Arts and Culture
Oxford boasts most of the high street and designer shops that we know and love in the UK but, unusually, it also has a host of individual shops that you will only find here! Along with these there are a range of markets that take place either weekly or monthly. Oxford Fashion Week is also held in venues around the city so don’t worry if you can’t make it to London or Paris – we have our very own! For those interested in entertainment, there is plenty of choice here in Oxford, ranging from cinemas and theatres to music venues and events.
One of the more popular cinemas is the Odeon Cinema on George Street. Not only is it in the centre of Oxford, it is also near several great restaurants. Why not make it a night out with your friends? Ideal for students with NUS, which will allow discount on tickets and snacks. Another benefit is that this cinema has a taxi rank right outside the door. George Street, OX1 2BL | www.odeon.co.uk
Based just around the corner, Magdalen Street Odeon is a little smaller but widens your chances of getting a ticket! It is just as convenient for transport and restaurants. Magdalen Street, OX1 3AE.
If you have a car you car always travel to the Vue Cinema, a 20 minute ride away from Oxford City centre. It’s situated in the Ozone Leisure Park which also offers other entertainment activities, such as bowling. You can also get there via public transport. Grenoble Road OX4 4XP | Tel: 08712240240 | www.myvue.com
Is it worth it?
The Phoenix Picturehouse
As part of the Picturehouse chain, the Phoenix Picturehouse is found in Oxford and not only shows new and upcoming movies but also holds events. This cinema has a bar on the first floor allowing you to chill and discuss the movie; it can also be hired out for private events. The Phoenix Picturehouse also hosts E4 Slackers Club – once a month, usually on a Thursday, the cinema shows free student previews exclusively to Slackers members. To become a member, you just need to take your NUS or student card into the Picturehouse and join for free! 57 Walton Street, Oxford, OX2 6AE | Tel: 08719025736 | www.picturehouses.co.uk
The Ultimate Picture Palace
The Ultimate Picture Palace is the oldest independent cinema in Oxford. There is only one screen, but don’t let that put you off; they not only show newly released blockbusters but also foreign, indie and classic films, as well as documentaries. With a bar for snacks and drinks, this cosy cinema is perfect for a great night out. Very few adverts are shown before the film begins so it is best to be on time to catch your movie! The cinema is close to St Clement’s Street and is just along Cowley Road. It can also be hired out for private screenings and meetings. Jeune Street, Cowley Road OX4 1XP |Tel: 01865245288 | www.uppcinema.com
The city of Oxford has a long and illustrious history when it comes to literature, legendary authors including C.S Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien studied at Oxford University and worked on the most famous works here. Oxford is also home to one of the largest libraries in Europe, The Bodlien Libraries, with the first room opening in 1320. The Bodleian is the main research library of the University of Oxford and holds over 12 million items in their catalogues including rare first editions and manuscripts. Oxford had been described as having a 'serious' book buying community, given the number of students and academics who live and work here. So here are a few notible bookshops for any visting bibliophiles to browse around.
When discussing bookshops in Oxford the first that comes to mind is Blackwell's, this historic Oxford has been trading since 1879 and was opened by the son of the city's first librarian, Benjamin Henry Blackwell. This bookshop is known for it's enormous variety of genres catered to, from children's and Young Adult to every type of fiction and non-fiction imaginable, there is also a large section dedicated to foreign cinema. Blackwell's is famous for the 'Norrington Room', which runs underneath Trinity College and has over 3 miles of bookshelves. Which contain more than 160,000 books catering to every academic subject you can think of. There is a Cafe Nero in the shop and plenty of armchairs and reading nooks for customers to browse the shelves. Blackwell's also has a dedicated music shop next book, specialising in sheet-music and also Comic Book and Art shop across the road. You could spend an entire day perusing Blackwell's shelves.
48-51 Broad St, Oxford OX1 3BQ |Telephone: 01865 792792
Oxford's Waterstones is located at William Baker House on the corner of Broad Street in the heart of the city centre. This branch is well known by residents and vistors alike for it's beautiful as eye-catching window displays. With 5 floors stocked with all genres of books, from crime and sci-fi to history and sports and the entire basement level dedicated to childrens's and Young Adult literature, this bookshop is guaranteed to have something for everyone. There is also a W cafe on the third floor serving food and hot/soft drinks throughout the day. This Waterstones also hosts many events throughout the year, special release day/night parties, author signings and book clubs.
William Baker House, Broad St, Oxford OX1 3AF|Telephone: 01865 790212
Oxford University Press
Located on High Street is one of the most interesting bookshops in the city, the Oxford University Press (OUP) which opened it's doors in 1872. This bookshop is directly linked to the publishing company of the same name, and only stocks their own titles. OUP is reowned for it's academic and educational publishing divisions, publishing books in over 40 languages and produces over 6,000 titles a year. This bookshop is the first stop for any desprate/ short on time student who needs a text immediately, stocking over 65,000 OUP books.
116-117 High St, Oxford OX1 4BZ | Telephone: 01865 242913
Originally founded in Oxford 1942, Oxfam is an international charitable organization focused on ridding the world of proverty. Located at 56 St Giles Street, the charity bookshop offers a range of second hand books ranging in genre and price. Perfect for vintage lovers and book collectors.
56 St Giles Street, Oxford OX1 3LU| Telephone: 01865 310145
Described on their website as "a small and enthusiastic bookshop in Jericho, Oxford, with an eclectic collection of titles ranging from American pulp to Beatnik poetry", the Albion Beatnik certainly stands out among the other bookshops of Oxford. The shop also has a wide variety of second hand titles. The cafe offers customers "fine tea, coffee and cakes" and is also open from 11am till 11pm many days of the week, they may be open even later into the night during the summer.
34 Walton St, Oxford OX2 6AA | Telephone: 07737 876213
Oxford is packed with many great places to go if you are in the mood for music, and there is always likely to be something on within your favourite genre. A good thing about Oxford is that the prices for events reflect the fact that the city population is dominated by students.
This free music magazine is published once month and contains all the music lisitngs for events around the city. It also contains reviews of events and music released by Oxford bands. If you are looking for a night out with live music you can pick up a free copy from shops, pubs and venues or download from nightshift.oxfordmusic.net/
O2 Academy on Cowley Road brings in big name bonds and artists on a weekly basis, as well as regular club nights. It has two performance spaces (upstairs and downstairs) both of which have an intimate feel. A rare opportunity to see well known acts up close and personal! www.o2academyoxford.co.uk
There are several other venues where up-and-coming bands and artists perform. Here are a few worth checking out:
If you are in the mod for some fun jazz, The Bullingdon Backroom on the Cowley Road is the place to spend your Tuesday evening. Every week they have a live jazz band in the back room of the bar, and it is usually packed with students. www.artbaroxford.co.uk
The Jericho Tavern on Walton Street is where Oxford born bands Radiohead and Supergrass both performed in the early years. There is a regular Blues night on Mondays, and a range of other gigs throughout the year. www.thejerichooxford.co.uk
Subverse at The Cellar is a niche house music radio show that airs throughout the week, founded by four Oxford students. They also host a fortnightly event at The Cellar in the city centre, providing new house, techno and bass music played by renowned DJs.
The Wheatsheaf accessed via an alleyway on the High Street is a popular venue for local and visiting bands. Anything from acoustic singer song writers to thrash metal. Crucially their sound engineer is amazing.
Truck Music Store on Cowley Road is a music shop that sells loads of types of music in all kinds of formats. Additionally, they have frequent in-store shows with bands and artists playing various genres – everything from drum and bass to country and western, “with a fair few things in-between” according to their facebook page
www.truckmusicstore.co.uk | www.facebook.com/truckstoreoxford
Be sure to check out FOPP, which is new to Oxford in 2016. They stock films, books and music in loads of different formats. Go and have a browse at a wide collection of vinyl, CDs, DVD and merchandise that is related. Fopp also have events such as signings and acoustic sets of different genres, so don't forget to keep an eye out for those.
Feeling Musical? Why not try an open mic night?
The Catweazle Club is the most popular open mic evening in Oxford. Held at the East Oxford Social Club, on the corner of Cowley Road and Princess Street, every Thursday at 8pm, Performers need to sign-up by 7:30pm
Festivals and Events
There is a wide range of music festivals in and around Oxford throughout the year, but July and August are the busiest months. We’ve picked out some of our favourites for you!
January to March
Oxford Music Festival: Local classical musicians perform in concert at Rye St Antony School (early February) www.oxfordmusicfestival.org | Entry: Check box office for ticket prices.
April to June
The Punt: Local bands various city centre venues over two days (mid-May). | Entry: £5-£8 for weekend pass (some events are free).
Common People. A festival held at the end of May over two days in South Park. Previous acts include Duran Duran and Katy B | Student discount available. Further ticket information can be found here: http://oxford.commonpeople.net/tickets .
Cornbury Music Festival: Big name acts play at Great Tew Estate near Banbury (early July). www.cornburyfestival.com | Entry: £200 for weekend, £79-£89 for day tickets.
Truck Festival: Big name acts and local musicians play at Hill Farm in Steventon (mid-July) www.truckfestival.com
| Entry: £78
Riverside Festival: Local bands play at Charlbury near Oxford (late July). www.riversidefestival.charlbury.com
| Entry: Free.
Global Gathering: Big name bands play at Long Marston Airfield in Straford Upon Avon (late July) www.globalgathering.com | Entry £88 for day tickets and £144 - £300 for weekend and VIP camping passes
Alice's Day Held annually (1st of July) by The Story Museum, the festival celebrates the story of Alice in Wonderland with activities throughout the day including walks, tea parties and workshops. http://www.storymuseum.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/alices-day/
Wilderness Festival: Big name acts play at Cornbury Park in Charlbury over four days (early August). www.wildernessfestival.com | Entry: £127-£152 for weekend tickets.
Fairport’s Cropredy Convention: This legendary festival brings together the best of folk music over three days (early August). www.fairportconvention.com | Entry: £115 for weekend pass.
Reading Festival: Big name acts play at Rivermead Sports Centre in Reading over three days. www.readingfestival.com | Entry: £99 for day tickets and £213 for weekend pass.
October to December
OxJam Music Festival: Local bands across the UK perform to raise money for Oxfam (throughout October) www.oxfam.org.uk/oxjam | Entry: Varies but usually £8 per venue.
Oxford Chamber Music Festival: World class classical musicians perform at Holywell Music Rooms, Oxford over three days. www.ocmf.net
Oxford is a fantastic city for theatre. There are so many options in terms of venue, genre, amateur, professional, physical theatre to musicals, opera to modern dance. There are also a range of prices and many theatres offer students discounted tickets.
New Theatre Oxford
The New Theatre, located on George Street was opened in 1934. This site is the main commercial theatre in Oxford, and has the capacity to hold 1,800 people. It is home to a wide range of shows from ballet and opera, to stand-up comedy and West End hits. It features two public bars as well as accessibility for people with reduced mobility, hearing and visual impairments. George Street, OX1 2AG | Tel: 0844 847 1585 | www.newtheatreoxford.org.uk
North Wall Arts Centre
The North Wall Arts Centre was completed in 2006 and has award-winning facilities such as studios, a public gallery and a theatre which seats 250 people. The theatre attracts up-and-coming acts, along with the well-known. South Parade, OX2 7NN | Tel: 01865 319450 | www.thenorthwall.com
Cornerstone Arts Centre
The Cornerstone Arts Centre offers many features to the public, such as a theatre auditorium holding shows and gigs, a bar and restaurant, a café, a visual art gallery and dance studios. The auditorium is fully air conditioned and can hold 350 people standing and 224 people seated. 25 Station Road, Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 7NE | Tel: 01235 515144 | www.cornerstone-arts.org
The Oxford Playhouse was opened in 1938 and has a reputation for being one of Britain’s leading theatres. It has had many famous people on its stage, including actors such as Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith and Rowan Atkinson. The theatre seats 600 people, and holds an array of shows including poetry, contemporary dance and music, the best of British and international drama, student and amateur shows, family shows, comedy and lectures. 11-12 Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2LW | Tel: 01865 305305 | www.oxfordplayhouse.com
Additionally, really handy for students, is the Opt In! scheme that the theatre runs for those aged 14-25. For a £5 membership, Opt In! entitles you to free, £5 and £10 tickets. For full details visit the ticket office in person or the webpage listed below.
Old Fire Station
The Old Fire Station is an independent arts charity and has many facilities such as a theatre for music and drama, a gallery that holds exhibitions, a shop selling original artwork, workshops for artists to make work and a studio for all kinds of dance. The theatre is partnered with the charity for the homeless, Crisis, and shares the building with Crisis Skylight Oxford. They train homeless and vulnerably housed people to help find and keep jobs through creative and formal learning. 40 George Street, Oxford, OX1 2AQ | Tel: 01865 263980 | www.oldfirestation.org.uk
The Pegasus Theatre was first opened in 1962 and was refurbished in 2010. The theatre holds music and drama productions from local and international companies, and professional dance performances. The main performance area is named after Philip Pullman, who is a major supporter and patron of the theatre. Magdalen Road, Oxford OX4 1RE. | Tel: 01865 812150 | www.pegasustheatre.org.uk
Oxford Theatre Guild
The Oxford Theatre Guild is an amateur theatre company that holds performances in many professional venues including the Oxford Playhouse. Although an amateur company, many former and current professionals are members. The Guild holds auditions for their productions, details of which can be found on their website. Trinity College Gardens (Parks Road entrance).| Tel: 01865 305305 | www.oxfordtheatreguild.com
The Theatre at Headington School
The theatre was built in 2002, and seats 240 people. The theatre has a licensed bar, and holds shows from leading touring companies as well as Headington School’s own productions. The theatre plays a range of shows including dance, music, drama, lectures and comedy. Headington School, Oxford OX3 7TD | www.headington.org
Creation Theatre Company
The Creation Theatre Company has been around for 16 years. They specialise in site-specific inventive theatre in locations that have never been thought to be used for theatre. Their productions include fairy tales, classics, folk tales and Shakespeare, and are made to appeal to everyone. Tel: 01865 766266 | www.creationtheatre.co.uk
Oxford Shakespeare Company
The Oxford Shakespeare Company holds open-air, site-specific shows in the heart of Oxford and London during the summer. The company has been around since 2002, after taking over from the ten-year tenure of Bold & Saucy Theatre Company. It has an excellent reputation, and has been critically acclaimed for its interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays and other classics. General Enquiries: 0844 879 4418 | www.osctheatre.org.uk | Bookings: 01865 305305 | www.ticketsoxford.com
For theatre listings, reviews, times, tickets and information go to www.inoxford.com/theatre/theatre_details
Bridge is mostly known for its monday night party called Monday Night Bridge. They offer two good quality bars and a VIP area and a range of music from house to r'n'b and hip hop. | Entry: £5
Purple Turtle is underground bar club. This club is one of the cheapest clubs in Oxford but the quality of the night is not diminished. | Entry: Free
Atik is a great night club situated on 1st and 2nd Floor of Cantey House in Oxford. The venue offers all sorts of music whether it's Pop, Rock, R'n'B, there will always be a night for you during the week. | Entry: £2
The Plush Lounge
The Plush Lounge is Oxford's main LGBTQ+ nightclub, located on Park End Street. They offer 99p drinks before midnight, a student discount on the entry price, and of course, the best gay anthems in the city. | Entry: £2
Thirst is a dancing bar, where the customers don't need to pay for entrance. They offer student discounts. There is also an outside terrace with heaters. It is located on Park End street.
Raoul's Bar and Liquor Store is ideal for those who like to enjoy a drink, good music and great conversation all at once. It features 2 floors and is popular among Oxford students for having an extensive cocktail menu.|Entry: Free
Fever is considered Oxford's latest addition to student's night out. Featuring an amazing colour changing dance floor and a vast number of glitter balls, this place has everything you need and more.|Entry: £4