Travel advice | University of Oxford

Travel advice

Oxford is a beautiful city with a huge amount to offer visitors of all ages and we strongly recommend a visit if you are considering applying to the University. For maps and further details about travel, please see Maps and directions.

Map of UKTravelling by car

Oxford is a small city with many traffic restrictions and parking is limited. If at all possible, please do not drive into the city centre. We recommend that you use the Park & Ride system.

If driving into Oxford cannot be avoided, please refer to up-to-date traffic information for details of all local road works and advance notice of any disruptions. Please note that there is no visitors' parking available at colleges or University buildings (unless you are a Blue Badge holder).

Oxford City Council's Accessible Guide to Oxford (PDF) has useful advice about driving and parking in the city for visitors with disabilities, or see details of Oxford City Council's Blue Badge scheme.

Park & Ride

* Please note that scheduled roadworks on Hythe Bridge Street may cause traffic delays in Oxford during the Open Days. Visitors are advised to allow additional time to get into the city centre, particularly if planning to arrive by bus.*

We recommend using one of the following four Park & Rides conveniently located on the outskirts of Oxford. Please click on the links below for full details:

Name:Redbridge Park & RidePear Tree Park & RideThornhill Park & RideWater Eaton Park & Ride
Address: Abingdon Road
Oxford
OX1 4XG
Oxford
OX2 8JD
Thornhill
Oxford
OX3 8DP
Oxford Parkway Train Station
OX2 8HA
Location:Off the A34 from Abingdon, Didcot and NewburyOff the A40 from Witney and Cheltenham, A4260 from Kidlington, A34 from Banbury, Bicester and Northampton and the M40.Off the A40 from Thame, Aylesbury, High Wycombe, London and the M40.Off the A40 from Witney and Cheltenham, A4260 from Kidlington, A34 from Banbury, Bicester and Northampton and M40.

We strongly recommend you do not use Seacourt Park & Ride as it fills up early in the morning. If you are travelling with a large group of students, we recommend dropping them in town and parking at Redbridge, which offers parking for coaches and mini-buses.

Map of ring roadPaying for parking:
You will need to pay a parking charge when you park at a Park & Ride. The standard parking charge is £2 per vehicle (up to 11 hours) and £4 per vehicle (up to 24 hours). You can pay by cash or card at designated parking ticket machines.

ParkREG online parking booking system allows you to pre-purchase a parking ticket at Oxford Parkway (Water Eaton) Park & Ride and Thornhill Park & Ride two months in advance.  You can also pay using the RingGo app at Redbridge and Pear Tree Park & Rides. We strongly advise you to pay in advance to avoid lengthy queues at the ticket machines, particularly at Oxford Parkway (Water Eaton) and Thornhill, where improvement works will reduce the number of machines available during the Open Days.

Paying for the bus:
You will need to buy a return bus ticket to and from Oxford city centre. You can pay by cash or contactless on the bus. A peak adult day return ticket costs £2.80 or £4.80 for two adults travelling together. Under 16s travel free.

How to pay for a combined ticket:
A combined parking and bus ticket is available to purchase at specific combined ticket machines at each Park & Ride. The cost of a combined ticket is £6.80 and covers two adults and three Under 16s. Combined tickets can only be purchased on the day.

Travelling by train

There are two railway stations in Oxford: Oxford station and Oxford Parkway station.

  • Oxford Station: Oxford Station runs regular direct services to London Paddington, Birmingham New Street, Reading and others with less frequent direct services also available to Manchester, Newcastle and Southampton. Check live travel updates for Oxford station.
  • Oxford Parkway Station: The connection between Oxford and Oxford Parkway means that Chiltern Railways now offers a twice-hourly direct connection between Oxford and London Marylebone, High Wycombe, Bicester Village and other stations. Oxford Parkway is on the same site as the Water Eaton Park & Ride car park and the 500 bus route goes past the University Science Area, St Hugh's College and close to Lady Margaret Hall, terminating in the city centre. Check live travel updates for Oxford Parkway station.

General rail information
The National Rail website has a number of travel tools available to alert passengers to any changes or disruptions in service, including the National Rail app and  Train tracker: 03457 484950 or text 84950 (charges apply).

Travelling by coach

Coach services run to Oxford from many parts of the UK. The city's coach station is located centrally and within a short walk of many colleges and other facilities. More information about coach services can be found at:

Travelling from abroad

Oxford is well-connected to the UK's international airports:

  • Heathrow: Trains from Heathrow run to London Paddington, where you will need to catch a connecting service to Oxford. Coaches run directly to and from London Heathrow every 30 minutes during the day, and with a reduced service overnight.
  • Gatwick: Trains from Gatwick run to London Victoria. You will then need to travel across the city to London Paddington or to Marylebone to catch a connecting service to Oxford. Coaches run to and from Gatwick every hour during the day, and with a reduced service overnight.
  • London Stansted: Trains from Stansted run to London Liverpool Street. You will then need to travel across the city to London Paddington or to Marylebone to catch a connecting service to Oxford. National Express Coaches run regularly from London Stansted to Oxford. 

Travelling around Oxford

Disabled access

The collegiate University is committed to improving access and is currently continuing to develop its Access guide. As more of our historic buildings are modified the Access guide will become more comprehensive. In the meantime, the Access guide is a helpful first point for information on accessible buildings. Where there are gaps in the information we suggest you contact the places you wish to visit directly.

The Oxford City Council website provides further information on accessibility. The council also runs a scheme enabling visitors to hire self-propelled or battery operated wheelchairs and scooters for free.

By bike

Several bicycle sharing schemes operate in Oxford and you can usually pick up a bicycle on arrival at the train station or a Park and Ride car park. This is a great way to get around the city quickly. Follow the links below to find out how to use these schemes. Most require you to download an app or pre-register and there is a small charge for journeys made.

Taxis

There are taxi ranks at Oxford Railway Station, Gloucester Green Coach Station and St Giles' in the city centre. A list of taxi companies can be found on Oxfordshire's Visitor Information Centre website.