Moving to Oxford

Oxford is best-known as one of the world’s oldest and finest universities.

Moving to Oxford from within Europe is usually by road and from further afield usually by sea, with more urgent items coming by air freight. Further details of the various shipping options can be viewed in our shipping guidance.

History

Oxford is a Saxon settlement, but it was not until the twelfth century that the first reference was made to the University of Oxford. It is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and it rose to dominate the city. The ‘dreaming spires’ of Oxford underwent an industrial boom in the early twentieth century with the development of major printing and car-manufacturing industries.

Morris Motors was established in 1910, and today Oxford is the principal production site for the Mini. Oxford University Press was founded in the late sixteenth century and is the largest university press in the world.

Oxford is a centre for the education industry, and the presence of the university has given rise to the establishment of many science and technology businesses, giving the city a growing reputation as a centre of digital innovation. Oxford Science Park was established in 1990 and Begbroke Science Park is owned by the university.

Attractions

Oxford’s ancient honey-coloured university buildings clustered around medieval streets attract visitors in huge numbers each year. Among the highlights are Christ Church College, whose chapel acts as the city’s cathedral, the Pitt Rivers Museum crammed with items from around the globe, the Radcliffe Camera, the medieval Bodleian Library and the Ashmolean Museum, the oldest public museum in England. Britain’s oldest botanic garden is a haven of peace in the busy city centre, while hiring a punt will allow you to float gently past the college gardens and through the university meadows to the countryside beyond.

Just eight miles north-west of Oxford by the old town of Woodstock is the magnificent baroque Blenheim Palace, created for John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough after the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. Set in undulating parkland laid out by Capability Brown, the Palace was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, who is buried in the nearby village of Bladon.

Amenities and Entertainment

You can walk across Oxford’s medieval heart in less than twenty minutes, yet the city manages to blend its intimate historic charm with the buzz of a modern city bustling with quirky shops and some of the best restaurants in the country. It has its fair share of high-street chain stores, but there are plenty of intriguing boutiques, delicatessens, craft shops and antiques stalls to explore, as well as the eighteenth century Covered Market.

The Ashmolean Museum recently underwent a refit which included the addition of a well-regarded roof-top restaurant. The city’s many and various food outlets comprise everything from top-end restaurants to brasseries to street food, some in unexpected settings such as the undercroft of the university church and an Edwardian boathouse. Many of Oxford’s best bars and nightclubs are hidden down narrow alleyways, behind the medieval city walls and in cobbled back streets.

Theatre-lovers will enjoy the entertainment on offer at the Oxford Playhouse and the 1800-seat New Theatre. Sports fans can watch first-class cricket at the University Parks, the home of Oxford MCC University cricket team, and League football at the Kassam Stadium, the home of Oxford United.

Transport

Oxford is 57 miles northwest of London and has excellent road, rail and air links.

  • Oxford has two railway stations – Oxford, and Oxford Parkway. Oxford Parkway is newly-opened and runs trains into London Marylebone. Oxford station takes travellers to London Paddington. Journey times on both services are just over an hour.
  • London Oxford Airport is primarily a business and commercial training airport. A round-the-clock shuttle bus service operates between Oxford and Heathrow (travel time 90 minutes), and Oxford and Gatwick (travel time 2 to 2.5 hours).
  • The M40 motorway passes to the east of Oxford, giving access to the M25, to West London via the M4, and northwards to Birmingham.