Advantages A reasonable local shopping centre, nice surroundings, with quite a few 'cheap' and bargain shops.
Disadvantages Not a great deal of choice and no men's wear at all.
Templars Square started life as Cowley Centre in the 70’s. It was built to serve the needs of the large housing estates in the Cowley area to the East of Oxford. Although modern at the time it was a badly designed heap of concrete which included a rather horrid wind tunnel.A few years ago the centre was given a much-needed facelift. The central area was enclosed, a nice floor was laid and it was miraculously turned into what is now a typical modern shopping precinct. It has a central ‘French ‘ style café which was intended to give it that continental feel but in reality it is the aroma of chips and burgers which permeates rather than coffee. Dotted around the central area there are a few stalls and children’s rides. All in all the renovation is very good and it could be a very nice place to shop if it had any decent shops.
The only reason I visit Templars Square is because it houses Oxford’s only Woolworth’s and, as everyone knows, Woolies is always good for a bargain and is usually brilliant for sweets and Christmas stuff. But this is only a small ‘local’ Woolies and on my last visit I was disappointed to find that almost half the store was dedicated to music, videos and games with kid’s stuff taking the bulk of the rest.In spite of the face-lift Templars Square does not seem to be attracting a great deal of new business in fact it seems to losing it faster than gaining it. Two of the largest shops, Sainsburies and Harveys, have recently closed and there are 11 further shops empty which is not exactly a good sign. Those shops that do remain suggest that Templars Square is the bargain basement shopping centre of Oxford.
Most of the shops in the centre would be of no interest to any but the local shopper. These include 3 opticians, 4 travel agents, a betting shop, 2 double glazing showrooms, I butchers, I greengrocers, a Co-op supermarket and Kwik Save. I doubt whether the Radio Rentals, 2 take-aways, 3 hairdressers, and 3 chemists, Boots, Superdrug and Savers would be a big draw either.The remaining shops at the Centre are small versions of High St. shops including W. H. Smith, Dorothy Perkins, New Look, Adams, B wise, Select, and Claire’s Accessories.
There are 3 discount shoe shops: Shoe Express, Discount shoes Zone and Stead and Simpson. The latter actually does have some very good bargains on well-known brands such as Ecco, Clarks and Hush Puppy etc.There are also 2 general discount stores, I discount sweet shop (Toblerones and After Eights for £1), a discount florist and 3 charity shops. Upstairs in the co-op also has quite a few bargain lines in its small household department and very limited men’s wear area.play area and it has a shop mobility scheme. The centre is NOT open on Sundays. For further details see http://www.oxfordcity.co.uk/shops/templars/
There is an adjacent multi-storey car park which has free or very cheap parking and further free parking is available at the John Allen Centre across the road where B&Q, Comet, Halfords and Matalan are located.Its OK for locals but I don’t really think it warrants a special visit.
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