Shopping for Birthday Gifts in Oxford: A Guide

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Clive Varley

Not everyone comes to Oxford to sightsee. The city is home not only to golden-stone colleges and medieval streets, but also a wealth of shops that make the perfect mix for shopping for Birthday presents. Whether you are looking for something big or something small, we’ve rounded up the best of the best gift shops in Oxford’s city centre.

Shopping for Birthday Gifts in Oxford: A Guide

Scriptum Fine Stationery

Nestled in a side street next to one of Oxford’s most famous coffee shops, The Missing Bean, Scriptum is full of dark wooden interior that make stepping into this shop like stepping into another era. It’s strange how a quick browse can turn you from a sane, rational person, into someone absolutely convinced that you definitely, desperately need a compass, a wax seal, a telescope, a pewter letter opener, a personalised leather notebook… the list goes on. For a unique and utterly beautiful Birthday gift, look no further.

Downstairs in Scriptum Fine Stationary

Scriptum Fine Stationary

Scriptum Fine Stationery is at 3 Turl Street.

Blackwell’s Book Shop

Now, there are many Blackwell’s around the country, but this shop is the original, dating back to 1879. There are four floors crammed with books, in every genre imaginable, so it’s almost impossible not to find something suitable - and there are literary-gifts, stationery and DVDs if you need more options. The Norrington Room is especially worth a look, an underground treasure-trove of non-fiction, there’s a special ‘Rare Books’ section if you want to splash out. If you’re looking to save a little cash, however, there’s a second-hand section upstairs. Just next door you’ll find the Blackwell’s Music Shop, and across the street they have their huge Art and Poster Shop.

View of Blackwells from Tour Bus

Photo Credit: Blake Patterson

Blackwell’s Book Shop is at 51 Broad Street.

The Last Bookshop

Oxford is such a literary city, we couldn’t limit ourselves to only one bookshop. This one is a bit more quirky than Blackwell’s, with almost every single book priced at just £3 - and you can get two for a fiver! Bear in mind, if you have a specific book in mind, this isn’t the place to go. But the great thing about The Last Bookshop is the variety of their stock - particularly in the History and Politics section - and, of course, the prices. Where else could you get a pristine hardback about the History of Strong Men for just three quid?!

The Last Bookshop, Oxford

Photo Credit: Blake Stanley.

The Last Bookshop is at 7 New Inn Hall Street.

The Cake Shop

Oxford’s Covered Market is a must-visit anyway, containing all sorts of lovely independent shops and cafes. The Cake Shop is always a big attraction, with its glass shopfront allowing all passers-by to take a peek at the employees baking and decorating. You can buy all things cake here: big cakes, small cakes, medium cakes, cake pops… The mini graduation cakes are particularly popular, for obvious reasons. They also sell all sorts of supplies for making and decorating your own tasty treats at home. The place to go for gifts for GBBO fans - or a particularly special Birthday cake.

Image of the cakes in the Window of The Cake Shop, Oxford

Photo Credit: the spiritprince

The Cake Shop is at Covered Market.

Fudge Kitchen

If cake isn’t really your thing, then maybe Fudge Kitchen can tickle your taste-buds. With huge slabs of fudge made on the premises in flavours from Vintage Vanilla to Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl to Lemon Drizzle, this is a sweet-tooth’s dream. There are fudge sauces, and drinking fudge; they even have Dairy-free and Vegan varieties, and special ‘limited edition’ seasonal flavours (think ‘Mince Pie’ and ‘Rudolph’s Delight’ aka Carrot Cake). But it’s the free tasting samples that make this an unmissable stop when gift-shopping. Treat yourself… and then them.

The Fudge Kitchen prepping a bar of fudge

The Fudge Kitchen, Oxford.

Fudge Kitchen is at 5 Broad Street.


For a more high-brow gift shop, we couldn’t not mention one of Oxford’s most famous attractions, the Ashmolean Museum. Founded in 1683 with one of most diverse collections of Art and Archaeology, the Ashmolean has the bonus that if you just can’t choose which gift would be best you can take a wander round the exhibitions while you decide. The shop is diverse, containing anything from jewellery to board games to crockery to candles, books, stationery and food, all beautifully designed.

Ashmolean Museum is on Beaumont Street.