Introducing Oxford’s best bookshops

photo (c) John Cairns

Date of Publication: 22 February 2019

The city of Oxford provides an enchanting setting and source of inspiration for the curious bibliophile. It’s historical background and picturesque architecture could have been taken straight out of a fairy-tale, so It’s no wonder that authors such as J.R. Tolkien and Lewis Carroll were able to create such magical stories whilst residing in the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’ (a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold).

Not only has Oxford been home to some of the world’s most prolific authors, it is also home to some of the UK’s most memorable bookshops. We’d like to introduce the best pit stops for the avid reader:

 

Blackwell’s Bookshop 

We begin our list with perhaps the most famous bookshop in Oxford: Blackwell’s. Blackwell’s stands on an impressive four floors and is located in the heart of Oxford, at 50 Broad Street. The store was originally opened on New Year’s day in 1879 by Benjamin Henry Blackwell.

Now a leading book retailer in the UK, with over 40 stores countrywide, the original Blackwell’s is a must see, having grown from its roots as a rare and second-hand book retailer, to proving itself as a pioneer in the modern age of the bibliophile by offering an enormous amount of choice.

 

Oxford University Press Bookshop

Readers can find the publication giant’s bookshop at 116-117 High Street. OUP is at the forefront of publishing: it is the world’s largest publisher, and home to some of the UK’s most revered titles, including the Oxford Dictionary and Oxford World Classics.

The bookshop originally opened in 1872 and has provided readers with a tranquil environment to browse new titles offered exclusively by the brand. With ties to many high-ranking institutions worldwide, OUP’s book store is an essential stop for any student.

 

Waterstones Bookshop

Waterstones Bookshop stands grandly at the corner of Broad Street. This impressive building is home to a huge selection of genres, and offers visitors a taste of both classic and modern authors.

Shoppers can find new releases shelved alongside the week’s bestsellers, as well as conveniently placed book reviews. The shop itself also features a cafe, allowing readers to begin their page jumping journey with a classic English cuppa.

 

Arcadia Bookshop

This wonderful bookshop sells rare and antique second-hand paperbacks. Located at 4 St Michael’s Street, Arcadia’s quirky and kitsch environment entices bookworms with a rare offering of books, as well as an assortment of unique gifts and ornaments. The bookshop promotes a social environment, hosting Book Club evenings where readers can review their latest finds.

 

The first Oxfam Bookshop

Located at 56 St Giles Street, this bookshop was the first Oxfam Bookshop to open, back in 1987. Readers can support charity whilst they shop for titles. The Shop contains a plethora of options – including foreign language books and rare fiction. Hosting books on two floors, Oxfam’s bookshop is sure to offer something for everyone.

 

St Philip’s books Bookshop

Perfect for the book lover starving for new knowledge, this old and quaint book shop is sure to speak to the reader’s inner voice, providing them with a selection of Humanities books. Subject matter includes and is not limited to; Philosophy, Theology, and History. Located at 82 St Aldates Street, St Phillips Bookshop is situated close to Christ Church gardens, perhaps conveniently placed for readers to relax whilst exploring their fresh purchase in one of the most beautiful parts of Oxford.

 

The Last Bookshop

‘The Last’ on our list, this chic bookshop is located at 25 Walton Street, in the district of Jericho. The shop contains its own cafe, serving tea and coffee. Due to it’s relaxed and friendly atmosphere, The Last Bookshop proves popular amongst students. It is home to a range of rarer titles, and offers plenty of affordable books at 2 for £5. The shop features outside tables, making it a perfect spot for the reader looking for a date with sunshine whilst delving in to a brand new adventure.

 

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