Going out at Night
Oxford in the evening is beautiful and the streets are busy with people going to restaurants, bars, the theatre, or the cinema, but please remember…
• Not to walk in parks or places which are not well lit.
• To walk on the pavement, and if there is no pavement, make sure you face oncoming traffic so that people can clearly see you.
• Watch for cyclists when you are crossing the road, especially if it is dark as not all bikes have lights.
• Not to talk on your mobile phone for a long time.
• Not to have large amounts of money with you.
• Not to carry all of your national identity documents with you.
• To keep your bag close to you with a strap over your shoulder. Make sure your bag has a zip or closes properly. Make sure your bag is always with you and is carried on the front of your body when you are in places where you are close to other people.
Travelling in and around Oxford in the evening
Oxford’s city centre is small (with a population of 160,000 people) and the diameter of the city centre is approximately 4km. Travelling around Oxford is usually quite quick, especially in the evening but please always remember to be safe!
If it is late or dark, please take a taxi home and carry enough money with you for this. A taxi in Oxford is approximately £7.
Please make sure your phone is charged and you have the address of where you are staying with you.
Never take an unlicensed taxi – always phone for a taxi and give them your name (see here for telephone numbers for licensed taxi companies in Oxford). When you get in the taxi, ask the taxi driver who the taxi is for so that they confirm your name.
When you are waiting for the taxi, make sure you are alert and safe so don’t listen to your iPod or have a long conversation on your phone. Make sure you are waiting in a lit, clearly visible place which is near other people.
Make sure the taxi driver has a photo ID and the car has a licence on the inside and outside of the car with the Oxford City logo on it.
Please sit in the back of the car and have your mobile phone in your hand so that you can easily use it.
If it is late, try not to wait at the bus stop alone. If you take the bus and there are seats downstairs, please sit downstairs so that, if there is a problem, the bus driver can help you. If anyone shows signs of aggression, please tell the bus driver and stay near the driver.
Use crossing places to cross the road and wait for the green man and please remember that in the UK we drive on the left.
Oxford is very famous for its very large number of bicycles and cycling is very popular around the city. Please wear a helmet and use lights at night when using a bicycle as Oxford has very busy traffic. Lights are a legal requirement when it is dark. Don’t forget to lock up your bike.
Prescription drugs (prescribed by a doctor, such as antibiotics) can be found at Boots Pharmacy on Cornmarket Street. You will be expected to contribute towards the cost of prescriptions (which is approximately £8.40), dental care, eye care, and wigs and fabric supports. If you are a non-EU citizen, you may be expected to pay approximately £75 to see a doctor and £30-£40 to see a nurse. Please make sure you have adequate medical insurance to cover these costs.
Ask your local pharmacist for advice – your pharmacist can give you advice about many common minor illnesses, such as diarrhea, minor infections, headaches, sore throats, or travel health.
You should register with a GP (a local doctor) near your house when you arrive in the UK (if you are planning to stay in Oxfordshire for more than two weeks, you need to register with a GP).
For dental care (if you have a problem with your teeth), you might need to visit a dentist. People usually pay for dental care in the UK but an NHS dentist is the cheapest option. To access this treatment, you will need to fill in a form.
Use the checklist below to guide you if you’re not sure where you need to go if you are not feeling well.
• Make an appointment with your GP if you are feeling unwell and it is not an emergency.
• Call NHS 111 if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation. You can also call NHS 111 if you’re not sure which NHS service you need. This is a 24-hour helpline.
• Visit the nearest walk-in centre, minor injuries unit or urgent care centre if you have a minor illness or injury (cuts, sprains or rashes) and it can’t wait until your GP surgery is open.
• Call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk and you need an ambulance. The nearest hospital is the John Radcliffe. The address is Headley Way, Oxford OX3 9DU. Call this number in an emergency for police, fire or ambulance.
You may need to pay for NHS services. This depends on how long you stay and your visa. European visitors can use their EHIC cards.
The non-emergency number for the police is 101. Oxford Police station is located at:
Some people need to register with the police after arriving in the UK with a visa, or after getting permission to stay for longer in the UK.
If you need to register, you must go to the police within 7 days of you:
• Arriving in the UK if you applied for a visa from outside the UK.
• Getting your biometric residence permit if you applied to stay for longer from inside the UK. Please refer to this guide for more information.
The vast majority of international students do not get into trouble with the police. However, here is some information if you do come into contact with the police. The police have the power to stop and search anyone who appears to be acting in a suspicious way. If you are stopped and searched or even arrested, try not to be aggressive and do not attempt to bribe the police officer!
If you are stopped by a plain clothed police officer (an officer not wearing a uniform), ask to see their police identification. Give your name and address if the officer asks you to. If you are arrested, do not sign anything until you have received advice from a solicitor – there is always a solicitor on duty at the police station. If you are arrested, you will be entitled to one telephone call.
Buying and Consuming Alcohol, Tobacco, Illegal Substances and the Age of Consent
You must be 18 and over to buy tobacco and alcohol, and in some places you need to be 21 to buy alcohol. If you’re under 16 the police have the right to confiscate your cigarettes.
• To carry your photographic identity card with you at all times so that you can show your age.
• You mustn’t smoke in public buildings.
• In the UK, the age of consent, (when you can legally have sex), is 16. In the UK, you are considered to be 1 year old a year after your date of birth. Read more about UK law here.
Oxford is a world-famous city for culture and history. Here are some suggestions for you to do in and around Oxford (which are also great opportunities for you to practise your English!)
• For local events, talks, concerts and sports events, the Daily Info website is really useful. It lists events and provides information on theatre, music, sport and other activities according to the date.
• Oxford has two main theatres which show a variety of plays, concerts and musicals. These are The New Theatre which is on George Street and The Oxford Playhouse which is located on Beaumont Street. You can find information on the following websites:
• Walking tours of Oxford are fun and you can learn a lot about the city from an informative guide. You can find information about the times of tours with different companies on the following websites, some of which are free:
• Oxford has a number of incredible and unique museums which often show exhibitions. The Ashmolean Museum is the oldest museum in England and includes exhibits of historical objects as well as art by world-famous artists. The Egyptian exhibition is particularly interesting. The Natural History Museum has a fantastic selection of dinosaurs and The Pitt Rivers Museum offers a great selection of anthropological artifacts. Entrance to museums in England is usually free but you might have to pay to see some special exhibitions. You can find further information on the following websites:
◦ The Ashmolean.
◦ The Natural History Museum.
◦ The Pitt Rivers Museum.
◦ The History of Science Museum.
◦ The Modern Art Museum.
Oxford also has a number of places to visit which offer wonderful cultural experiences, making your time here more enjoyable and rewarding.
• Blenheim Palace is a thirty minute bus journey from the city centre and has fantastic gardens to explore as well as the palace. You can find out about events and prices from their website.
• London is full of history, architecture, museums, events and is rich in culture. We recommend the British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.
• Other destinations are also a day-trip away from Oxford and include the Cotswolds, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Bath and Stonehenge. Details of organised group tours to these places can be booked with UK Study Tours.
There are many opportunities to meet new people in Oxford and to make friends and practise speaking English. Meet Up is very popular as they organise many different activities, such as walks or cultural visits. Participating in a language exchange (where you speak in your language and in English) is a good way to further practise your English and there are many in Oxford. Just make sure you meet the people in a safe, public environment, like a cafe or the library.
There are many sporting events in Oxford, such as organised running events which are a great way to meet new people and keep fit. This website lists some of activities happening in Oxford. There are many tennis courts, swimming pools, gyms etc in Oxford – have a look at the Oxford Council website for information.
• Yellow Submarine is a cafe on Park End Street, which serves excellent sandwiches, salads and soups, as well as a variety of hot and cold drinks and cakes.
• Oxford has a large number of restaurants and cafes. The best place to head for a meal is probably the Cowley Road which is one of the most vibrant and multi-cultural areas in Oxford. Here you can find restaurants offering food from all over the world which show the diverse character of our city and the UK.
• Oxfordshire County Library is a good place to study after class, and is accessible to everybody. You can become a member for free if you have proof of address in Oxford.
• There are a number of bookshops in Oxford. The most famous of these is Blackwells Bookshop which is located on Broad Street. Its famous Norrington Room has over three miles of book shelves and is the largest room selling books in the world.
• Oxford has two main markets. The first is The Covered Market which is one of the best places to buy cheese and fresh products in Oxford. The Gloucester Green Market is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 09.00-16.00 and Saturdays from 10.00-17.00.
• There are two large supermarkets on Queen Street – Marks and Spencers and Sainsburys.
• Places of Worship. Oxford is a very diverse and welcoming city and there are places of worship for most faiths in Oxford. The Daily Info website has a list of all addresses which can be found here. If you have any special needs regarding religious observance, please tell us when you start your classes and we will do our best to help you.
• There are ATMs near the train station, on Queen Street and on Cornmarket Street.
• Money exchange. You can exchange money at Marks and Spencers on Queen street or in the Post Office which is located on St Aldates. There are several other options on Cornmarket Street.
Oxford has very good bus links around the city. Key Cards, which can be used on Oxford Bus Company buses, and can be purchased online or from Debenhams on George Street. You can buy multiple trips or a card for a fixed period. One week costs approximately £15 and one month is approximately £48.
There are car parks near the centre of Oxford, but these can be quite expensive. If you have a car, we recommend using the Park and Ride Bus services, which allow you to park your car on the edge of Oxford and take a bus into the centre.
there are different types of taxi.
If you take a black cab, you need to ‘hail’ it on the street if it has its taxi light turned on (signal to it to stop) or go to a designated taxi rank, at Carfax tower in the centre of Oxford. You cannot book these taxis in advance and they are typically more expensive.
The following taxis are only available if you book in advance, but they can come very quickly and are often cheaper:
• ABC Taxis: 01865 770077/01865 775577.
• Botley Taxis: 01865 423264/07866 423264.
• 001 Taxis: 01865 240000.
• Royal Cars: 01865 777333.
Regular trains to London as well as to a number of other destinations leave from Oxford Train Station.
There are regular buses to London called the Oxford Tube or the X90 which travel between Oxford and London all day and night.
The central bus station at Gloucester Green is where you can catch coaches and buses to many popular locations and cities in the UK, such as Cambridge, Bournemouth and Woodstock.
The main national coach companies are National Express (they have an office in Gloucester Green) and Megabus (which is famously cheap!)
Bikes can be hired form Bainton Bikes. The number is 01865 311610.
Living and staying in Oxford
Renting Private Accommodation
When you are renting privately in the UK, you need to be sure that you are safe and that your rights are protected. There are two main types of accommodation which you might consider while you are in Oxford.
The first is accommodation rented by a private sector landlord and this includes most flats and houses. In this type of accommodation, bills are usually separate from the rent and you will probably have to pay council tax. This kind of accommodation will also involve you signing a tenancy agreement so please make sure your estate agent explains this to you and that you are protected.
The second type of accommodation is shared with a landlord and will have common shared areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. You will have fewer rights and less privacy (as your landlord may have the right to enter your bedroom without your permission) so please be sure that you know what this type of accommodation includes.
Your safety and happiness is very important so please make sure you use a respectable estate agent who will explain everything you need to know about deposits, problems with repairs, council tax and bills, and unacceptable behaviour from your landlord.
If you have a television in your room, you may need to buy a television licence for it. A television licence can be purchased for a minimum period of three months. A colour TV Licence costs approximately £145. For more information on TV licensing, visit this page.
The penalty for not having a licence can be prosecution in court and a fine of up to £1000.
You may also need to pay council tax. You can get more information at here, which will help you to understand if you need to pay and if you can get a student discount.
Working in Oxford
Whilst working in the UK, you are entitled to receive a minimum rate of pay per hour. Please check this website for the current rate.
To apply for a National Insurance (NI) number, you will need to contact your local Jobcentre to arrange an interview as evidence of your identity. The interview will usually be one-to-one (unless, for example, you need an interpreter) and the interviewer will ask you questions about your background and circumstances. Please check this website.
How to Find a Job
Before you start to look for a job in the UK, please check that your visa allows you to work if you are a non-EU or Swiss national. There are a number of websites that have information which will help you to find a job. These are:
You can also register yourself at a recruitment agency. These include:
If you want to open bank account in the UK, you will need proof of identity (for example, a passport or driving licence) and proof of address (for example, a rental agreement or a letter from the school).
Prices, times, websites and other specific information is accurate as of 2020.