Think of Oxford and you'll immediately call to mind its world-famous University, which dates back to the 12th century. The medieval city was named 'City of Dreaming Spires', and the 38 colleges of the university boast beautiful architecture, including Magdelen College and University College, which are situated off the high street. Other attractions include the views from Carfax Tower, the River Cherwell and the Botanic Gardens. There are shops galore for your retail fix and plenty of excellent cafes in Oxford, where you can enjoy refreshments and a break from your busy visitor schedule.
Oxford's cafes are part of an ancient culture which is as old as the city itself. Step into any cafe in Oxford and you'll see students behind their books or laptops, discussion groups debating the arts and sciences, book clubs, writers busily scribbling away and, of course, couples on dates. Families enjoy busy art-themed and activity cafes with plenty of stimulation for the children and there are also many Oxford cafes where dogs are popular, as walking is a popular pastime and four-legged friends do get thirsty too! Many of the cafes in Oxford are located in historic buildings with beautiful interiors, dramatically lit to show off old beams, cornicing and windows. You'll enjoy independent venues with excellent food, drinks and service.
The city is synonymous with culture and you'll find a taste of the world when you pop in for some refreshment. Linger over a fresh pot of Lady Grey or chamomile tea, or try a spicy chai on a cooler day. Baristas serve up top-notch coffee, such as an energising double espresso served with an amaretti biscuit on the side, or long and luxurious lattes which are perfect with a fresh blueberry muffin or granola slice. Looking to treat yourself to something decadent? Why not indulge in a mug of real hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows? Nobody's looking!
As well as a fine array of artisan teas, coffees, juices, smoothies and presses, you'll find great snacks and light bites. Many of the cafes in Oxford sell 'free-from' food for those with gluten intolerances. You will find plenty of home-baking, with vegetarian and vegan cafes often sneaking in vegetable portions to traditional baking. If you've never tried a beetroot brownie or a courgette cake slice, prepare to be converted! Look out for excellent lunchtime menus with home-made seasonal soups, salads and grilled ciabattas with melting mozzarella. The cafes in Oxford take their food provenance seriously and you'll find local ingredients from named suppliers and menus which use seasonal items whilst they are at their best.
The cafes in Oxford have a lively, sociable feel and you'll find it easy to get into a conversation with the cafe owner, the servers, or your fellow diners. Why not enjoy a newspaper with your refreshments and linger over a late breakfast? You'll often find adverts for evening entertainment in Oxford cafes with drinks licences and some of the larger venues will turn over to live music, comedy or theatrical performances in the evening, sometimes with themed food nights on the menu. The cafe scene in Oxford is well worth experiencing – just remember to book your favourite spot via Quandoo up to two hours in advance to avoid disappointment!