TODAY the Oxford Mail joins forces with Oxford City Council to get people back into our city, uncover its hidden gems and help our readers rekindle their love for this historic and iconic place.

The Rediscover Oxford campaign will run for at least the next six weeks, showcasing the city’s brilliant businesses, must-see attractions and independent eateries.

Footfall is down by 61.6 per cent compared to last year.

Oxford city centre had 294,257 visitors during the week of July 27 to August 2, compared to 765,492 during the same period in 2019.

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The average reduction across the UK during the same period was 43.9 per cent.

This drop in footfall is affecting shops, restaurants, pubs and cafes in Oxford city centre, especially those which rely on the summer tourist trade.

We will be running editorial every day both in print and online under the Rediscover Oxfordshire banner and promoting through our social media.


If you are a business owner in postcodes OX1 to OX4, we are proud to be able to offer a small number the opportunity to have a free advertisement in the Oxford Mail or the Oxford Times.

We are also offering a limited edition promotion offer – let everyone know you are open for business with a six-week advertising campaign for as little as £99.

To take us up on either of the above, email

Oxford Mail and Times editor Samantha Harman said: “We are very proud to call this city home and want to do what we can to support its regrowth following the devastation of coronavirus.

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“With fewer people coming into the city for tourism or work, local, independent businesses are finding it tough.

“Throughout lockdown we ran #StillOpeninOxfordshire, but we are very pleased to be working in partnership with Oxford City Council on this campaign.

“If you’re a resident of Oxford or the wider area, there’s never been a better time to come in to the city and discover all of the shops, restaurants and historic places you may not have visited for years, if ever.

“We are all very lucky to live in an iconic city and we hope this campaign reignites your love for it.”

As part of this campaign, we will also be dedicating our October issue of Oxfordshire Living to the Rediscover Oxford campaign.

Oxford Mail:


A sharp drop in tourists visiting the city means residents have a unique opportunity to re-engage with Oxford. The city council is launching several initiatives to encourage visitors, such as teaming up with Oxford Bus Company to offer free journeys on the City Sightseeing buses for Oxford residents.

These will be on offer through coupons in the Oxford Mail, while the ‘Oxford - My Treasure Island’ invites entrants to create a personal map of their favourite spots in the city centre.

Councillor Mary Clarkson, Oxford City Council cabinet member for city centre, Covered Market and culture, said: “Oxford is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and at this time of year we would normally be sharing it with visitors from every corner of the globe.

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“But this year we’re hosting almost no international tourists, and that is having a profound impact on the city centre’s shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. These businesses are the lifeblood of our city, and are vital for so many jobs, so we have teamed up with the Oxford Mail as the latest in a range of support initiatives we’re taking.

“Over the coming weeks we’ll be promoting all the incredible things Oxford city centre has to offer for Oxford and Oxfordshire residents, including the hidden treasures that are off the beaten track and you may never have experienced before.

Oxford Mail:

“At the same time, the Government is offering discounted meals through the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, and the City Council and Oxfordshire County Council are offering free parking at all five of Oxford’s park and rides.

“So this summer, why not be a tourist in your own city? Now is the time to explore our wonderful city, its golden colleges, its plethora of parks and riverside walks, its world-famous museums and galleries, and its wide range of international and independent retailers and brand businesses. Now is the time to rediscover Oxford.”

Oxford Mail:


The summer months would normally see traders busier than at any time other than Christmas.

Many businesses have found ways to help make up for the shortfall, but Rosie Jacobs, co-founder of Independent Oxford, which represents small traders in the city, admitted it was a ‘mixed picture’.

She added: “The struggle is not over yet, so we need to make sure businesses have the resilience to come through this. It’s time for us to enjoy our city.”

Graham Jones, of traders’ group Rox, added: “At this time of year you’d normally rely on language students and visitors from across the UK on their summer holidays.

“There are lots of interesting shops and restaurants in Oxford, with a lot of cuisines.

“With places like Little Clarendon Street, Walton Street and Cowley Road, there’s a lot that’s worth coming to see and do.”