How to Travel From London to Oxford by Train, Bus, and Car

Oxford, England

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre 

The University of Oxford is famous as one of the most prestigious schools in the world, but the town itself has much more to offer than just this 12th-century college. Oxford is one of the most popular towns to visit from London, since they're separated by less than 60 miles and are easily connected by bus and train. This quaint city makes a great day trip if you need a break from the hectic grind of London, offering visitors another look into English life outside of its largest and capital city.

The train is the most convenient method of transportation from London to Oxford, but this can get pricey unless you buy tickets in advance. The bus takes a little longer, but it's still a quick ride and brings you from city center to city center at an affordable price. It's also a quick drive, but you're better off taking public transit rather than dealing with London traffic and parking.

  Time Cost Best For
Train 1 hour from $13 Arriving quickly
Bus 1 hour, 40 minutes from $7 Making last-minute plans
Car 1 hour, 30 minutes 56 miles (90 kilometers)  

What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From London to Oxford?

The bus is the cheapest way to get from London to Oxford, with service available via National Express or Oxford Tube starting at roughly $7. Buses leave from both companies all throughout the day, always starting at Victoria Station and arriving in Oxford at Gloucester Green Station. It's recommended to buy tickets online in advance, guaranteeing you a seat on the bus you want. However, tickets can also be purchased directly from the driver and buses leave so frequently that you shouldn't have a problem finding a seat.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get From London to Oxford?

For just a few pounds more than the bus, you can catch a train from Paddington or Marylebone stations in London to Oxford Station. Most travelers would consider the train a more comfortable option than the bus, and it also gets you into Oxford in just under an hour—about 40 minutes faster than the bus. Fares start at roughly $13 for a one-way ticket but get more expensive as the travel date gets closer and tickets sell out, so it pays to make reservations in advance (last-minute tickets usually cost $35 or more). If you're flexible with your travel date and time, look around at different times of the day and a day before and after as well. Trains depart to Oxford about every 15 minutes, so flexibility is crucial for finding the best deals.

How Long Does It Take to Drive?

If you have your own car, driving from London to Oxford takes about an hour and a half in ideal conditions. However, with all of the traffic in London, it can often be much longer. The drive between London and Oxford is a popular commuter route, and rush hour time is especially difficult. Unless you plan on road tripping through other parts of Britain after Oxford, driving yourself isn't likely worth the headache of having your own vehicle. Parking in London and Oxford is expensive and complicated, and you'll also have to pay tolls on this relatively short drive. Oxford is small enough to explore on foot, and you'll be happier if you stick to the train or bus.

When Is the Best Time to Travel to Oxford?

If you're looking for ideal weather, the summer months are without a doubt the best time to visit Oxford. From June to August, expect sunny days and comfortably warm temperatures, perfect for walking around and exploring all that the town has to offer. The summer months are also, unsurprisingly, the high season. The city will be much more crowded with visitors and hotel rooms are more likely to be booked if you plan on spending the night. Winter is cold, windy, and wet, but because of the temperate climate, snow is uncommon. April and May are also a great time to visit, not only because the weather is finally beginning to warm up but because the city hosts all types of events in the spring—such as the Oxford Jazz Festival, Wood Festival, English Music Festival, Chocolate Festival, Oxfordshire Artweeks, and Dorchester-on-Thames Festival.

What Is There to Do in Oxford?

Oxford is a town full of old English charm, perfect for a day trip from London or a relaxing weekend out of the big city. This fascinating city is home to the world's oldest English language university, and many of the colleges are open to the public or offer tours of their historic buildings. Oxford also has one of the world's oldest public museums, the Ashmolean, which is free to enter. Stop for a pint at one of the city's atmospheric pubs, like the Turf Tavern or the Eagle and Child Pub—once frequented by writers such as Tolkein and C.S. Lewis. Fans of the Harry Potter series will come across sites all over the city used in the films, and a Harry Potter walking tour is the best way to find them all.