Oxford is an ancient city built-up over hundreds of years, long before the motor car had ever been conceived, so the roads can get very congested. In addition, to reduce air pollution and to deter you from parking in the city centre, the City Council charge exorbitantly high parking charges. So driving into Oxford is best avoided, especially if you don’t want to start you day a little stressed! So here our recommendations for getting to Oxford and parking:
Travelling to Oxford from London Airports:
Oxford is not particularly well served by rail from any of the London Airports, so we would recommend taking the bus, or taxi.
London Heathrow to Oxford:
Use the Airline service operated by The Oxford Bus Company. Travel time to Oxford is about 90 minutes, with busses leaving approximately every 30 minutes. Fares are £30 period return, or the group period return fare for up to four people is great value at £70.
Do not take a London black cab – this will cost you a small fortune! Book in advance and fares go for £75 (up to four people) using 001 cars based in Oxford.
London Gatwick to Oxford:
Use the Airline service operated by The Oxford Bus Company. Travel time to Oxford is about 2 hours & 30 minutes, with busses leaving approximately every hour. Fares are £37 period return, or the group period return fare for up to four people is great value at £85.
Do not take a London black cab – this will cost you a small fortune! Book in advance and fares go for £105 (up to four people) using 001 cars based in Oxford.
London Stanstead to Oxford:
Use the 737 service operated by National Express Company. Travel time to Oxford is about 4 hours, with eight busses leaving daily. Fares start from £30 period return.
Do not take a London black cab – this will cost you a small fortune! Book in advance and fares go for £115 (up to four people) using 001 cars based in Oxford.
Travelling to Oxford from London:
There are two lines leading to Oxford. You can travel direct from Paddington Station, or Marylebone Station to Oxford Station. Both journeys take around 60 minutes, assuming you book the direct trains and tickets prices are also similar. The train from Marylebone Station stops at Bicester Village and Oxford Parkway Station before Oxford Station. So if you are planning to do some shopping on you way to or from Oxford, or you are staying in the North of the City, then this line is for you. Also looking at recent arrival statistics, the trains departing from Marylebone are far more reliable – probably because the trains are newer and the line from Bicester to Oxford is only a few years old.
We would recommend purchasing tickets via The Train Line.
Oxford is well served by Bus from London by two companies, The Oxford Bus Company (X90) and Stagecoach (Oxford Tube). Both companies initiate their service from London’s Victoria Coach station, but take slightly different routes leaving London and both complete the journey in Oxford’s Gloucester Green bus station. Prices are similar and from our expereince, the service levels are on par with each other.
Parking in Oxford:
Park & Ride Services
Park & Ride is the easiest way to get into Oxford with journey times into the City Centre every 10-15 minutes. Park your car and pay the bus driver as you get on. You can pay the driver for parking and a day return bus ticket for two adults and up to three children (under 16) for £6.80.
There are five Park & Ride sites located around Oxford, all of which are equipped with EV charge points for electric car drivers. Busses are operated by the Oxford Bus Company.
The five park & ride sites and locations are:
Thornhill (OX3 8DP) – located off the A40 from Thame, Aylesbury, High Wycombe, London and the M40 to the east of the city, just before the ring road.
Redbridge (OX1 4XG) – located off the A34 from Abingdon, Didcot and Newbury. This site is located to the south of the city.
Seacourt (OX2 0HP) – located off the A420 from Swindon and Bath, to the west of the city on the Botley Road.
Peartree (OX2 8JD) – located to the north of the city, this site can be accessed from the A40 (from Witney and Cheltenham), A4260 (from Kidlington), A34 (from Banbury, Bicester and Northampton) and the M40.
Water Eaton (OX2 8HA) – this site is located to the north of the city and can be accessed from the A40 (from Witney and Cheltenham), A4260 (from Kidlington), A34 (from Banbury, Bicester and Northampton) and the M40.
City centre parking
If you really want to drive into the city centre, there are a few car parks. We would recommend using the new Westgate shopping centre car park (Castle St, Oxford OX1 1NZ) which is under the shopping centre and is probably the most secure. Parking will cost you £25 for 24 hours. They have 50 parking bays available with HV charge points. The chargers are free to use and operate 7.2kw – 32A with type 2 lock plug systems.
They also have 20 motorcycle parking spaces available free of charge.
Once you have arrived in Oxford, then have a look at our excellent Tour Itineraries that can be downloaded to your mobile phone, guiding you to the best places to see, eat and drink in Oxfordshire. All the itineraries have hyperlinks under each heading providing you with lots more information about each sight you visit, plus they have an associated google map to help you navigate the tour.