Cowley Road

Best for

Night owls


Bus and cycle routes, access to ring road


Superb mix of nationalities and cultures


Cowley Road Carnival, every July

Cowley Road is the central artery leading off The Plain roundabout in east Oxford, situated parallel to and in between St Clements and Iffley Road. This part of east Oxford is a vibrant centre with a global community feel. There are plenty of shops ranging from trendy boutiques to vintage clothing emporiums, bicycle workshops and the unglamorous but necessary supermarkets.

The Cowley Road area has played a prominent part in the Oxford music scene. A number of successful bands made their formative performances in local venues such as the O2 Academy Oxford (formerly known as The Zodiac), and The Art Bar (formerly the Bullingdon Arms). Famous Oxford-bred bands have included Supergrass, Radiohead and Ride.

Cowley Road is also home to the Cowley Road Carnival, an annual summer event during which the road is pedestrianised, and which features live music, static sound systems, a parade, and food from around the world. In 2014, the Cowley Road Carnival attracted 45,000 visitors, and cemented its position as an integral part of contemporary Oxford.