The Best Shops In Oxford
If you’re keen to head into Oxford, and want to see the real heart of the city, we’ve put together our pick of the best independent shops in Oxford, alongside some that are a little further afield, so you can plan your trip before you head out.
Oxford is looking really beautiful at the moment, and this summer is a great time to take advantage of our city without the crowds of tourists. So carve out some time to be a tourist in your own city, explore the iconic sites, and visit the independent stores that make Oxford a great place to visit. >>
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 jewellery making supplies. From September, Amy will be kicking off her autumn workshops, which include silver smithing and beaded jewellery for all levels. Check out her Facebook Live videos for brilliant lockdown makes.
Bicycle Blooms is an artisan flower shop in East Oxford creating bespoke bouquets for all occasions. Owner Jane is passionate about using seasonal flowers, seed heads, berries and foliage that reflect the year, and often sources flowers from Oxfordshire growers. She also stocks a great range of potted plants and containers to go.
Bonners are an independent family business, owned and run by Gordon & Verity Piggott, which is based in the historic Oxford Covered Market since 1952. They are passionate about supporting local farmers and reducing the carbon foot print across the food chain; reducing plastic packaging and doing all their central Oxford deliveries on foot, keeping those food miles low.
A great independent art shop set up as a family owned independent in 1981. Today the shop caters for Oxford residents and students alike, with an extensive range of art and craft supplies.
Fairtrade at St Michaels was the first shop in Oxford 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.
Shop Manager Daniella says;
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!
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. They’ve been a pillar of their community during lockdown, and often sell out early so make sure you get there early to bag your loaf!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Modern Art Oxford’s eclectic shop stocks a wide range of unique gifts, jewellery, cards and a selection of books, as well as exhibition catalogues and merchandise and artist editions available on the Own Art scheme. Shop Manager Shona hand picks the collection to make sure they always have a unique and quirky range in stock.
Oxford Aromatics, based in The Covered Market, sells a range of natural and organic products including essential oils, body butters, reed diffusers and bath products. Owner Joy is passionate about natural and organic products, and the majority of the range is sourced from small UK producers.
Payne & Son is an eighth generation family business, established in 1790. Payne & Son specialises in 20th century and contemporary silver, as well as modern and traditional jewellery in gold, platinum and silver. Max, Anna and the team at Payne & Son have played a very sparkly part in many lockdown engagements this year!
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 them for stylish and individual clothing, gifts, jewellery, scarves and other fabulous accessories and lifestyle items.
Reginald Davis are an independent family jewellers based on the High Street in Oxford, specialising in antique, second-hand and modern jewellery. Established in 1904, the shop was originally based in London, however during the 1940s Reginald Davis moved his shop to Oxford and five generations later the family is still trading in the same premises.
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 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.
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!
Here is our pick of indies to check out across the county. >>
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 within Abingdon during lockdown. 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!
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.
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!
Worton Kitchen Garden provides the best in fresh, organic produce and is situated just to the north west of Oxford between the villages of Cassington and Yarnton. David and Simon grow a huge variety of produce on their 7 acre site, including rainbows of dahlias, glasshouses full of tomatoes and aubergines, and fields of sweetcorn and root veg, which you can buy in their farm shop, alongside homemade sourdough, preserves and cordials.