Welcome to the City of
Oxford is known as the “city of dreaming spires”, a term initially coined by poet Matthew Arnold. The city is steeped in beautiful architecture and the university plays a central role in the life of the city. Tourists will often ask the direction of ‘the University’, when ultimately the city is the university.
Getting Around in Oxford
Oxford hates cars. Parking restrictions, bus lanes, restrictions on which part of the city you can enter, overzealous traffic wardens… Having a car in Oxford is very impractical. The College does not offer car parking and it is not always available in private accommodation.
Most places are a 5-10 minute cycle from College or JMH. Second hand bikes are for sale around the city and the MCR will organise a bike sale at the start of term. Many shops also have student deals at the beginning of the year, but make sure to ask around the MCR for the best retailers (we would advise NEVER to go to Cycle King). Bicycle theft is quite common, so register your bike with the police scheme and always use a good lock to secure your bike to an immovable object.
Discounted Locks can be purchased from OUSU and the University Security Services by clicking here.
UK and Oxford laws for bicycles are quite strict. You must use lights (both front and rear lights) at dark or risk a £30 fine. Reflectors, a helmet, a bell, and highly visible clothing are recommended. Lights can be bought in Poundland (Westgate Centre) for, yes, just £1.
Be aware that certain roads in Oxford are bike-free zones e.g. Cornmarket during the day. Look for the signs.
Bike racks can be found in the Island Site, Third Quad, Oriel Square, and at the front and back of JMH. Bikes should not be stored in staircases, doorways, Island Site passages, or left in First or Second Quad.
Buses can be used to get to Headington hospitals and there is a frequent bus service to London.
The main hub for bus service outside of Oxford is Gloucester Green with stops close to College on High street and near JMH on St Clement’s. Some of the major buses/journeys are:
– to London (Victoria):
(1hr40, £13 student return, every 15 min)
Oxford Tube: www.oxfordtube.com
X90 Oxford: www.oxfordbus.co.uk
– to Gatwick:
(2hr30, £28 single, every hour)
Airline X80: www.oxfordbus.co.uk
– to Heathrow:
(1hr20, £23 single, every 30 min)
Airline X70: www.oxfordbus.co.uk
– to Cambridge:
(3hr20, £12 return, every 30 min)
A good tip is that often these services are cheaper when pre-booked for a specific time via Megabus.
The train station is located at the western side of Oxford, just next to the Said Business School. It is about a 20 minute walk from College. There are links to the rest of the country and direct trains to London Paddington which take about an hour. www.nationalrail.co.uk
Full time students (even if you are over 25) are eligible for a Young Persons (16-25) Railcard (£30) which gives 1/3 off travel for a year. Applications are online or at the station – www.16-25railcard.co.uk
Most Taxis are pre-booked, but there are a few ‘hackney (black London) cabs’ which can be flagged down, and there are taxi stands at the bus station and train station.
You can use the phone in the lodge to get a taxi (it will arrive quicker than if you phone yourself) and 001 Taxis is a commonly used firm (01865 2400 00)
Shopping in Oxford
Oxford is a city like any other. You’ll find plenty of places to eat and shop.
Magdalen Street (north of Cornmarket)
The Plain roundabout (between Oriel and JMH)
Cowley Road (turn left out of JMH)
Westgate Shopping Centre
Magdalen Street (north of Cornmarket)
Cowley Road (Turn left out of JMH)
St Aldate’s Road (from Oriel, go down Blue Boar Lane to St Aldate’s and turn left)
Pharmacies / Chemists
Supermarkets also sell a vast majority of medical and toiletry essentials.
Cowley Road (Turn left out of JMH, 2 blocks)
Market Street (between Cornmarket and Turl St)
The Leys Pharmacy, Cowley
Note, the Leys pharmacy is open until 10pm each night in case of emergency.
220 Cowley Road (turn left out of JMH)
Queen Street (just west of “the High”)
Independent book retailer. Stocks almost all University essentials. www.blackwell.co.uk/shops /
On the corner between Broad Street & Cornmarket
Marks & Spencer (M&S)
Oxford Store Finder
Magdalen Street / Cornmarket (North)
Almost all main UK banks have premises in Oxford, and therefore having a bank account with any of them is easy.
If you are an EU or International student, you will need to set up a bank account in the UK. There is more information available here or here (click on the ‘setting up a bank account’ links under finances).
You should be able to use a student account. For more information on the best student accounts available, we recommend the independent ‘Money Saving Expert’ site – click here to find their guide to the best accounts.
Shops selling Sub-Fusc
Sub-Fusc is the academic dress of Oxford University and it is a requirement that you have it for the Matriculation ceremony. The details of the required dress can be found here.
We recommend you buy your Sub Fusc when in Oxford, rather than online, as then you’ll get the right fit and size etc.
Shepherd & Woodward
High Street (just left outside of Oriel)
Turl Street (just off the High Street)
Ede & Ravenscroft
High Street (turn left out of Oriel)
Westgate Store Guide
Found out the end of Queen Street with a number of high street brands, Apple authorised dealer & Sainsburys supermarket. Currently undergoing refurbishment so some stores may be temporarily closed.
Clarendon Store Guide
Found in the centre of town, with a number of high street brands including H&M, Zara, Currys (electronics retailer), GAP & Ann Summers.
Covered Market Guide
Found on High Street, just outside Oriel. Oxford’s Historical Covered market contains a number of independent retailers: greengrocers, butchers, cake shop, cafes, snack bars, Ben’s Cookies & others.
Food in Oxford
Oxford has a huge variety of food options. Here we collate our favourites – for coffee & cake, when you need a quick bite to eat and then some of the MCR Committee’s absolute favourite Oxford eateries!
Coffee & Cake
Jericho Coffee Traders – Possibly the best coffee in Oxford, we also have their coffee beans in the MCR. Found on King Edward Street next to College.
G&Ds – An Oxford staple. Sells Ice Cream & Bagels. Has 3 shops across the city, which are open until midnight. Cowley Road (opposite JMH), St Aldates & Little Clarendon Street.
Starbucks, Costa Coffee & Cafe Nero – The main branded coffee shops are found in the city centre.
Quick Food Options
High Street (“the High”) – Olives, Taylors, Pizza Hut, All Bar One, Caffe Nero, Grand Cafe, The Mitre
Cornmarket – Itsu, KFC, Pret-A-Manger, McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks, The Crown
Broad Street – Mortons (sandwiches), Caffe Nero, The Buttery, The White Horse
Queen Street – Marks & Spencer, EAT
Other – G&Ds (St Aldate’s / Cowley Road), Mission Burrito (King Edward Street, next to the Island Site)
Highly Recommended (★★★★★)
The following are a number of restaurants, coffee shops and cafes which come highly recommended by members of our committee. Make sure you try them at some point during your time in Oxford!
La Cucina (St Clements) – A great family run Italian. Probably the best Italian in Oxford.
Atomic Burger (Cowley Road) – If you like your burgers big and your restaurants decorated with comic book characters, then this is the place for you. You won’t leave hungry.
Jericho Coffee Traders (The High) – Coffee. Probably the best in Oxford. Discount for Oriel students.
Nosebag (St Michael’s Street – just off Cornmarket) – Salads, quiche & charm. Great wholesome food.
Côte (Queen Street) – French brasserie. Very good value early dinner set menu.
Pierre Victoire (Little Clarendon St) – French restaurant. Great tasting food and good wine. The staff actually speak French.
Oxford’s Grill (Cowley Road) – A very unassuming restaurant. It looks like it shouldn’t taste as good as it does. Great value and fantastic Turkish cuisine.