If you’re moving to Oxford (or within it) and you’re feeling a little adventurous, you might be considering doing a little walking tour to get familiar with the different neighbourhoods you could inhabit. I think this is a great idea, so I prepared a guide and map to help you get started.
Oxford Neighbourhoods Free Self-Guided Walking Tour
Moving to Oxford can feel quite daunting, but I couldn’t think of a better adventure, really. I moved here about a hundred years ago and haven’t regretted it a single day.
If you’re new to the area, you might be thinking what are the best neighbourhoods in Oxford to study and work. There are quite a few good options, so I recommend you take a look at the link I just mentioned to get better acquainted with the different areas where you could live.
I created the map here to give you a quick overview of the most popular neighbourhoods in Oxford, so you can see how far they are from the city centre (or your college) and determine whether they could work for you. Please note that the fuchsia walking path is just an idea; I sincerely recommend you go down every road you find interesting, as there’s plenty to discover around Oxford.
How to Get to Know The Different Neighbourhoods in Oxford
If you truly want to see what it would be like to live in or around Oxford, you should consider doing one or more walking tours (being realistic, you probably won’t be able to visit all of these places on the same day; unless you feel particularly marathon-ey).
So, grab the map above and pick a few options based on this article. Here’s what I think about these areas:
Walking Around Jericho and Summertown
Jericho is a historic suburb of Oxford and one many students and visiting academics choose to live in because it’s so close to the city centre. If you’re visiting Oxford and you have a decent-enough budget (or you‘re willing to share a place with others), you should head to Jericho right away. This neighbourhood is hip, and vibrant, and has tons of restaurants, pubs, shops, and even a cinema. Jericho is definitely my number one pick for those that can afford it.
Summertown, right next to Jericho, is another excellent option. However, prices here are truly sky-high, as most properties are large houses or belong to the university and are therefore not available. Still, this is a beautiful area to explore, so don’t hesitate to go off the path for a bit.
How to Get There: Simple; just walk up Woodstock Road and come down Banbury Road, of the opposite way around.
Walking Around Cowley Road and Headington
Cowley Road is an extremely popular option for people moving into Oxford. This area is diverse, filled with gastronomy options, and holds many festivals throughout the year. You will see how lively this place is no matter the time of the year. Cowley Road is a great option for people who want to engage with international communities or study at Oxford Brookes.
From Cowley Road, you can go to Headington and check out this commercial area, too. Headington is considered more family-friendly, and it’s also a little further away from the city centre. It’s also up a hill, so make sure you climb when you’re ni Cowley Road and then go back down toward the universities.
How to Get There: I prefer to walk up Cowley Road from the Botanic Gardens and then cross South Park to get to Headington.
Walking Around Marston
Marston is another popular option for families moving to Oxford. The neighbourhood itself doesn’t have many attractions to see; just a few shops and John Radcliffe Hospital. This quiet area, though, has plenty of accommodation available, so it’s a good idea to go check it out and see whether the relaxed atmosphere can work for you.
How to Get There: I personally only go to Marston by crossing University parks.
Walking Around New Hinksey and Iffley
Iffley and Littlemore are two pretty areas you can definitely visit when house-hunting. Iffley is within the boundaries of Oxford and very close to the River Thames (Isis). It’s also filled with students and has some architectural interesting houses – not to mention a gazillion pubs to drown your academic sorrows. If you’re around the area, don’t forget to check Iffley Lock.
New Hinksey, just south of Oxford, is a pretty area with beautiful terraced victorian houses. A lot of people studying and working in Oxford love this neighbourhood as it’s very close to the city and you can walk or bus there without issues (there are bike lanes, buses, taxis, everything). Plus, shops, pubs, parks, and more.
How to Get There: I recommend you walk down Abingdon Road (maybe up to the Basenose College Recreation Ground, to get an idea of the area) and then stroll back to Christ Church Meadow. From there, you can follow the beautiful walk up to Iffley and Littlemore.
Walking Around New Botley
Botley is a neighbourhood west of Oxford. I’ll be honest: I never lived here and I rarely go, so I can’t tell you whether it’s worth a walk for any other reason than checking potential houses. I know Botley is another popular choice with students, and there are plenty of buses around. So, if you get there and find out you can’t connect the walk to anything worthwhile, at least you can get a ride back.
How to Get There: You can get to Botley walking down Botley Road.