Golden Cross, an arcade of first-class shops and boutiques, lies between Cornmarket Street and the Covered Market (or between High and Market Streets). Parts of the colorful gallery date from the 12th century. Many buildings remain from the medieval era, along with some 15th- and 17th-century structures. The market also has a reputation as the Covent Garden of Oxford, with live entertainment on Saturday mornings in summer. In the arcade shops is a diverse selection of merchandise, including handmade Belgian chocolates, clothing for both women and men, and luxury leather goods.
In its way, Alice's Shop, 83 St. Aldate's (tel. 01865/723793; www.aliceinwonderlandshop.co.uk), played an important role in English literature. Set within a 15th-century building that has housed some kind of shop since 1820, it functioned as a general store (selling brooms, hardware, and the like) during the period that Lewis Carroll, at the time a professor of mathematics at Christ Church College, was composing Alice in Wonderland. It is believed to have been the model for important settings within the book. Today, the place is a favorite stopover of Lewis Carroll fans from as far away as Japan, who gobble up commemorative pencils, chess sets, party favors, bookmarks, and, in rare cases, original editions of some of Carroll's works.
The Bodleian Library Shop, Old School's Quadrangle, Radcliffe Square, Broad Street (tel. 01865/277091), specializes in Oxford souvenirs, from books and paperweights to Oxford banners and coffee mugs.
Castell & Son (The Varsity Shop), 13 Broad St. (tel. 01865/244000; www.varsityshop.co.uk), is the best outlet in Oxford for clothing emblazoned with the Oxford logo or heraldic symbol. Choices include both whimsical and dead-on-serious neckties, hats, T-shirts, pens, beer and coffee mugs, and cuff links. It's commercialized Oxford, but it's still got a sense of relative dignity and style. A second location is at 109-114 High St. (tel. 01865/249491).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.