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A Guide to the Hidden Gems of Oxford’s Covered Market

1 September 2019 | Billie Manning

Oxford just wouldn’t be the same without its covered market, home to a wealth of independent businesses showcasing the best of the city’s local crafts, food and drink, many of which are family businesses going back decades. Here are the places you shouldn’t miss, whether you’re a local or just visiting for the day.

Oxford Soap Company
It’s all coming up roses at the Oxford Soap Company – and lavender, and tea tree… This family-run handmade soap business sells suds in every scent you can imagine, from the enigmatic English Rain to the more self-descriptive Sandalwood and Vanilla. They sell bar shampoos fantastic for keeping your packaging consumption down as well as a range of aesthetically pleasing cosmetics: think hand creams in all the same scents as their soaps, body butters and bath salts. Fancy learning to concoct your own scent? Book one of their workshops, where you’ll have the choice of making your very own soaps, creams or scrubs.
 
Jeong’s Dosirak
There’s no better place to duck into for a tasty midday takeaway than this Korean lunchbox café. At Jeong’s you can be assured of tasty, authentic Korean flavours at affordable prices, whether you’re on the hunt for comfort in the form of hot kimchi jjigae (stew) or a bibimbap with a spicy kick. Just make sure you leave enough time to get back to your desk if you’re coming at lunchtime – the shop is popular enough to garner a healthy queue.

Coba Bubble Tea
This chilled-out bubble tea stop is the perfect place for a quick hangout with friends. Though small the shop is cosy as can be, covered in sticky notes left by satisfied customers, and the staff will even bring you a board game to keep you occupied should you choose to drink in. And if a tea just isn’t cutting it for your appetite, you can fill up on a tasty jianbing – a Chinese street food dish similar to crepes. 
 

 
Georgina’s
Follow the (painted) angels up the stairs to find pretty-in-pink Georgina’s all decked out in vintage posters and fairy lights: this café doesn’t skimp on the kitsch aesthetics. Hidden away above the Brothers café, Georgina’s serves a Mediterranean menu with a Greek focus. The food options are very veggie-friendly, though you won’t be left in the cold whether you fancy a falafel wrap or a lamb moussaka. Best on offer, though, are the selection of colourful salads made fresh every day.

The Garden of Oxford
Alright, so hidden gem could be a stretch for The Garden of Oxford – you’d be hard-pressed to ignore this florist in the centre of the hidden market, with its buckets of blooms competing for space outside the shop. Despite an original and varied flower selection, the Garden of Oxford’s best asset is its helpful staff, who will help you execute a beautiful bouquet arrangement no matter the occasion.

The covered market is open 8am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday and 10am – 4pm on Sundays
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