An Eating Tour of Oxford

Oxford is known for culture, literature and, of course, fantastic architecture.
But contrary to tired stereotypes about Britain, it’s also pretty great for food. Nearly 20 different eateries all over the city offered discounts to ORA students and staff in 2014. In this eating tour of Oxford, we take a look at what they have to offer.

The cafés

Art CaféCafé LocoNews CaféGrand CaféQueen’s Lane Coffee HouseTick Tock CaféGreens Café

Image shows a latte.
The history of coffee houses and cafés in Oxford is lengthy: the first coffee house in England was founded here in 1652, on the site of what is now the Grand Café, while the Queen’s Lane Coffee House, just across the road, followed not long after in 1654. Oxford’s cafés are warm and cosy places, though many have outside seating for the summer, and it’s very pleasant to wile away the hours with a pot of tea and good conversation. You might also want to treat yourself to that most English of treats: a scone with jam and clotted cream.

The sandwich and salad bars

Alpha BarHeroesMortonsQL Sandwich BarTaylorsThe Oxford CafeWill’s DeliOn the Hoof

Image shows a salami sandwich.
The typical lunch of the on-the-go Oxford student, there are a plethora of sandwich and salad bars in the city centre and further out. Quick service and fresh ingredients are their key selling points, though the queue at the ever-popular Alpha Bar can get daunting at lunchtime. Most will also sell tasty treats for afterwards, like the tray bakes that are a traditional British staple: flapjacks, millionaire’s shortbread and chocolate brownies are always popular.

A bigger meal

Al-Andalus Tapas BarVaults and Garden

Image shows the University Church of St Mary the Virgin.
Students looking for something more substantial than a sandwich or a jacket potato from a café might want to try out either of these options. Tapas might not be the kind of thing you’d imagine eating in Oxford, but the authentically Spanish experience offered by Al-Andalus is perfect if you want a big meal to share with friends. Meanwhile, Vaults and Garden is housed in Oxford University’s Old Congregation House, which dates to 1320 and is attached to the University Church of St Mary the Virgin; its garden allows glorious views of Radcliffe Square. It’s a great place to fill up with a hearty meal.

Traditional British food


Image shows a chicken pie.
Traditional British food doesn’t have the best reputation internationally, but that’s something that Pieminister undoubtedly help to change. It takes that staple of British cuisine, the pie, and does truly wonderful things with it – will you want to try the Matador, which contains British beef steak, chorizo, olives and butter beans, or will you favour the Merry Berry, with turkey, bacon, chestnut mushrooms and cranberries? There’s a huge range, made either with a traditional suet lid and all-butter shortcrust base, or a lighter option with a seeded base. Both are delicious!
Explore all the delights that Oxford has to offer on our summer school. It’s not too early to book – browse our courses and secure your place today ➙
Image credits: latte; sandwich; St Mary the Virgin; pie.