A Fashion Lover's Guide to Oxford

1855 wine bar | © Instagram @1855oxford
1855 wine bar | © Instagram @1855oxford
Photo of Sarah Leigh Bannerman
Fashion Editor22 December 2017

Famed for its culture, architecture and a prestigious university, the city of Oxford is one to add to the bucket list if you’ve not yet had a chance to visit. What you might not know about it, however, is that it’s a hidden gem for fashion lovers. From shopping to Instagram-friendly eateries, there’s ample opportunity to soak up this desirable destination’s most stylish hot-spots.

Read our fashion lover’s guide to Bath here.

Where To Shop

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From independent boutiques like Vanilla – the womenswear treasure trove on South Parade offering an eclectic selection of clothing and jewellery – to high street chains with an Oxford clientele in mind, there’s no shortage of places to bolster your wardrobe whilst wandering the city center. Continue the cultural theme and shop for souvenirs at the 18th-century covered market, where you’ll find farmers’ markets and keepsake stalls. If you’re willing to travel, then Bicester Village is the absolute number one for shopping in the area. The world-famous outlet destination is a mecca for discounted designer styles, and it’s home to luxury labels such as Celine and Mulberry as well as more affordable alternatives like Under Armour and The White Company.

Where To Eat

For the best coffee in town and a quirky little concept to boot, it’s The Handle Bar that we recommend making a pit-stop to – the personable all-day coffee and dining destination is just a stone’s throw from the city centre, and it’s decorated with bicycles and live greenery hanging from the exposed brick walls and ceiling. Brunch lovers rejoice – you’ll find a decent plate of avo toast and a coffee made with love within these four walls, and if you’re planning an afternoon of work, there’s a relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for laptop-time. With regards to dinner, there’s little more stylish than tapas as an option, so Arbequina is our number one dining destination of choice. They take bookings, so be sure to secure your spot and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere and seasonal dishes on offer, paired to one of the complementary Spanish wines from the menu.

Discover the best brunch spots in Oxford here.

Where To Drink

Whilst there’s no shortage of traditional British pubs in Oxford, there’s more to the city than that when it comes to drinking destinations. Enjoy a panoramic view from the roof terrace of The Varsity Club, where you’ll find high tables and bar stools overlooking the hustle and bustle below, all accompanied by a delicious-looking cocktail menu that you might just have to work your way through. If wine is more in your favour (or it’s the dead of winter and an outdoor drinking spot is off the cards), then award-winning destination 1855 could be exactly what you’re looking for? As is to be expected, they specialise in wine but they also serve beers and cider on tap and by the bottle. The perfect evening setting, this well-designed, contemporary space also serves charcuterie and cheese to complement your beverages.

…and for the culture hit

The Ashmolean Museum is arguably the most famous of its kind in Oxford – it was founded back in 1683 and is owned by the university – but it’s the Modern Art Museum that has sparked our interest the most. It’s home to dozens of exhibitions, all of which are completely free to attend, and it hosts a range of talks, music performances and film screenings, providing a rounded schedule of events throughout the year.

Discover the best womenswear boutiques in central London here.

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