If you visit Oxford and you're not staying overnight, by far the best option is to use the park & ride system. Oxford has a particularly good one, with huge car parks dotted around the city perimeter and frequent bus service into the centre.
As I come from the north, I use the Pear Tree park & ride, which always seems to have ample parking spaces and which gets me into the city in around 10 minutes. I've also used Redbridge, to the south: equally efficient.
At one time you paid only for the bus ticket but now (Feb 2013) you have to pay for a parking ticket as well, so make sure you have the right change in coins. You have to buy your parking ticket within 10 minutes of arrival (I imagine CCTV is monitoring numberplates) so if you haven't got the right money you'll have to drive back out to the adjacent services area and buy something there to get change !0 minutes is not really enough time to park as well as walk there and back, even though it's close.
Using the park & ride is no longer the cheap option it once was but it is still a lot cheaper, than trying to find parking in the city centre....and far less hassle.
Parking in central Oxford is horrible and very expensive - and the city is just about to extend the period during which you have to pay in the centre. So the best thing you can do is not to park in Oxford at all. Fortunately, there are 5 Park and Rides around Oxford, all of which are well connected to the city centre by buses that run every 10-20 minutes during the day.
Coming from the north, you might want to leave your car at Pear Tree or Water Eaton, from the west at Sea Court, from the south at Red Bridge, and from the east at Thornhill. Return fees start at £2.20.
If you have to park in the city centre, consider the area along St Giles or the parking lot between Hythe Bridge Road and Park End Street. And NEVER park without displaying a valid ticket! Traffic officers are patrolling the streets the whole day through, and they fine people within the blink of an eye.
All advice about parking in Oxford is to use the Park and Ride schemes. In reality, if you choose the right time and depending whereabouts in Oxford you want to be, there are town centre car parks. We used the St. Clements car park, on both our visits to Oxford, which is convenient for Magdalen College. It is a 24 hour park and has toilets as well as resident grey squirrels!
The first time we used it, we were in the motorhome and got there before 8am. to make sure we got a space. The annoying thing was, it was still half empty at 10am.!!!
The second time, we were in the car and parked overnight with no problem. There is a maximum charge of 60p for all night and you can combine that tariff with the daily one so you can stay all night. It gets tricky when you have to combine the next day's tariff (so you don't have to return too early.) It doesn't work!! We got away with being a couple of hours late, although it was a Sunday.
For those who don't want to drive into Oxford, there is an adequate Park and Ride scheme on Oxford's ring road, operated by Oxford Bus Company. 60p to park and the cost of the bus ride.
Thornhill hospital park on the east off the A40.
Water Eaton in the north.
Seacourt in the west, off the A34.
Pear Tree in the north west, off the A34.
Redbridge in the south, off the A4142.
You can visit Oxford from London by train or bus in 75 minutes.
The Oxford Express runs all day to the city of London or to airports like Heathrow or Gatwick.
The Oxford Tube also runs 24 hours a day with a bus every 10 minutes at peak hours!
The train takes an hour but it’s slightly more expensive than bus.
Don’t come with a car here because it’s not allowed to drive in the center and there’s no car park near.
For those with walking difficulties, Oxford can be an intimidating city. Wheelchairs will find difficulty in visiting many of the colleges and other major sites. Still, if a small amount of walking is possible, there are a few concessions that make a visit to Oxford enjoyable. One of these is the hop-on, hop-off City Sightseeing Tour Bus (see website below). If you or someone in your party is able to hire (rent) a car, Oxford can also become a more enjoyable place. Ask ahead of time about stairs in hotels and B&B's...many do not have lifts (elevators)!
You can find every single street in the UK at
For example, type "cornmarket street, oxford, uk" and click the "Search" button. Am I a good tutor?
Under the Magdalen bridge, righ next to the Magdalen College, you will find the Magdalen Bridge Boathouse. I'm telling you... some imaginative Australians have been thinking of names here again ;-)) You can hire boats here for around 10 punds an hour. The Boathouse is only open from March thru till October and from 10am-sunset.
For the fit and healthy, the best way to see all of Oxford's sights is by foot. Many of the streets in the heart of the city are pedestrian-only, and all of the city's main attractions are within a ten minute walk of the centre.
There are also regular walking tours of the city, which allow you to spend more time looking around than the more traditional tourbus, as well as allowing you to ask the guide questions.
There are direct bus connections to Oxford from all the London airports. The Oxford tube, pictured, is a cheap and frequent bus service running between Oxford and London. You can catch it in London from Victoria, Marble Arch or Notting Hill.
Many towns in the UK have a rail connection to Oxford. From London, there are regular trains from Paddington station and while travelling by train is more expensive than by bus, it's generally a lot faster.
If you're living here for an extended period of time I recommend getting a bicycle. Cycling is the easiest way to travel around town and almost every student has one. There is a reasonable bus system which I only use coming home from town late at night. Traffic is a bit of a nightmare, and the town tends to get congested at rush hour times.
Don't drive if you can avoid it! Parking is very expensive (even in the satellite Park and Ride carparks once you've paid for the bus ride into town) and most of the streets near the centre are strongly enforced 'Resident Permit Holders Only' zones. There is a good rail service from London and a much cheaper coach service from London and the major airports.
The City Council seems to have a policy of making the city as car unfriendly as possible to discourage you from ever going near the place. The bus services are frequent but not especially cheap. Once you are in the centre most of the interesting places are within easy walking distance of each other. If you are staying for an extended period of time, copy the students and get a bike!
Oxford, being centrally located, is easy to reach by all forms of transportation.
London is just an hour away by RAIL.... and a little longer if you decide to take one of the many BUSES heading towards this city.
If you intend to DRIVE, then take the M40 motorway which links Oxford directly with London.
Photo Below: Banbury Road... one of the major routes you can take to go into Oxford.
To Oxford from London: Coach or Train is probably the best way, coach being the cheapest, but train easiest.
From Oxford to surrounding towns and villages: usually bus, but if theres 3 or 4 of you, a taxi is almost as cheap, and a lot lot easier. Also you can bike, or get a barge (boat) down the Thames to Abingdon, which I've heard is pleasant on a nice day.
Walk, take in the sights, breathe some of that rural air! (and try and ignore some of the farm smells!). Or bike if you've got one!
Take the coach from London - 6 pounds. Once you're there you can learn the bus system really easily. All of them go into the downtown area if you're north. Stagecoach and Cityline are the two lines. Stagecoach is 6.50 pounds student rate roundtrip to London. A 4-week plus pass for Citylink is 30 pounds.
Jetlink operates the daily services 757, linking Oxford and Stansted Airport, and 767, linking Oxford and Luton Airport.
Tel: 08705 747 777 (08.00-20.00, 7 days a week)
Oxford is best getting around on foot armed with a good map. I can't emphasise how important the map is , as it is easy to get lost in Oxford.
Oxford railway station is located on the western edge of the city centre, about 10 minutes walk from Carfax (the cental point in the city). The station is managed by Thames Trains, with routes from Stratford-upon-Avon to London Paddington and Bristol, and is also served by Virgin Trains from Scotland to the south coast.
Services to London Paddington run twice an hour during the day, with journeys taking around 60 minutes.
Information on rail journeys and fares to/from Oxford are available from National Rail Enquiries. Tel: 08457 484950.
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