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Britain / Towns / Oxford
A guide to Oxford
  Facts & figures
  Further information


Oxford is an attractive town with many churches, historic university buildings and green spaces. It is a lively academic and cultural centre. After London, it is one of the most popular locations for language school students, and is also a very popular tourist destination. Its central location means that it is possible to make short trips from here to many parts of England and Wales.

This page gives information aimed mainly at people who are thinking about studying and living in Cambridge. For more photos and a guide to visiting Cambridge as a tourist, see: Travel/Tours/England/Oxford.

Punting (c)
Punting in Oxford
Radcliffe Camera (c)
Radcliffe Camera

Oxford Insight Compact Guide
Publisher: Insight Guides
Date: February 2005
Oxford Groundcover
Oxford Groundcover
Photographer: John Curtis
Publisher: Jarrold Publishing
Date: May 2000
Itchy Insider's Guide to Oxford
Publisher: Itchy Media
Date: December 2004
A-Z Street Atlas of City of Oxford
Publisher: Geographers' A-Z Map Company
Date: July 2004
The Cheeky Guide to Oxford
Publisher: Cheeky Guides Ltd
Date: June 2003

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Subject Name
Population: 144,000 (over 60 years old: 16.1%)
Region: Oxfordshire, in the Midlands
Location: See: map
Visiting from abroad: The nearest major international airports are at London Heathrow and Birmingham International (see: Travel/Transport/Air)
Visiting from London: Oxford is 80 kilometers west of London
  By train: 1 hour from Paddington station. Cheap Day Return ticket with Young Person's Railcard (2002): £10.30
  By coach: 1.5 hours from Victoria coach station. Student day return ticket (2002): £7.50 (Oxford Express) or £7 (Oxford Tube)
Tourism: The 6th most popular town in the UK for overseas visitors in 2000
Language schools: 21 schools which are recognised by the British Council (2002)

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- There are many historic buildings with fine architecture (for example: the Radcliffe Camera, the Sheldonian Theatre and the Bodleian Library)
- The town is sometimes called the "Dreaming Spires", because of the many churches and college chapels
- The city centre is dominated by Oxford University, which has over 40 separate colleges and halls. Note that visitor access to many colleges is restricted, especially before the exams (in May / early June)
- There is a large student population, giving the town a young and lively atmosphere
- It is a popular tourist location, especially in summer. The town can become overcrowded
- The rivers Cherwell and Thames (known locally as Isis) are used for punting (a punt is a flat wooden boat moved using a long pole) and rowing

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The town centre includes many public parks and green open spaces; university college gardens are usually private. There are beautiful walks through fields or along the rivers, for example Christchurch Meadow or Port Meadow. Traffic congestion is a problem, creating some pollution, especially in summer. Much of the surrounding area is hilly, containing attractive small villages.

Because of the dominance of the university, there is some tension between local young people and university students. Late night noise and drunken behaviour can be a problem, especially near the pubs and clubs. Bicycle theft is common. Use a cheap bicycle, give it a security mark, and lock it up securely to a fixed object. Be careful when riding a bicycle. Do not ride on pavements or side-by-side on the road. Indicate with your hand before turning. Always use lights at night (a dynamo, or detachable lights which you can carry with you).

In 2001/02 there were 13.5 offences of violence against people per 1,000 people, higher than the English average of 10.8.
In 2000, Oxford was ranked the 176th most deprived out of the 354 districts in England.

Accommodation can be expensive and in short supply in the centre of town. Many shops offer discounts to students.

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There are lots of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants, and also several nightclubs, public cinemas and rock music venues. Many of the cultural activities are associated with the university, but are usually open to anyone. There are some free classical concerts at lunch-times and in the evenings. Buskers (street musicians) can often be seen in central Oxford during the tourist season. Choirs can be heard at evensong (evening worship) in chapels such as New College and Christ Church College. There are several museums (eg the Ashmolean Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Pitt Rivers Museum) and art galleries. There is a public swimming pool, sports centre and ice rink. University sports such as rowing and rugby can be watched free.

Local events in Oxford include:

Head of the River: boat races
May Day:
Eightsweek: punt races on the river (May/June)
St Giles Fair: early September

Nearby attractions include:

The Cotswolds - the northern Cotswolds hills
Stratford-upon-Avon - Shakespeare's birthplace
Blenheim Palace - in Woodstock village

Blenheim Palace (c) Heart of England
Blenheim Palace
Shakespeare's birthplace (c) Heart of England

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Bus: The bus station is located in the centre of the town and provides bus and coach services to much of the surrounding region. Not many local buses run late in the evening.

Oxford Express (c)
The Oxford Express coach to London

Coach: Coach services to London also operate through the night.

The Oxford Express is a coach service between Oxford and Heathrow airport, Gatwick airport, or London:

The Oxford Tube is a coach service between Oxford and London:

Car: Roads are busy and parking spaces are limited. Few students have a car.

: The railway station is to the west of the town. There is a frequent train service to London, as well as services to major towns in the Midlands.

Bicycle / walking
: Central Oxford is easy to get around by bicycle or on foot.

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Local tourist information:

Local government
Oxford City Council:


University of Oxford:
Oxford Brookes University:

Careers services
Oxford University Careers Service:


Oxford Mail:

Town guides
"The Cheeky Guide to Oxford" by David Bramwell, Cheeky Guides Ltd
Mushroom maps & guides:
City guide:

Bookshops with large English as a Foreign Language (EFL) sections include:
Blackwell's, 50 Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BQ:
English Book Centre, Oxford:

Local services
Local Life:
Oxford links:

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Visiting Oxford: Travel/Tours/England/Oxford
Stratford-upon-Avon: Travel/Tours/England/Stratford
Warwick: Travel/Tours/England/Warwick
Cotswolds: Travel/Tour/England/Cotswolds
Language school towns: Britain/Towns

Home page: Home

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