Oxford and its university campuses will always be one of the best things to see or do in London, especially if you want to spend some time exploring the tourist wonders just outside the city.
With that in mind, I invite you to read this informative compilation I have put together so that you will always have an alternative to suit your requirements, your budget and your needs.
1. Organised tour: the best option
The first option you have within your reach to go to Oxford from London may be the best of all. A guided tour with a specialist in the history of this university community is one of the best ways to experience a place with such a rich history.
Although there are different tour options, one of the most interesting is undoubtedly the one that includes the city of Windsor, Oxford and Stonehenge in the same itinerary.
This combination will allow you to save time and money knowing that in one day you could visit three of England's tourist wonders without having to pay for individual excursions to each of them.
You can't forget that both Windsor and Stonehenge are iconic sites when you think of English tourism. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to enter a residence of the English monarchy and even more so to visit one of the great enigmas of the architectural capabilities of our prehistoric ancestors.
You'll be able to choose between tours that include entrance tickets and others that don't, so you'll have to buy the ones you're interested in at the corresponding ticket offices. Keep in mind that there are also tours that take you to Oxford, adding Cambridge to the itinerary, while there are other tours that focus on offering you a guided tour of this university city along with the most important Downton Abbey film sets.
Finally, if you are interested in a Harry Potter tour in London, there is another Harry Potter-themed excursion to Oxford. In fact, this activity combines a visit to the university city with a visit to Warner Bros Studios where you can see many objects and decorations from the film.
- Prices: The price of a tour without tickets is around 75 euros per adult and around 64 euros for children up to 16 years old. Children under the age of 2 are free of charge. Any other guided tours that include access to attractions such as Windsor Castle or that also take you into the town of Cambridge will cost a little more depending on what is included.
- Means of transport: air-conditioned buses are usually used for up to 50 people. You should know that these buses are as comfortable and good as those dedicated to city sightseeing in London.
- Advantages: If you are not really interested in getting into Stonehenge and Windsor attractions, then you can use the savings on tours without entrance fees included to spend the money on other activities such as excursions to Downton Abbey from London or even eating a slightly more luxurious meal during stops in Oxford.
2. How to get to Oxford from London by direct train?
Organising a direct train journey is the next most convenient option for visiting Oxford if you are interested in going to the oldest University City in the Western Hemisphere without having to pass other attractions on the way.
If you've read any handy guide to the London Underground you've probably already heard that mobility via light rail, underground and high-speed trains are an essential part of getting between cities in the UK.
In this case, you'll need to head to Paddington station, which is located in a very accessible part of the city and is connected to the underground by the District, Bakerloo, Hammersmith and Circle lines.
In other words, you can get there quickly from wherever you are staying in London.
The arrival station in Oxford is just a 5-minute walk from the city centre, so you can start exploring the area before heading to the university campus.
There is another route that departs from London Marylebone station, but be aware that this is much more unstable in terms of the frequency of train departures.
And with this other option, you'll also miss out on Paddington Station, which in itself is a beautiful part of the city. In fact, it's a place you'd have to visit even if you weren't planning a trip to the outskirts of the city.
- Fares: they depend on the time you choose and the season you're in, but on average you could spend between 20 and 40 euros each way. Early morning before sunrise and late afternoon are the most expensive.
- Duration: The train journey to Oxford from London usually takes a maximum of 1 hour and one thing I can assure you is that every part of the journey is enjoyable for the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the English countryside.
- Advantages: The train journeys continue late into the evening and you can fit other destinations into your day, knowing that you can catch one back to London at around 11pm. For example, if you're wondering how to get to the Cotswolds from London, you'll be pleased to know that this same train can take you to Moreton-in-Marsh for an evening visit after you've toured central Oxford.
3. How to get to Oxford using UK public buses?
If trains aren't your thing and you prefer a public bus, you can rely on the UK's public bus network, which has the advantage of plenty of alternatives to get you from central London to Oxford's Gloucester Green Station.
Most depart from Victoria Station, with frequencies to suit each company, the time of year and the greater or lesser demand from regular users and tourists interested in marvelling at Oxford's academic atmosphere.
The best thing about them is that they all have evening return journeys, which will allow you to stay quite late in Oxford or you can opt for a sunset return journey to fulfil your evening plans in London.
- Prices: a return journey on these buses can cost you around 20-40 euros, as the value of a single journey is usually 10 or 20 euros depending on the time of year and the time of day.
- Duration: A bus takes 1 hour and 45 minutes from Victoria Station to park inside the bus terminal in Oxford. Please note that this is a rough guideline, as London is a busy city and the motorway connecting the two cities often suffers from this problem, especially in the tourist months.
- Advantages: The buses offered by these public transport companies are top quality, with internal air-conditioning. Most come with built-in charging ports and free wifi to keep passengers entertained during the journey. This makes them the ideal alternative if you're looking for a good snooze before heading back into the city for some of London's best nightlife tours.
4. How to get to Oxford from London by private car?
Getting to Oxford from London by private car may be the quirkiest of all the alternatives I've outlined, but that's because it's unusual to have a car in a city like London when you're visiting.
However, there is obviously the possibility that you might want to hire one because you are interested in the English driving experience. Equally, it may be interesting if you plan to stay in Oxford for a longer period of time and wish to drive around the English countryside in a private car.
If you opt for this option , you will have to take the M40 motorway and drive approximately 80 kilometres to the outskirts of Oxford. A journey like this usually takes around 50-60 minutes, although it can take up to 90 minutes depending on the traffic on the road.
A key thing to bear in mind is that car parking areas are very limited in the centre of Oxford and you will have to leave your car in one of the city's officially designated parking spaces.
They are not cheap and you may end up paying an extra 10 or 15 euros depending on how close the place is to the city centre and how many hours the car is parked there.
- Prices: if you only take into account how much the car rental may cost, you can calculate from around 20 or 30 or even 60 or 70 euros. It all depends on the type of car you choose and whether you will have to pay for extra fuel or not.
- Advantages: If you're thinking of things to see or do in London in 7 days, then a drive to the outskirts of the city might be a good plan. Especially if you are interested in continuing to discover the secrets of the British countryside.
Tips for the journey between London and Oxford with any of these alternatives
The first piece of advice I can give you for any of these transport alternatives is to choose them based on your needs and your budget.
There is no point in paying for a full and luxurious tour if you are not going to have enough money left over to have a proper meal in Oxford, especially if your main interest is Oxford and not the other destinations on the itinerary.
The other thing to bear in mind is your own conditions and requirements, as train travel is fast, convenient and economical, but that doesn't mean it's right for you if you tend to get dizzy easily on this type of transport.
Time your journey well, as most public transport alternatives close their ticket offices at around 10pm, even though there may still be more trains or buses leaving and returning at midnight.
Oxford's proximity to Windsor, Stonehenge and the Cotswolds villages also makes it an excellent idea to stay overnight in the city so that you can visit these other destinations the next day. That is, without having to pay for a return to London and a return journey the next day.
And finally, I advise you to pay close attention to the weather conditions expected for the date you will be visiting Oxford. Because you will be touring the city outdoors and walking around in the open air on a cold winter's day or being overdressed in a summer heatwave could be the worst decision of your whole trip.
Other means of transport available to visit Oxford from London
All of the options I've offered are designed to save money and provide tourist convenience. Of course, there are other modes of transport that may be of interest to you if you are looking to invest in a luxury experience.
For example, if you want to visit Windsor from London and then spend the afternoon in Oxford , you can pay for a helicopter transfer that would take you and three other people through the skies in a very unique experience worthy of a movie scene.
However, the budget quintuples on a plan like this, as fares will never go below 250 euros per person and can actually be in the region of 400 euros depending on the conditions offered by the company.
You also have the alternative of paying for a taxi or private transport service that could take you to Oxford under a slightly more significant degree of privacy. But you have to appreciate the fact that the journey is an hour and a half journey that can take up to 2 hours depending on traffic.
So the final bill on your credit card is likely to be in excess of 200 euros and this is also in line with demand and the time of year you decide to make this expenditure.
- Between £65 and £120 depending on the route and entrance fees included
- Advantages: It's a planned transfer with transport included, so all you have to worry about is enjoying the journey.
- Disadvantages: You have to stick to the tour itinerary.
- Between €20 and €40 depending on the time you travel
- Advantages: It is a comfortable, direct and fast journey, which will allow you to optimise your time to visit other destinations.
- Disadvantages: The guarantee of getting a ticket depends on the tourist influx of the season.
- 10 or 20 € depending on the time of year and the time chosen.
- Advantages: It is the cheapest alternative.
- Disadvantages: It is not the most comfortable option and privacy will be limited.
- Car hire from around €20 + fuel + entrance fees
- Advantages: You will have more freedom when visiting.
- Disadvantages: Driving is on the left, making the driving experience difficult.