A Guide To The Best Independent Shops In Oxford
If you’re thinking about starting your Christmas shopping this month, or are just keen to support more indie businesses in Oxfordshire, well you’re in the right place! Here’s the Independent Oxford Guide to the Best Independent Shops in Oxford and Oxfordshire, including bakers, wine merchants, boutiques and craft stores, to give you some inspiration and help you to support more local independent shops. >>
Opened in September 2013, 2 North Parade is a neighbourhood produce store run by Peter Slade and Victoria Borondo. The couple work closely with local farmers, producers and suppliers, who focus on the quality, integrity and provenance of their produce.
Amy runs a lovely friendly store tucked at the top of Cowley Road selling a fantastic array of beads and jewellery making supplies. Alongside the shop, Amy runs the Amy Surman School of Jewellery teaching everything from silver smithing to beaded jewellery.
Babylon Trading is an independent retailer specialising in eclectic home interiors and giftware. Owners Miri and Mike have over 26 years of experience in buying and sourcing products from around the world and the UK. This year their focus is on increasing UK made ranges and environmentally friendly products.
Blue Blood is a teamwear, school wear and workwear specialist based in the centre of Oxford. Ben, Dale and Steli pride themselves upon their great customer care and quality of service using many years of experience to ensure complete customer satisfaction. They have a strong connection locally with grass roots organisations and colleges, providing sports and leisure wear.
Part record store, part craft beer bottle shop. Kev, Gem and the team carry a wide range of punk, emo, math rock, instrumental and alternative records alongside hundreds of beers and soft drinks, all available to drink in, or take away.
Central Living is a family run interiors retailer and interior design studio on Little Clarendon Street in Jericho, founded by Geoff and Rosie Taylor in 1997. The store brings the very best in iconic, design-led furniture, lighting and home accessories to Oxford.
Fairtrade at St Michaels on Cornmarket Street in Oxford, was the first shop in the city to offer a high quality range of fairly traded goods from across the globe. The shop, organised as a co-operative, was started in October 2003, and at present has five people working as unpaid directors, four part-time members of staff and numerous fantastic volunteers.
Owned by Herve Gatineau, and situated in Summertown, Gatineau offers the finest artisan produce in the French/European patisserie and boulangerie tradition: premium cakes, chocolates, pastries, savouries and breads – all made in house with the highest quality ingredients, creative flair, taste combinations and attention to detail.
I love our business as it is made up of a wonderful set of people who have a heart for Fairtrade whilst having unique skill sets that help to make us who we are – a unique and colourful shop where you can almost always find that special something for yourself or for another, from an interesting part of the world, that comes with a great story. I am grateful for being in the heart of Oxford city centre where there is such a great community of independents. May this community grow!
– Daniella Cromwell, Fairtrade at St Michaels Shop Manager
Summertown’s only independent wine merchant based on South Parade. Owners Graeme Woodward and Michael Jelley stock a fantastic range of wines from all over the world catering from entry level party wines to some of the worlds very finest, and have just opened their second shop in Wallingford!
Hamblin Bread is a neighbourhood bakery and cafe in East Oxford, owned and run by Hugo Thurston and Kate Hamblin. Kate makes bread with stone ground British flour, water and salt, and uses locally grown grain wherever possible. Hugo has a passion for natural wines and stocks a great selection in the shop, alongside beer, cider, Neal’s Yard cheese and seasonal produce.
We love our wine here at Grape Minds and whether it is £7 or £70 we put the same time, dedication and love into finding that perfect bottle for everyone. Come give us a go and let us show you that shopping indie is shopping best.
– Graeme Woodward, Co-Owner at Grape Minds
An independent, family-run games shop based on Oxford’s High Street since 1997, father and daughter team Phillip and Emily, sell traditional and vintage table-top games including chess, backgammon, mah jong and go, alongside a wide range of board games: family classics, newcomers, award-winners and hard-to-find independent, niche games.
This lovely shop on Cowley Road, sells wonders from all over the world, including the UK, with high quality and a fair trade policy weaving it all together. With fairness, beauty, good quality and design at the corner stone of their business, owners Sarah and Josh have created a beautiful community hub in the heart of East Oxford.
Oxford is a gorgeous city, full of history and tradition (just like our games!), and with such a wealth of great independent businesses to choose from. It’s a real pleasure to be here, sharing our knowledge and love of games.
– Emily Scaysbrook, Co-Owner at Hoyles of Oxford
Objects of Use is a source of enduring household tools and functional items, consciously sourced from around the globe, with a special focus on everyday archetypes and vernacular objects. Find Objects of Use in the heart of Oxford on Market Street.
Uniquely located in a pretty flower filled courtyard just of Frideswide Square, Rainbow and Spoon Boutique was established in 1982 by Amanda Suliman Bell, and is one of Oxford’s most loved boutiques. Visit Amanda’s shop for stylish and individual clothing, gifts, jewellery, scarves and other fabulous accessories and lifestyle items.
Owned by Philip Marston and Sarah Boada-Momtahan, Sanders of Oxford, situated in the 17th century Salutation Inn on the High Street, is one of the largest printsellers in Britain. One of the few antiquarian print and map galleries left outside London, Sanders’ selection is extensive and varied, dating from the early 16th century to contemporary works, and encompassing a vast range of subjects, engravers, and prices.
The Garden of Oxford was established in Oxford’s historic Covered Market in 1984 by Paul Birtles, and has gained an enviable reputation for being one of the region’s finest flower shops. Paul and the team have a particular passion for English-grown fresh flowers and are proud to offer their customers the finest seasonal flowers by personally selecting the very best available at London’s New Covent Garden Market.
The team at The Garden are passionate …..about our work, our shop, our customers , and The Covered Market! Our shop constantly evolves, both as the seasons change, but also as the fashion for flowers and plants changes, and we thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to exercise our creative ability on a daily basis. Oxford is a truly amazing city – the architecture of the numerous University buildings and the vibrancy that is created by the student population make it a unique place. The Covered Market is often lauded as “The Jewel In Oxford’s Crown – we agree, and for us, working here is very much like being part of a family.
– Paul Birtles, Owner of The Garden
The Market Cellar Door is a tiny ‘Hybrid’ wine shop and wine bar in Oxford’s Covered Market. They sell over 200 wines from around the world, including organic, low intervention and English wines, alongside the classics. They also have 6 wines available ‘on-tap’ for refilling your own bottles, or for enjoying a glass with food from around the market… Including Oysters from the neighbouring fishmonger!
The Oxford Soap Company is a local, family run business, run by Ervin & Emily Tomkys Valteri, that designs and creates handmade soaps and cosmetics in Oxford’s iconic Covered Market. They are best known for their popular zero waste items – soap bars and shampoo bars, as well as a range of reduced plastic options on cosmetics such as shaving soap, moisturising lotion, hand cream, face cream, bath salts and body butters. All their products are made locally by Ervin, who is committed to using natural and environmental recipes.
Ervin loves being creative and making new recipes. His passion lies with traditional soap bars where he enjoys perfecting moisturising recipes designed for hard water areas, like Oxford, whilst being creative with colours, shapes, styles and oils. We are passionate about environmental sustainability ensuring that as our business grows, packaging is minimalist and carbon footprint kept low.
– Emily Tomkys Valteri, Co-Owner of The Oxford Soap Company
The Oxford Wine Company is a truly independent, family-run wine merchant with over 25 years’ experience. They have one shop in Standlake and three in Oxford – on Botley Road, Little Clarendon Street and Turl Street. They also have a concession shop at Millets Farm. They list over 2000 products, covering wines, spirits and beers – from inexpensive crowd-pleasers to hard-to-find, more specialist bottles.
Truck Store is Oxford’s independent music hub, a proper record shop in the heart of the city’s music scene, yet they’re so much more than just a record shop. They always strive to make the store a friendly, welcoming environment where their enthusiasm for new music can be shared with the local community and beyond: Gary, Carl and the team aim to be the place to come to pick up exciting recommendations and discover new music!
Have you ever had a glass of wine so good that you just had to tell someone about it? That’s what we do every day! We love what we do, and there’s nothing that makes us happier than getting to know our customers, and finding them the perfect bottle to take home. Oxford is such a great place to work – beautiful buildings, loads of brilliant independent businesses, great fun, and what’s more, it’s full of people who get excited about wine!
– Emily Silva, Head of Retail & Marketing at The Oxford Wine Company
Vanilla is a luxury womenswear and lifestyle boutique on South Parade in Summertown, Oxford. Established 20 years ago by Renate Beaumont, Renate loves to champion young designers and believes in supporting small, independent labels. She has curated an exquisite collection of pieces from designer clothing to footwear, beauty and homeware.
I love my business. After 20 years I have come to know my loyal customer base and consider them when buying alongside my own aesthetic. I love fashion, homewares and travelling and it’s a joy to combine all these passions and to share it with my team and all our lovely clientele. Oxford has been my home for the past 48 years and this is where my family and my heart belongs. I love Oxford!
– Renate Beaumont, Owner at Vanilla
Awesome indie shops to check out across the Oxfordshire county. >>
Fallow & Fields are an event catering company whose passion and ethos has always been on making the most of amazing local, sustainable and seasonal produce. Debbie and Tom have recently opened a delicatessen in Nuneham Courtney where they’re showcasing the best locally made and British produce.
Jessie and Olly, are the husband and wife duo behind Jessie’s Art Shed. They run an art shop in Eynsham, Oxfordshire where they host classes and workshops for all ages, stock a fantastic range of art products both in the shop and online, and sell amazing creations by local artists. They are passionate about art, and love that their little shop gives everyone, no matter what age or ability, the opportunity to create and grow in confidence.
We love our business and being in the Oxfordshire and Eynsham community because of our customers. We can’t tell you how grateful we are for our customers support, and we feel so lucky to have it and to have met so many wonderful people along the way. We are so humbled by the support we receive as it means we get to do the job we love on a daily basis!
– Jessie Whealy, Owner and Founder at Jessie’s Art Shed
An award-winning independent bookshop located in the heart of Abingdon. Mostly Books offers an excellent range of books, greeting cards, gifts and children’s toys. Sarah and the team can source most titles, and have been supporting their community by hand delivering books by bike within Abingdon. If you’re a bit further afield, check out their online shop.
Rapture is Oxfordshire’s longest running independent record store, right in the centre of Witney. Since owner Gary Smith first opened the doors in June 2004, they’ve always done their best to supply the people of Witney with the best and most exciting new music on various formats, the biggest blockbusters on DVD & blu-ray… and if they don’t have it, they’ll always try and order it in for you!
Being in the book trade is the most satisfying job in the world! We love meeting our customers and suggesting books for them that they may not have tried before. Being so involved in the local community is really important to us and the support we’ve received from customers all around Oxfordshire during the pandemic has been unbelievable.
– Sarah Dennis, Owner at Mostly Books
Steph recently created a successful Crowd Funder to take her pop up online zero waste to the high street! You can find So Sustainable on the High Street in Watlington, where you can refill with organic wholefoods, natural home & beauty products, and sustainable gifts.
The Maker Space is a modern craft venue based online and in a beautiful but abandoned 17th century pub building in Nuffield, near Henley-on-Thames where Kay and the team teach craft skills in their workrooms, stock gorgeous modern craft supplies and handmade goods in the store, and serve great food and drinks in their cosy cafe and garden.
Orange Bakery is a father and daughter bread bakery specialising in sourdough. Their mission is to make good bread available to the local community. Check out their shop on their local High Street in Watlington, and follow Kitty on Instagram for highly entertaining stop motion videos from the bakery!