan, La Perla and The White Company.
There’s a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere with plenty of parking and a variety of food outlets including the popular Italian eatery Carluccios, where you can peruse your bargains over a dish of delicious pasta or a ciabatta sandwich!