According to simplyyellowpages, Oxford is the best place to get acquainted with English traditions. The city is located in the county of Oxfordshire, which is 80 km from London, stands on the rivers Thames and Chervel and is known primarily as an educational center. This is the oldest university city in England, the citadel of the country’s education and just a very beautiful place with a characteristic “British” architecture. Oxford University is one of the first institutions of higher education in Europe. It is the second most ranked (after Cambridge) in the UK, about 50 Nobel laureates have been its graduates.
Ancient architecture and vibrant modern life, created by students, light industry and new technologies, surrounded by picturesque rural scenery, make Oxford a place worth visiting, even if you do not plan to study there.
How to get to Oxford
Most tourists come to Oxford from London. There are direct buses from Heathrow Airport to it (stops at terminals 1, 2, 3, 5). Oxford Bus Company buses (off. site in English) run around the clock, at night with an interval of 2 hours, during the day – at 20-30 minutes. There are National Express buses from terminals 2 and 3 to Oxford. Travel time with both carriers is about 1.5 hours, the final stop is Gloucester Green in the center of Oxford. Tickets can be ordered online, through the app or bought from the driver.
Buying tickets online in advance and immediately in both directions is several times cheaper.
All Heathrow terminals have underground access. It takes about an hour to get to the center, tickets are sold in vending machines. To get to the Victoria Coach Station bus station, you need to take the blue Piccadilly Line from the air harbor to Hammersmith station, transfer to the green District Line and get off at Victoria station. Double deckers and single-decker buses from Oxford Tube (off. site), National Express and Megabus (off. site) depart from it to Oxford every 15-20 minutes from morning to evening. The trip will take from two hours.
You can also take the train from Heathrow. Nationalrail trains depart from terminals 2, 3 and 4; it will take about 2.5 hours to admire the surroundings under the sound of wheels. Tickets – at the box office and at the office. company website.
From the famous London Paddington station, trains to Oxford run every 10-15 minutes, the journey time is two hours.
The historic center of Oxford is quite small and convenient for walking, especially since most of it is a pedestrian zone, and all the sights are nearby. The only thing to be wary of is inattentive cyclists skipping pedestrian crossings and cutting corners.
Buses run around the city, the fare is charged at the exit and depends on the distance. If you plan to make more than two trips a day, it is better to buy a day pass – it will be cheaper.
Driving in Oxford is strongly discouraged – there are many pedestrian areas, complex driving patterns, few parking lots and all of them are paid.
Taxis can be ordered through a mobile application, however, such a service can make the trip more expensive by a couple of pounds. And you can catch on the road with a wave of your hand. If a taxi is free, its checker is yellow. You can also take a car at the station, in the bus stop area on St. Aldeist, Gloucester Green, St. Gills and others.
Oxford taxi drivers are real pedants, you should not be surprised that a true gentleman will be behind the wheel of a sparkling clean car. And he must have a license.
The cost of a trip around the city is from 30 GBP. At night and on holidays, the rate increases. Tips are not required, but they will be welcomed.
Riding through the city in a two-wheeler is a common thing on campus. At many railway stations in Oxford you can rent a bike, in some places even for free. There are bike lanes here, but much less than, say, in York – often you have to share the roadway with motorists. Riding a bike here is much safer than it seems at first glance, because all drivers are already used to it, but at first it’s better to follow the locals – they are more experienced in this matter. At night, signal lights should be used; if they are not present, the police can fine you.
There are many bicycle parking lots in the city, but you should make sure that your castle is strong – thefts also flourish here.
Oxford University is the blue dream of many schoolchildren and students. But you cannot take this “fortress” with a swoop; you should prepare in advance for its “assault”. For admission, Russians will need to confirm the required level of English proficiency (IELTS certificate from 7 points or TOEFL from 100) and additional training certificates – A-Levels or IB (International Baccalaureate).
A-Levels – a purely British program for applicants to local universities, involves the study of 3-4 subjects in a private or public school. IB is international, has accredited institutions in Moscow and other cities, 6 subjects are studied. The average training period for IB and A-Levels is two years, you need to prepare for admission for another year.
Before submitting documents to Oxford, you should decide on the direction: international law, modern history, languages, medicine, regional studies, philosophy and a dozen more faculties, then until October 15, through the unified British student admission system UCAS (off. site in English) apply. It is cheaper to choose several directions at once, but to indicate the priority first. You will also need to attach a certificate of your high marks, a motivation letter and recommendations from teachers.
University commissions will check the data until mid-December, then they will invite you for an interview, based on the results of which they will make a decision on enrollment.
On the basis of Oxford there are also short language programs: courses for youth and adults, summer courses for children, business school.
What to bring
The most coveted “souvenir” from Oxford is a university diploma. But no amount of money can buy it. But you can stock up on key chains, notepads, pens, sweatshirts and T-shirts with Oxy symbols on almost every corner. Including – in the popular Flaggs store at 18 Broad St, Oxford OX1 3AS, which is also considered the main place for “hunting” for souvenirs with symbols of the Harry Potter films.
You can hit the boutiques of famous brands both in the city (shops are crowded on High Street, Queen Street, South Lamar and in the famous covered market at Market St., Oxford OX1 3DZ), and outside it – in the largest Bicester Village outlet at 50 Pingle Dr. Bicester OX26 6WD.
You need to take clothes and accessories from local designers, handmade jewelry. Particular attention is paid to Twinings English tea, English porcelain, gin and ale, Paddington bears and the ubiquitous all-British red telephone boxes and Big Bens.
Cuisine and restaurants in Oxford
Oxford is too close to the capital of England to acquire at least some original cuisine. And in general, all these “frills” in the country do not like. A good steak, fried potatoes or stewed vegetables, a piece of pie and a mug of ale – this is the ideal, from the point of view of the British, lunch or dinner. You will have to pay 35 GBP for it for two. But the English breakfast is a brand, although its set is extremely simple: scrambled eggs, fried tomatoes and mushrooms, beans, sausages, bacon, toast with butter and a mug of tea. The price for it is up to 20 GBP per pair. For a piece of cake and a glass of coffee, they ask for 7 GBP.
The lowest prices are on the outskirts of Oxford, in the market and in small cafes near universities.
Cuisines of different nations are also presented in abundance here. So fans of French, Spanish, Italian, Indian or Chinese dishes will not feel left out. Prices for a dinner for two with alcohol start at 55 GBP.
The real taste and spirit of England can be felt in any of the many Oxford pubs. The most famous is Eagle and Child at 49 St. Giles, Oxford, OX1, where J. R. R. Tolkien and J. Rowling liked to look.