Newest Review: ... really is a window shopper's paradise! The small of freshly ground coffee lingers in the air and adds to the experience! The covered marke... more
Going under cover in Oxford..
Covered Market (Oxford)
Member Name: anwar7
Covered Market (Oxford)
Disadvantages: Can be crowded,expensive
I lived in Oxford for several years and one of my favourite shopping experiences was a visit to the covered market. Having recently returned for a visit, I again took a trip to the covered market and am pleased to report that very little had changed!
The Oxford covered market was established in 1774 as a solution to the growing number of untidy market stalls that had been set up in the city. The market was designed by John Gwynn, who was also responsible for the famous Magdalen Bridge in Oxford. Initially the market housed 20 butchers' stalls and meat was only allowed to be sold from within the covered market. More stalls were added and soon the market housed numerous food stalls. Today the covered market consists not only of food shops but quality independent fashion shops, gift shops, cafes and restaurants.
The covered market is easy to find and has 4 entrances. My preferred entrance is via the Golden cross on the high street. This takes you through a small courtyard and passed Neal's Yard. Neal's Yard sells a good range of essential oils and complimentary medicines in addition to lots of whole foods. There are a few other independent shops in the courtyard including a lovely handbag shop! There are also entrances from via Market Street and another on the high street just past Lloyds bank.
Once into the covered market you will find numerous small shops; this really is a window shopper's paradise! The small of freshly ground coffee lingers in the air and adds to the experience! The covered market is the home of Ben's cookies and I really couldn't visit without sampling one! The cookies are delicious! There are also several other cafes in the market, all selling quality fare.
The covered market is a wonderful place to buy independently produced food. There is an excellent butcher's shop that sells locally produced Oxford sausages. If you visit during the Christmas period then you will be confronted with the sight of deer,turkeys,rabbits and other meat hanging up outside. I personally don't enjoy this! One of my favourite shops is Haymans fisheries. This is an independent fish mongers selling fresh and frozen fish. The fish is also very fresh and the staff are very knowledgably and happy to give advice.Haymans supply many of the local hotels and some of the colleges.
There is a first class cheese shop where you can try and buy locally produced cheeses including the delicious Oxford blue cheese. If you have a sweet tooth then you will love chocology.Although the chocolates are pricy, they are well worth the price tag as far as I'm concerned! If you are looking for a special cake then there is a cake shop that will make whatever cake you desire! It is fun to watch the staff at work hand decorating their wonderful creations.
The covered market is also a good place to buy fresh flowers. I think the flowers on offer are reasonably priced and always look fresh and well arranged.
If you have children then you may want to take a look at the very unique fashions on offer at two foot nothing. The shop sells clothe for children from 0-10 years and although it is very expensive, it is a great place to buy a present!
Another of my favourites is the Oxford bootstore. The shop was established in 1774 and not only sells well known brands such as Ugg and Echo but also has a range of cowboy boots, hats and holsters! Nearby is a cobblers shop although I have never visited.
The South American gift shop is well worth a look and has all manor of things on display including some lovely jewellery. I think the prices here are very reasonable and it's a great place to look for an unusual gift.
If you are looking for a special hat or fascinator then take the Hat box will be of interest. They have an extensive range of offer that you won't find on the high street! It's always good to know you will be unlikely to find anyone wearing the same hat as you at a wedding!
The Farmhouse gift shop is another good place to search for a special gift. It sells Jelly cat soft toys, pottery, and artwork. It also has a range of lovely greetings cards.
There is an excellent pet shop and the last time I visited my children enjoyed looking at the small animals on sale.
The covered market is a good place to go for a coffee or lunch. There are several sandwich shops on offer as well as cafes with seating. The cafes tend to get very busy at lunch times so be prepared to wait for a seat! The prices are reasonable and the quality of the food on offer has always been good.
The covered market is open from Monday until Saturday from 9 until 5.30. There are usually extended opening hours including Sunday opening during the busy Christmas period.
On the negative side the covered market has narrow walkways and can get very crowded. There is only limited nearby parking so you would be advised to use the park and ride system to avoid the hefty car parking charges in the city. It is not very convenient to carry heavy shopping when you are using the bus! I seem to remember that some of the food shops will deliver when you spend over a certain amount, but as I usually buy small amounts from different retailers this doesn't really help! The shops are mostly small and can feel cramped, making leisurely browsing difficult. Some of the prices are very expensive even though quality is good.
Overall I love the covered market! The range of independent shops makes a visit a very unique shopping experience. It is good to find locally produced, quality food as well as some more exotic produce. Whenever I have visited the covered market has always been clean and well maintained. It certainly beats most characterless shopping malls in my book!
Summary: Oxford covered market
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