Travel advice | University of Oxford
Oxford University skyline
Oxford University skyline
Image credit: OUI/Greg Smolonski

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.

 

If you are travelling to Oxford we strongly recommend that you use public transport, if at all possible, as parking is extremely limited in the city.

Visiting by rail

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 and Ride car park and the 500 bus route goes past the University Science Area, St Hugh's College and close to Lady Margaret Hall, as well as 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 Train tracker: 03457 484950 or text 84950 (charges apply).

www.nationalrail.co.uk

Visiting 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:

Visiting by air

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.

Visiting by car

Oxford is a small city with many traffic restrictions and parking is strictly limited. If at all possible, please do not drive into the city centre. We recommend that you use the Park & Ride system. If you are travelling to Oxford for an Open Day, please be aware that traffic will be heavy and you should add an hour to the journey time predicted by your sat nav. We strongly recommend that you arrive as early as possible in order to leave adequate time to reach the city, find a parking space, queue for your bus, travel into the city and find your first venue.

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 likely to delay your journey. 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

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:

Redbridge Park & Ride

Address Abingdon Rd, Oxford OX1 4XG.

Location: Off the A34 from Abingdon, Didcot and Newbury

Pear Tree Park & Ride

Address: Oxford OX2 8JD

Location: Off the A40 from Witney and Cheltenham, A4260 from Kidlington, A34 from Banbury, Bicester and Northampton and the M40.

Thornhill Park & Ride

Address: Off the A40 from Thame, Aylesbury, High Wycombe, London and the M40.

Location: Thornhill, Oxford OX3 8DP

Oxford Parkway (Water Eaton) Park & Ride

Address: Oxford Parkway Train Station OX2 8HA

Location: 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. It is popular with local commuters and usually full from early in the morning.

If you are travelling with a large group of students, we recommend dropping them off in town and parking at Redbridge Park & Ride, which offers parking for coaches and mini-buses, to avoid paying multiple bus ticket fees.

Paying 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. You are advised to bring the correct change in cash as there is usually only one card machine available.

ParkREG online parking booking system allows you to pre-purchase a parking ticket at Oxford Parkway 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. You are strongly advised to pay in advance if possible to avoid lengthy queues at the ticket machines.

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.

Cycling in Oxford

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.