25 Reasons to Live in Oxford
Oxford is renowned across the world for its University, its winding streets and its eclectic architecture.
As a place to live, it’s one of the most exciting cities in the UK. Here are a just a few of the many,
many reasons why you should consider living in the City of Dreaming Spires…
1. The famous Oxford Skyline
Oxford is a wonder to behold from any angle. It's famous skyline seems to show you something new
every time you look at it, which must be why poet Matthew Arnold called Oxford "the city of
dreaming spires". So whether you're coming into down or strolling up South Parks Hill, you'll be able
to enjoy the spectacular skyline every day.
2. The Architecture
The architecture is essential to the creation of that famous skyline and when you live in Oxford you
can easily explore every part of it. Oxford is an ancient place of learning, at first in its monastic
institutions and later in its schools and universities. As a result, Oxford boasts many marvellous
buildings dedicated to the pursuit of higher thought. St George’s Tower, Christ Church Cathedral,
Church of St Mary the Virgin, Divinity School, Sheldonian Theatre, Radcliffe Camera, Radcliffe
Observatory, Ashmolean Museum are fine examples of architecture across the centuries.
3. It’s a Movie Set!
Oxford’s iconic and inspiring architecture can also been seen on the silver screen. Living in Oxford
really means living on the threshold of Hogwarts; Great Hall, and locations from movies as diverse as
Transformers to Spectre, Cinderella and many more.
4. You Can Walk or Bike Everywhere
Oxford is bursting at the seams for things to do. This is partly because it’s so small! Not Winchester
small, but still, not in the top 50 cities in the UK in terms of size. The benefit of this is that it’s easy to
get around. To help you out, Oxford even allows you to hire bikes to navigate the narrow streets. It’s
so biker friendly, in fact, that it is one of the UK’s true “Cycle Cities’. So living in Oxford encourages
you to get fit and be green!
5. It’s a Book-Worm’s Paradise
Oxford is known for its literary giants, including J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Lewis Carol among
many others. Throughout the city you’ll find tributes and dedications to the great writers of Oxford,
from their homes to their watering holes and teaching places. There’s also the world’s biggest
bookshop, of course.
Blackwell’s Bookshop is the largest book store in the world. The huge Oxford branch has more books
than one building in Oxford can handle, taking up several buildings on either side. The book shop’s
famous Norrington Room alone houses over 100,000 books.
6. The Covered Market
This trading post goes back to 1774 and is today home to over 55 stores, stalls and food outlets.
Aside from delectable fresh food and produce, there are tantalising displays of fresh fish and
flowers, fruit, and even furniture.
7. Plenty of Independent Stores
Oxford is packed with stores you’ll never find anywhere else. Its array of independent shops and
local produce. Among the streets, alleys and markets you’ll find everything from bespoke furniture
to gifts, clothing and more.
8. Great Food and Drink
Oxford is loved by foodies and tipplers alike. Like all great and ancient British cities, Oxford has some
great pubs. Many of them are famous, like the Eagle & Child, while others are just plain great. As one
of the UK’s most ethnically diverse cities, living here will provide you will a wealth of exciting food
and drink options. Oxford prides itself on its local tastes and ingredients, with many independent
cafes and restaurants to choose from.
9. The Schools
Oxford is perhaps best known for its educational institutions and these do not stop at the University.
Many people move to Oxford to give their children a world-class education. With schools including
Christ Church Cathedral School, St Edwards, Cherwell School, The Dragon, Oxford High School,
Magdalen College School, Summerfields, New College School, St Philip and St James C of E School
within the city limits, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to picking award-winning schools.
And when it’s time to enter higher education…
10. The University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is one of the oldest, most respected universities in the world. Its illustrious
alumni include 26 British Prime Ministers, at least 30 international Heads of State, 50 Nobel Prize
winners and 120 Olympic medal winners. And you don’t even have to be an alumnus to enjoy its
beauty. Anyone can walking around the many colleges and learning their colourful history.
11. The Pitt Rivers Museum
The Pitt Rivers Museum has one of the best anthropology and archaeology collections in the world.
Amongst its collection of more than 500,000 items, you will find curios from the Pacific Islands,
pigeon whistles, and cultural artefacts from all over the globe.
12. Botanic Garden
The University of Oxford Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in Great Britain and one of the
oldest scientific gardens in the world. The garden was founded in 1621 as a physic garden growing
plants for medicinal research. Today it contains over 8,000 different plant species on 4.5 acres. It is
one of the most diverse yet compact collections of plants in the world and includes representatives
from over 90% of the plant families. It’s like having a mini Kew Gardens on your doorstep!
13. Ashmolean Museum
The Ashmolean is the University of Oxford’s museum of art and archaeology. Founded in 1683 the
world famous collection ranges from Egyptian mummies to contemporary art. The Ashmolean has
something for everyone and adds to the city’s gravitas as a place of learning, culture and a love of history.
14. Oxford Castle
Explore 1,000 years of history at Oxford Castle. Another one of Oxford’s many historical sites that
make up the very bones of the city, the Castle gives you a tangible link to the past. Let the Castle’s
costumed tour guides take you on an interactive tour through the history of Oxford and the Castle
15. Blenheim Palace
World Heritage Site, historic house, movie location, and home to the Dukes of Marlborough,
Blenheim Palace is one of England’s most iconic buildings. Located just outside the city, this palace is
a great place to explore. Both its rooms and gardens are a magical place to be all year round.
16. Old School Cinema
Forget your multiplexes, if you want an authentic cinematic experience you’ll want to be close
enough to visit The Ultimate Picture Palace on a regular basis. Here you can watch recent releases
from around the world, as well as old classics, in a beautiful Art Deco auditorium.
17. Spectacular Shows
As well as a classic cinema, Oxford is home to a huge variety of theatres and playhouses. Oxford is a
great place to enjoy a good musical or theatrical. New Theatre is known for its famous
Broadway shows and the Oxford Playhouse showcases the best of British and international drama,
family shows, and much more.
18. Open Air Theatre
The Oxford Shakespeare Company are celebrated and critically acclaimed specialists in open-air and
site specific theatre; performing fresh and inspiring productions of Shakespeare and other classic
plays. Their shows are designed to be interactive with the environment and place a strong emphasis
on music and costume, allowing the audience to enjoy fully the world of the play.
19. Punting Down the River
Oxford used to be known as Oxenford, as in “a place where Ox cross a river”. This is because the Isis
is like a millpond, making it perfect for punting. This must-do summer activity is the perfect way to
enjoy the city and the sunshine. Fun fact! Oxford, and Bosphorus (the famous strait that separates
Europe and Asia) mean the same thing!
Oxford is surprisingly modest in its urbanisation, meaning that Britain’s countryside is never far
away. Drive ten minutes out of the city and you’re in the sprawling green of Oxfordshire. Better yet,
take a stroll around the city’s many parks. You can walk 10 minutes from the city centre in almost
any direction and feel like you are in the country. Bury Knowle Park, Cutteslowe Park, Christ Church
Meadows, Port Meadow, The River Thames, South Park, University Parks, Wolvercote Lakes, and the
Canal are picturesque natural expanses that you can spend your time exploring.
21. May Day celebrations
May Morning, celebrated on the 1st May each year, is an Oxford tradition. This traditional
celebration of the coming of spring kicks off at 6am, with the Magdalen College choir singing
Hymnus Eucharisticus from the Great Tower. Drink in the atmosphere as the bells ring out across the city for 20 minutes, then immerse yourself in the fun that follows, including Morris Men dancing, live music and the world famous bridge-jumping!
22. Wilderness Festival
Wilderness is a boutique festival like no other. Perfect for someone who likes things on the more
alternative side, Wilderness is a festival that really gets you thinking. This hipsters paradise kicks off
every August just outside of town and features long table banquets, parties in the woods, talks
alongside live music and much more, so there really is something for everybody.
23. Cowley Road Carnival
Cowley Road Carnival takes place, every year, on the first Sunday of July. Carnival is a celebration of
everything that is special and different about the Oxford Community. It brings together tens and
tens of different cultures and community members from a myriad of challenging social backgrounds.
With over thirty programmed stages and cultural activity zones, this unique festival experience spans
across 32 roads and public green spaces, through a site over a mile long.
24. Christmas Lights Festival
Living in Oxford means living among more than just Christmas Lights. If you like Christmas, you’ll love
living in Oxford because here, we go the extra mile during the festive season. Look out for light and
sound installations in the Westgate and the Castle Quarter along with performance
stages in Broad Street and Gloucester Green. Interactive and digital projects encourage people to get
involved, as well as the iconic lantern parade with our local young people.
25. The People
The best thing about living here is the people. In a place like Oxford, which is so rich in history,
education, philosophy and culture, the people who live there all choose to be there. They are mostly
of the same mind, intellectually insightful, friendly and have a love for sharing experiences. From the
pub regulars to the shop assistants to the bus drivers, you’ll always find a friendly face here in