The Covered Market, High Street, Oxford
Dating back to the eighteenth century, Oxford Covered Market with its sawdust strewn floors and colourful aromas, is where both ‘town and gown’ come to buy quality meat, great cheese and to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables.
Don’t miss a wander around Oxford Covered Market. Come here to shop or for a bite to eat in one of its cafés such as Georgina’s. Be warned, it’s not for the faint-hearted, the butchers hang their meat and game on full display so don’t be surprised if you come face-to-face with a pig’s head (or two).
- Visit Oxford’s specialist food shops
- Taste Oxford cheese
- Have lunch in a café
Visit Oxford’s Historic Covered Food Market
There’s been a market in the city since the 9th century but the current one was started in 1771 in response to a general wish to clear ‘untidy, mess and unsavoury stalls’ from the main streets. Oxford Covered Market is still thriving today. Look out for the entrance at the top of the High Street opposite The Old Bank Hotel.
Shop at Oxford’s Specialist Food Shops
The market has a great selection of specialist food shops many of which supply the 38 colleges in the city. You can get everything here for a picnic. Find your provisions and walk down the hill to Christ Church meadow and picnic next to the river Cherwell.
Get in to the Festive Spirit
It’s at Christmas time that the market becomes a really magical place and there’s nowhere quite like it in the city for feeling that festive build up. Decked with bunches of mistletoe and holly, it gleams with brussel sprouts, clementines and baskets of nuts. Outside the butchers shops, you’ll see rows of turkeys but also venison, rabbit and game hanging on hooks. Vegetarians should stay well clear.
Taste Oxford Cheese
Pick up local cheeses from the Oxford Cheese Company who produce Oxford Blue, College Cheese and Oxford Isis. The latter is a semi-soft cheese which is washed with honey mead to give it more texture and flavour.
Try One of Ben’s Cookies
Anyone growing up in Oxford over the last 30 years will be familiar with the smell of Ben’s Cookies baking as you enter the market. With their trademark red tins, the company has now expanded across the UK. We love their orange and milk chocolate cookies.
Eat a Pie at Pieminister
Pieminister, the brilliantly named pie shop, has supplied pies for the Queen’s Christmas party. They’re really very good and have received several Great Taste awards. For a real taste of Britain, try the ‘Kate & Sydney’ – a beef steak, kidney and real ale pie.
Drink a Milkshake From Moo Moos
You’ll always see a queue outside this stall as it’s quickly developed a cult following especially among Oxford’s students. Selling milkshakes, ice-creams and smoothies which are blended with ingredients of your choice including popular chocolate bars, cereals, biscuits and sweets. Terry’s Chocolate Orange Milk or a Jelly Babies milkshake anyone?
- The Covered Market is open everyday except Sunday
- If it’s a sunny day, go to the rooftop bar at The Varsity Club and enjoy the view of Oxford’s skyline
- If you want to taste Ben’s Cookies in London, there’s one opposite the iconic Liberty store (you can see it from their fabulous chocolate department)
- You can buy Pieminister pies at London’s famous Borough Food Market
Where to Stay in Oxford
Old Bank Hotel
Situated in the heart of historical Oxford, The Old Bank offers luxury rooms and a buzzy brasserie.
Rooms from £189 a night.
You can take me shopping with you. Can we go to the pet shop in the market?
How To Find Oxford Covered Market
The Covered Market, Market St, Oxford OX1 3DZ
The Foodie Travel Guide
Sally is the founder and editor of The Foodie Travel Guide. She travels around the UK and beyond in search of the best foodie days out, tasting experiences and delicious places to stay. She loves a glass of English sparkling wine, afternoon tea with friends and escaping London for gastronomic adventures.