Visa arrangements: Make your arrangements for visa as soon as you receive your award letter. The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel. Please visit the Home Office website for more details and for applying for Visitors visa https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa . AfOx, your host department or college, with support from Oxford’s Staff Immigration Team, will be able to advise you on the most appropriate visa for your specific visit.
As part of normal screening, you will be asked to present original documents (passport, visa) to your host department upon arrival. Please note that copies cannot be accepted.
Accommodation: If you are making your own accommodation arrangements, you could consider the links listed below for affordable accomodation. Please reserve places as soon as possible to get the best rates.
- LastMinute– mostly for booking reasonably priced hotels at short notice
Health matters: If you are here for less than six months, you are only entitled to free NHS hospital treatment in emergency situations. It is therefore advisable that you organise private health insurance to cover the duration of your stay. According to the UK government’s directives, people who live outside the EEA, including former UK residents, should now make sure they are covered by personal health insurance, unless an exemption applies to them. Anyone who does not have insurance will be charged at 150% of the NHS national tariff for any care they receive.
The nearest Accident & Emergency department is at the John Radcliffe Hospital on Headley Way. To call an ambulance, dial 999 from a landline, or 112 from a mobile. Only call an ambulance when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.
Most health centres offer ’emergency’ or ‘urgent’ appointments or walk-in clinics if you need a same-day consultation for a medical condition which is not life-threatening.
Important things to pack:
Clothes for the cold and rain. The average winter day is between 0 and 7 degrees Celsius. It also rains a lot in Oxford, so it will be very useful to get a raincoat and waterproof footwear. You might want to pack some of this in your carry-on in case it’s cold and rainy when you arrive.
Medicines and Health-related items; including of all prescriptions and other necessary medical record, contact lenses etc.
UK adapter plug; for phones, laptop chargers and small appliances.
Driving license; in case you want to rent a car for a UK adventure and for proof of ID!
Passport-sized photos; you may need them for various cards including your temporary university card.
Travelling to Oxford; The Airline coach service runs 24 hours a day from London Heathrow and Gatwick airports. You can buy the tickets from the driver either with cash or contactless debit/credit card. Period return tickets cost £30 and £37 from Heathrow and Gatwick respectively. From London Stansted airport, take the National Express 757 coach service.
There are taxis at Oxford Railway Station, Gloucester Green Coach Station and St Giles’ in the city centre.
Traveline is a great tool for planning your journey. If you have a smartphone, download an OFFLINE MAP of Oxford so you can get around the first couple days. City Walks has an offline map available through the App Store, or you can download an offline section of Google Maps:
Find further transport details on the links below;
- Oxford City’s “How to get to Oxford” information
- Oxford University’s travel information (including coaches from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports)
- Oxford Railway Station
During your visit
Settling down; If you are in Oxford for a short period, the quickest way to get phone service is to bring an unlocked phone from your home country that has a removable SIM card, buy a a pay-as-you-go SIM in the UK and then top up your credit when necessary.
You can connect to the University’s Wifi network using your University email address through eduroam or OWL. The University has a dedicated IT Services site where you can find clear instructions on how to connect your work laptop and mobile devices for work purposes. There are computers with internet access readily available in colleges and in most of the University’s libraries.
If you are here just for a few days, visitor access to IT services can be arranged by your host department or college. There are also many WiFi hotspots available across the city.
Getting around: Oxford has an excellent network of bus routes with vehicles operating at regular intervals. The two main operators are Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach. Oxontime provides real-time information for all operators around the city, so you can check your bus is on time.
You can buy a bus ticket from the driver on the bus with cash or contactless debit/credit cards. If you are in Oxford for longer, you can buy a rechargeable travel card, the Key , to save on time and money for local travel.
Groceries: Tesco and Sainsbury’s are the main supermarkets for most grocery needs. Farmer’s Markets are great for fresh, local produce but are open on specific days). Several shops on Cowley Road stock African ingredients too.
Shopping: Oxford has its fair share of high-street chain stores, mostly concentrated around Cornmarket and Queen Street. The Daily info has a comprehensive guide to shopping in Oxford, conveniently organised by location.
Pharmacies: Boots and Superdrug are the main pharmacies. Both have locations in the city center on Cornmarket, and Boots also has a large location on Cowley. You can get most over the counter and first aid drugs at Tesco too.
Eating and Drinking: Restaurant meals usually cost between £10 and £15. There are cheaper alternatives for lunch all around town. Standard meals in colleges are generally cheaper than eating out and some departments also serve lunch with varying prices.
A standard pint of beer in a pub costs around £4. The Oxford Dailyinfo has quite an exhaustive Oxford Food Guide and is definitely worth looking at. You can also download and print a complete map of Oxford Pubs developed by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)!
Barber Shops/Salons: there are a several options around Oxford particularly on High Street (High Street Barbers, Oxford Spires Barbers) as well as Cowley Road (Youssef’s, H.I.M.,Giovanni’s). This will cost £10-£20. There are a few Afro-caribbean Salons at Templar Square, with varying prices (from over £30)
Things to do; Oxford is a beautiful city with stunning architecture, history and culture. There’s a myriad of things to do including visiting ancient and modern Oxford colleges, fascinating museums and galleries, and plenty of parks and gardens! The Experience Oxfordshire website list several fun activities and includes a list of Top 10 things to do in Oxford that might capture your fancy.