The Covered Market is a gorgeous historic market in a large covered structure. It has several shops and permanent stalls and is located in the centre of the city. Many students and visitors frequent the Covered market looking for a little shopping and a bite. The market has some great little restaurants (check out our guide to eating on a budget in Oxford), bars, and quirky shops.
Oxford's Covered Market Best Shops and Hidden Gems
There’s so much to see in Oxford’s covered market. But let’s look at some of our recommended eateries and shops you shouldn’t miss if you’re visiting the city. However, this list is by no means extensive. The Covered Market has dozens of unique shops – so the best way to see them all is to visit in person. So don’t miss your chance to explore this labyrinthic place on your next visit.
Covered Market Highlights - What to Eat
Looking for gourmet salads and affordably-priced sandwiches? Alpha Bar has a seasonal menu with delicious food that is prepared daily 0 making it the perfect place to grab a quick bite.
Ben’s Cookies is a popular chai, but for some reason these taste so much better in Oxford 😉 Well, it might be because this Ben’s in particular, here in the Covered Market, is the original store! Don’t miss this kiosk.
If you want to grab a shake in Oxford, Moo-Moo’s is the place to go. This little shop has a simple yet effective system: Pick your favourite ingredient, and the staff will turn it into a milkshake with ice cream.
Covered Market Highlights - Thing to Shop
Cardews of Oxford
Cardews of Oxford is hidden in a corner of the Covered Market. This little shop is the oldest provider of fine tea in the area, and also provides visitors with freshly roasted coffee. It’s been here since 1965.
The Garden of Oxford
If you’re looking for gorgeous English-grown flowers, The Garden of Oxford in the Covered Market is a great option. This shop opened in 1984 and has remained a favourite for locals and visitors alike.
The Hat Box
This shop is one of Oxford’s specialists. The Hat Box, as its name implies, stocks hats in many different styles and colours – from fascinators to fedoras. Plys, they also offer handbags to match!
What's the History of Oxford's Covered Market?
The Covered Market opened its doors for the first time on 1 November 1774. Since then, it has been permanently in use.
The market was opened to cleat the “messy, untidy und unsavoury stalls” from the main streets of Oxford. The architect in charge was John Gwynn, who also created Magdalen Bridge, next to Magdalen College. The building costed about nine hundred and sixteen pounds ten shillings and opened with twenty butcher’s shops. The next year, in 1773, twenty new ones followed, adding stalls for garden produce, dairy products, and fish.
What are the Covered Market opening hours?
The Oxford Covered Market is open every day. The times are:
- Monday to Saturday: 8am – 5.30pm
- Sunday: 10am – 4pm