12 Best Study Spots in Oxford

07 Sep, 2023 | Blog Articles, Get the Edge

Renowned for its rich history and top-notch educational institutions, the city of Oxford is a vibrant academic hub. 

At the Oxford Scholastica Academy, our residential summer schools are based right in the centre of the city, and are a unique opportunity to experience student life in Oxford.

For any student, it’s important to find refreshing and inspirational places to learn, and Oxford is a treasure trove of beautiful and cosy study spots!

Here are our tried-and-tested study spots in Oxford:

1. The Covered Market: A Unique Study Haven

The Covered Market has a vibrant and colourful atmosphere, packed with an assortment of places for a different ambience with each trip!

If you’re looking for some jazz music to motivate you on a Sunday afternoon, then Gulp Fiction – a small café that doubles up as a bookshop with a cosy seating area upstairs! – is the place for you.

If you fancy a sandwich while you study, check out Sofi de France or Taylors. Both cafés sell a range of hot and cold foods, and are lovely places to sit and study amidst the bustling market. 

As well as offering a range of cosy cafés, the market also has some colourful benches right in the centre if you prefer to study with some background noise.

One big benefit of studying in The Covered Market is the opportunity to treat yourself after a study session. There are many places you can go, from Moo-Moo’s milkshakes to Puggi Yoggi’s yoghurts!

2. The Missing Bean: A Cosy Ambience for Focused Learning

The Missing Bean is a popular coffeehouse, known for its comfortable setting and quality coffee. There are five Missing Bean cafés across Oxford, making it a convenient study spot for students based around the city.

The original coffeehouse can be found in the very centre of Oxford on Turl Street. As well as serving coffees, home-baked breads, sandwiches, pastries and cakes, there’s also a lot of seating space inside where students flock to work. 

The Missing Beans are always very nicely decorated, with comfy sofas and aesthetically pleasing décor!

 3. The Grand Café: A Historical Gem for Intellectual Pursuits

The Grand Café on Oxford High Street is much more than just a beautiful place to study – it’s also a place with a lot of history. According to an entry in Samuel Pepys’ diary from 1650, it was the site of the very first coffeehouse in England! 

A place frequented by Oxford’s literary greats over the years, this café makes a great study spot! It’s beautiful from the outside and the inside, with exquisite, ornate décor, and it serves high tea all day long! 

4. The Handle Bar Café: Fuelling Creativity and Concentration

The Handle Bar Café’s cycle-themed decor makes it one of Oxford’s quirkiest places to learn. It has a reputation for being one of central Oxford’s most creative study spots – with lots of charging points inside! – and is very popular among students. 

In particular, this café is a perfectly-positioned pitstop for students at our residential school. Students pass it on the way from the accommodation buildings to the classrooms at the Blavatnik School of Government, making it the ideal place to stop off for a drink or a quick study session!

5. Modern Art Oxford Café: Inspiration for Academic Endeavours

The Modern Art Oxford Café has a delightfully artistic ambience, and is located within Oxford’s Modern Art Gallery. With its red-brick walls and unique location, it’s an unconventional yet stimulating study spot, perfect for those who seek artistic inspiration!

The café offers sweet treats from Barefoot Bakery, as well as an extensive lunch menu.

6. Oxford Botanic Gardens: Nature’s Academic Retreat

The Oxford Botanic Gardens are an oasis in the middle of the bustling city. A visit to the gardens is a wonderful chance to experience tranquillity, while studying amidst some beautiful greenery. 

The outdoor spaces that make up these gardens are perfect for students seeking a peaceful study environment. It’s one of the very best places to study on a sunny day!

The Oxford Botanical Gardens are a natural study spot in the city.

7. Oxford University Parks: A Serene Oasis for Learning

The Oxford University Parks are a vast and serene location for study sessions and contemplations. 

The park is a mixture of sprawling open spaces, hidden pathways, secluded spots, tree-shrouded corners, and many, many benches! It’s an ideal place for a group study session in the sun or some solo reading.

8. Vaults & Garden Café: Where History and Academics Meet

The Vaults & Garden Café stands out as a top study spot because of its location. The café can be found within the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, right next to the iconic Radcliffe Camera. 

Students can study in the serene garden courtyard, and be inspired by famous Oxford landmarks

If you need a study break, you can also climb the church tower to get a magnificent view of the city!

9. The Rose: A Charming Oasis for Academic Focus

The Rose is a delightful café tucked away on the High Street. It offers a peaceful and quiet study environment. It’s also just a beautiful place to be! The calming décor and gentle background music make it an excellent spot for uninterrupted academic contemplation.

10. Oxford Castle Quarter: Historical Ambience for Productive Study

The Oxford Castle Quarter is a historic site with a unique ambience for focused studying. Its blend of ancient architecture and modern facilities provide an inspiring backdrop for academic pursuits. 

The Oxford Castle is a convenient and stimulating study location, due to the availability of cafés and seating areas all around the Quarter. It’s a great opportunity to dwell amongst history and get some work done at the same time!

11. Pitt Rivers Museum: An Unconventional Space for Intellectual Exploration

The Pitt Rivers Museum has a unique atmosphere, with a diverse collection of cultural artefacts. The museum has a reading area and lots of quiet corners, providing students with an enriching study experience, different to the usual coffeehouses and gardens. 

There is educational value in studying in a museum – being surrounded by exhibits from various cultures and time periods can be a learning experience in and of itself!

The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford makes a great study spot.

12. Port Meadow: An Idyllic Retreat for Academic Reflection

Last but certainly not least is Port Meadow – a vast and picturesque meadow situated alongside the River Thames.

Students can escape the bustle of the city in the meadow’s peaceful and tranquil environment, and wide open spaces make it an ideal spot for students to spread out and engage in deep academic reflection.

Oxford is full of academic havens, each offering a unique experience for productive and enjoyable study sessions. 

If you want to learn and study in one of the most famous academic cities in the world, explore our range of residential summer courses – from Business to Psychology and everything in between!


By Jessica Mason

Jessica is currently studying a BA in English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford, and has a particular interest in Early Modern theatre. She enjoys writing articles and has lots of experience in student journalism.

Want to experience the city of Oxford?

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