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Oxford Travel Tips

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The stately, historic city of Oxford is a forest of fascinating buildings dating back to medieval times, a series of enlightening museums, and an air of old school English refinement. That said, it also has a lively student scene, as well as a busy cultural calendar with music, art, and theatre an integral part of city life.

 

Best Time to Travel

 

School's out during the summer, and although the university scholars tend to go home, the city becomes busy with tourists and language school students. However, the warm weather makes the summer months pleasant for sightseeing and strolls around the city. Spring is one of the best seasons to visit, which except for Easter break tends to be quieter, and there are plenty of indoor attractions for when the rain hits. The run up to Christmas also sees Oxford looking particularly pretty, with lights hung on every street, and the Oxford Christmas Market bringing wooden stalls selling handmade goods.

 

Not to Miss

 

Oxford has a wide variety of traditions and annual events that tourists love, from May Morning which sees students jumping off the Magdalen Bridge into the river below, to the colourful Cowley Road Carnival with music and street entertainment. More formal events include the Oxford Literary Festival in spring, which brings authors from around the world to the city, and the surreal Alice's Day which sees events themed around Alice in Wonderland taking place around Oxford.

 

Getting around

 

London’s Heathrow Airport is only about an hour away by car, with taxis and shuttles readily available. There’s also an airport bus which takes about 80 minutes to make the journey. Parking in Oxford can be expensive, with spots at a premium during the busy summer season, although there are several park and ride sites on the outskirts of the city for day visitors. Luckily, it's easy to get around the city without a car, with Oxford railway station just half a mile from the centre, and plenty of buses that run from early until late.

 

Cuisine

 

There's a mouth-watering selection of restaurants in Oxford city centre, from casual pubs serving rustic English food, to fine dining spots with international cuisine. There tends to be a trend towards using local foods from farms in the area, with restaurants boasting of their low food miles, and offering the freshest of ingredients. There are also many excellent international eateries for homesick students and curious tourists, with noodle bars, sushi joints, and laid back Moroccan places to be found close to the centre.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

Tipping is often expected for anyone who has provided a good level of service. In taxis, you can either round up the fare, perhaps adding a couple of pounds for drivers who have helped with luggage or been exceptionally helpful. In restaurants, meanwhile, the tip is generally being around 12%. It's also nice to tip hotel staff such as porters, with £1-2 being the usual amount. Oxford has residents from all over the world, so it's important to be open to other cultures when you visit, and generally being polite and courteous will ensure you get a better level of service.

Fast Facts

 

Population: 154800

Spoken languages: English

Electrical: The UK runs on 230V, 50 Hz current

Phone Calling Code: +44 1865999