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Visit Turl Street, Oxford

Home > Oxford > Cafes | Pubs | Shopping
by Cressida Ryan (subscribe)
Classicist and traveller
Published February 26th 2014
A short road where town and gown meet head on, Turl Street is a great place in the city centre where you could easily spend several hours exploring and browsing.

Three Colleges have entrances on to Turl Street, as they slot together, like carefully crafted jigsaw pieces, making the most of every inch of space. They're open to the public some of the time, if you fancy a tour. Jesus College is on the west side of the road.

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Peeking into Exeter College

On the north-east side is Exeter College, which extends around the corner onto Broad Street. On the south-east side is Lincoln College, whose elegant library looms large over the corner with the High Street.

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the North side of Turl Street

Two places stand out as somewhere to eat or drink. The Turl Street Kitchen serves a great range of local produce, as well as standard drinks, with wifi to keep you relaxing there in one of their comfortable chairs.

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The Missing Bean

Further down is the Missing Bean, reputedly the source of the best coffee in Oxford, and to judge by how hard it is to get a seat in here, this reputation certainly draws in the customers.

The Turl Pub won't feature on any top list of Oxford pubs, but it is an interesting building to pop in to. It's joined to the Mitre Tavern though, which serves good food, Costa Coffee, and a good range of drinks, with lots of space and private rooms for hire, making it a useful venue for meeting in groups.

The shops are a wonderful mix of small (but important) independents, and a few chains. Here are some top places to look out for.

If you want to get something to read as you while away the hours over your drink, pop in to the Oxfam Bookshop. Oxford is the home of Oxfam, which makes a visit seem only appropriate. Given the university background of donors, you never know what you might find in here.

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Oxfam Books

On the corner with Market Street is the party shop Celebrations, stocking an array of fun stuff for making your party go with a bang. It's definitely worth popping in to go downstairs and rummage around in the fancy dress selections. From flapper dresses to superheroes, the selection is huge.

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The Whisky Shop

There's the Whisky Shop at no.7. This is a branch of a small (22 shop) chain specialising in whiskies. Most of their stock is Scotch, with maps of distilleries around the walls to help guide you, but they have things from other places too. There are always some 'Glenkeir treasures' which a drawn from the cask in the shop, labelled with their bottling date, and available to taste, changing daily as they mature. The present manager is a true enthusiast. He'll offer you advice and talk you through the shop, as well as being available to run tasting parties.

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Ducker and Son

Ducker and Son fits subtly in the parade here, but there's nothing meek about their wares. This fabulous bespoke shoemakers displays amazing shoes in the window, enticing you inside to find out more about having a pair made. Primarily catering for men, it's easy to feel jealous as a woman; the shoes are expensive but worth it for the fit, the service and the personalisation.

Men do well on Turl Street in general as there's also Walter's, where you can buy any item of university clothing you might need, in order to be finely kitted out for any occasion.

Further towards the High Street at no.3 is Scriptum, an independent stationery shop. It's packed full of all kinds of wonderful Italian-sourced items, the window alone offering a veritable feast of masks, cards, pens, inks, journals, stamps and all other beautiful combinations of paper, card, leather, pewter and glass which ought to grace a good desk.

scriptum, turl, street, oxford

Turl Street backs on to the Oxford Covered Market, a venue worth visiting in its own right. One end is blocked off to general vehicles, so you can only walk or cycle the whole length.
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Why? Fascinating shopping & tourism in one
When: shops all have different opening hours - check links
Where: Turl Street
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