About us

An independent, family-run business, we've been based on Oxford's High Street since 1997. We're a father and daughter team (though we rope in the rest of the family from time to time too!) and we're passionate about what we do here. What started out more than twenty years ago as a small selection of chess sets has become a huge range of traditional and vintage games including chess, backgammon, mah jong and go, alongside a wide range of board games: family classics, newcomers, award-winners and hard-to-find independent, niche games. We also stock a wide range of puzzles, jigsaws and playing cards! (Not everything is online just yet, so if you can't find what you're looking for on our website, don't give up just yet - get in touch)

How it all began

We started out sourcing and selling ornamental chess sets in 1975, when they were first introduced to the UK. We came to Oxford in 1997 and have been happily based on the High ever since, where we now sell over 200 different ornamental and Staunton chess sets, and much, much more!  

Shop history

Since the late eighteenth century, our new shop (we moved one door down in July 2013) has been a greengrocer's, old Etonian undergraduate club and a hologram shop. Before that, the site was part of the fortified east gate of Oxford, through which all English monarchs passed from medieval times. 

What's in a name?

The man to thank is a certain Edmond Hoyle, a renowned eighteenth century writer known best for his authoritative writing on the rules and variations of card games, chess and backgammon! His most famous book, Hoyle's Rules of Games, has been in print continuously since 1760 - we still sell it ourselves.

Sustainability and doing our bit

We're a small business, but we believe strongly in doing the right thing - by our team, customers, local community and environment. You can see all the things we're doing to this end here. Any suggestions for further improvement are always much appreciated!


We hope to see you in Oxford soon! Thanks for reading and best wishes from all of us at Hoyles,

Phillip and Emily