Oxford has had a thriving market since at least the 12th Century and likely as far back the 9th Century. Clustered around the Carfax at the very centre of the city, tailors, goldsmiths, tanners, butchers and more would ply their goods.
Oxford has always been posh and over two hundred years ago the Oxford Covered Market was built to house the bustling trade and "rid the streets of untidy, messy and unsavoury stalls".
Today, the Covered Market is as lively and full of character as I'm sure it was over two centuries ago. Accessed from the High Street, Market Street or through Golden Cross in the Cornmarket, it's right in the very centre of Oxford and only a few minutes walk from the train and bus stations.
I had a lovely outing here last time I visited with my baby. He loved all the colourful displays, interesting smells and the buzz created from happy shoppers and browers.
Chocology was the first shop to catch my attention. Rows of beautifully crafted Belgian chocolates called my name and is a must for chocoholics.
I also spent longer than I had realised staring through the windows of The Cake Shop. Specialising in custom designed cakes, you can watch the creative skills there and then as artists ice and sculpt their creations.
A little stall front in bright red attracted my attention, as did the wonderful smell filtering out. I couldn't resist purchasing some Bolitas. If, like me, you've never heard of these, they are Brazilian cheeseballs. Made with cassava flour and cheddar cheese they are the size of dough balls and gluten free. You can buy them individually but I decided to go for 6 at the special price of £2. I chose some of the traditional cheddar variants plus the feta cheese and a sweet guava. The cheddar was yummy, the feta a tasty surprise in the centre and I was pleasantly surprised by the guava, a sweet jammy treat.
The Covered Market also boasts a couple of great vegetable stalls, piled high with glistening fruit and fresh attractive vegetables. The three butchers shops combine many years of experience and a wider range than you might find in your local. This is the place to visit if you're looking for pheasant or rabbit.
I've read so much about Oxford covered market over the years, and was reminded of it again yesterday when watching Lewis. I'm still kicking myself for not having visited more of the city when my son was studying at Univ.