The Cowley Road begins at the Plain, the large roundabout at the eastern end of Oxford’s High Street, and runs all the way to the car works that was once home to Morris Motors and now produces the BMW MINI. For some years it had a slightly unsavoury reputation but today it is a bustling and eclectic mix with every type of restaurant you could ever want (Nepalese? Certainly. Lebanese? That’s just over there) along with a mixture of supermarkets, independent shops, two live music venues, two large cycle shops, a health centre and the Oxford Central Mosque.
Start at the Plain and the Cape of Good Hope pub, and walk east. Just off to the left, a few yards up Jeune Street, is the Ultimate Picture Palace, a true old style cinema, and a short distance further along you will find the Truck record store which you might expect to specialise in country music but instead offers an excellent selection of vinyl and has a coffee shop attached. A couple of doors up is the Gameskeeper which proclaims itself to be a stockist of ‘chess, books, games’ so if you’ve ever wanted to find another of those board games you had as a child that might be the place to start.
Cross over to the Cowley Retreat on the corner of Bullingdon Road and The Library (which is actually a bar-restaurant) a few doors beyond, observe the mosque across the road, and carry on to the junction with Leopold Street where you’ll see an example of street art that wouldn’t look out of place in Brussels. By this time you might need further refreshment so it’s lucky that the City Arms is only a short distance further on, where Richard and the team are waiting to serve you.
Today, as a place to live, the streets around Cowley Road offer some excellent value for money compared to other areas of the city. The majority of housing stock is Victorian, and in the triangle between the Cowley Road and the Iffley Road, JCP sold substantial town houses last year in Hertford Street and Essex Street in excess of £600,000 and £700,000 respectively. Aston Street and Henley Street lead down to the Iffley Road, where four minutes on a May evening in 1954 wrote the late Sir Roger Bannister’s name indelibly into the record books, and have a mixture of three and four bedroomed houses with and without basements. Closer to the Plain the St Clements area offers some smaller terraced houses within a few minutes walk of the High Street and with its own excellent choice of restaurants in St Clements Street itself. Not far away is South Park which hosts music and food events at Bank Holiday times, and a great place for families any time (especially when it snows – perfect for sledging!). There is something for everyone in this vibrant and exciting part of Oxford.
If you are looking to buy or rent a property in Oxford and would like some local knowledge of the area, please do not hesitate to contact us.