Oxford Brookes University English literature student Lauren Walker, 21, has lived in Witney for the past year, and fallen in love with its small independent cafes, shops and restaurants. Here she shares her top tips for exploring the town.

For you tourists heading to Witney over the Christmas period, you’re guaranteed to be spoilt for choice. Why no-one has produced a guide yet for the best of the best in the beautiful town baffles me.

Fear not, that is what I am here for. Take my hand and let me guide you in the right direction.

Firstly, you want to do a bit of Christmas shopping? No problem! You’re spoilt for choice.

Head to Lily’s Attic, a characterful lifestyle shop featuring women’s jewellery, clothes and accessories all run by a group of lovely ladies. For the man in your life, check out Dapper Street to find an array of items tailored to a variety of tastes along with helpful and friendly service. For those seeking something a bit quirky, seek out the Old Pill Factory, a warehouse of bespoke pieces, upcycled and vintage. No two items are alike in this Aladdin’s Cave.

Witney Gazette:

The Old Pill Factory. Picture: Google Maps

There are also farmers markets Thursdays and Saturdays where you can pick up fresh produce. And whilst you’re here why not grab some local goodies for your festive feast at Bakers Butchers or Wates & Co, a delicious delicatessen serving homemade pies, stuffed olives and local cheese; make someone a bespoke hamper while you’re there.

For a midday pick-me-up grab the best baguette you’ll ever eat at Sandwich de Witney for a cracking price or treat yourself to a massive milkshake at The Shake Shop with flavours you never thought one could drink through a straw!

If it’s coffee you’re after, I suggest trying Delice, an Italian Café run by the friendliest man I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He sources his coffee beans directly from Italy and boy, can you taste the difference.

Or try out UE Coffee Roasters, a café brewing and roasting their own beans right here in the town. The beans are used in coffee shops throughout Oxford and the staff’s knowledge on the stuff is faultless so you’re sure to find something you like.

Witney Gazette:

The team at Shake Shop on Witney High Street: Kim Cook (left) and Debbie Hackett (right) with Debbie's daughter Eleanor. Picture: Ric Mellis

Of course, afternoon tea is obligatory. Huffkins, a Cotswold company, serve loose-leaf teas and gorgeous sweet treats for all dietary requirements, including vegans and people with Coeliac disease.

If you happen to be visiting on a Sunday, then you must have a roast – it’d be rude not to. Seek out The Griffin or The Bell Inn, both small pubs where you’ll find regulars perched at the bar and smiley staff. They source locally where possible, have the fire continuously burning in winter and whilst they offer good value, neither forgo quality (or quality!).

Otherwise, check out The Hollybush or The Horseshoes on Corn Street, two sister gastropubs offering some of the best grub in town. Depending on the day of the week they have deals running so you can certainly grab yourself a bargain from burgers to hearty pies.

If casual dining is more your thing, Fat Lils offer great American/ Mexican food and on Thursdays you’ll find them dishing out what many describe as the best wood-fired pizza they’ve had for as little as a fiver. Maybe you’re in the mood for something from further afield though? Try Suwanna Thai, a cheap and cheerful place offering authentic food from a family who moved to Witney years ago to do just that. Witney is home to The Carpenter’s Arms, which calls itself 'the only Cambodian restaurant in Oxfordshire, and is fast becoming one of Witney's best-loved spots. The owners ran their own Oriental food shop before opening the establishment earlier this year and have been taking the town by storm since.

Witney Gazette:

The Carpenters Arms' exterior hides its spicy Oriental menu. Picture: Google Maps

For entertainment, you can find something going on every day of the week, from quiz nights to live music from locals artists. If you’re in town and your favourite team is playing, hit up The Snooker Club and enjoy a game over a good pint whilst watching the big screen. For an end-of-the-night tipple, try out Witney’s finest Hobgoblin from the local Wychwood Brewery at The Angel Inn or Eagle Tavern, two long surviving, inviting and intimate pubs.

Or, head five minutes out of the centre to Carterton and grab a seasonal cocktail in Grapes & Tomatoes, experience an education of craft ale and have your taste buds tantalised by something different at The Siege of Orleans. It’s not a long drive, you can get the S1 there too, and hand of heart you’ll have no regrets about making the short trip

Read more at lyfestylewithlauren.wordpress.com.