About Templars Square Shopping Centre

A brief history

A shopping centre in central Cowley was first proposed in the late 1950s. By 1959, the proposal had received strong endorsement from Oxford City Council and an embargo on new shopping developments along the nearby Cowley Road was enforced. The development was opposed by Lord William Beveridge who felt that Cowley was the wrong location for the centre.

Construction of the development then known as Cowley Centre began in 1960. Its design was inspired by new town centres and North American shopping malls. The shopping centre was designed by the Oxford City Architects, E. G. Chandler and Douglas Murray.  Between Towns Road was rerouted to accommodate the Cowley Centre.

Opening and subsequent history

Templars Square Shopping Centre c1968

Cowley Centre was opened on 11 May 1965 by Richard Crossman, then Minister of Housing and Local Government. The opening ceremony was attended by over 300 people.

In 1970, the Sainsbury’s store at the northern end of the centre was extended requiring the demolition of a local pub, which was rebuilt around twenty yards away.  The Sainsbury’s store later closed and was replaced by branches of Wilkinson and Iceland helping to maintain the Value Shopping offer the centre had become well known for; values still held today.

The centre was renamed to Templars Square in 1989 and celebrated its 20th year under the name with a series of events in August 2009. On 11 May 2015 the centre celebrated its official 50th Birthday and every Saturday gave away £100 in shopping vouchers via a Face Book competition and the Centre Manager Paul Bentham was interviewed by BBC Radio Oxford about the centre, its celebrations and the centre history and future news.


Templars Square Shopping Centre c2014

Templars Square has 91 retailers making it the largest covered shopping centre in Oxford. This number had decreased to 80 in the later stages of the last decade partly because of the financial crisis of 2007–2010; one of the largest stores Woolworth’s, closed in December 2009 however, overall trade at the centre was largely unaffected by the recession because of its retail mix policy of maintaining a Value led retail offer. The Woolworth’s site has since been taken over by 99p Stores. As of June 2010, the centre’s occupancy rate is 96% and now has only 5 vacant units, 3 of which will be opened for trade by the end of summer 2015.


As well as our host of shops offering you a “One stop Shopping experience” all under cover, Templars Square hosts a wealth of Customer Service facilities to further enhance your shopping experience from a recently refurbished Baby Change to free Wi-Fi and all in between including; ever changing Retail Merchandising Units offering a variety of different products and goods on the mall and an Amazon Delivery Locker where you can have goods sent to should you not want to miss that important delivery? We also have an excellent Café, Boswells situated in the main Square, ideal for that light snack and a coffee whilst your shopping and of course “The William Morris” a Wetherspoons Public House should you fancy something stronger or more traditional Pub lunch/tea?

Templars Square also has three Multi -Storey car parks offering a total of 876 spaces conveniently located around the centre all of which offer the cheapest parking in Oxford. In addition, we run our own free Shopmobility scheme similar to that of the national scheme of the same name which always welcomes new members and remember, it’s FREE. More details of the Shop Mobility scheme are detailed on its own page on this site.

If you’ve not visited us for a while, come and see how Templars Square has changed and enjoy a pleasant few hours shopping.