Located right in the heart of Oxford city centre, our world famous Oxford City Council Covered Market is home to over 50 specialist independent traders, each selling their own unique variety of goods, as well as offering a wide selection of cafes and bars. The market dates back to the 1770s and has become famous for being one of the oldest continually operating markets in the country.
About the Market
The Covered Market offers a unique ‘one stop shop’ for specialist independent retailers selling food, drink, gifts, fashion, flowers, toiletries, hats, and jewellery to name but a few. It’s as far from a homogenous shopping experience as you can get. As well as extensive specialist shopping opportunities, our market offers a variety of places to eat, drink and relax as you soak in the unique market atmosphere.
Many of the businesses are family owned, having been passed on through generations. We’re also keen to be a place to support brand-new innovative ventures. If traditional Oxford fare is what you are after, you can get it here, or if you’d like to take in something a bit out of the ordinary, or a specialist selection from further-afield our traders have that too. Each offer a personal customer service.
Every Thursday to Saturday we now open into the evenings. As well as shopping you can listen to live music, learn a skill or enjoy some comedy. Check out our regularly updated events page www.oxford-coveredmarket.co.uk/news-and-events/news/events-at-the-market-summer-2023/ for the latest listings.
Around the world in the Covered Market
We’re proud of the rich cultural diversity within our market. As well as a plethora of traditional English offerings like some of the best English fry-ups in Oxford, we’ve an exciting mix of cuisines and products from all around the world. To celebrate, we created an award-winning video series Around the World in the Market. In this series, we meet with some of our wonderful traders and learn about how their background has inspired their business.
Click here to find more on our YouTube playlist.
The market is open to the public from 8 am – 5.30 pm Monday to Wednesday, 8am – 11pm Thursday to Saturday, and 10 am – 4 pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays. However, traders may vary their operating hours. Head to our trader page to find out individual trader opening hours.
We look forward to you visiting us soon and we hope you will enjoy the personal bespoke customer service together with first-class products that have made our market an integral part of Oxford’s cultural identity.
The building dates back to the 1770s and has a long, varied and interesting heritage.
In 1772, the original market committee accepted an estimate for nine hundred and sixteen pounds and ten shillings for the building of twenty butchers shops. John Gwynn, the architect for Magdalen Bridge, drew up the plans and designed the High Street frontage. Twenty more shops soon followed and grew into the delight it is now.
You can learn more about the history of the Covered Market here.
Recent Restoration Works
In 2020 -21 Oxford Preservation Trust, with the support of the William Delafield Charitable Trust, worked with Oxford City Council restore units 46-48 in the earliest surviving part of the Covered Market. Over the years, the previous occupiers, John Lindsey Butcher & Son, had made many alterations. Expert craftsmen have now uncovered and repaired a treasure trove of original fabric and features, including stone flag floors, stone pillars, original iron trelliswork, and even the original shop sign.
Find out more with Oxford Preservation Trust or take a look for yourself – enter the Covered Market from Market Street passing in front of Bonner’s fruit and veg towards Feller & Daughter Butchers and you will see it on your right.
Looking to the Future
The Covered Market may be about to celebrate its 250th Anniversary but looking to the future has never been so key to our day-to-day operations. In 2021 and 2022 the Covered Market welcomed six brand new businesses, introduced a new leasing strategy, launched its first ever public newsletter, and is now opening until 11pm Thursdays to Saturdays in response to overwhelming public support via a consultation about trialing later opening times. In 2022 Oxford City Council launched a public and trader consultation on its “Masterplan” proposals to sensitively update specific aspects of the market that will mean the market is able to keep up with changing consumer habits. In early 2023 City Council cabinet gave their approval for the masterplan, to go ahead, enabling a £6.87m regeneration package to ensure the market thrives well into the future.
Follow this link Covered Market regeneration plans, to find out more about the market’s exciting new future.