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Oxford Shopping Guide – where and what to shop and buy

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Given its diminutive size, Oxford really punches above its weight when it comes to shopping. Top of the list for many visitors is a piece of university memorabilia, from college sweatshirts to hoodies. With its formidable reputation as a seat of learning, it’ll come as no surprise that the city boasts a bunch of first-rate bookshops. Locals are also fantastically served by a tantalizing range of independent boutiques, department stores, and gourmet food stalls.
Cornmarket Street

 

 

Cornmarket Street is a quintessential British high street with a twist. You’ll find all the familiar stores you’d expect from a modern city centre, from trendy clothes shops to chain pharmacists, but these are interspersed with, and in some cases housed in, impressive period buildings. If you’re in need of a rejuvenating caffeine or snack break, you’ll also find plenty of well-known coffee shops and sandwich sellers here. Cornmarket Street is linked with adjacent Queen Street by the popular Clarendon Centre, a one-stop destination for fashion, with some of the most recognisable brands in the world sitting side by side in gleaming outlets.

 

Oxford Covered Market

 

 

This undercover maze of gift shops, flower stalls, fresh produce sellers and eateries is Oxford’s most eclectic and charming shopping experience. It’s the perfect place to pick up quirky gifts for loved ones back home, with independent fashion boutiques, upmarket homeware stores, and delightful stalls piled with colorful trinkets. It’s also something of a foodie paradise, with artisan cheeses, fresh seafood, custom designed cakes, and irresistible freshly-baked cookies all on offer. The only challenge is working out how much to snap up while you're there.

 

Bicester Village

 

 

Just 15 miles from the centre of Oxford, Bicester Village is the UK’s leading fashion and homeware outlet centre. Visitors from all over the world flock here each year to pick up bargain-priced clothing and accessories from companies you'd usually spend a small fortune on. The list of retailers reads like a roll call of the world’s most exclusive designers, all selling stock from previous seasons at huge discounts to the hordes of happy shoppers. And if the words ‘outlet village’ conjure up images of grim concrete wastelands, fear not - with manicured boulevards, smart restaurants, and guest services including valet parking and personal stylists, Bicester Village offers a decidedly rarefied spin on the out-of-town shopping experience.