Exploring The Indies Of East Oxford With Pick Me Up
*This is a sponsored post in association with Pick Me Up from the Oxford Bus Company
Oxford is a beautiful city full of awe inspiring buildings and gorgeous open spaces. The city centre is packed with architectural treasures from the dreaming spires, to cloistered colleges and streets full of characterful old buildings. If you’re visiting the city, there is so much to explore. If you love independent businesses and shopping locally, there are some great options including The Covered Market, Turl Street and the High Street.
However, if you take a trip down to the far end of the High Street you’ll discover the sunny side of Oxford! Over Magdalen Bridge you’ll find a whole host of awesome indies everywhere from Headington, Temple Cowley, Cowley Road and Iffley.
Take a look at our map, and you can unearth a whole world of independent businesses from cafes to fair-trade stores, and restaurants to jewellers. Despite the fact that all these businesses are in the east of the city, getting between them can be tricky, especially if you want get to them all in one day. This is where the Oxford Bus Company can help! They have launched a brand new service called Pick Me Up, an on demand ride-sharing minibus service that will pick you up from a virtual bus stop, a short walk from your location and drop you anywhere in the Eastern Arc city travel zone.
Not only is it great for taking journeys that aren’t on conventional bus routes, but it’s also super easy to use, and only costs £2.50 per journey. The app is really straight forward and has a really simple interface so booking your journey couldn’t be easier. Once you’ve booked your trip, the app lets you track your drivers location so you see exactly where the minibus is coming from and how long you’ll have to wait (on average no longer than 10 minutes).
As you register your card when you sign up to the app, there’s no money to exchange when you board, just hop on and enjoy the air conditioned (very much appreciated in this weather!) ride.
My indie Pick Me Up adventure starts by heading over to Headington to pop into Headington Fairtrade, an ethical gift shop selling a wide range of beautiful home-wares, jewellery, gifts and accessories from around the world.
After a mooch around Headington, head on over to Temple Cowley to visit Gilt & Grain on Holloway, who supply good quality vintage, modern and antique furniture and furnishings at affordable prices, before heading round the corner to Amy Surman: The Oxford Bead Shop on Wilkins Road. This is a lovely friendly store selling a fantastic array of jewellery making supplies. Amy also holds regular workshops from silver-smithing, to beaded jewellery for beginners as well as skilled jewellers.
Take a Pick Me Up from here down to Magdalen Road and choose from an awesome selection of indies for lunch, brunch and coffee.
Head round the corner onto Iffley Road if you fancy a delicious cinnamon bun with your coffee at Silvie, a bakery café in East Oxford with a simple menu that strives to combine & celebrate flavour, season, tradition & creativity with a sense of community.
Make your way to The Magdalen Arms for their daily changing menu. Past favourites include; Cuttlefish cooked in its own ink, soft polenta and gremolata, and Hereford steak, ale and suet crust pie, Summer greens to share.
If you’re after something more exotic, Oli’s Thai serves exceptional Thai food in a relaxed and friendly restaurant on Magdalen Road. This is seriously fresh, tasty food inspired by Ladd’s family recipes. Dishes include Aubergine curry, Confit duck panang and Steamed seabass, lime, fish sauce, chilli and garlic.
For a coffee fix, head to The Missing Bean Roastery where carefully sourced beans are roasted weekly. Choose from single origin selections to house blends, and take away as beans or ground to your specification.
Before grabbing a Pick Me Up down to the west end of Cowley Road, stop in at Bounce, to browse their unique range of gifts, art prints and t-shirts/hoodies – all printed at Bounce, using the fantastic art produced by local artists, and Bicycle Blooms, an artisan flower shop on Magdalen Road creating bespoke bouquets from seasonal blooms.
Get a Pick Me Up to Annie Sloan Interiors at 33 Cowley Road. This shop is packed with home decor inspiration and gorgeous accessories for your home, including a whole room of verdant house plants waiting to green up your gaff.
Wander up the road to Indigo, a Cowley Road oasis full of wonders from all over the world, including the UK, with high quality and a fair trade policy weaving it all together.
To finish off your East Oxford adventure, head to the Ultimate Picture Palace to catch an indie film, or if you’re in search of more foodie delights, Arbequina is a great tapas bar celebrating delicious Spanish produce with their pared back tapas menu and great selection of wine. Our favourite dishes include fried aubergine, molasses and pomegranate, beetroot borani and nduja on toast with honey and thyme.
There are so many great indies to explore in East Oxford, we’ve only scratched the surface here! Pick Me Up enables locals and visitors alike to easily access these businesses and support our rich and diverse independent business community.
We’re really excited about this new service and love how easy, quick and affordable it is to use. If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, use our promo code to bag yourself a free journey. The code is rosie2f4 and gives you £5 of credit. Download the app on your phone and start exploring!
Check out the Pick Me Up website for a handy user video guide and to find out more information about this on demand service.
Love, Rosie xxx