Shopping in Oxford
Shopping in Oxford Reviews
Shopping in Oxford Feb 13, 2010
Shopping in Oxford
Oxford is apparently the second most popular tourist destination in England, after London. It certainly feels that way when you visit – it can be hard to move past the crowds of tourists, people signing petitions, and buskers. But despite this, Oxford is very beautiful, full of historic buildings and great museums, and also, a great place to shop. I am working on the assumption other people will review the museums, so I will talk about the shopping!
Arriving in Oxford, you should definitely consider taking public transport. If you cannot, then please take one of the park and rides that ring the city, but also make sure you have a leaflet with the bus stops marked. The park and ride system is excellent and affordable, costing £2.20 per adult as opposed to a fortune to park in town. Also, the streets of Oxford are largely pedestrianised, medieval, confusing, and rammed with insane students on bikes. Don’t do it to yourself. The main drawback is that the park and ride bus stops back are nowhere near the park and ride bus stop you got off at, and are not marked on the main bus stop maps. This can be a hassle to discover when you are already footsore.
Oxford has a good range of British High Street stores, including a nice French Connection. The Westgate shopping centre is every bit as depressing as every other shopping centre in provincial Britain and well worth avoiding, but the Clarendon centre and the streets surrounding it are bustling and the branches there are nice. If you are a foreign tourist, this is a good place to experience British brands like Topshop, which people seem to find exciting. As a native Brit I find this totally bemusing, as British clothes don’t seem that cool to me, compared with Spanish or Dutch, but if I was Spanish or Dutch I might say the opposite.
As you move away from the place you got off the bus, things get far more interesting. The Covered Market in Oxford is a very nice place to shop for more unusual things. There is a fishmonger, a greengrocer, and a fantastic butcher, which are not very useful for tourists, but there are also lovely jewellery stalls, some cool clothing places, and lots of places to get food and coffee. There is usually a small crowd around the cake decorating shop, which is incredible, and this is a nice place to buy unusual little gifts for people.
Oxford seems to have a lot of French markets, too; there has been one on every Sunday I have been there. These are good places to eat great street food and embarrass yourself by trying your school French on people. Even when the markets aren’t on, there is a crepe van called Michel’s that does great Crepes and coffee when you are in need of a break.
Naturally, Oxford also has a large number of book shops, and one of them has a good variety of prints. There are plenty of souvineer shops too, if you promised someone a t-shirt. At the expensive end of the market, then there are lots and lots of boutiques. I can’t tell you much about those because I am not rich, and have usually spent all my money on museum postcards, coffee and the Tartuflette in the French market by this point. The museums also often have interesting shops and there are plenty of places you can buy little stocking fillers when it gets near Christmas.
All in all, Oxford is a great place to shop, if you are hear anyway for a museum or a trip to a college and have an hour or two and some money to get rid of. It is also a better place to shop than many nearby cities, for example Swindon, so if you find yourself invited to a party on short notice then you will find what you need for your outfit here.
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