The Indie Oxford Freshers’ Guide

 In Inspiration

So you’ve got through Freshers’ Week, and things may be a bit different this term with lots of virtual classes, 10 pm curfews and social distancing, but Oxford is still a great place to be a student, even without the parties.

We love our city and there’s so much to offer, even during a pandemic! We’re so lucky to have lots of green spaces, easily accessible countryside, and great ways to feel part of the community.

Here are our top tips if you’re embarking on your student journey in Oxford this term. >>

Oxford Graduation
Image by Hello Hann Photography


The fuel of many a last minute essay, these are our top picks for the best coffee in Oxford. >>

Jericho Coffee Traders

The Espresso Bar on the High Street in Oxford is a great place to grab a quick coffee and a delicious cake from NOOD or a brownie from PATRON… watch out for the doughnut days!

The Missing Bean

The Missing Bean is an independently owned and run espresso bar, set up to bring artisan Antipodean style coffee and a laid back cafe atmosphere to the heart of Oxford in 2009 on Turl Street.

Colombia Coffee Roasters

Colombia Coffee Roasters are speciality, single-origin coffee roasters based, check out their Summertown Cafe.

Jericho Coffee Traders Oxford
The Missing Bean Oxford
Colombia Coffee Roasters Oxford

Clean Eating

It’s easy to slip into bad habits when it comes to cooking for yourself at uni, so make sure you top up on the good stuff. Here’s our guide to the best places to pick up fruit & veg in Oxford. >>


Bonners are an independent family greengrocer, based in the historic Oxford Covered Market since 1952. They are passionate about supporting local farmers and reducing the carbon footprint across the food chain.


Cultivate is Oxford’s Local Food Cooperative supplying local, organic, fresh fruit and veg to the people of Oxford via their Summertown Farmer’s market stall, and their veg box scheme.

Pickle and Lime

Pickle & Lime is Oxford’s newest greengrocer, based on the vibrant Botley Road.

Banners Fruit and Veg Oxford Covered Market
Cultivate Oxford
Pickle and Lime Oxford

Student Friendly Eats

When you need to celebrate, catch up with a friend or find a date night spot on a budget, these are a good shout for great food that won’t eat up too much of your loan. >>

Mamma Mia

Mamma Mia is an Oxford Institution – serving great pizza and pasta in the city for over 35 years. Find them on Walton Street and South Parade in Summertown.

Tap Social

Tap Social is a craft brewery, coffee house and community space that provides training and employment to people serving and recently released from prison sentences. Find them on the Curtis Industrial Estate in Botley, where they have a regular line up of street food traders.

Handle Bar Cafe

The Handle Bar Cafe & Kitchen pride themselves on only using sustainably sourced ingredients to ensure the best tasting food and drinks that you can enjoy totally guilt-free. A great spot for brunch or lunch in the middle of the city on St Michaels Street.

Mamma Mia Oxford
Tap Social Oxford
Handle Bar Cafe Oxford

Green Living

If you’re keen to make your time in Oxford as environmentally friendly as possible, there are some great ways to keep your carbon foot print down in the city. >>


OXWASH is the World’s leading sustainable, digital laundry, linen and dry cleaning service, offering exceptional levels of quality cleaning without costing the Earth. Check out their website to book a wash.


Sarah and Josh at Indigo, have put sustainability, beauty, good quality and design at the heart of their business, and the gorgeous products they sell. Find Indigo on Cowley Road.

The Oxford Soap Company

The Oxford Soap Company is a local, family run business that designs and creates handmade soaps in The Covered Market. Owner Vinny, makes THE BEST shampoo bars and soap on a rope, perfect if your cutting down on bathroom plastics.

Indigo Oxford Shop Front
Oxford Soap Company Shop

Home Comforts

Moving into a soulless student room can leave you feeling uprooted. To make yourself feel at home, add some plants and decs to your space to help you feel grounded. >>

Bicycle Blooms

Bicycle Blooms is an independent flower and plant shop on Magdalen Road in East Oxford. Jane has a great variety of houseplants at affordable prices.

May & Co

May + co is an Oxford based online space selling lovingly sourced and restored mid to late 20th century furniture, homeware and ethical finds. You can book an appointment to visit Amy’s workshop on Hurst Street and discover all her amazing treasures!

The Garden

The Garden of Oxford was established in Oxford’s historic Covered Market in 1984 and has gained an enviable reputation for being one of the region’s finest flower shops. They have a fantastic selection of houseplants to help make your room fresh and verdant.

Bicycle Blooms Houseplants
May & Co Oxford
Houseplants The Garden Oxford


The move from home into student life can be a little overwhelming to say the least. Make sure you look after yourself mentally and physically in the weeks ahead. Here are some of our favourite wellbeing indies. >>

Everybody Studio

Everybody Studio is a small, supportive, non judgmental space for movement classes in St Clements, Oxford. They specialise in Yoga, Pilates and Barre.

Everybody Studio Oxford

Littlemore Candle Company

Owner Molly, not only makes hand poured soy wax candles, she also creates gorgeous diffusers and pillow sprays to add a little wellbeing to your student room.

Littlemore Candle Company Lavender Diffuser


YogaVenue offers hot yoga as well as Restorative, Vinyasa, and a whole host of other classes too. Find them behind Tesco on Cowley Road, or online.

YogaVenue Oxford

Visiting Parents

If you need some ideas up your sleeve for the parents visit, these restaurants are your go to parent friendly destinations. >>

Cherwell Boathouse

The Cherwell Boathouse is an iconic Oxford punt station and restaurant on the banks of the Cherwell, close to the centre of Oxford, with beautiful views over the river.


The French word for tipsy — Pompette, a stylish charcuterie wine bar and restaurant in Summertown, Oxford.

Quod Restaurant & Bar

Quod, on Oxford’s High Street, has a broad menu of European classics with an emphasis on British produce, sourced locally wherever possible.

Cherwell Boathouse Oxford
Pompette Oxford
Quod Oxford

For more indie inspiration, check out the Independent Oxford directory, packed with over 100 of Oxfordshire’s independent businesses.

Love, Rosie


P.S Sub Fuscs at the ready! Local photographer Hannah offers fun, fast and affordable portrait sessions for students in Oxford. Check out her blog to see some examples of her work.

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

George Street Mural Oxford Luke EmbdenPickle and Lime Oxford