Trains to Oxford
Cheap Trains to Oxford
"I wonder if anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. One almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking. It is all like an opera.” William Butler Yeats
Known as the “city of dreaming spires” and the home of the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford is famous not just with students but with millions of travellers from all over the world. No wonder so many actors, athletes, scientists, poets and politicians have lived or studied in this city, such as Stephen Hawking, Hugh Grant and even former U.S. president Bill Clinton. Oxford's colleges are built from archaic golden coloured stones and set within rustic streets that provide the city with a charm that its visitors will instantly find attractive.
Tip 1: When buying in advance you get cheaper tickets
Advance booking of tickets for your trains to Oxford can make great savings on your journey. If you are able to plan ahead advance tickets are made available by the rail companies up to 12 weeks ahead of your outbound journey and can save a substantial sum. These tickets tend to be in demand and sell out fast so book as quickly as you can. It is possible however to buy these advance fares up to 1hr before departure if they are still available but often they're sold by that point. Check with the individual train company to find out more information.
Despite its traditional reputation, Oxford is chock full of cultures. We'd recommend Oli's Thai for some cheap eats when you're hopping around town, or if you're feeling swankier and want to sample some of the best of British produce and cooking try the Old Parsonage Hotel - suit and tie not required!
No trip to Oxford will be complete without a visit to one of it's many pubs. The Bear Inn on Alfred street claims to be the oldest in the town, dating back to 1241. Therefore anyone over the height of six foot will struggle to get in the door given the tiny size of the door frames. Another famous pub is the Turf Tavern, said to be Bill Clinton's favourite pub as a student. We particularly like this one due to its outdoor seating and three terraces.
Tip 2: Stay away from booking fees
When looking for cheap train tickets to Oxford try to avoid paying booking fees which many ticket retailers charge. We at Split My Fare don't charge booking fees or credit card fees. The only charge we make is 10% of what we save for you if, and only if, we split your fare. No splitting of ticket then no charge.
Oxford was formerly the capital of the England (back before it was the United Kingdom), meaning some of the oldest buildings in country reside here. Oxford University is the oldest university in the world and to serve it's scholarly needs Blackwells is the largest bookshop currently in the world.
Tip 3: Don't pay for the delay
There is no way of guaranteeing that your journey will be completed on time. It may depart at the right time but be unavoidably delayed enroute. By using the Delay Repay scheme you can claim a full or partial refund whatever the reason and depending on the rail company you are travelling with you may be eligible for a refund even for small delays of 15 minutes. Check with the train companies to find out what their policy is and apply for the refund through them.
Many railway stations offer journeys to Oxford, including Manchester Piccadilly, Birmingham New Street and London Paddington, the journey will take about an hour. The Oxford train station is located a very short walk from the University and all the city centre sights - it makes more sense to take a train here than any other city in the country given the cost of parking and infamous one-way traffic system. Marleybone station provides the most regular services from London via Chiltern railways, but this can be a bit slower than Great Western Railway.
Tip 4: Don't use popular routes to popular places if possible
All train ticket prices are based on how much demand there is for them so cheap train tickets to Oxford can be bought if you avoid popular times on popular days. Avoiding the main station in the city centre can help as it is the busiest. Choosing to travel off-peak and on a day during the week, is a good way to help make savings on your ticket. If possible stay away from popular holiday periods too.
We'd highly recommend going to the Oxford Covered Market, dating from the 1770's it features fiercely independent artisanal stores selling local produce, trinkets and a huge variety of other goods. We'd particularly recommend trying to get a breakfast here.. if you can find a spot amongst the crowds!
Tip 5: Going in a group? Always book together
Oxford is a lovely place to travel to with a group of friends and you can save money if you book together and travel on the same train in off-peak times. A group save discount of up to 1/3 off if there are 3-9 of you and if you book through us the discount will automatically be applied to your journey at checkout getting you the best price depending on which railway network you are using. If you use the E-ticket option you will find it easier as you can forward the tickets to your group members without having to use multiple paper tickets especially if we are splitting your fare.
Getting around Oxford is easy, apart from walking the comprehensive bus system that will help you travel faster around the city while still providing a high level of convenience. The Oxford Day Rider from Stagecoach can get you most places in the city for a whole day for a fixed price.
Tip 6: Double check the cost of singles and returns Comparing the prices of single and return tickets is a good way to find the cheapest way to travel by train. Even if you want to return from Oxford at some point you should investigate whether 2 single tickets would be a cheaper option and also examine whether a fully flexible open return is your best way of getting trains from Oxford. Here at Split My Fare we take the hard work out of it for you by automatically finding the cheapest way to travel for you.
Magdalen Bridge has a punting hire place, this allows up to five people to travel by punt on the river and take in the sights from a different perspective. Prices are very reasonable but a good level of physical fitness is recommended if you plan to make a day of it!
Tip 7: Choose the slower trains
Fast is not always the cheapest way of making your journeys as you can find that a slower journey time will net you savings. A less direct route via a less busy station using a local line will be shown to you on our site if it saves you money. If you are in a rush you can also select the option to see the faster trains.
Prepare to be amazed by the "finest street in England", as it was termed by American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne. As you get to the High Street, you will feel like you are in the setting of an old English film, with a twist of modern shops, restaurants, cafes and hotels. Shopaholic or not, few can resist buying a thing or two here given the huge range of independent and often centuries old shops. There are a couple of bus stops along the street whether you are heading to the Carfax Tower or the Magdalen Bridge. If you prefer walking, you can stop at various different colleges and attractions such as Brasenose College, All Souls College, Oriel College, Merton College and the University Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, as well as a lot more.
Tip 8: Check first class tickets
Depending on demand you could sometimes find that first class tickets are comparable or even cheaper than a standard fare. The train companies tend to lower the price of tickets if there are not many sold so you may find that you can have the comfort of bigger seats, free tea and coffee and the service of available food and other drinks to enjoy on your journey for a comparable price.
If you want to see more of Oxford's amazing architecture, then head to St Aldate’s to see Christ Church College. It is probably the most famous Oxford college, having been featured in movies such as The Golden Compass and Harry Potter. It also houses the Tom Tower, Tom Quad, Christ Church Cathedral and Christ Church Picture Gallery. There is usually a good mix of tourists and students to mill with, but don't expect to be able to take a photo without anyone in it!
Tip 9: If you are a regular traveller, get a railcard
A great way of reducing the cost of tickets to Oxford is by using a railcard. There are many different types of card to suit different needs. These cards can get you as much as 1/3 off ticket prices and also gives you the benefit of offers for free entry to attractions and other discounts.
Most railcards cost just £30 - the Two Together Railcard, for example, allows you to save 1/3 on most trains for 2 people.
The Family and Friends Railcard provides 60% off fares for children and 1/3 off almost all adult fares for up to 4 children and 4 adults.
The senior railcard offers the same discount on travel, but at a reduced cost of £70 for three years.
Disabled passengers are able to get discounts on their trains with the Disabled Persons Railcard - £30 a year and 1/3 off almost all travel tickets.
Other Railcards available include the Network Railcard, 16-25 Railcard and 26-30 Railcard.
Viisit the railcard website to see more details and cards can be found on sale at a National Rail Ticket Office.
Want to get the best view of Oxford? Hop on the bus going to Westgate and you'll find the Oxford Castle. It is attached to St George's Tower wherein you can climb the 100 steps, learn the rich history of the castle and indulge in a majestic view of Oxford. Climbing the full set of steps is well worth the effort for the view alone.
Tip 10: Flexibility can mean you get cheaper tickets
One of the best ways to help keep costs of train tickets down is to be flexible in your planning. If you use our journey planner it will enable you to use the information to ensure you travel in the most cost effective way. Changing dates and times to less popular ones and using the tips we have given you will find your best savings.
Main stations in Oxford
- Oxford Parkway