Moving to Oxfordshire is a great idea. In this guide we look at all you need to know about moving to this wonderful county, including where to eat, where to drink and where to go on days out.
Moving to Oxfordshire is a wonderful idea, it just has so much to offer. Sharing its borders with the gorgeous counties of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire, this beautiful county is a wonderful choice for families, couples and young business people. From the exceptional history, to the many delicious eateries, to the highly rated educational institutions, to the many exciting things to do; Oxfordshire provides plenty to enjoy.
The county is also home to some of the most famous people of our time, including; medical charmer Hugh Laurie, Stephen Hawking, clever performer Miriam Margoyles, child star Mark Lester and talented director Anthony Dod Mantle.
If you’re looking at moving to the county you may also be aware that the house prices are certainly on the higher scale compared to other counties, with even the quaintest cottages in the best areas starting at around £1 million, and detached properties near good schools going for upwards of £8 million. There are more affordable areas of course, and Cowley is certainly a good starting point if you’re on a budget. There’s a lot to consider, and it is certainly worth doing your research before moving. Our guide is a great start to help you get a better idea of what this wonderful county has to offer you.
Oxford, or North Oxford rather, has an exceptional educational scape. Cherwell (secondary school) and St Philip & James (primary school) are two nationally renowned state schools. If you’re going to be investing in private education, you’re not going to struggle in Oxford, with St Edwards, Oxford High School For Girls, Dragon School and Summer Fields being among the many highly desirable options. Moving onto higher education the University of Oxford is made up of 30 different colleges and is world-renowned. There are also many additional higher educational institutions such as Oxford Brookes, Henley College and Oxford School of Drama.
Getting around Oxfordshire is really easy, and there are many ways to get from one part to another. In the city of Oxford itself you can get from one side to the other in under half an hour. Walking or cycling are popular ways to get around, and more people cycle to work in Oxford than in any other local authority in the UK, and it isn’t hard to see why with all the beautiful buildings to look at as you meander along. Many companies offer bicycle rental in the city.
There are also some major bus routes that run late into the evening, although a late night bus service doesn’t currently exist. If you don’t want to get a bus, there are taxis in abundance and they are distinct and clearly marked so you can ensure you’re getting into a registered taxi easily. If you’re commuting to London, train is usually the preferred option with direct trains running regularly taking around 90 minutes from the centre of Oxford or just under an hour from the new Oxford Parkway Station to the north of the city.
If you do intend to drive, the central position of Oxford is extremely useful. The A34 connects you to the Midlands and the North of the country, the A40 provides a direct connection to London, the A44 takes you through Hereford and Evesham, and the A420 takes you to Bristol. The inner ring road in Oxford connects you to the further suburbs of Oxfordshire, and the M40 is the main motorway serving the county.
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia
The economy of Oxfordshire is positively thriving. There are many industries that are at the heart of the Oxfordshire economy including:
Advanced Engineering – There are no less than four Formula 1 teams and 4,000 engineering companies based in Oxfordshire.
Life Science – There are many academic institutions, areas of research and industries supporting life sciences in this county.
Space – Space science and research is deeply entwined in the Oxfordshire economy with the Harwell Oxford Science and Innovation Campus making various research based international collaborations and making headway in this important area of study.
Energy, environment, IT, tourism and creative industries make up the rest of the core economy in Oxfordshire.
Things To Do
Clearly, such a beautiful county will have plenty for you and your family to do regardless of age, taste and ability. Popular public areas like Port Meadow, Cutteslowe Park and University Parks are extremely popular free public places to enjoy. College hopping is another great thing to do, especially if you’re new to the area, with the Corpus Christi and Christ Church and Magdalen providing some wonderful and unique historical and visual charm.
Image Courtesy of Zoopla
If you do like your history you might also want to enjoy the University Museum which is great for all the family housing unique bits and bobs from around the world. Pitt Rivers Museum is within the University Museum and is the part of the museum you will want to take your children to, because of the shrunken human heads, Egyptian artifacts and other grotesque items which are spooky enough to hold their interest. The Ashmolean Museum is a great choice if you’re deep into your history and want a more free flowing layout of interesting exhibitions.
Radcliffe Square is a wonderful place to visit if you love architecture because there are three buildings of great interest; St Mary The Virgin, The Bodleian Library and the Radcliffe Camera. This is a must see area for lovers of historical buildings.
There is so much to look at outdoors in Oxfordshire one of the best ways to get outdoors and indeed introduce your family to the area is with a guided walk. Enjoy the smaller cobbled streets, secret spots and hidden alleyways with a guided tour, which can come for free or for a small price depending on the company or individual you employ. You might also want to enjoy Britain’s oldest botanic garden which has some warm greenhouses, beautifully landscaped gardens containing herbs used in medicine. If you’re looking to be a little more active outdoors, punting is the quintessential Oxford activity to do and offers a relaxing afternoon browsing the scenery along the waterways (as long as you know what you’re doing!).
There are plenty of lovely days out to enjoy once you have settled in and acquainted yourself with the area.
Blenheim Palace is a wonderful day out for all the family, and has a really interesting history to it. If you’re looking to enjoy a day out exploring a town, Burford is a good choice and has some lovely shops, eateries and cafes to explore, as well as the many buildings and historical points of interest. For a more action packed day, Thorpe Park or Chessington World Of Adventures are under two hours away in the car. There are also endless animal themed locations to visit such as; Crocodiles Of The World, Cotswold Wildlife Park And Gardens, Millets Farm Falconry and Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary.
If you’re a foodie, you’ve got a lot to be excited about when it comes to your move to Oxfordshire. For shopping, you’ll want to ensure M.Feller Son & Daughter organic butcher and The Modern Baker are on your list, for extremely high quality goods to take home and enjoy. In terms of eating out, this is where you’re really spoilt for choice. In Summer, Gee’s is a particularly beautiful and picturesque option with a beautiful terrace and city renowned gastronomic offerings. For dining during a day out, the Ashmolean dining room based at the museum itself (on the roof to be exact) is a wonderful treat and provides exceptional views, all during a delicious taste adventure because of the creative and high quality menu on offer. For a more romantic meal, you might want to visit the Cherwell Boathouse which is just as famous for its location and decor, as it is for its gorgeous menu. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you don’t have to miss out on some plant-based charms in this county. Nosebag Restaurant is a great choice for a hearty lunch, or for a more famed vegetarian eatery, try The Gardeners Arms, an entirely vegetarian pub.
If you want to know what sort of nightlife Oxfordshire has to offer, you will be delighted to know there’s a truly rich nighttime scene here, to be enjoyed by all. What’s best is that many of the most famous drinking spots are based in a historical setting, so you can feel at least a touch cultured at all times, even after one too many local ales. For a truly exciting drinking venue, The Turf is a really exquisite gem based behind a medieval wall. It is a treat to look at, and serves lots of real-ale. For something a little more exotic, you might like to try Kazbar, especially if you love live music. They also serve tapas which is renowned for being the best in the city. For a famous night-time location, you’ll want to opt for the White Horse, which is pocket sized, but charming and definitely worth a visit if you’re an Inspector Morse fan. If you’re a big cocktail fan, then head over to Raouls which no less than 50 types of rum, 20 types of gin, 40 types of whisky and a plethora of juice, syrups and sugars to create cocktails of a quality you won’t have experienced before.
Tips For Moving To Oxfordshire:
As you can see, Oxfordshire certainly has a lot to offer you and your family. To ensure your moving day to Oxfordshire goes as smoothly as possible, here are some tips to help you:
Have A Bag Of Essentials Ready
Have yourself a bag of essentials ready, so that when you arrive at your beautiful new Oxford home, you won’t have to rummage around in packing boxes. Pack essentials like toiletries, medicines, snacks, a change of clothes and technology. You should also have a pack ready for the family including toys, towels, toilet roll, teabags and one set of plates and cutlery just so you can at least have a meal (or of course there is always a takeaway!).
Ensure Everything Is Labelled
So that you have a clear unpacking plan when you do move house, make sure all your boxes are clearly labelled before they get picked up.
Clean The House Before You Move Into it
Where possible you should clean your new home before moving into it. This makes things a lot easier in terms of quickly unpacking. If you can’t get to clean the property, perhaps you could hire a company to do it, or just have some cleaning essentials to hand and go one cupboard at a time when you do move in.
Ensure Your Electrics Are Well Packed And Your Fridges And Freezers Are Defrosted
All your electrics should be clearly labelled and well packaged. Your fridges and freezers should have been defrosted and turned off well in advance.
Have A Good Idea Of What Goes Where
Try to have a good idea of which boxes and furniture will go in which room. This will help removals men if you have hired a removals company, and it will help you in being organised. So get labelling those boxes before they are packed in the van.
Keep The Kids & Pets Out Of The Way If Possible
Kids and pets find moving stressful, which is no surprise as it is hardly a picnic for the adults. If you are moving near family in Oxfordshire, maybe they could care for the pets or children for you. Maybe you could utilise kennels or a cattery near to the location you are moving to. You might even want to have the children and animals cared for in the area you are moving from, and then come back to them after a day or two of setting the house up, so that they don’t have to move into chaos. You know your family so only you know what will work best for them.