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. Let me show you some of my favourite shops and recommended eateries you shouldn’t miss if you’re visiting the city. Keep in mind, though, that 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! You can use the map above if you get lost (believe it or not, the space can be a little challenging to navigate if you’ve never been to it!).
Covered Market Highlights - What to Eat
Let’s start with the best cafes, restaurants, and places to grab a bite in Oxford’s Covered Market. I’ve included a little bit of everything here, so hopefully you’ll get tempted by at least one of these options.
Sartorelli’s Pizza is an independently-owned pizzeria in the Covered Market. They always use the freshest and best ingredients and offer wood-fired pizzas you can eat in or take away. Closed on Mondays.
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.
Gulp Fiction is an indie bookshop, a bar, and a coffee house all in one. This place also offers local delivery and is open every day from 10:30 am til 5 pm (5:30 pm Monday to Saturday).
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.
Oxford Cheese Company
Oxford Cheese Company offers high-quality artisan cheese, food, and drink supplies. This acclaimed retailer was established in 1983 and also does local delivery. One thing to keep in mind: It is closed on Mondays, Sundays, and bank holidays.
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.
Covered Market Highlights - Thing to Shop
The Covered Market also has some beautiful and unique shops you should visit if you’re around. Here are my suggestions (you can explore them in detail or just look at them from the other side of the glass, as each is an artistic show on its own!).
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
- Bank holidays: Mon-Sun 10am – 4pm.
Note: Some traders might have specific hours.