The basics
THE UK: Destination Guides

Oxford City Guide

Want to study in the UK but not sure which city to choose? Our Oxford city guide is here to help you make that decision

share image


The film setting of Harry Potter, The Riot Club and The History Boys, Oxford is renowned for its architectural beauty and world-leading educational institutions.  Not only that, but Oxford is also the birthplace of Alice in Wonderland and home to the authors Lewis Carroll and J.R.R Tolkien. Known as ‘The City of Dreaming Spires’, Oxford is located in the south east of England, made up of 38 Oxford University colleges including Christ Church, Trinity and Balliol. An English city steeped in history, culture and charm, which makes for an idyllic study abroad setting.


Where can I study?

Oxford University is globally recognized as a prestigious institution, consistently placing within the top two positions in university league tables. In particular, Oxford University has placed first in the last four league tables produced by the Times Higher Education World Rankings. You don’t have to be the next Oscar Wilde or Stephen Hawking to study in this beautiful city. There are a few institutions to choose from including:



Things to do in Oxford

More than nine million visitors flock to Oxford from all over the world each year to see its iconic architecture and top attractions. You certainly won’t be stuck for things to do, as Oxford offers both historical and contemporary sights. For example, The Pitt Rivers Museum is a popular activity for tourists, locals and students, and it’s completely free.


However, a trip to Oxford wouldn’t be complete without visiting Christchurch College, part of Oxford University, which was the inspiration for the Great Hall in Harry Potter. Similarly, you can’t miss the Bodleian Library, which is one of the oldest libraries in Europe and argued to be the most beautiful. The library is also connected to Radcliffe Camera, a reading room with an eye-catching architectural design. Another famous building is the Ashmolean museum, Britain’s oldest public museum, displaying art and archaeology, located in the heart of Oxford.



That being said, there’s more to Oxford than spires, museums and colleges. Explore the Covered Market in the city center where you’ll find everything from fruit to jewelry to local crafts. Hire a boat from Magdalen Bridge Boathouse and immerse yourself in the surrounding nature of Oxford with a day of punting on the canals.



These are just a few of the top historical and cultural places to tick off in Oxford, but even just walking through the city, you can experience its historic beauty.   


Places to eat

A common challenge that international students may face is adjusting to new cuisines. Luckily, Oxford has plenty to offer in terms of restaurants and cafes. For example, The Rickety Press in the bohemian area of Jericho is a regular spot for students. Similarly priced is the White Rabbit located in the city center, offering a range of pizzas (a staple dish for any university student). Oxford is also home to an array of quaint and quirky cafes such as Thirsty Meeples where you can play one of the many boardgames to pass the time on a rainy day. At The Grand Café, you can enjoy both a classically British cream tea by day and try out their range of cocktails by night.


Where to live

Depending on your preference and budget, there are several options of where to live as a student in Oxford. As with most major cities, living in the center is more expensive than the suburbs but would mean that you have everything right on your doorstep. However, there are a few areas which are particularly student-friendly and more affordable. For example, Jericho is known for being a cosmopolitan area, with student housing, cafes, restaurants and bars. Or alternatively, Headington is another prime location, particularly among Oxford Brookes students as it’s located near the main campus. Another reason why Headington is so popular among students is due to its large Victorian houses, ideal for large groups of sharers.


Find more advice on finding accommodation in the UK.



Oxford is well-connected to other major UK cities such as London, which is just an hour away by train. Other nearby cities include Reading, Birmingham and Coventry. Within the city, coaches and buses run regularly, connecting you to other parts of Oxford. In addition, the Oxford Tube is a coach that runs from London to Oxford every 12 minutes, 24 hours a day for GBP 13 (return student fare). However, much of the city is walkable and can be enjoyed on foot. Another popular mode of transport is cycling, which is a great option if you are looking to save money and keep fit.




A major advantage of living in Oxford is the green spaces and public gardens. For example, the Botanic Garden is the oldest in Britain and lies just next to the city center, offering a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle of the busy cobbled streets. The river Cherwell winds through the city, providing the perfect chance to enjoy a picnic by the water.


Now that you’ve got an idea of what to expect from living and studying in Oxford, start researching which institution would suit you best today!

Study in the UK


'Study in the UK' eBook

Enjoy what you’ve read? We’ve condensed the above popular topics about studying in the UK into one handy digital book.

Get your eBook

Must read

article Img

5 Reasons you should study in Scotland

Have you considered studying in Scotland? No? Why not? When most international students think of studying in the UK, they think of studying at Oxford or Cambridge, two of the top universities in the world; however the likelihood of gaining admission to one of these institutions is slim due to the heavy competition. Others automatically think of studying in London; yes, one of the top tourist cities in the world, but everyone heads there.   Why don’t

article Img

A beginner’s guide to studying in the UK

Some of the world’s best universities, unforgettable cities, brilliant nightlife and a welcoming environment for international students.   Those are just some of the reasons you might have for wanting to study abroad in the UK, but there’s actually so much more. Want to find out more about the University of Edinburgh’s essay proofreading service for students that don’t list English as their first language? Or more about the University of Sheffield’s

article Img

Common cultural misconceptions about the UK

When most people think of Britain, they conjure images of gents in top hats, sipping tea and speaking the Queen’s English. They imagine warm pints, endless queues and people too conservative and polite to take seriously. This narrow idea of British life is damaging and prevents us from understanding what living like a Brit really means.   Dispelling the following myths will no doubt make it easier for you to understand British culture, and make

article Img

Student insight: Why Brighton is 'easy to fall in love with'

Is it your dream to study in the UK? Have you pictured yourself sipping tea and walking the grounds of stately homes but still can’t decide which university, city or town would suit you best? Not to worry. We spoke to Brighton University student Olivia Holtman, 24, who is studying psychology and sociology to shed light on what it means to be an international student in the UK and why she chose the city of Brighton for her studies.