The City

One of the main perks of studying at Oxford is living in the city itself. Beyond the dreaming spires — and they are, by all accounts, pretty dreamy — Oxford is an exciting, bustling city full of fantastic restaurants, cosy pubs, and vibrant cocktail bars. When the library starts to feel a bit feverish, there’s an abundance of things to see and do; from visiting fascinating museums to shopping at the traditional covered market. We’ve given you a sneak peek of the best that Oxford has to offer.

If you’re looking to escape college, or to share your love for caffeine with some friends, consider some of our favourite spots recommended by student contributors.







Truck Shop

An independent record store and café which partners with local Truck Festival to host events and signings throughout the year. With regular live band performances, this is a great spot to meet a friend or to discover new music. 

The Truck Store is not the only gem to be found on Cowley Road… head on up over the Magdalen Roundabout into East Oxford for a huge range of restaurants and cafes. Cowley is also a popular private rental location for Oxford and Brookes students!

101 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1HU

01865 793 866







Crisis Café

This café serves delicious food and coffee, including the famous fireman’s breakfast. Crisis is a social enterprise which provides experience and training for Crisis Skylight members. There are often evening shows, exhibitions, and original art sales in the Old Fire Station attached. 

40 George Street, Oxford OX1 2AQ  

01865 263 972









This boutique coffee shop is famous for its truly incredible cakes. If you have less of a sweet tooth, try their sourdough stacks (in avocado, salmon and more…).

Barefoot is just one of several great coffee spots, and restaurants, in Jericho – look out for them on the walk up. This is a perfect location if you are meeting anyone from a North college – such as St Hughs!

74A Walton St, Oxford OX2 6EA








The Missing Bean

Opposite Lincoln College, this espresso bar is relaxed yet humming. With an awesome range of sandwiches as well as good coffee, you can fuel all day for meetings or work, or pop over for a break from one of the central libraries.

14 Turl St, Oxford OX1 3DQ

01865 794 886








G&D’s ice cream cafes are bright, tasty, and open until midnight. A true staple of many students’ Oxford experience, G&D’s offers everything from take away ice cream to eat in pizza bagels. There are three locations, so you are never too far away!

94 St Aldate’s 

55 Little Clarendon St 

104 Cowley Road

01865 245 952








Inside the Covered Market – this ice cream café (these are a thing in Oxford) offers incredible sorbets and gelatos. It also doubles up as a chocolate shop – ideal for small birthday gifts.

113 The Covered Market, Market St, Oxford OX1 3DZ

01865 247 084







The Handle Bar

This café offers exceptional coffee and breakfast, as well as a great range of cakes. Perched above the Bike Zone, the cycling theme is creative and a unique place to take visitors.

28-32 St Michael St, Oxford OX1 2EB

01865 251 315 







The Eagle & Child

Famously the favourite of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis.

49 St Giles St 








The Turf Tavern

Known for its ‘Oxford aesthetic’ with cobbled streets, and outdoor fires to sit around in winter.

4-5 Bath Place







The Kings Arms

A popular student haunt, nestled in the middle of several colleges. 

40 Holywell St  







Going Out

For undergraduates: In Freshers’ Week most colleges have reps who will organise tickets to club nights for new students who want to go out out. This means freshers from the same college can stick together. So there’s no need to grab tickets in advance while you’re still at home, you should be able to get them here! If you are concerned, message your college freshers’ reps – these should be listed on your college’s common room website.

There are also lots of events and activities organised for Freshers’ Week which are not clubbing or drinking based, and you can pick and choose what you’d like to attend. Again, this is usually organised by reps in your college so there is no need to sort anything while you are still at home.







Going Out

For graduates: You may have a welcome programme organised by your college, department or both. These can vary widely, but will often include pub crawls and collaborations with other colleges. Your college and department should email you their arrangements for freshers, or you can contact your common room committee (usually listed on your MCR’s website).

In Oxford, there are several clubs, and themed nights change year to year. The most popular nights to go out are during the week, but when, where and how often is entirely up to you!

And on weekends there are BOPs… and lots of them. A BOP is a party run by your common room (both undergraduate and graduate), usually on college premises. Each BOP is set up differently, but often you can invite guests from other colleges, and many have a dress up challenges and student DJs. (Remember that banana onesie…)