Living in Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire lies in an area of the country known as the Heart of England, a region which stretches from London, Bristol, Salisbury and Stratford-upon-Avon. Bounded by the Cotswolds, the Chilterns and the Berkshire Downs and with the River Thames flowing through, it’s one of the most beautiful of the English counties.

The county is largely rural in nature, being rich in dairy and arable farming, but there are local traditional industries and a growing high-tech community, and heavier industry in the form of car manufacturing.

The city of Oxford itself is full of charm and character and is renowned worldwide for its university and architecture. Oxford combines the amenities of a modern city with respect for its ancient traditions and it bustles all year round with students and tourists.

Both the city and county as a whole have a wealth of attractions which appeal to nine million visitors each year from both the UK and overseas.

Things to do


Oxford is renowned worldwide for its many historic colleges and quads. Most of these are based around the city centre and offer tours. The availability of these tours varies depending on the time of year and day, and it’s best to look up individual colleges for the details of tour dates. Click here for details.

Along with the colleges are many historic places of interest, such as the Bodleian Library, Oxford Castle and Prison, Christ Church Meadows and the Botanic Garden. There is also the Ashmolean Museum, Natural History Museum, and Pitt Rivers Museum.

Cowley Road in East Oxford offers independently-owned stores and coffee shops, and Jericho suburbs provide catering for every style and budget. Click here for a city guide.

Surrounding areas

If you like history and architecture, visit Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, in Woodstock. Woodstock is one of a number of picturesque market towns in the Oxfordshire region, Bourton-on-the-Water and Thame are also popular tourist destinations.

The Cotswolds are a short drive from Oxford, providing scenic views and nature walks. For those who enjoy the vibrancy of an urban city, London is just over an hour away by train or coach.

Useful information


Getting about in Oxford City is best done on foot, by bike or bus as car parking is difficult, a good alternative is to use one of the City’s Park and Ride facilities.

Oxford has the UK’s first integrated transport system outside of London. With an Oxford Smartzone pass you can use buses from any operator within the zone; you can buy a pass for a week, month or year at a time.

Owing to the ring road, access to different parts of the city is relatively efficient, but heavy congestion in all directions is a feature at peak periods.

Getting to London and back is very easy; there are direct fast trains regularly, and two direct coach services that serve Oxford City.

Further information regarding travelling and transport in Oxfordshire can be found by visiting:

Lettings and estate agents

Oxford is well served by local independent estate agents as well as the large ‘chain’ estate agents. Websites are a very useful tool for finding properties. Some estate agents have their own or include details of their properties on estate agency group websites or general property websites.

The following websites can help you with your search:

Places of worship

On our hospital sites

There are designated chapels and quiet spaces for prayer and worship on all of our hospital sites. Our Chaplains can help with contacting religious leaders in the community as well as providing confidential staff support, informal listening, pastoral debriefing and education. They are available 24 hours a day.

In the wider area

There are many places of worship outside of our hospital sites:


Oxfordshire has nearly three hundred primary and secondary schools spread out across Oxford, Bicester, Abingdon and many other towns.

View a list of all schools in Oxfordshire

Alternatively, to look at the details of specific schools or carry out a more refined search, you can use the DirectGov schools finder. This will also provide the school’s website, address, and performance scores.




Oxford City Centre has a wide selection of shops that cover all of your needs and beyond. From the usual supermarkets to high street stores, independent shops and book shops.

You can find out more about the range of shops at the websites below:

Surrounding area

Further afield, there are some great shopping outlets that you can reach via buses and trains. These are just a few in the surrounding area that may be of interest:

Page last reviewed: 8 July, 2022