About the city | University of Oxford
View over the rooftops of Oxford
View over the rooftops of Oxford
(Image credit: Elizabeth Nyikos / Graduate Photography Competition)

About the city

Oxford University doesn’t have a campus—the University and its colleges are spread across the beautiful city of Oxford.

About Oxford

Oxford is a diverse and historic city, just a short distance to the west of London. It’s a major British and European centre for the arts, science, technology and innovation, and a fantastic place to live and study. 

For centuries, scholars, artists, writers, scientists and film-makers have found inspiration in Oxford’s spectacular architecture—the city’s famous ‘dreaming spires’. Oxford’s complex history has given rise to its unique character. Around the splendid, medieval core of the ancient University and its colleges, there’s a bustling, welcoming modern city.

Oxford is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the UK, with a vibrant and cosmopolitan community. Home to two major universities, it has some 40,000 students, almost a quarter of the city’s population, who come from all over the world.

In Oxford, you’re never far away from green spaces—there are parks, gardens and meadows throughout the city, which is also surrounded by rolling countryside. The rivers running through the city give rise to Oxford’s famous traditions of rowing and punting, with miles of scenic waterways to enjoy.

Importantly, Oxford is also well known as a safe city. It has Purple Flag status and the Complete University Guide ranks Oxford in its top ten safest student cities

You can see much more of Oxford in our Graduate Oxford video, then take the tour

Culture and nightlife

Day or night, there’s always something going on in Oxford.

The city is a fantastic centre for arts and culture, with a vibrant nightlife. Take in classical concerts in the Sheldonian Theatre or a live gig at the O2. Browse ancient Egyptian artefacts in the Ashmolean Museum, or contemporary visual art at Modern Art Oxford. Catch a debate at the Oxford Union, comedy at the New Theatre, or Shakespeare in the Bodleian’s Old Schools Quadrangle. Cheer on your college sports teams in the University Parks or from the banks of the River Isis (as the Thames is known in Oxford) in Summer Eights.

Oxford also boasts excellent food and drink—from Michelin-starred restaurants to centuries-old examples of the Great British Pub, and authentic cuisines from all over the world.

Transport and getting around

Oxford is a small city: it’s easy to get where you want to go, with most of the city readily accessible on foot. Cycling is a popular option: Oxford is known as a ‘cycling city’, and many students find it to be a great way to get around. There are cycle shops all over the city, as well as options for hiring a ‘dockless’ bike for short periods.

Oxford is within easy reach of London's airports, with excellent coach links to Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted international airports. London itself is under an hour away by train, or you can take one of the bus services that run 24 hours a day.

The city is also well connected to the rest of the UK by road and rail. Bus routes cover the entire greater Oxford area, making it quick and affordable to get around within the city, as well as out to the many nearby towns and villages, or further afield.

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