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10 Hidden Gems In Oxford's Covered Market
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10 Hidden Gems In Oxford's Covered Market

Picture of Hannah Mylrea
Updated: 9 February 2017
Oxford is known for many things — be it the prestigious university, the dreaming spires or the beautiful parks and gardens. But one hidden treasure that is tucked away off the main streets is the historic Covered Market. Opened in 1774, it has been home to traders ever since, and despite the recent rent increases for stores, it is still full of unique and vibrant shops and stalls. This is a guide to ten of the best stalls to visit within the market.
Oxford Covered Market | © Jorge Royan/WikiCommons
Oxford Covered Market | © Jorge Royan/WikiCommons
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Alpha Bar

Alpha Bar provides gourmet salads and sandwiches at affordable prices. With local, seasonal menus and all their food being prepared daily, it’s a great place to grab a healthy bite. If you’re in a rush, they also provide a ‘Fast Lane lunch’ where you can order your food online before 11am so that you can skip the lunch queues, which is definitely worth doing as the queues often trail around the market.

Alpha Bar, Covered Market, Market St, Oxford, UK, +44 1865 250499

Ben's Cookies | © Richard Gillin/Flickr
Ben’s Cookies | © Richard Gillin/Flickr
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Ben’s Cookies

A chain, but nevertheless worth a visit. The Oxford branch is a small, unassuming kiosk in one corner of the market, which often has a huge queue stretching down one of the market’s alleys. It is a wait worthwhile as Ben’s does the best cookies in the whole of Oxford.

Ben’s Cookies, 108-109 Market St, Oxford, UK, +44 1865 247407

Passion Fruit & Orange Fruit Tisane | © Cardew & Co
Passion Fruit & Orange Fruit Tisane | © Cardew & Co
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Cardew & Co

Popped in the far corner of the market, Cardew & Co is the oldest recognised provider of fine tea and fresh roasted coffee in Oxford. Having been in the market since 1965, they’ve been growing their clientele for over 50 years, and if you drop in, you’ll find it packed with coffee enthusiasts and tourists alike. It’s an excellent place to get proper coffee in Oxford, or to pick up a gift for your caffeine-crazy friend.

Cardew & Co, The Covered Market, 22 Market St, Oxford, UK, +44 1865 242315

Hedges Butchers | © Kamyar Adl/Flickr
Hedges Butchers | © Kamyar Adl/Flickr
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Hedges Butchers

Established in 1896, Hedges Butchers is a local Oxfordshire-based business run by an expert team who all know a thing or two about the meat they sell. Whether you want your Christmas turkey or your Sunday roast centrepiece, Hedges can help you.

Hedges Butchers, The Covered Market, 62 Market St, City Centre, Oxford, UK, +44 1865 242318

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Moo Moos

Milkshake parlours like ShakeAway have taken the UK by storm in the past ten years, but any Oxford local will tell you that the place you really need to grab a shake is Moo Moos. The basic concept is simple yet effective. You pick your favourite ingredient, and they’ll blend it into a milkshake with ice cream. The family-run business opened it’s hatches in 2006, proving time and time again that it was a well-needed addition to the market.

Moo Moos, 34/35, The Market, Oxford, UK, +44 1865 200025

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Nothing

Nothing is the longest shop in the market, taking up half an alley with an array of jewellery, knitwear and bags. If you need to buy a last minute birthday present, Nothing is the place to look, stocking everything from cashmere jumpers to freshwater pearls, and much, much more.

Nothing, Market St, City Centre, Oxford, UK, +44 1865 249568

Sunflower Bouquet | © The Garden
Sunflower Bouquet | © The Garden
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The Garden

The Garden stocks beautiful, English-grown flowers, with their covered market store being one of two. Whether you need a bespoke Valentine’s bouquet or some sunflowers to brighten your room, the helpful and attentive team at The Garden will be able to help you. They’ve been in the market since 1984, before opening their second store 12 years later in Headington, and have remained a firm favourite for both locals and those visiting Oxford.

The Garden, 99/100, The Covered Market, Oxford, UK, +44 1865 240709

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The Hat Box

The Hat Box is Oxford’s only specialist hat shop. As well as stocking a host of different styles and colours, you can also have a hat custom made in any size you want (with matching handbags available)! Fascinator or Fedora, Gillian and the team in The Hat Box will be able to help you out.

The Hat Box, The Covered Market, Avenue 3, Oxford, UK, +44 1865 200844

Oxford Cheese Co | © nibblepic/Flickr
Oxford Cheese Co | © nibblepic/Flickr
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The Oxford Cheese Company

It wouldn’t be a market without a cheese stall, and The Oxford Cheese Company is the best. Recognised as one of Britain’s leading cheese specialist traders, it’s been trading since 1983 and has a huge selection of English and Continental cheeses. Their range includes their own cheeses, Oxford Blue and Oxford Isis, but the most notable thing they provide is their cheese wedding cakes.

Oxford Cheese Co, Market St, City Centre, Oxford, UK, +44 1865 721420

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Sofi De France

Sofi De France, or Sofi’s as regulars affectionately call it, is a sandwich shop and one of the best places to grab a cheap bite in the city. You can pick from a huge range of ingredients dependent on your tastes, and then you can watch while your baguette is assembled in front of you. It’s not the most glamorous café, but you can always take your lunch away and enjoy it in one of Oxford’s many parks. If you do eat in, it’s in the perfect spot for a bit of people watching.

Sofi De France, Market St, City Centre, Oxford, UK, +44 1865 249858