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15 December 2007

Bex's Guide to Oxford

I haven't been into the 'Ford in ages and I do miss the place, not least because there's so much more to do than in Nowheresville.

Bookshops:

Oxford is pretty much the bookshop capital of the world; England, at the very least. Obviously, I exclude Borders and Waterstones from my list of favourites. The QI Bookshop (left) is pretty awesome. It's just a smallish, circular room in the QI Club on Turl Street. The books are arranged, oh-so-quirkily, by subject area ("drunk", "the Great American Novel", "first love", etc.) and although the collection isn't huge, most of the books on offer are pretty interesting and it's always nice to see someone else's recommendations. Arcadia (in the centre) has second-hand books (almost all fiction) along with assorted gifts. The books are pretty cheap and the guy who owns the shop is friendly, so the shop is definitely worth a browse. Blackwells is the grandad of the Oxford bookshop family but you can't beat it for the range. It is bigger and more spacious than Heffers in Cambridge, and has a great second-hand department, as well as the Norrington Room, the academic department in the basement.









Other shops:

Fresh, Aspire and Browse, all have assorted girlie clothes and accessories. Perfect for secret santas or secret splurging on oneself. A girl must buy her overpriced, exquisite stationery from somewhere; The City Organiser (bottom) is that place. They have Moleskines, posh fountain pens, gorgeous writing paper, non-Paperchase cards and Dr Who gifts! What variety, eh?








Food 'n'drink:

Brothers is my favourite place for coffee in Oxford, although the coffee there isn't always the greatest (they do, at least know how to make a cappuccino, even if it sometimes comes out as more of a latte) but the atmosphere is great (especially in term time when it's full of students chatting about Important Oxford Things) and it's right in the middle of the awesome covered market. They have cool coffee facts and quotations printed on the wall too; also, they have the Grauniad available, which is great when your parents only have the Telegraph and you want to catch up on your leftie-themed news. Pieminister is new; I'm not a big pie fan but I can never pass up such a quality pun and I spotted it as I was walking through the covered market. If you want a sandwich, though, where better than The Sandwich Shop of Dreams (right)? Now that I've left, I can't make any guarantees of the quality but there was always a great range that catered for all of your sandwich needs. I was shocked to find they now serve Lavazza not Illy, though! Shockers! Finally, Quod, which serves the best burgers in Oxford (after a few shaky periods) and does a fantastic mojito. The Old Bank Hotel, to which the restaurant is attached, is the trendiest hotel in the city as well as being Papa's bank when he was a student here.








I didn't go to Walton Street today but that's probably the coolest place to hang out, with the Phoenix cinema, Freud (cafe-bar in a former neo-classical church) and assorted other clothes and bookshops that seem to change every time I go.

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