ID:16186 Section: Place

Updated:Sunday 12th October 2014

Oxford ?

Oxford Definition

(Wikipedia) - Oxford This article is about the city of Oxford in England. For other cities and other meanings, see Oxford (disambiguation).
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2013)
Oxford City of Oxford Sovereign state Constituent country Region Ceremonial county Admin HQ Founded City status Government  • Type  • Governing body  • Lord Mayor  • Sheriff of Oxford  • Executive Council Leader  • MPs Area  • City and non-metropolitan district Population (2011 est.)  • City and non-metropolitan district  • Density  • Urban  • Metro  • Ethnicity Demonym Time zone  • Summer (DST) Postcode Area code(s) ISO 3166-2 ONS code OS grid reference Website
City and non-metropolitan district
From top left to bottom right: Oxford skyline panorama from St Mary''s Church; Radcliffe Camera; High Street from above looking east; University College; High Street by night; Natural History Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum.
Coat of arms of Oxford
Nickname(s): "the City of Dreaming Spires"
Motto: "Fortis est veritas" "The truth is strong"
Shown within Oxfordshire
Coordinates: 51°45′7″N 1°15′28″W / 51.75194°N 1.25778°W / 51.75194; -1.25778
 United Kingdom
South East England
Oxford City Centre
8th century
Oxford City Council
Cllr Delia Sinclair (2013–2014) (Lab)
Mohammed Abbasi (Lab)
Labour Cllr Bob Price
Nicola Blackwood (C) Andrew Smith (L)
45.59 km2 (17.60 sq mi)
150,200 (ranked 122nd of 326)
3,270/km2 (8,500/sq mi)
72.4% White British 6.7% Other White 8.5% South Asian 3.7% Black 4.3% Chinese 3.0% Mixed Race 2.5% Other 1.4% White Irish
OX1 • OX2 • OX3 • OX4
38UC (ONS) E07000178 (GSS)

Oxford (/ˈɒksfərd/) is a city in South East England and the county town of Oxfordshire. With a population of 150,200 it is the 52nd largest city in the United Kingdom, and one of the fastest growing and most ethnically diverse.

Oxford has a broad economic base. Its industries include motor manufacturing, education, publishing, and a large number of information technology and science-based businesses, some being academic offshoots.

The city is known worldwide as the home of Oxford University, the oldest university in the English-speaking world.

Buildings in Oxford demonstrate examples of every English architectural period since the arrival of the Saxons, including the mid-18th-century Radcliffe Camera. Oxford is known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold.

  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Medieval
      • 1.1.1 University of Oxford
    • 1.2 Early Modern
      • 1.2.1 English Civil War
    • 1.3 Late Modern
    • 1.4 20th and 21st centuries
  • 2 Geography
    • 2.1 Location
    • 2.2 Climate
    • 2.3 Suburbs
  • 3 Economy
    • 3.1 Car production
    • 3.2 Publishing
    • 3.3 Science and technology
    • 3.4 Education
    • 3.5 Brewing
    • 3.6 Bellfounding
  • 4 Shopping
  • 5 Landmarks
    • 5.1 The University of Oxford
    • 5.2 The city centre
    • 5.3 Other attractions
    • 5.4 Parks and nature walks
  • 6 Transport
    • 6.1 Air
    • 6.2 Buses
    • 6.3 Coach
    • 6.4 Cycling
    • 6.5 Rail
    • 6.6 River and canal
    • 6.7 Roads
      • 6.7.1 A roads
      • 6.7.2 Motorway
  • 7 Education
    • 7.1 Schools
    • 7.2 Tertiary
  • 8 Media
  • 9 Culture
    • 9.1 Theatres and cinemas
    • 9.2 Literature and film
    • 9.3 Music
  • 10 Sport
  • 11 International relations
  • 12 See also
  • 13 Gallery
  • 14 References
  • 15 External links

History Main article: History of Oxford Medieval

Oxford was first settled in Saxon times and was initially known as "Oxenaforda", meaning "Ford of the Oxen"; fords were more common than bridges at that time. It began with the establishment of a river crossing for oxen around AD 900. In the 10th century, Oxford became an important military frontier town between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex and was on several occasions raided by Danes.

Oxford was heavily damaged during the Norman Invasion of 1066. Following the conquest, the town was assigned to a governor, Robert D''Oyly, who ordered the construction of Oxford Castle to confirm Norman authority over the area. The castle has never been used for military purposes and its remains survive to this day. D''Oyly set up a monastic community in the castle consisting of a chapel and living quarters for monks (St George in the Castle). The community never grew large but it earned its place in history as one of the oldest places of formal education in Oxford. It was there that in 1139 Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote his History of the Kings of Britain, a compilation of Arthurian legends.

In 1191, a city charter stated in Latin,

"Be it known to all those present and future that we, the citizens of Oxford of the Commune of the City and of the Merchant Guild have given, and by this, our present charter, confirm the donation of the island of Midney with all those things pertaining to it, to the Church of St. Mary at Oseney and to the canons serving God in that place.

"Since, every year, at Michaelmas the said canons render half a mark of silver for their tenure at the time when we have ordered it as witnesses the legal deed of our ancestors which they made concerning the gift of this same island; and besides, because we have undertaken on our own part and on behalf of our heirs to guarantee the aforesaid island to the same canons wheresoever and against all men; they themselves, by this guarantee, will pay to us and our heirs each year at Easter another half mark which we have demanded; and we and our heirs faithfully will guarantee the aforesaid tenement to them for the service of the aforesaid mark annually for all matters and all services.

"We have made this concession and confirmation in the Common council of the City and we have confirmed it with our common seal. These are those who have made this concession and confirmation."

(There follows a list of witnesses, ending with the phrase, "... and all the Commune of the City of Oxford.")

Oxford''s prestige was enhanced by its charter granted by King Henry II, granting its citizens the same privileges and exemptions as those enjoyed by the capital of the kingdom; and various important religious houses were founded in or near the city. A grandson of King John established Rewley Abbey for the Cistercian Order; and friars of various orders (Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, Augustinians, and Trinitarians) all had houses of varying importance at Oxford. Parliaments were often held in the city during the 13th century. The Provisions of Oxford were instigated by a group of barons led by Simon de Montfort; these documents are often regarded as England''s first written constitution.

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is first mentioned in 12th-century records. As the University took shape, tension between the hundreds of students living where and how they pleased led to a decree that all undergraduates would have to reside in approved halls. Of the hundreds of Aularian houses that sprang up across the city, only St Edmund Hall (c. 1225) remains. What put an end to the halls was the emergence of colleges. Oxford''s earliest colleges were University College (1249), Balliol (1263) and Merton (1264). These colleges were established at a time when Europeans were starting to translate the writings of Greek philosophers. These writings challenged European ideology, inspiring scientific discoveries and advancements in the arts, as society began to see itself in a new way. These colleges at Oxford were supported by the Church in the hope of reconciling Greek philosophy and Christian theology. The relationship between "town and gown" has often been uneasy – as many as 93 students and townspeople were killed in the St Scholastica Day Riot of 1355.

The sweating sickness epidemic in 1517 was particularly devastating to Oxford and Cambridge where it killed half of both cities'' populations, including many students and dons.

Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford is unique in combining a college chapel and a cathedral in one foundation. Originally the Priory Church of St Frideswide, the building was extended and incorporated into the structure of the Cardinal''s College shortly before its refounding as Christ Church in 1546, since when it has functioned as the cathedral of the Diocese of Oxford.

The Oxford Martyrs were tried for heresy in 1555 and subsequently burnt at the stake, on what is now Broad Street, for their religious beliefs and teachings. The three martyrs were the bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, and the Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. The Martyrs'' Memorial stands nearby, round the corner to the North on St. Giles.

Early Modern English Civil War

During the English Civil War, Oxford housed the court of Charles I in 1642, after the king was expelled from London, although there was strong support in the town for the Parliamentarian cause. The town yielded to Parliamentarian forces under General Fairfax in the Siege of Oxford of 1646. It later housed the court of Charles II during the Great Plague of London in 1665–66. Although reluctant to do so, he was forced to evacuate when the plague got too close. The city suffered two serious fires in 1644 and 1671.

Late ModernThe Radcliffe Camera, completed in 1748

In 1790, the Oxford Canal connected the city with Coventry. The Duke''s Cut was completed by the Duke of Marlborough in 1789 to link the new canal with the River Thames; and, in 1796, the Oxford Canal company built its own link to the Thames, at Isis Lock. In 1844, the Great Western Railway linked Oxford with London via Didcot and Reading, and other rail routes soon followed.

In the 19th century, the controversy surrounding the Oxford Movement in the Anglican Church drew attention to the city as a focus of theological thought.

Royal proclamation granting Lord Mayoralty to Oxford.Photochrom of the High Street, 1890–1900

Oxford Town Hall was built by Henry T. Hare; the foundation stone was laid on 6 July 1893 and opened by the future King Edward VII on 12 May 1897. The site has been the seat of local government since the Guild Hall of 1292 and though Oxford is a city and a Lord Mayoralty, the building is still called by its traditional name of "Town Hall".

20th and 21st centuriesAerial view of Oxford city centre

By the early 20th century, Oxford was experiencing rapid industrial and population growth, with the printing and publishing industries becoming well established by the 1920s. Also during that decade, the economy and society of Oxford underwent a huge transformation as William Morris established Morris Motors Limited to mass-produce cars in Cowley, on the south-eastern edge of the city. By the early 1970s over 20,000 people worked in Cowley at the huge Morris Motors and Pressed Steel Fisher plants. By this time, Oxford was a city of two halves: the university city to the west of Magdalen Bridge and the car town to the east. This led to the witticism that "Oxford is the left bank of Cowley". Cowley suffered major job losses in the 1980s and 1990s during the decline of British Leyland, but is now producing the successful Mini for BMW on a smaller site. A large area of the original car manufacturing facility at Cowley was demolished in the 1990s and is now the site of the Oxford Business Park.

During World War II, Oxford was largely ignored by the German air raids during the Blitz, perhaps due to the lack of heavy industry such as steelworks or shipbuilding that would have made it a target, although it was still affected by the rationing and influx of refugees fleeing London and other cities. It has been claimed that Adolf Hitler ordered that Oxford not be bombed, as he was impressed by the city''s architecture and had plans for it to be his capital should Germany win World War II. The University''s colleges served as temporary military barracks and training areas for soldiers before deployment.

The influx of migrant labour to the car plants and hospitals, recent immigration from south Asia, and a large student population, have given Oxford a notably cosmopolitan character, especially in the Headington and Cowley Road areas with their many bars, cafes, restaurants, clubs, ethnic shops and fast food outlets, and the annual Cowley Road Carnival. Oxford is one of the most diverse small cities in Britain with the most recent population estimates for 2005. showing that 27% of the population were from ethnic minority groups, including 16.2% from non-white ethnic minority ethnic groups (ONS). These figures do not take into account more recent international migration into the city, with over 10,000 people from overseas registering for National Insurance Numbers in Oxford in 2005/06 and 2006/07.

On 6 May 1954, Roger Bannister, a 25-year-old medical student, ran the first authenticated four-minute mile at the Iffley Road running track in Oxford. Although he had previously studied at Oxford University, Bannister was studying at St Mary''s Hospital Medical School in London at the time.

Oxford''s second university, Oxford Brookes University, formerly the Oxford School of Art, then Oxford Polytechnic, based at Headington Hill, was given its charter in 1991 and for the last ten years has been voted the best new university in the UK. It was named to honour the school''s founding principal, John Henry Brookes.

Geography Location

Oxford''s latitude and longitude are 51°45′07″N 1°15′28″W / 51.75194°N 1.25778°W / 51.75194; -1.25778Coordinates: 51°45′07″N 1°15′28″W / 51.75194°N 1.25778°W / 51.75194; -1.25778 or grid reference SP513061 (at Carfax Tower, which is usually considered the centre).

Oxford is 24 miles (39 km) north-west of Reading, 26 miles (42 km) north-east of Swindon, 36 miles (58 km) east of Cheltenham and 43 miles (69 km) east of Gloucester, 30 miles (48 km) south-west of Milton Keynes, 38 miles (61 km) south-east of Evesham, 43 miles (69 km) south of Rugby and 50 miles (80 km) north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames (also sometimes known as the Isis locally from the Latinised name Thamesis) run through Oxford and meet south of the city centre.

Destinations from Oxford
Worcester Banbury Bicester, Milton Keynes
Witney, Cheltenham High Wycombe, Aylesbury
Wantage, Swindon Abingdon, Didcot, Newbury, Reading Slough, Windsor

Oxford has a maritime temperate climate ("Cfb" by the Köppen system). Precipitation is uniformly distributed throughout the year and is provided mostly by weather systems that arrive from the Atlantic. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Oxford was −16.6 °C (2.1 °F) in January 1982. The highest temperature ever recorded in Oxford is 35.6 °C (96 °F) in August 2003 during the 2003 European heat wave.

The average conditions below are from the Radcliffe Meteorological Station. It boasts the longest series of temperature and rainfall records for one site in Britain. These records are continuous from January, 1815. Irregular observations of rainfall, cloud and temperature exist from 1767.

Climate data for Oxford, UK Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year Record high °C (°F) Average high °C (°F) Average low °C (°F) Record low °C (°F) Precipitation mm (inches) Mean monthly sunshine hours
14.7 (58.5) 18.5 (65.3) 22.1 (71.8) 27.1 (80.8) 30.6 (87.1) 34.3 (93.7) 33.9 (93) 35.6 (96.1) 33.5 (92.3) 27.3 (81.1) 19.0 (66.2) 15.2 (59.4) 35.6 (96.1)
6.8 (44.2) 7.4 (45.3) 10.1 (50.2) 13.0 (55.4) 16.7 (62.1) 19.8 (67.6) 21.7 (71.1) 21.2 (70.2) 18.5 (65.3) 14.2 (57.6) 9.8 (49.6) 7.4 (45.3) 13.9 (57)
1.4 (34.5) 1.4 (34.5) 2.5 (36.5) 4.3 (39.7) 7.2 (45) 10.2 (50.4) 12.2 (54) 11.9 (53.4) 9.8 (49.6) 6.8 (44.2) 3.8 (38.8) 2.1 (35.8) 6.1 (43)
−16.6 (2.1) −16.2 (2.8) −10.9 (12.4) −4.8 (23.4) −1.8 (28.8) 1.3 (34.3) 4.4 (39.9) 3.5 (38.3) −0.6 (30.9) −5.1 (22.8) −8.8 (16.2) −16.1 (3) −16.6 (2.1)
52.6 (2.071) 41.0 (1.614) 41.1 (1.618) 43.9 (1.728) 50.6 (1.992) 53.3 (2.098) 59.5 (2.343) 58.3 (2.295) 60.3 (2.374) 65.3 (2.571) 61.8 (2.433) 55.8 (2.197) 643.5 (25.335)
54.3 70.3 113.3 151.8 191.8 196.9 191.6 180.3 138.3 102.8 64.4 48.8 1,504.3
Source: Radcliffe Meteorological Station (NB: Data from the period 1881–2004)

Aside from the City Centre, there are several suburbs and neighbourhoods within the borders of city of Oxford, including:

  • Blackbird Leys
  • Cowley
    • Temple Cowley
  • Iffley
    • Littlemore
    • Rose Hill
  • Cutteslowe
  • Headington
    • New Marston
  • Jericho
  • North Oxford
    • Park Town
    • Norham Manor
    • Walton Manor
  • Osney
  • Botley
  • Summertown
  • Sunnymead
  • Wolvercote

Oxford has a diverse economy, which includes manufacturing, publishing and science-based industries as well as education, research and tourism.

Car production

Oxford has been an important centre of motor manufacturing since Morris Motors was established in the city in 1910. The principal production site for Mini cars, now owned by BMW, is in the Oxford suburb of Cowley.


Oxford University Press, a department of the University of Oxford, is based in the city, although it no longer operates its own paper mill and printing house. The city is also home to the UK operations of Wiley-Blackwell, and several smaller publishing houses.

Science and technology

The presence of the university has given rise to many science and technology based businesses, including Oxford Instruments, Research Machines and Sophos. The university established Isis Innovation in 1987 to promote technology transfer. The Oxford Science Park was established in 1990, and the Begbroke Science Park, owned by the university, lies north of the city.


The presence of the university has also led to Oxford becoming a centre for the education industry. Companies often draw their teaching staff from the pool of Oxford University students and graduates, and, especially for EFL education, use their Oxford location as a selling point.


There is a long history of brewing in Oxford. Several of the colleges had private breweries, one of which, at Brasenose, survived until 1889. In the 16th century brewing and malting appear to have been the most popular trades in the city. There were breweries in Brewer Street and Paradise Street, near the Castle Mill Stream.

The rapid expansion of Oxford and the development of its railway links after the 1840s facilitated expansion of the brewing trade. As well as expanding the market for Oxford''s brewers, railways enabled brewers further from the city to compete for a share of its market. By 1874 there were nine breweries in Oxford and 13 brewers'' agents in Oxford shipping beer in from elsewhere. The nine breweries were: Flowers & Co in Cowley Road, Hall''s St Giles Brewery, Hall''s Swan Brewery (see below), Hanley''s City Brewery in Queen Street, Le Mills''s Brewery in St. Ebbes, Morrell''s Lion Brewery in St Thomas Street (see below), Simonds''s Brewery in Queen Street, Weaving''s Eagle Brewery (by 1869 the Eagle Steam Brewery) in Park End Street and Wootten and Cole''s St. Clement''s Brewery.

The Swan''s Nest Brewery, later the Swan Brewery, was established by the early 18th century in Paradise Street, and in 1795 was acquired by William Hall. The brewery became known as Hall''s Oxford Brewery, which acquired other local breweries. Hall''s Brewery was acquired by Samuel Allsopp & Sons in 1926, after which it ceased brewing in Oxford.

Morrell''s, the Oxford based regional brewery was founded in 1743 by Richard Tawney. He formed a partnership in 1782 with Mark and James Morrell, who eventually became the owners. After an acrimonious family dispute this much-loved brewery was closed in 1998, the beer brand names being taken over by the Thomas Hardy Burtonwood brewery, while the 132 tied pubs were bought by Michael Cannon, owner of the American hamburger chain Fuddruckers, through a new company, Morrells of Oxford. The new owners sold most of the pubs on to Greene King in 2002. The Lion Brewery was converted into luxury apartments in 2002.


The Taylor family of Loughborough had a bell-foundry in Oxford between 1786 and 1854.

  • Broad Street
  • Clarendon Shopping Centre
  • Cornmarket Street
  • George Street
  • Golden Cross
  • The High Street
  • Little Clarendon Street
  • Queen Street, Oxford
  • The Covered Market
  • Turl Street
  • Westgate Shopping Centre
  • Gloucester Green
  • Cowley Road

Outside the City Centre:

  • Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford
  • Botley Road, Oxford
  • Cowley Retail Park, Cowley, Oxford
  • Cowley Road, Oxford
  • Iffley Road, Oxford
  • London Road, Headington, Oxford
  • North Parade, Oxford
  • St Clement''s, Oxford
  • Templars Square shopping centre, Cowley, Oxford
  • Walton Street, Jericho, Oxford
  • New Botley
LandmarksThe spires of Oxford facing Christ Church to the south (Christ Church Cathedral on the left and Tom Tower on the right)

Oxford has numerous major tourist attractions, many belonging to the university and colleges. As well as several famous institutions, the town centre is home to Carfax Tower and the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, both of which offer views over the spires of the city. Many tourists shop at the historic Covered Market. In the summer punting on the Thames/Isis and the Cherwell is popular.

The main quadrangle of University CollegeThe Oxford Aviation Academy Piper PA-34 Seneca at Oxford AirportView from Carfax TowerBlackwell''s BookshopOxford University Museum of Natural HistoryThe Malmaison Hotel in Oxford CastleThe University of Oxford Main article: University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of the most famous and prestigious higher education institutions of the world, averaging five applications to every available place, and attracting 40% of its academic staff and 15% of undergraduates from overseas. It is currently ranked as fifth-best university in the world, according to QS World Rankings, behind its main UK rival, Cambridge, in first place.

Oxford is renowned for its tutorial-based method of teaching, with students attending an average of one one-hour tutorial a week.

The city centre

As well as being a major draw for tourists (9.1 million in 2008, similar in 2009), Oxford city centre has many shops, several theatres, and an ice rink. The historic buildings make this location a popular target for film and TV crews.

The city centre is relatively small, and is centred on Carfax, a cross-roads which forms the junction of Cornmarket Street (pedestrianised), Queen Street (semi-pedestrianised), St Aldate''s and The High. Cornmarket Street and Queen Street are home to Oxford''s various chain stores, as well as a small number of independent retailers, one of the longest established of which is Boswells, which was founded in 1738. St Aldate''s has few shops but has several local government buildings, including the Town Hall, the city police station and local council offices. The High (the word street is traditionally omitted) is the longest of the four streets and has a number of independent and high-end chain stores, but mostly University and College buildings.

There are two small shopping centres in the city centre: The Clarendon Centre and The Westgate Centre. The Westgate Centre is named for the original West Gate in the city wall, and is located at the west end of Queen Street. It is quite small and contains a number of chain stores and a supermarket. The Westgate Shopping Centre is to undergo a large and controversial refurbishment; the plans involve tripling the size of the centre to 750,000 sq ft (70,000 m2), a new 1,335 space underground car park and 90 new shops and bars, including a 230,000 sq ft (21,000 m2) John Lewis department store. There is to be a new and improved transport system, a complete refurbishment of the existing centre and the surrounding Bonn Square area. The development plans include a number of new homes, and completion is expected in 2011, although this is being delayed due to the current financial climate.

Blackwell''s Bookshop is a large bookshop which claims the largest single room devoted to book sales in the whole of Europe, the cavernous Norrington Room (10,000 sq ft).

Other attractions
  • Ashmolean Museum
  • Bodleian Library
  • Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
  • The Headington Shark
  • Modern Art Oxford
  • Museum of the History of Science
  • Oxford Botanic Garden
  • Oxford University Museum of Natural History
  • Pitt Rivers Museum
  • Sheldonian Theatre
  • St. Mary The Virgin Church
Parks and nature walks

Oxford is a very green city, with several parks and nature walks within the ring road, as well as several sites just outside the ring road. In total, 28 Nature Reserves exist within or just outside of Oxford ring road, including:

  • University Parks
  • Mesopotamia
  • Rock Edge Nature Reserve
  • Lye Valley
  • South Parks
  • C. S. Lewis Nature Reserve
  • Shotover Nature Reserve
  • Port Meadow
  • Cutteslowe Park
Transport AirThe air traffic control tower at London Oxford Airport.

In addition to the larger airports in the region, Oxford is served by nearby London Oxford Airport, in Kidlington. The airport is also home to Oxford Aviation Academy, an airline pilot flight training centre, and several private jet companies.


The bus services are mainly provided by the Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach Oxfordshire. Other operators include Thames Travel, Arriva and several smaller companies.

Arriva operates the 280 ''Sapphire'' service to Aylesbury via Wheatley, Thame and Haddenham 7 days a week, at a frequency of up to every 20 minutes. The new ''Sapphire'' buses feature power sockets, leather seats and free, on-board Wi-Fi.

A Stagecoach bus behind an Oxford Bus Company park-and-ride bus in Oxford.

Oxford has 5 park and ride sites with bus links to the city centre:

  • Pear Tree (bus 300)
  • Redbridge (bus 300)
  • Seacourt (bus 400)
  • Thornhill (bus 400)
  • Water Eaton (bus 500)

There are also bus services to the John Radcliffe Hospital (from Thornhill/Water Eaton) and to the Churchill and Nuffield Hospitals (from Thornhill).

Hybrid buses, which use battery power with a small diesel generator, began to be used in Oxford on 15 July 2010, on Stagecoach Oxfordshire''s Route 1 (Cowley, Blackbird Leys), and are now common on many routes within the city.


The Oxford to London coach route offers a frequent coach service to London. The X90 Oxford-London service is operated by the Oxford Bus Company, whilst the Oxford Tube is operated by Stagecoach Oxfordshire. The Oxford Bus Company also runs the Airline services to Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

There is a bus station at Gloucester Green, used mainly by the London and airport buses, National Express coaches, and other long-distance buses including the route X5 to Milton Keynes and Cambridge.


Among UK cities, Oxford has the second highest percentage of people cycling to work.

RailOxford railway station

In 1844, the Great Western Railway linked Oxford with London (Paddington) via Didcot and Reading; in 1851, the London and North Western Railway opened its own route from Oxford to London (Euston), via Bicester, Bletchley and Watford; and in 1864 a third route, also to Paddington, running via Thame, High Wycombe and Maidenhead, was provided; this was shortened in 1906 by the opening of a direct route between High Wycombe and London (Paddington) by way of Denham. The distance from Oxford to London was 78 miles (125.5 km) via Bletchley; 63.5 miles (102.2 km) via Didcot and Reading; 63.25 miles (101.8 km) via Thame and Maidenhead; and 55.75 miles (89.7 km) via Denham. Only the original (Didcot) route is still in use for its full length, portions of the others remain.

There were also routes to the north and west. The line to Banbury was opened in 1850, and was extended to Birmingham in 1852; a route to Worcester opened in 1853. A branch to Witney was opened in 1862, which was extended to Fairford in 1873. The line to Witney and Fairford closed in 1962, but the others remain open.

Oxford has had three main railway stations. The first was opened at Grandpont in 1844, but this was a terminus, inconvenient for routes to the north; it was replaced by the present station on Park End Street in 1852 with the opening of the Birmingham route. Another terminus, at Rewley Road, was opened in 1851 to serve the Bletchley route; this station closed in 1951. There have also been a number of local railway stations, all of which are now closed.

Oxford railway station is half a mile (about 1 km) west of the city centre. The station is served by numerous routes, including CrossCountry services to as far away as Manchester and Edinburgh, First Great Western (who operate the station) services to London Paddington and other destinations such as Worcester, Banbury and occasional Chiltern Railways services to Birmingham. The present station opened in 1852. Oxford is the junction for a short branch line to Bicester, which is being extended to form the East West Rail Link. The East West Rail Link is planning to once again connect Oxford to London Marylebone by building 400 metres of extra track between Bicester Town and southwards joining the Chiltern Main Line southwards (of Bicester North which is not on the new line)- serving High Wycombe to London Marylebone avoiding London Paddington and Didcot Parkway. The East West Rail Link is proposed to continue through Milton Keynes, Bedford, Cambridge, and ultimately Ipswich and Norwich, thus providing alternative to connecting within London. The Varsity Line between Oxford and Cambridge is planned to link Bedford with a short gap to be reconstructed to Sandy then a rail link between the two cities will be restored via Hitchin.

River and canal

Oxford was historically an important port on the River Thames, with this section of the river being called The Isis; the Oxford-Burcot Commission in the 17th century attempted to improve navigation to Oxford. Iffley Lock and Osney Lock lie within the bounds of the city. In the 18th century the Oxford Canal was built to connect Oxford with the Midlands.

Commercial traffic has given way to recreational use of the river and canal. Oxford was the original base of Salters Steamers (founded in 1858), which was a leading racing-boat-builder that played an important role in popularising pleasure boating on the Upper Thames. The firm runs a regular service from Folly Bridge downstream to Abingdon and beyond.

  • River Thames

Oxford''s central location on several transport routes means that it has long been a crossroads city with many coaching inns.

The Oxford Ring Road surrounds the city centre and close suburbs Marston, Iffley, Cowley and Headington; it consists of the A34 to the west, a 300m section of the A44, the A40 north and north-east, A4142/A423 to the east. It is a dual carriageway, except for a 300m section of the A40 where two residential service roads adjoin, and was completed in 1966.

A roads

The main roads to/from Oxford are:

  • A34 – a trunk route connecting the North and Midlands to the port of Southampton. It leaves J9 of the M40 north of Oxford, passes west of Oxford to Newbury and Winchester to the south and joins the M3 12.7 miles (20.4 km) north of Southampton. Since the completion of the Newbury bypass in 1998, this section of the A34 has been an entirely grade separated dual carriageway. Historically the A34 led to Bicester, Banbury, Stratford-upon-Avon, Birmingham and Manchester, but since the completion of the M40 it disappears at J9 and re-emerges 50 miles (80 km) north at Solihull.
  • A40 – leading east dualled to J8 of the M40 motorway, then an alternative route to High Wycombe and London; leading west part-dualled to Witney then bisecting Cheltenham, Gloucester, Monmouth, Abergavenny, passing Brecon, Llandovery, Carmarthen and Haverfordwest to reach Fishguard.
  • A44 – which begins in Oxford, leading past Evesham to Worcester, Hereford and Aberystwyth.
  • A420 – which also begins in Oxford and leads to Bristol passing Swindon and Chippenham.
The M40 extensionMotorway

The city is served by the M40 motorway, which connects London to Birmingham. The M40 approached Oxford in 1974 leading from London to Waterstock where the A40 continued to Oxford. When the M40 extension to Birmingham was completed in January 1991, it curved sharply north and a mile of the old motorway became a spur. The M40 comes no closer than 10 miles (16 km) away from the city centre, curving to the east of Otmoor. The M40 meets the A34 to the north of Oxford.

Education Schools Main article: List of schools in Oxfordshire Tertiary

There are two universities in Oxford, the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University, as well as the further education institution Ruskin College. The Islamic Azad University also has a campus near Oxford.


As well as the BBC national radio stations, Oxford and the surrounding area has several local stations, including BBC Oxford, Heart Thames Valley, OX105FM, Jack FM and Jack FM 2 along with Oxide: Oxford Student Radio (which went on terrestrial radio at 87.7 MHz FM in late May 2005). A local TV station, Six TV: The Oxford Channel was also available but closed in April 2009. The city is home to a BBC TV newsroom which produces an opt-out from the main South Today programme broadcast from Southampton.

Popular local papers include The Oxford Times (compact; weekly), its sister papers The Oxford Mail (tabloid; daily) and The Oxford Star (tabloid; free and delivered), and Oxford Journal (tabloid; weekly free pick-up). Oxford is also home to several advertising agencies.

Daily Information (known locally as Daily Info) is an events and advertising news sheet which has been published since 1964 and now provides a connected website.

Nightshift is a monthly local free magazine that has covered the Oxford music scene since 1991.

In 2003 DIY grassroots non-corporate media has begun to spread. Independent and community newspapers include the Jericho Echo and Oxford Prospect.



"Dreaming spires" of Oxford University viewed from South Park in the snow.Theatres and cinemas
  • Burton Taylor Studio, Gloucester Street
  • New Theatre, George Street
  • Odeon Cinema, George Street
  • Odeon Cinema, Magdalen Street
  • Old Fire Station Theatre, George Street
  • O''Reilly Theatre, Blackhall Road
  • Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street
  • Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road
  • Phoenix Picturehouse, Walton Street
  • Ultimate Picture Palace, Cowley Road
  • Vue Cinema, Grenoble Road
  • The North Wall Arts Centre, South Parade
Literature and film Main articles: Literature in Oxford and List of films shot in Oxford

Well-known Oxford-based authors include:

  • Brian Aldiss who lives in Oxford.
  • John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir attended Brasenose College. Best known for his The Thirty-nine Steps, authored 32 novels and many more volumes of history, poetry and essays.
  • Susan Cooper who is best known for her The Dark Is Rising Sequence
  • Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), Student and Mathematical Lecturer of Christ Church.
  • Colin Dexter who wrote and set his Inspector Morse detective novels in Oxford. Colin Dexter still lives in Oxford.
  • John Donaldson (d.1989), a poet resident in Oxford in later life.
  • Siobhan Dowd Oxford resident; who was an undergraduate at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.
  • Kenneth Grahame educated at St Edward''s School, Oxford
  • Michael Innes (J. I. M. Stewart), of Christ Church.
  • P. D. James who lives part-time in Oxford.
  • T. E. Lawrence, "Lawrence of Arabia", Oxford resident, undergraduate at Jesus, postgraduate at Magdalen.
  • C. S. Lewis, student at University College and Fellow of Magdalen.
  • Iris Murdoch, Fellow of St Anne''s.
  • Carola Oman, novelist and biographer, was born and raised in the city.
  • Iain Pears, undergraduate at Wadham and Oxford resident, whose novel An Instance of the Fingerpost is set in the city.
  • Philip Pullman who was an undergraduate at Exeter.
  • Dorothy L. Sayers who was an undergraduate at Somerville.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien, undergraduate at Exeter and later professor of English at Merton
  • John Wain, undergraduate at St John''s and later Professor of Poetry at Oxford University 1973–78
  • Oscar Wilde a 19th-century poet and author who attended Oxford from 1874 to 1878.
  • Charles Williams, editor at Oxford University Press.

Oxford appears in the following works:

  • The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • "Harry Potter" (all the films to date)
  • The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica by James A. Owen
  • Jude the Obscure (1895) by Thomas Hardy (in which Oxford is thinly disguised as "Christminster").
  • Zuleika Dobson (1911) by Max Beerbohm.
  • Gaudy Night (1935) by Dorothy L. Sayers.
  • Brideshead Revisited (1945) by Evelyn Waugh.
  • A Question of Upbringing (1951 ) by Anthony Powell
  • Second Generation (1964 novel) by Raymond Williams
  • Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) by Steven Spielberg
  • Inspector Morse (1987)
  • Where The Rivers Meet (1988) trilogy set in Oxford by John Wain
  • All Souls (1989) by Javier Marías
  • The Children of Men (1992) by P. D. James.
  • Doomsday Book (1992) by Connie Willis
  • His Dark Materials (1995 onwards) by Philip Pullman
  • Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
  • The Saint (1997)
  • 102 Dalmatians (2000)
  • Endymion Spring (2006) by Matthew Skelton
  • Lewis (2007)
  • The Oxford Murders (2008)
  • Mr. Nice (2010) The story of Howard Marks
  • X-Men: First Class (2011)
  • The Reluctant Cannibals (2013) by Ian Flitcroft

Oxford, and its surrounding towns and villages, have produced many successful bands and musicians. The most notable Oxford act is Radiohead, who hail from nearby Abingdon, though other well known local bands include Supergrass, Ride, Swervedriver, Talulah Gosh and more recently, Young Knives, Foals and Stornoway. These and many other bands from over 30 years of the Oxford music scene''s history feature in the documentary film Anyone Can Play Guitar.

OxfordOxford is a weekend festival in South Park in September which hosts local Oxford talent, threaded amongst internationally acclaimed artists. The event also hosts a film day and a community day.

In 1997, Oxford played host to Radio 1''s Sound City, with acts such as Bentley Rhythm Ace, Embrace, Spiritualized and DJ Shadow playing in various venues around the city.

It is also home to several brass bands, notably the City of Oxford Silver Band, founded in 1887.


The town''s leading football club, Oxford United, are currently in League Two, the fourth tier of league football, though they enjoyed some success in the past in the upper reaches of the league. They were elected to the Football League in 1962, reached the Third Division after three years and the Second Division after six, and most notably reached the First Division in 1985 – a mere 23 years after joining the Football League. They spent three seasons in the top flight, winning the Football League Cup a year after promotion. The 18 years that followed relegation in 1988 saw their fortunes decline gradually, though a brief respite in 1996 saw them win promotion to the new (post Premier League) Division One in 1996 and stay there for three years. They were relegated to the Football Conference in 2006, staying there for four seasons before returning to the Football League in 2010. They play at the Kassam Stadium (named after former chairman Firoz Kassam), which is situated near the Blackbird Leys housing estate and has been their home since relocation from the Manor Ground in 2001. The club''s notable former managers include Ian Greaves, Jim Smith, Maurice Evans, Brian Horton and Denis Smith. Notable former players include John Aldridge, Ray Houghton, Tommy Caton, Matt Elliott, Nigel Jemson and Dean Whitehead.

Oxford City F.C. is a semi-professional football club, separate from Oxford United. It plays in the Conference North, the sixth tier, and two levels on the pyramid below the Football League. Oxford City Nomads F.C. are another semi-professional football club, who ground share with Oxford City F.C. and play in the Hellenic league. A.F.C. Hinksey also play in Oxford.

In 2013, Oxford RLFC entered Rugby League''s semi-professional Championship 1, the third tier of British Rugby League.

Oxford Harlequins RFC is the city''s main Rugby Union team and currently plays in the National League 3 South West.

Following their promotion from The Championship after the 2011/2012 season, London Welsh RFC moved to the Kassam Stadium to fulfil the Premiership entry criteria regarding stadium capacity. In January 2013, the club stated its intention to continue their tenancy of the Kassam Stadium beyond the 2012/2013 season.

Oxford Cheetahs motorcycle speedway team has raced at Cowley Stadium on and off since 1939. The Cheetahs competed in the Elite League and then the Conference League until 2007.

There are several field hockey clubs based in Oxford. The Oxford Hockey Club (formed after a merger of City of Oxford HC and Rover Oxford HC in 2011) plays most of its home games on the pitch at Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, and also uses the pitches at Headington Girls'' School and Iffley Road. Oxford Hawks has two astroturf pitches at Banbury Road North, by Cutteslowe Park to the north of the city.

Oxford City Stars is the local Ice Hockey Team which plays at Oxford Ice Rink. There is a senior/adults’ team and a junior/children’s team.

Oxford is also home to the City of Oxford Rowing Club which is situated near Donnington Bridge.

International relations See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in the United Kingdom

Oxford is twinned with:

Tags:Abbasi, Adolf Hitler, American, Arabia, Asia, Atlantic, Azad, BBC, BMW, Bentley, Birmingham, Bristol, Britain, British, Cambridge, Cardinal, Chinese, Christ, Christian, Churchill, Cinema, Cycling, Data, Easter, England, Europe, Ford, France, GMT, Geography, German, Germany, Greek, Hitler, Hospital, ISO, Iran, Islamic, Islamic Azad University, Jesus, Leyland, London, Lord, Manchester, Media, Mesopotamia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Oman, Oscar, Oxford, Oxford University Press, Phoenix, Premier League, Radio, Ray, Rugby, Russia, Sapphire, Science, Sinclair, Sport, St Mary, Tehran, Thames, Thomas, UK, United Kingdom, Website, Wikipedia, World War II

Oxford Media

Oxford Terms

Oxford Articles

Oxford Your Feedback