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Oxford Tourism And Travel Guide
5.5° C / 41.9° F
April to August
3 to 4 Days
London Heathrow (72 kms)
Celebrated for its popular educational institution, Oxford city also shares an excellent variety of English Architectural Style with its glorious structures and residences, which fit rightfully with the label, the renowned poet Matthew Arnold used for it, ‘city of dreaming spires’. As the 52nd largest city in the United Kingdom, Oxford has a populace of 159,994, out of which nearly 47% belong to the age group of 20-24 years, owing to a number of colleges under the aegis of Oxford University.
From a tourism perspective, English continues to serve as the city’s main language and spoken by more than 70% of the city’s population, while the language as such is spoken in the most desirable British Accent, there are several other dialects that include the Welsh or Scottish accent. Here’s a travel guide to help you find your way into the city of Oxford.
How to Reach
Even though Oxford has a private airport called Kidlington/London Oxford, London’s Heathrow Airport is the closest and the one, where most tourists first arrive. With different flight connections to and from various domestic as well as International Destinations, you can also explore taking a flight to Gloucestershire, Luton, Birmingham, Bristol or Norwich depending on your budget and travel time. One of the best ways we recommend to reach Oxford is to take a flight from New Delhi to London Heathrow and then travel by train from Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3 – London Paddington – Oxford. The total travel time (inclusive of transfers) is roughly 13 hours and 18 minutes.
From London Heathrow, you can catch a train for London Paddington Station from Terminals 2 & 3, where a train departs every 15 minutes for a 20 minute journey and then from Paddington, there’s a train every hour for Oxford Station at an estimated fare of INR 2,300-4,200, which will have in Oxford in about 58 minutes.
There are airport coach services from London Heathrow Airport that run 24 hours a day to take you to Oxford. Alternatively, you can hire a cab as well, which will cost you about 10-12K in INR for a 52-minute ride.
One of the best ways of exploring the city is on foot to make the most of the sights and sound, especially during peak business hours. With an excellent bus service, you can get a day pass for the Oxford Bus Company or Stagecoach and travel via the designated stops throughout the city. You can also enjoy cycling around the city, given its near-flat area or hail cabs which are clearly marked for easy accessibility.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
Oxford City experiences a maritime temperate climate, with rainfall evenly spread through the year. With an average rainfall recorded at 658mm, the summer months in Oxford are fairly comfortable and attract a decent volume of tourists. The cooler months experience occasional snowfalls with an average temperature of 11°C.
With temperatures oscillating from 19°C to 9°C, with warm days in the later months, the period of March through May makes the weather seem relatively cold. Spring season experience rainfall typically between 4-7 days each month and this turns out to be the second-best time of the year for incoming tourist traffic.
June through August experience comfortable weather with temperatures that are moderately cool with an average rainfall of 5-6 days in a month. Summers are the busiest time of the year for tourism in Oxford.
With high temperatures ranging from 20°C to 9°C, the weather feels a bit chilly owing to wind and humidity levels with significant rain or snowfalls of 4-8 days in a month. Fall is a slow season for tourism.
Winters in Oxford are cold and most warm weather travelers avoid coming here. With an average high of 9°C to 7°C, rain or snowfall is anything from 6-8 days in a month. December through February are usually bare of tourists in Oxford.
Things to Do
Oxford City is bustling with young students and scholars, what with a variety of festivals celebrated through the year, right from the Oxford Festival of Arts which is nearly 2 weeks long and scheduled for June-July to Christmas, which happens to be spread across 8 weeks of celebrations. From an assortment of displays relevant to music, theatre, arts, entertainment and literature, various programs are organized on a regular basis around the city in honor of its cultural heritage.
Oxford Cycle Bus:
A novel way to experience the beautiful sights of the city of Oxford is aboard the Oxford Cycle Bus, where you can pedal your way through the ancient past and view the city from a new perspective. With a live tour guide who will take you through eons of historic stories, you can enjoy the Oxford Cycle Bus with your family, solo or in a group for about 1½ hours, with the first tour beginning at 9 am and last one at 3 pm.
With nearly 8 acres of inspiring and ancient gardens nestled in the Oxfordshire countryside, enjoy being at the Waterperry Gardens that feature a charming 200 foot herbaceous edging along the formal and rose gardens, a riverside walk and a lily canal.
Oxford River Cruises:
With an array of luxury boat trips, unique picnic cruises and sightseeing tours the Oxford River Cruises provide an intimate and comfortable experience in the heart of the town making it one of the most cherished experiences of your visit to Oxford.
Designed for small rivers or other shallow waters, a punt is a flat bottom boat with a square-cut bow and you can experience boating in it, sailing upstream or down the river, admiring the wildlife, dropping in at the Vicky Arms or drifting past the University of Oxford, picnicking at the river’s bank making for an unusual yet timeless, serene pleasure in the city of Oxford. You can enjoy punting both self-driven or chauffeured at the Cherwell Boathouse, Magdalen Bridge Boathouse, Salter’s Steamers or the Oxford River Cruises.
Where to Eat
Oxford’s food arena is more peculiar than you’d ever imagine. Of the most popular ones, the best eateries in the city and their odd menus are evident of the town’s ability to have fun with a variety of both fast-food options and more Haute cuisines. From burgers piled high with Tabasco flavored pizzas to camembert to bacon milkshakes, the best restaurants in Oxford include places like the Oli’s Thai for delectable Thai dishes at budgeted pricing. However, the place is always full and hence reservations are needed much much in advance! Then, there’s Arbequina, a tapas joint known for its thick tortillas especially and other sensational dishes.
Set on a Gregorian townhouse the Turl Street Kitchen offers quality British delicacies, with its slow roast pork belly as the star from its dinner menu, while the Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons has earned its repute with 2 Michelin stars to its kitty by the Oxfordshire countryside. Gee’s is a Grade II listed conservatory encompassed with olive trees against an ideal backdrop to a menu of Mediterranean fares with fresh vegetables and fruits also adding to its lovely offerings. Other notable venues include the Rooftop restaurant at the Ashmolean, the White Rabbit, the Big Society and the Folly.
Where to Shop
Spanning from the centre of the city is a labyrinth of walkways and streets marked with an abundance of antique stalls, markets and quirky boutiques. The extensively remodeled and reopened Queen Street, Westgate Shopping Centre and Cornmarket Street bring about a majority of Oxford’s high-end retail stores, with an additional layer of shopping delights spread from Summertown in North to Cowley Road in the East.
While the Queen Street and Cornmarket come with the usual jewelry, clothing and electrical goods chain stores, coffee shops and pharmacies, the High Street specializes in premium boutiques and antique shops. The Covered Market is filled with traditional grocers, butchers and delicious food stalls, while the Broad Street is home to the marvelous Blackwell’s for books, the first-ever Oxfam shop, a place to find the best art supplies and some amazing apparels.