Oxford is steeped in history, academic excellence and beautiful architecture. Get lost among the cobbled streets of Oxford and discover some hidden gems along the way.
Whether you’re a seasoned visitor, or a first timer to the city, knowing how to get around Oxford like a local is essential to making your trip run smoothly and without running out of time.
We share our insider tips on how to get around Oxford on a budget, so you can make the most of your time and see all the top attractions, within a short period of time.
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How to get to Oxford
Getting to Oxford is easy and hassle free. Tours operate from London to Oxford on day trips and there’s public transport, or the option to drive.
Tour operators to Oxford from London
Want the ease of just booking a tour? These are great if you don’t want to plan the logistics of getting to Oxford.
Just book your seat on the tour and you’ll be taken to Oxford and back within a day.
Some tour operators include additional locations such as Oxford, Windsor Castle, the Cotswolds and Bath.
A tour is a great option if you have limited time and want to visit more of the UK.
Visit Oxford on a day trip from London with Get Your Guides, with this excellent day trip.
Driving to Oxford is one of the most convenient ways to get there. You don’t need to rely on public transport and it’s easy to navigate.
On our weekend trip to Oxford, we drove from our hometown in Kent, which took us about 2 hours to reach our hotel.
Most of the journey took us along the motorway, before taking the M4 into Oxford.
If you’re up for an adventure, make the most of it, with a road trip to Oxford and the surrounding areas.
Just be mindful of parking, as it is limited in the city centre and expensive. Utilise the park & ride services. Park in one of the 5 car parks around Oxford and take the bus into the centre.
When we researched our trip to Oxford, we booked into a hotel that included free onsite parking, which is ideal and an option to consider if you are planning to spend longer in the city.
Taking a train from London to Oxford, will take you through beautiful landscapes and you’ll reach Oxford within 1 hour.
Trains depart either London Paddington or London Marylebone Station.
A return ticket by train starts at £30.00 per adult, with the first train of the day leaving at 5am in the morning and the last train at 11pm.
Trains depart for Oxford every 10-15 minutes, but not all trains are direct.
While this is the quickest option, it is one of the most expensive, so if you’re on a budget, you may wish to take the bus.
Book you’re train tickets in advance with Great Western Railway
The bus is the ideal way to get to Oxford if you’re on a budget. A return ticket by bus starts at £10.00 per adult.
Buses run every 10-15 minutes but can take up to 2 hours, depending on traffic.
The bus leaves London Victoria Coach Station and arrives in Oxford City Centre. The first bus leaves London at 5:15am and the last bus to Oxford from London is 3:15am.
In our opinion the bus is the favourable option to get to Oxford and back, due to the frequency and price, but you will need to compromise on the time spent on the bus.
You can book your bus tickets in advance with Stagecoach bus.
How to get around Oxford on a budget
Getting around Oxford is easy. Public transport makes it an efficient way to get around, walking is also an excellent option for exploring the hidden gems.
Want to be more eco-friendly and stay active on your travels, then cycling might be right for you.
Let’s break it down, for the best ways to get around Oxford on a budget.
The city is compact and pedestrian-friendly, which is perfect for a cheap way of visiting Oxford.
You don’t need to go far, to visit the famous landmarks.
The Radcliff Camera, University of St Mary the Virgin, Bridge of Sighs, Bodleian Library, St Mary’s Passage and The Covered Market, are all within a few minutes’ walk of each other.
Just a 5-minute walk from the main High Street of Oxford, is some of the famous Universities.
With everything within a short distance, walking in our experience is the best way to get around.
Guided tours by knowledgeable locals provide a unique insight into the city’s history and culture, taking you off the beaten path to explore lesser-known attractions.
Want to dive deeper into Oxford history and culture, then this walking tour is a great option.
Hop on Hop off bus
Short on time and want to get to see the famous landmarks of Oxford, then a hop on hop off bus is for you.
Choose between a 24- or 48-hour ticket. Learn about Oxford’s history and the significant locations, with the audio guide in different languages.
Want to explore several locations along the way? Just hop off the bus and explore, before hopping back on when you’re ready.
Multiple stops along the way, with frequency of the buses every 10-15 minutes during peak season and 25-30 minutes in the low season.
You can book your hop on hop off bus ticket with Get Your Guide here.
Oxford offers a comprehensive bus network that covers most areas of the city. A variety of ticket options are available.
A single cost as little as £2.00 or less, which can be purchased on the bus, with cash or card. A single is for 1 single bus journey, if you need to change buses or need to take more trips on the bus you will need to pay a further £2.00 for each bus you take.
If you are taking multiple buses, a single may not be the right ticket for you.
If you plan to make multiple trips on the bus, then you may prefer to purchase the go-anywhere ticket from the bus driver.
The go-anywhere tickets are either 2 hours at £6.00 per adult and £4.00 per child. Or 1 day pass for £9.00 per adult and £6.00 per child.
Buy a group ticket for 2 adults and 3 children and pay £20.00 for the day.
You’ll need to check the bus routes, to ensure it covers the location you’d want to travel to.
On our weekend trip to Oxford, we purchased a single from our accommodation in Wheatley to Oxford, a return ticket would cost us £4.20 each, which made it cheaper for us to purchase 2x single tickets per adult.
Planning your trip and how you will get around Oxford, will help you to stay on budget and purchase the right fare for you.
Navigation & apps
Arguably the most popular navigation is Google Maps. Google maps is our go to choice for helping us to plan and navigate the city.
Google helps us with the directions and can provide public transportation options.
It is also recommended to download maps, so you can still use them offline.
Online maps are great, but when you arrive in Oxford, head to the Tourist Office on the High Street. Obtain more information and free city maps, to help you navigate.
Navigating the beautiful city of Oxford is easy and simple, with plenty of transport options available.
Short on time, then book a tour that includes Oxford and maybe other regions of England. You get to see more of England in a short space of time.
If you have the time to plan your day or weekend trip to Oxford, then public transport is your best option.
Budget travellers will prefer the bus, which is direct from London to Oxford.
Take a unique approach to visiting England, with a road trip, that includes Oxford into your itinerary.
With so many options on how to get to Oxford from London, there really isn’t an excuse not to include this into your itinerary.
Continue your travel planning, with these useful posts:
- Best places to eat in Oxford
- Tips for first time flyers
- 15 best souvenir ideas to bring hom from London
- Day trip to Margate from London
- 6 Most unique neighbourhoods of London
- Best day trips from London
- Best places to visit in UK
- How to travel on a budget
- Free things to do in Greenwich
- Hiking the Seven Sisters