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An Outdoor Lunch in Oxford: 5 Top Places to Sit with Your Lunch

By Grace Walters

One positive aspect that came from restaurant closure during periods of the pandemic is how it encouraged me to explore new spots to eat outdoors. I generally come away from an outdoor lunch feeling really refreshed; additionally, it can seem to last even longer than a usual mealtime would. Getting out of your room is always a good thing, and it makes me feel as if I’ve explored more of the city. I’ve put below my top five spots!

  1. Botanical Gardens. With free entry for students and benches all over, you can go multiple times and see entirely different sections. They also had a coffee van in the gardens which is really nice quality. You can go in the indoor sections too, and my favourite part is the bench straight ahead by the fountain.

  2. Christ Church Meadow. If I want a proper lunch break I’ll do a walk right around first to build up my appetite, or else I’ll walk straight to the Tesco which is just outside it on the street, get a meal deal, and sit on the bench outside the college.

  3. The Radcam/Bodleian steps. A classic location for a reason! They’re so close to the high street and too iconic to miss. Plus, if you were feeling a bit more like eating out, you could sit in the outdoor area of Vaults and Gardens, the cafe in Radcliffe Square. A tip though: it’s happened to me before where they come round to check bodcards to see that it’s definitely students who are sitting there, so it would be useful to have that on you!

  4. Another college’s garden or bench. I love an opportunity to see another college, so you can either ask someone you know from that college, or else show your bodcard and go in alone. It’s also a good opportunity for a nice photo to send to your parents so they know you’re alive and getting outside (something my mum is always concerned about).

  5. The deckchairs in Westgate. A bit of a different one, but really great if you’re doing some shopping and fancy sitting somewhere that’s warm and covered by a roof, but also nice and open. There are chairs and benches on the rooftop floor, as well as the bottom, where there’s fake grass underneath. You can also people-watch.


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