Oxford and its university campuses will always be part of the best things to see or do in London, especially if you want to dedicate some time to the tourist wonders outside the city.
With that in mind, I invite you to read this informative compilation I have put together with the intention that you will always have an alternative that fits your requirements, your budget and your needs.
1. Organized 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 past.
Although there are different excursion options, undoubtedly one of the most interesting is 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 will be able to choose between tours that include tickets and others that do not, so you would have to buy the ones you are 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 focused on offering you a guided tour of this university city along with the most important recording sets of Downton Abbey.
Finally, if you are interested in a Harry Potter tour in London, there is another excursion to Oxford related to this theme. In fact, this activity combines the 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 included is around 75 euros per adult and about 64 euros for children up to 16 years. Children under 2 years old do not pay anything. Any other guided tour that includes access to attractions such as Windsor Castle or also lead to the city of Cambridge, will cost a little more depending on what is included.
- Means of transportation: air-conditioned buses are usually used for a maximum of 50 people. You should know that these buses are as comfortable and good as those dedicated to urban tourism in London.
- Advantages: if you are not really interested in entering Stonehenge and Windsor attractions, then you can take advantage of the savings of the tours without tickets included to invest that money in other activities such as excursions to Downton Abbey from London or even to eat a slightly more luxurious meal during the stops in Oxford.
2. How to get to Oxford from London by direct train?
Arranging a direct trip on a train is the next most convenient option for visiting Oxford if you're interested in going to the oldest University City in the Western Hemisphere without having to pass by other attractions along the way.
If you've read any handy guide to the London Underground you've most likely already learned that mobility via light rail, subway and high-speed trains are an essential part of the way to move between cities in the UK.
In this case you will have to go to Paddington station, which is located in a very accessible point of the city and is connected to the subway by District, Bakerloo, Hammersmith and Circle lines.
In other words, you will be able to get there quickly from any point in London where you are staying.
You would have to take one of the trips offered by Great Western Railways, which depart in the direction of Oxford every 10 or 20 minutes depending on the time of year.
The arrival station in Oxford is only a 5 minute walk from the city center, so you can start exploring the area before heading to the university campus.
There is another route departing from London Marylebone station, but you should be aware that this is much more unstable in terms of the frequency of train departures.
In addition, with this other option you will also miss the opportunity to visit Paddington Station, which in itself is a beautiful spot in the city. In fact, it is a place you would have to visit even if you were not planning a trip to the outskirts of the city.
- Prices: they are adjusted to the time chosen and the season you are in, but on average you could spend between 20 to 40 euros each way. Early morning before sunrise and late afternoon are the most expensive.
- Duration: the train trip to Oxford from London usually takes 1 hour at the most and one thing I can assure you is that every part of the journey is pleasant because of the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the English countryside.
- Advantages: the train journeys continue until late in the evening and so you can include other destinations in your day, knowing that you can catch one back to London at around 11:00 pm. 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 are not your thing and you prefer a public bus, you can count on the network of this means of transport in the U.K. With this means of transport you have the advantage of what alternatives are what you need to get from central London to Oxford's Gloucester Green Station.
Most depart from Victoria Station, with frequencies that are adjusted to each company, the time of year and the greater or lesser demand of regular users and tourists interested in marveling at the academic environment of Oxford.
The best thing is that they all have evening return journeys, which will allow you to stay quite late in Oxford or you can also opt for a return trip at sunset to fulfill your plans to do in London at night.
- Prices: the round trip on this type of bus can cost you about 20 or 40 euros, as the value of a single journey is usually 10 or 20 euros depending on the time of year and the time chosen.
- Duration: a bus takes 1 hour and 45 minutes from Victoria Station until it parks inside the Oxford bus terminal. Take into consideration that this is a very indicative reference, as London is a very busy city and the freeway connecting both locations 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 entertain passengers during the trip. This makes them the ideal alternative if you're looking for a good snooze before heading back into the city to take part in some of London's best night tours.
4. How to get to Oxford from London by private car?
Arriving in Oxford from London by private car may be the most peculiar plan of all the alternatives that I have presented to you, but this is because it is not a usual thing to have a car in a city like London when you are visiting it.
However, obviously there is the possibility that you might want to rent one because you are interested in the English driving experience. Likewise, it can be interesting if you plan to stay in Oxford for a while longer and you wish to tour the English countryside roads with a private car.
If you go for this option you will have to take the M40 freeway and drive a stretch of about 80 kilometers until you reach the outskirts of Oxford. A trip like this usually takes about 50 to 60 minutes, although it can take up to 90 minutes depending on the traffic on the road.
Something fundamental that you must keep in mind is that car parking areas are very limited in the center of Oxford and therefore you will have to leave the vehicle in a space officially designated by the city.
They are not cheap and you may end up paying an additional 10 or 15 euros depending on how close the place is to the city center and how many hours the car remains parked there.
- Prices: if you only take into account what the car rental may cost, you can calculate from about 20 or 30 or up to about 60 or 70 euros. Although it all depends on the type of car you choose and if you are going to have to pay additional fuel or not.
- Advantages: if you are thinking of things to see or do in London in 7 days, then a car trip to the outskirts of the city can 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 transportation alternatives is to choose them based on your needs and your budget.
There is no point in paying for a complete and luxurious excursion if you are not going to have enough money to eat in Oxford and even more if your main interest is this city and not the other destinations on the itinerary.
The other thing you should take into account is your own conditions and requirements, since a train trip is fast, practical and economical, but that does not mean that it is convenient for you if you tend to get dizzy easily in this type of transport.
Time your journey very well, as most public transport alternatives close their ticket offices at around 10 pm, 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 you can visit these other destinations the next day. That is, without having to pay for a return to London and a new one-way trip the next day.
And finally I advise you to pay close attention to the weather conditions expected for the date you will visit 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 heat wave could be the worst decision of your whole trip.
Other means of transport available to visit Oxford from London
All the options I have offered you are designed for economic savings and touristic convenience. Of course, there are other modes of transportation that can be very interesting 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 the fares will never go below 250 euros per person and can actually be touching 400 euros depending on the conditions offered by the company.
You also have the alternative of paying for a cab or a private transport service that could take you to Oxford under a slightly more significant degree of intimacy. But you have to appreciate the fact that the trip is an hour and a half journey that can take up to 2 hours depending on traffic.
So it is very likely that the final bill that will come to your card will exceed 200 euros and this is also in line with the 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 is a planned transfer with transport included, in which you will only worry about enjoying the trip.
- Disadvantages: You have to adjust to the itinerary of the excursion.
- Between 20 to 40 € depending on the time you travel
- Advantages: It is a comfortable, direct and fast trip, which will allow you to optimize 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.
- Rent from about 20 € + fuel + tickets
- Advantages: You will have more freedom when visiting.
- Disadvantages: You drive on the left, making the driving experience difficult.