Oxford Car Hire
Compare car hire in Oxford
Oxford’s closest airport is London Heathrow (LHR), and as the busiest airport in Europe, it has everything you need for great deals on dependable car hire.
For example, a Peugeot 108 or similar sized mini car can cost just over £13 a day for 7 days and a Volkswagen Polo or similar is just under £14 per day (with immediate booking, paying the balance on collection). Meanwhile, a medium-sized car such as the Volvo V40 costs just over £20 per day, or a Mercedes Vito can still be rented for exactly £28 per day at time of writing!
Guide to Oxford
Oxford is a city in southern England whose name is synonymous with its University – it dates from the 12th Century is the oldest in the English-speaking world.
- Oxford’s population is 155,000 and it is 56 miles (90 km) northwest of London.
- Roger Bannister, a 25-year-old medical student, ran the first authenticated under-four-minute mile at the Iffley Road running track in Oxford on 6 May, 1954.
- With 22% of the population made up of BAME groups, Oxford has one of the most diverse communities in Britain.
- Oxford has its own Green Belt policy, designed to limit urban sprawl, regulate the rural space, and minimize convergence of urban areas.
- Morris Motors was established here in 1910, and the iconic Mini is still built at a factory in the suburb of Cowley.
- In the 16th Century, malting (hops, for beer) and brewing were the most common trades, and Oxford has long been known for brewing – in 1874 there were nine breweries in the area.
- Oxford University is considered the world’s number one university according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
- The Bodleian Library is the second-largest in the UK (after the British Library). It has over 120 miles (190 km) of shelving, housing 11 million volumes, and this is growing by three miles (5 km) per year!
- The Ashmolean Museum is the oldest public museum in the world. Building began in 1678 and the collection includes works by Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Picasso, as well as ‘The Messiah’, considered the finest Stradivarius violin in existence.
- The University Museum of Natural History has the most complete remains of the extinct dodo, and skeletons of Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops.
- Oxford is a very green city, with 28 nature reserves within and outside the ring road.
- Oxford has the highest number of people cycling to work in the UK.
- The number of Oxford-based authors over the years is considerable – notables include John Buchan, AS Byatt, Lewis Carrol, PD James, TE Lawrence (of Arabia), Iris Murdoch, Dorothy L. Sayers, JRR Tolkien, and Oscar Wilde.
- The city and surrounding areas have produced many bands, Radiohead being the most well-known. Others include Supergrass, Ride, and The Foals.
- Recipients of the Freedom of the City include Sir Roger Bannister and Nelson Mandela.
- The city has long been a crossroads hub (many of its pubs were originally coaching inns) with excellent accessibility. However, from 2020, non-zero-emission cars will no longer be allowed in the city centre, so plan accordingly.
- In Oxford, as elsewhere in the UK, driving is on the left. While the main trunk roads (those starting with ‘A’) observe the national speed limit of 60 mph (100 kph), it’s vital to note that the speed limit on most roads in the city is 20 mph (32 kph). Arterial routes inside the ring road (A423) are 30 mph (45 kph), while the ring road itself is a mixture of areas of national speed limits (6o mph, 100 kph), and 50 mph (80 kph) and 40 mph (70 kph) stretches of road.
Things to do in Oxford
Whether it’s strolling through botanic gardens, punting down the Thames River or soaking up the city’s rich history and culture through many of its museums, Oxford has activities for all types of visitor. Enjoy local organic produce at the weekly famers’ market, or shopping for designer brands in Bicester village, then finish with a pint at the Eagle and Child pub where JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis drank, or at the Lamb & Flag, an establishment where Thomas Hardy slaked his thirst.
You’ll never run out of things to see and do here – take a look at some more Oxford highlights:
- Oxford Castle and Prison is the city’s oldest building. Enjoy a theatrical tour of the 1,000-year historical monument – you can visit the 900-year-old underground crypt, or climb St. George’s Tower to see stunning 360-degree views of the area.
- Head to Oxford’s Botanic Garden, which dates from 1621 and was the first botanical gardens in the UK. Alternatively, Christ Church College has its own meadow, while Worcester College has a lake.
- The Ashmolean is the oldest public museum in the world, built between 1678 and 1683. It’s the University of Oxford’s museum of art and archaeology, and has a world-famous collection spanning millennia, including everything from Egyptian mummies to contemporary masters. The treasures collection features the Ballyshannon ‘Sun Disk’, from 2500 B.C., an original Samurai suit of armour, a 400-year-old commemorative gold coin from Mughal India, and Guy Fawkes’ actual lantern.
- The Museum of Oxford provides a rich tapestry of the city’s heritage. Their collection includes an enthralling range of archaeological and social history objects, ranging from Roman pottery to marmalade jars. Oliver Cromwell’s (quite eerie) death mask can be found here too, one of many throughout the UK, taken in 1658, and there’s a Coopers Marmalade tin from Scott’s Antarctic store, from his expedition to the South Pole.
- The Bodleian Library is possibly one of Oxford’s most famous institutions. Beloved of writers, at least five kings, several Nobel Laureates, and dozens of Prime Ministers have studied here. You can wander around the Quad and enjoy the 17th-Century buildings for free. Exhibition rooms in the Weston Library and Blackwell Hall are free, but if you want more exclusive wandering access then a tour is a must. The Divinity School also served as the infirmary in the Harry Potter films, and the upper level, which dates from 1488 was the library in Hogwarts. It isn’t open to the public but can be appreciated from the adjacent 17th-Century building.
- The Turf Tavern is a real rabbit warren of nooks and crannies, formed over the years since its founding in 1381.
- If you’re interested in more alternative history, go to the Pitt Rivers Museum. Hidden behind the Natural History Museum, it is a vast collection of anthropological items from all over the globe: from zithers to Japanese Noh masks, Mesopotamian temple receipts to a warrior’s helmet fashioned from Porcupine skin.
- The Covered Market has always been a haven for poor students. There are 20 restaurants, takeaways and cafes, so find your niche and soak up the atmosphere. You’ll find pie shops, Thai and Chinese restaurants and more.
Eating out in Oxford
Oxford has many pubs, but they’re certainly not the only dining options in the city. There are cool cafes, tapas bars and fine dining spots throughout the area. Here are a few of Oxford’s finest eateries:
Spiced Roots Caribbean restaurant: On Cowley Road in Southeast Oxford you’ll find the relatively new Spiced Roots Caribbean restaurant. Expect plantains with your mac and cheese, pomegranate black rice, curried goat, and of course, jerk chicken. There’s also a good vegetarian choice, and a beautiful thatched hut bar serving cocktails and many varieties of rum.
The Magdalen Arms is a rustic yet chic neighbourhood gastropub which has won praise in the national press for dishes like the sharing-size steak & ale pie, or vegetarian options such as the broad bean tagliatelle. It has indoor and outdoor seating (ask for a seat on the terrace if it’s sunny!) and retains an informal, friendly atmosphere. It also hosts a flea market every Saturday at 930AM if you feel the need to browse the bric-a-brac for bargains.
Oli's Thai: To really enjoy an English summer countryside experience, a pint in a beer garden overlooking a river is mandatory. The Head of the River pub is a former warehouse and boatyard (complete with crane) with a beautiful terrace overlooking the Thames. Beer is from the Fuller’s brewery and is excellent, as is the food. If you’re feeling flush then book a couple of nights in the high-end hotel upstairs.
A simple dining room in a back street outside the city centre, Oli’s Thai is often booked weeks in advance, so plan ahead. Mains are from £9, suitable for even the budget-constrained traveller.
Arbequina is a converted chemist’s shop on Cowley Road, and offers some of the best Tapas in the country. If you want to see the chefs in action request a seat at the bar. Their first-floor dining room is perfect for parties of up to 30 people, and tapas starts at just £3.50.
The Mason Arms is a rural, thatched countryside pub which is actually part of the Artist Residence group of boutique hotels. The food is very local and seasonal – you can order lamb which was literally raised in an adjacent field, with a side of courgettes from the pub’s vegetable garden. The décor mixes traditional pub styles with modern aesthetics such as neon sculptures.
Gee's: For a relaxed brunch after a night on the town, look no further than Gee’s, a casual-dining and kid-friendly Mediterranean restaurant set in a Victorian Glasshouse. As well as brunch favourites like poached egg with avocado on sourdough bread, the all-day menu includes crab and brown shrimp linguine and wood-fired guinea fowl. Brunch starts at £3, with main courses starting at £15.95.
Special occasion? Then you must try Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Great Milton. The setting is an immaculately maintained 15th-Century Oxfordshire manor house, with perfect lawns and attentive staff and an airy conservatory, and Chef Raymond Blanc’s dishes draw on Eastern influences, such as kaffir lime, and more local delicacies like Cornish crab. A five-course meal will cost £105 per person so it’s definitely not cheap, but it will be a dining experience not easily forgotten.
Car hire and getting to Oxford
The easiest route to Oxford for international visitors is direct drive from Heathrow Airport (LHR). You’ll find an expansive range of car hire options, and often the best deals are to be found at the airport. Enjoy Car Hire works with well-established, reliable car rental partners to bring you an affordable, stress-free holiday motoring experience. With over 70 suppliers across 100 countries, you can relax knowing you’re in safe hands (wheels!). Enjoy Car Hire Trusted Partners include the best-known brands such as Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, Keddy and Sixt, alongside newer competitors like Green Motion and Easirent.
At Heathrow Airport Arrivals there are car hire desks from eight hire car partners: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, National, and Sixt. The most convenient way to book is via Enjoy Car Hire – we can arrange your LHR car rental in a couple of clicks.
To get to Oxford from Heathrow, take the M40 North. It’s only about 50 minutes and it takes you through the rolling Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding National Beauty. Take the M40 North to Wheatley, where you get off the motorway onto the A40 or the A4142 for Oxford.
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