Although all travel involves risk, Oxford is a safe place relative to other potential study abroad destinations. In general, the UK has a low crime rate, and it certainly has much less violent crime than the USA. Oxford, and particularly north Oxford where the UGA Centre is located, is an affluent area and considered safe by locals.
The UGA at Oxford Centre has modern security systems, with computer-controlled electronic key access and motion-sensor alarms. It is staffed every day by the Centre Manager and every night by Resident Advisors. Trinity College has its own 24-hour security personnel, closed-circuit cameras, and university surveillance.
Oxford is served by several hospitals, including the large world-class facilities at the John Radcliffe Hospital, which also has its own ER and is 10 minutes from the UGA Centre. Primary healthcare doctors are available at nearby medical rooms only a short walk from the Centre. All program participants are covered by comprehensive medical insurance, which is accepted at all facilities.
Government travel advice
For current government advice on travel to the UK, please see: US State Department Travel to the UK
For current government advice on the safety of travel outside the USA, please see: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/worldwide-caution.html
|Passport||Before you can travel to Oxford, you will need to obtain a passport or ensure that your current passport is not about to expire. Passports should have a minimum of six months validity remaining before undertaking any travel. For information on how to obtain a passport, please click here .|
|Visa?||If you hold a US passport, you will not need a visa to travel to the UK for the purposes of the program. However, if you are not a US citizen, you may need a visa, and you should check any requirements which apply to nationals of your home country.|
|Flights||With the required travel documentation in hand, you can then make arrangements for travel to the UK. The easiest way is simply to fly to London. The largest airport is London Heathrow, but London Gatwick or London Stansted are also options.|
|Group flight||Participants are always free to make their own way to and from the UGA Centre in Oxford. However, for the Fall Program and the Franklin/Terry/Grady Summer Program, participants have the option to join a group flight from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson to London Heathrow organized by the program, accompanied by staff, and available at a group rate negotiated with our travel agent. This group flight will be met at Heathrow by pre-arranged coaches for direct travel to the participants' accommodation in Oxford, and back to Heathrow at the end of the program for the return flight. Whether or not students choose to take the group flights, they are welcome to meet the group coaches at the appointed times for free travel to and from the airport.|
|Flight costs||The cost of flights is not included in the program fee. If booked a few months ahead, a direct return flight will cost around $900-1100. At shorter notice, direct flights can costs considerably more, but indirect flights can usually be found for less.|
Daily flights to London operate from all major US airports, including Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson. Non-stop flights from Atlanta are offered by Delta, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, but budget-friendly non-direct options are also available from all major airlines. The main airports are London Heathrow, London Gatwick and London Stansted. All of these offer direct coach services to and from Oxford.
|From London Heathrow||A coach service called "The Airline", operated by Oxford Bus Company, runs every hour from Terminal 5 and from the Central Bus Station at Terminal 3. The journey is 80-90 minutes, and costs £29 return. For more information, see http://airline.oxfordbus.co.uk|
|From London Gatwick||The same coach company, "The Airline", also serves Gatwick, at both the North and South terminals. The journey time is 120-150 minutes, and costs £37 return. For information, see http://airline.oxfordbus.co.uk|
|From London Stansted||A coach service called National Express runs 8 direct trips to and from Oxford; the journey takes about 3 hours and costs £29.50 return. For more information, see http://www.nationalexpress.com|
|From London by coach||If you arrive in London by some other means, or are spending time in London before the program, you can travel to Oxford from central London on a direct coach service departing from just outside London Victoria Coach Station; there are two services, one called The Oxford Tube, the other X90; both operate almost 24hrs a day, with services every 20 minutes during the day or every hour at night. They both cost around £20 return, with a journey time of 90 minutes. For more information see http://x90.oxfordbus.co.uk or http://www.oxfordtube.com|
|Location||The Centre is located at 104 Banbury Rd, Oxford, OX2 6JU. For google maps, click here . If arriving in Oxford by bus, you will want to alight at the final stop, Gloucester Green Bus Station, and then proceed by one of the following means:|
|By taxi||There is a taxi rank located next to Gloucester Green Bus Station; go out into the square behind the bus station, and cross to the far side, where the taxis will be waiting. The journey is about 5 minutes and will cost about £6 or £7.|
|By local bus||From Gloucester Green, walk east on George St; turn left onto Magdalen St, where you will see a number of local bus stops; you can either catch bus 2A or 2C from stop C1; or bus 25 or S4 from stop C4; ask to get off at the Linton Rd stop, which is on Banbury Rd very near the Centre.|
|By foot||It will take about 20 minutes to walk from Gloucester Green Bus Station. Begin by heading east along George St; turn left onto Magdalen St; this will widen into a large road called St Giles; at the fork, take the right-hand street called Banbury Rd, and continue to 104, which will be on the right.|
|From the train station||If arriving by train, you can take bus 14 from stop R4, which runs once every 30 minutes; or you can walk 10 minutes to Gloucester Green bus station via Hythe Bridge St, and proceed as above; alternatively, you will find the taxi rank directly out front, which will cost about £10 or £11.|
Oxford is a great college town as well as an international tourist attraction.
Below are just a few of the things UGA at Oxford participants can do when the books are put away:
If you can't wait until you get to Oxford, here are a few ways to get to know the city before you go.
Read a book:
See a movie:
Culture and Entertainment in England:
General Information on Britain and Study Abroad:
More things to do in Oxford (other than studying):
Just about any flavour of ecclesiastical experience can be found in Oxford. The guide here should help you find the most appropriate or comfortable one for your needs.
This is the home of the big bookstores, the old colleges, and the fast food restaurants. And the nightclubs, and lots of sit-down restaurants, and....
Bookstores - The big bookstores are on Broad Street (which is only one block long—to the east it’s Holywell and to the west it’s George). Blackwells, which is just down from Trinity College, is spread across a number of buildings, with the music and art departments on the opposite side of the street from the main bookstore. Waterstone’s (a big chain store) is at the corner of Broad and Cornmarket. There are other, smaller, bookstores as well.
Food - There are a number of fast food restaurants (KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, Pret a Manger) along Cornmarket, as well as a number of stores selling mobile phones. At the end of Cornmarket opposite Broad Street are High Street (to your left) and Queen Street (to your right). There are many restaurants on both George and High Street, and you should walk through the Covered Market (just off Cornmarket) at least once during your stay in Oxford! There’s also a large Sainsbury’s grocery store in Westgate Shopping Centre, which is on Queen Street, and a small Sainsbury’s and a Tesco by the bus stands on Magdalen.
ATMs- There are ATM machines for a number of banks on or near Cornmarket.
General Supply Stores - If you need to buy towels, you’ll probably want to start at Boswell’s, which is next to Waterstone’s, or Debenhams, a large department store on the opposite corner. The big Boots is on Cornmarket, as is W. H. Smith, one of the three large stationers (i.e., office supplies stores). The second is Rymans, which is on the High Street. Finally, there’s a Staples in the block between Park End Street and Hythe Bridge Road.
Post Office - The main Post Office is on St. Aldates, which is what Cornmarket becomes after the intersection with High and Queen. You can buy stamps many other places, as well.
For Alice in Wonderland Fans - The Alice Shop is located along St. Aldates. The Alice Shop is housed in the building that is immortalized in Alice in Wonderland as the Old Sheep Shop.
Grocery Stores – North of the UGA at Oxford Centre on Banbury Road is an area called Summertown. This is your best bet for close by grocery stores if you’re at the Centre — Marks & Spencers and the Co-op (just to name the big chain stores) are on Banbury Road on the same side of the street as the Centre. There is also a shop with fresh produce. Please note: most of these stores are closed by 6 p.m. on Sunday! (Luckily for us, there is a Tesco Express opposite the Marks & Spencers which is open longer.)
ATMs - There are ATM machines for at least Barclays, Lloyds, and Nat-West on Banbury Road. (Note: The Barclays machine is easiest to spot, and, in common with all British Banks, Barclays doesn’t charge a transaction fee to use their machines.)
Pharmacy – Summertown also has a small Boots, which is across Banbury Road from the grocery stores.
Food - Restaurants include an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, a Lebanese deli, an Indian and French restaurant, a fabulous Greek restaurant, and numerous Italian cafés. For details see the attached ‘Oxford – Eating Out’ handout.
A final retail area within fairly close walking distance is Jericho, the main street of which is Walton Street, the second main north-south road west of Banbury. (Like most roads in Oxford, its name changes depending on where you are. North of Jericho it’s Kingston Road.) Here are more restaurants and many small shops, mostly of the “arty” or boutique kind. It is also home to a very good second-hand bookshop and The Oxford University Press.
Museums – There are a number of museums in Oxford catering to different tastes.
The Ashmolean(www.ashmolean.org) on Beaumont Street near City Centre is the oldest public museum in the world. (It was founded in 1683). Its collections include antiquities, western and eastern art, and coins. The old Ashmolean Building on Broad Street now houses the Museum of the History of Science (www.mhs.ox.ac.uk).
Christ Church Picture Gallery (www.chch.ox.ac.uk/gallery) is in Christ Church. Christ Church is unique among the Oxford and Cambridge colleges in possessing an important collection of Old Master paintings and drawings, housed in a purpose-built Gallery of considerable architectural interest in itself.
The Modern Art Oxford (www.modernartoxford.org.uk) is located at 30 Pembroke Street focuses on twentieth century art.
The Bate Collection of Musical Instruments (www.bate.ox.ac.uk) is housed in the Oxford University Faculty of Music buildings on St. Aldates next to Christ Church College. The collection includes many historical instruments.
The Oxford Museum of Natural History, aka, The Pitt Rivers Museum, (www.oum.ox.ac.uk) on Parks Road (near Keble College and University Parks) boasts a number of scientific exhibits, but it’s worth a look just for the building!
The Museum of Oxford (www.oxford.gov.uk/museumofoxford) is located on St. Aldates near High Street. This museum focuses on the history of the city rather than the university. It is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and admission is £1.50.
Jogging- If you like to jog, two good places to do it are University Parks (www.parks.ox.ac.uk) across from Keble College (for a more pleasant trip to and from the park, use a map to figure out the “back” way rather than using Banbury Road) and Port Meadow. To reach Port Meadow, take Rawlinson Road (across Banbury Road from the Center and a bit south) to Polsted Road to Aristotle Lane. (Basically, there are a number of ¼ block jogs; you can usually see the road you are headed for.) Once you reach Port Meadow, turn left onto the paved path. You can either stay on this path to the car park and then around the end of Port Meadow, or you can take the unpaved footpath across Port Meadow. When you reach the gated bridge, you are at the Thames. Cross the bridge, go down the ramp, and then you can either continue north or you can make a U-turn and go south along the Thames Path. Port Meadow is the old Oxford Commons, and there are still livestock pastured there, so watch your step.
The Perch and The Trout - If you’d like to go for a long walk and experience an old pub, there are two options off Port Meadow. (See the directions to Port Meadow and the Thames Path in “Jogging.”) Stay on the Thames Path north after crossing the gated bridge. You’ll pass the town of Binsey on your left. Shortly afterwards you will see a sign to the back entrance of The Perch, an old thatchroofed pub. If you want a longer walk, continue on the path north. You’ll pass the Godstow Lock and the ruins of Godstow Abbey. Just past the abbey, you’ll find a gate to the road. (You’ll be able to see the outdoor dining area of The Trout from here.) Take the road over the Thames (beware cars!) and then turn right into The Trout, one of the famous river pubs.
Tolkien Sites - This is another long walk, but if you want to make a Tolkien pilgrimage, here are some places you can see. Leave the Center and turn left. Then take the next two lefts (Linton and Northmoor). The Tolkiens lived at 20 and 22 Northmoor, and one of the houses is noted by a round blue sign on the upper story. Then continue on to the cross street and turn left again. Turn right when you reach Banbury Road. (At some point, you’ll need to cross to the other side of Banbury; Summertown is probably the best place to do it.) Eventually, you’ll reach the Ring Road. You’ll be able to see the pedestrian crossing to your left. Cross the road and continue north. Shortly afterwards, you’ll see the sign to Wolvercote Cemetary. Follow the signs inside to Tolkien’s grave. If you’re up for a longer walk, you can continue on past the Center on your return until you reach St. Giles and the Eagle and Child pub, where Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and others met regularly.