I have a vague memory of being in a Facebook group with a name like "You know you grew up in Oxford when...". In hindsight, it was silly, but one point struck a chord: "It only takes you 20 minutes to get from one side of Oxford to the other and you don't understand why". Which is basically true.
Oxford is a city in miniature and nothing is prohibitively far away from anywhere else. The best ways by far to get around are by foot, bus or, best of all, by bike. Oxford has the second-highest proportion of cycling commuters of any local authority in the UK and some very pretty buildings, so cycling here is both accessible and pleasant (and, it turns out, you won't absorb as many fumes as drivers). Read more about bikes and cycling in Oxford here.
Car parking is notoriously difficult, though possible if you are determined. A good alternative is to use one of the city's Park and Ride facilities: buses from these into town (as well as along the other major bus routes) are frequent and run quite late. There isn't really a night bus service, but then Oxford is a lot smaller than London and doesn't really open late enough to warrant one. For any late-night needs there are taxis in abundance.
Getting to London from Oxford and back is very easy. There are regular direct trains and two rival direct coach services (one of which runs 24/7). Stagecoach's X5 service to Cambridge, via Bicester and Milton Keynes, is reliable if a bit slow. To and from anywhere else in the UK when starting at Oxford you will need to proceed via Reading/London (the east, south east and north east), Bristol (Wales), Birmingham (the midlands and north east) or Basingstoke (the south). Links to all the info you'll need are below.
The ultimate in journey planning.
Partnership of transport operators and local authorities, aiming to advise you on any journey by public transport. Can only cover journeys within regions.
Tel: 0871 200 2233
Individual's database of national public transport. Also gives info on hospitals / supermarkets served by public transport and many other useful things.
Very green and very useful journey planning app and website. So far, the only UK cities it covers are London, Birmingham and Manchester. But you can vote for Oxford to be their next city here!
Oxford has the UK's first integrated transport system outside London! The handy SmartCard allows you to use buses from any operator within the Oxford Zone (encompassing Kidlington, Cumnor, Kennington, Garsington and Wheatley). And you can lend your SmartCard to someone else when you're not using it. And the bus timetables have been rationalised to improve the service and reduce congestion. A Very Good Thing. Unlike London, you can still pay in cash on all Oxford buses.
You can get a SmartCard from one of the Oxford Bus Company's travel stores (in Gloucester Green and on the High Street). There are options covering different time periods, zones and multiple/single bus operators.
A site detailing the whereabouts of all Oxford Bus Company and BrookesBus and some Stagecoach buses in excitingly real time, so you can work out exactly when it's worth leaving the house. It's quickest to use if you know your service number, stop number and postcode, but you can also navigate with a map.
The Oxford Bus Company
Local routes, the X90 London express service, park and ride services and airport transfers to Heathrow, Gatwick and Birmingham.
Tel: 01865 785400
Oxfordshire regional services, including Bicester, Wantage, Didcot and Abingdon. Also runs a local Jericho route.
Tel: 01865 785400
In addition to its own routes, you can book Oxford Tube and X5 services through Megabus for ridiculously low prices (can be as little as £1 if you do it far enough in advance). Seats must be pre-booked, but you can do so on the day of departure.
Tel: 0900 160 0900 (beware: 60p per min!)
Oxford recently got a shiny new out-of-town train station! Apparently it's the first new link to run from a major British city to London in more than 100 years. There are now two trains per hour running from Oxford Parkway to London Marylebone, each with wifi and plug sockets. Also stops at Bicester Village.
The Train Line
Timetables and booking for all train operators.
National Rail Enquiries
Everything The Train Line does, but a slightly less user-friendly website.
Tel: 03457 48 49 50 (24 hour info)
Oxford is now the proud host of two Boris-bike style schemes: Donkey Bikes and OxonBikes. The collection points for both schemes are marked on the Daily Info Map of Oxford.
Donkey Bikes is an international scheme. Once you've registered you can borrow bikes in Copenhagen, Istanbul or Goa, or indeed many other cities. A (free) app unlocks the bike and registers when you return it to the drop-off point, though it is worth noting that currently you must return it to the same place you started from. The Oxford branch of Donkey Bikes is run by Bainton Bikes (who also run Walton St Cycles). They have lots of bike stations around the city centre. One day's rental currently costs around £12.
OxonBikes is the scheme run by HourBike, Oxford City Council and various others. This is a more work-related scheme, and has points at all the hospitals, the Science Area and so on. Electric bikes are available to get you up Headington Hill. There are casual use and annual membership options when you sign up (the annual membership gives you 30 free minutes every time you hire) and hourly rates are £1ph for pedal bikes or £2ph for electric. You can choose a pedal-only or electric bike subscription.
There's much more information about cycling in Oxford on our bikes and cycling page.
Oxford Airport, now cheekily renamed as London Oxford Airport, is at Kidlington, 6 or so miles north of Oxford. It handles air taxi and other private charter services (as well as being a centre for pilot training). Full details on their website.
The best flight (and hotel) comparison website around.
BA Flight Information
Flight status checkers, terminals, timetables and everything else.
Cheap flights for city breaks and package holidays.
Oxford is notoriously unfriendly to cars. With a fiendish one-way system, permit-controlled parking and good Park & Ride options, many choose to live without a car in the centre of the city. So when you're trying to get outside the ring road you might need use of a car occasionally. Car- and lift-sharing can be the ideal solution, and as ever there are plenty of options!
For info on Car Sharing schemes / Car Clubs in Oxford see here.
Nationwide journey-sharing website.
Similar to Liftshare but with ratings based on how sociable your driver is. With ladies-only and other security options. Here is their current list of lifts to Oxford... and here's the list of lifts out of Oxford.
Airport taxis and other automobiles can be found here.