Oxford University Newcomers' Club


This page contains miscellaneous advice that may be of use to Newcomers to Oxford. The list is not intended to be exhaustive.
If you have suggestions about any information that you have found helpful, please, let us know by emailing newcomers@ox.ac.uk.

The Oxford University Newcomers' Club is not responsible for the contents of any websites to which it is linked.

Advice for new international staff coming to Oxford

Useful advice for new staff - advice on what to do before you arrive in Oxford, what to do on first arrival in Oxford, general advice on
living in Oxford and advice on childcare and schools. Do read this !


Living a car free life in Oxford can be rather challenging. It is made easier by some shops offering home delivery.
The following shops deliver to addresses in Oxford:


Sainsbury's - groceries and more, including white goods.

Tesco - groceries, flatpack furniture, home electronics.

Waitrose - upscale groceries.

Argos - catalogue-retailer: general goods (home electronics, furniture, white goods, toys, sport equipment).

Homebase - home improvement store and garden centre.

Here are some other stores you made need on arrival:

Mothercare - products for expectant mothers and children up to 8 years old.

Primark - affordable sheets, towels and pillows; located in Westgate Shopping Centre.

Wilkinsons - inexpensive but decent quality kitchenware and household goods as well as hardware items and other things;
located in Templar Square Cowley. You can order online and collect instore or have delivery.

99p Store - with lots of cheap household goods ; located in Templar Square Cowley.

For German bread see German bread and for Farmers' Markets in Oxford see Farmers' Markets in Oxford.

Uhuru - a small health food store carrying food and health and beauty supplies. Located at 48 Cowley Rd.

Asian Grocery - Carries fresh tofu, produce, noodles, rice, sauces and other hard to locate Asian foods. On Hythe Bridge Street,
just over the bridge on the right hand side if walking from town towards Said Business School.

People's Supermarket - a non-profit co-operative supermarket dedicated to local food sources, 124 Cowley Road.

In the city centre of Oxford you will also find a range of larger department stores and local shops for instance



along with cafes and many places for excellent dining.

Robert Dyas (Shoe Lane) - for small kitchen, bathroom equipment, tools - very useful shop.

Extra Hardware (12 St. Ebbes Street) - for electrical, hand and power tools, key cutting, plumbing, light bulbs, extension leads etc.

Staples - for office supplies, office furntiure and technology.

Oxford Yarn Store - in North Parade - for yarn and workshops

Situated further out along the Botley Road are

P.C.World - for computer equipment

Hobbycraft in Meadowside Retail Park, Botley Road - a gem of a shop for all sorts of hobbies

Dunelm in Meadowside Retail Park, Botley Road - for all sorts of household furnishings

Currys - for electrical goods.

Toys R Us - for toys and baby equipment

If you have a car then situated out of Oxford is :-

IKEA - for cheap furniture, flat pack for you to build yourself.

Ebay - You could try shopping using Ebay - to buy and sell new, used and vintage items from private or professional sellers.
Great deals on clothes, tech, car parts, home & garden .

Finding a Home

Finding a home

Useful information about renting accommodation

Adverts are placed in the local newspaper ( Oxford Mail) or on Daily Info. There are also quite a number of property or letting agencies in Oxford. Several advertise on Rightmove. You can then google the individual agencies that have the type of flat you are looking for and sign up for e-mail notification when new choices come in. Most agencies will charge a fee for their services and you usually have to pay a one month deposit and the first months rent before moving in.

Transportation in Oxford


Walking is probably the best way to get around in Oxford. Excellent pocket sized maps are available at all the local bookshops including Blackwells and Waterstones, both located on Broad Street.

Bicyles are also a common form of transportation. The Tourist Information Centre on Broad Street has maps of cycle routes. Information for cyclists, including cycle safety, can also be downloaded here from the website of the Oxfordshire City Council.


Oxford has two bus companies Stagecoach and Oxford Bus Company, both of them are privately owned and compete on routes and schedules. Anyone over age 63 is eligible for a free Bus Pass provided by the Oxford City Council.

Transportation to London and London Airports


The Oxford Tube and the Oxford London Instyle Espress both provide direct coach service from Oxford to the city centre of London. They depart from Oxford Gloucester Green bus station up to every 10 minutes during daytime. There is also a train service from Oxford railstation to London Paddington Station operated by First Great Western. If you do not plan to go during rush hour and are able to book well in advance, you will be able to get very good deals on your train tickets.

The Oxford Bus Company serves Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport. Coaches from Oxford to Stansted Airport and Luton Airport are operated by National Express. Please view their homepages for times and fares.

Travelling in general



The Oxford Public Library has a main branch at Westgate Shopping Centre on Queen St. There is also a popular branch of the library in Summertown on South Parade. To get a library card just go to the membership desk and fill out a form. The only identification you need to get a library card is something with your name on it like a passport or a bank card or a student ID.

The Bodleian Library is open to 'the whole community of the learned' which seems to mean anyone doing serious research at the graduate level. Follow this link Bodleian library application forms and print out form A and form B. You will need to get someone (not your husband, wife or partner) to sign the form for you. The Bodleian charges a fee for a reader card.



Oxford Public Libraries have computers at all branches with internet that anyone can use for free. If you call ahead you can reserve a time slot to use the library computers .The central branch of the library is located at Westgate Shopping Centre at the end of Queen Street in town.

Oxford has several internet cafes, most charge £1 per 3/4 hour as of 2013. The best way to find one is to google 'internet cafe Oxford UK' as they seem to change frequently. At the moment you can go to the Links Com Ltd Internet Cafe on 33 High Street in the city centre of Oxford.

Several Coffee Shops and Cafes also offer free Wi-Fi with a purchase. Some that Newcomers are currently using include: Greens Cafe on St Giles St., Jericho Cafe on Walton St., any branch of Costa Coffee and any G&D cafe.


Many Newcomers find the time to volunteer while in Oxford. Here are a few sites that list volunteer opportunities: Do-It , OxNet, CSV.

Health and the National Health Service


If you are a resident in the UK you are entitled to receive free NHS treatment. Please visit the NHS Website: www.nhs.uk for further details or link directly to How do I register with the NHS if I move to England. In the Find and Choose Services section you will find your nearest GP or hospital by entering your postcode.

Education and English Language Courses

The University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education offers many classes that Newcomers have taken and enjoyed. The Oxford and Cherwell Valley College runs a variety of part time and evening courses for adults that cover arts and crafts but also English as a foreign language.

There are many institutions in and around Oxford that offer day time or evening English courses. You will find plenty of information about local English language schools on the internet. It is also a good idea to ask fellow Newcomers about their experience in choosing a good English course.

Oxford University Language Centre runs a course for teaching English for Spouses and Partners of University Members. This course is intended for any spouses or partners(male or female) of an intermediate level or above. In order to benefit from the course, you should be able to express opinions on a variety of topics and understand standard spoken English reasonably well,although every encouragement will be given to those who are not accustomed to participating in discussions in English. The class concentrates on improving fluency through discussion of social issues. Participants are welcome to use the library to supplement work in the class. See http://www.lang.ox.ac.uk/courses/english.html#esp

Children's Education


If you want your child to attend school in Oxford and if that child does not speak English well, you are advised to contact the school as early as possible. Then the school can apply for extra resources for special tuition.

General information about the educational system in the UK can be found on the Oxford University website for international staff at: http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/personnel/staffinfo/international/childcare/schools/ This site also contains links to the Oxford County Council website.

You can go directly to the Oxford County Council website: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/public-site/schools and find a wide range of information including good guidelines on how to choose the right school for your child:https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/content/advice-how-choose-school and about the admissions procedures : https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/search/site/admissions.

The Oxfordshire Family Information Service provides free information and advice on finding and paying for childcare for the under fives and help for families with disabled children.

For play groups for pre-school children each with their parent : www.oxonchildrenscentres.org.uk

Useful Links

For further useful links while in Oxford and the UK : Oxford Links

Flickr : www.flickr.com/groups/ounewcomersclub