Oxford is one of the world’s great cities and coming to spend time here is a brilliant opportunity that you won’t get that often. You’ll probably remember these few weeks for the rest of your life, so enjoy yourself, work hard and make the most of it!
This might be the first time you have been away from home on your own, and we want it to be a great experience. Here are some tips for living in Oxford…
If you are coming a long way, remember that the climate might be very different to home. Our climate is warm (not hot) in summer and cold (but not too cold) in winter. Bring some warm clothes with you, because it’s better to bring them and not use them rather than shivering all the time that you are here!
You will probably need to buy some books for your course and these can be expensive if you buy them all new. However, you might be able to buy used copies of the ones you need from one of the many bookshops in Oxford – and maybe even sell them on again when you are leaving!
You might want to bring your mobile (cell) phone, tablet and laptop with you, but you need to remember that the chargers, plugs and networks are all different in the UK.
Remember to bring an adapter which fits UK wall sockets so you stay charged. You must never leave a laptop on your bed unattended, as these are a fire risk if they overheat.
If you want to use a phone here, don’t forget that our networks are unlikely to work with your phone. If you have an “unlocked” phone which can use any network, it’s a good idea to buy a UK SIM card when you get here. You will then have a UK number and calls here will be much cheaper. The 3 network is cheapest for smart phones.
Life on Two Wheels
In Britain we drive on the left, so look carefully before you cross the road. Many of Oxford’s streets are closed to traffic, but not to bikes, so take extra care – bikes can be quiet when moving but hurt a lot if you collide with them!
If you are thinking of hiring a bike for the time you are here, it is essential to buy (or bring with you) a good lock. Many bikes are stolen in Oxford every year, so make sure your hire bike is not one of them – or it could be expensive. Consider buying an old bike for the time you are here – not as attractive to thieves and maybe cheaper than hiring one.
There are plenty of essential things to do while you are in Oxford, to make sure you get the complete “Oxford” experience.
Go punting See the sights of Oxford from the peaceful Rivers Cherwell and Thames (also called the Isis – just while it flows through Oxford). There are boathouses at Magdalen Bridge and Cherwell Boathouse, Bardwell Road which hire boats. You could try and master the skills of punting, hire a rowing boat or a pedalo – or even hire a chauffeured boat.
Explore the University’s colleges They have dominated the city centre since the 13th century. There are 38 colleges, including many beautiful quads (courtyards) and gardens. Some of the best known include Magdalen, All Souls and New College. Scenes from Harry Potter were filmed in Christ Church.
Get high! To enjoy the City of Dreaming Spires in a different way, why not climb one of the towers in the city centre? You can enjoy the view over the city from the University Church on the High Street, Carfax Tower at Carfax, St Michael at the Northgate, Cornmarket Street or the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad Street.
Visit Oxford’s world famous Museums The Ashmolean Museum has an amazing collection – from Egyptian mummies to Anglo Saxon jewellery. The Museum of the History of Science has a blackboard on which are the scribblings of Albert Einstein, made on a visit to Oxford in the 1930s. The Natural History Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum house items from around the world, including a cape of hummingbird feathers.
What to bring with you
Do I need to bring any towels?
No, we provide all towels, pillows and bed linen. All duvets and pillows have feather fillings for comfort.
Don’t forget your camera! Bring a decent camera or phone, so you’ll be able to keep your Insta up to date with what you’re up to.
Don’t forget your passport and any health insurance documents. It is your responsibility to obtain any visas for the UK and other countries you may visit while you are here (for example, any of the EU countries).
Bring plenty of money, not just for souvenirs and treats, but also for buying the books you will need for your studies.
Don’t forget to bring books to read, a pair of earphones and things that will make you feel at home, like cuddly toys!
Summer Short Lets
If you are visiting Oxford during July or August, why not book one of our properties as an alternative to a hotel or bed & breakfast? Read more...