Oxford is a city, and the county town of Oxfordshire, in South East England. It has a population of 134,248 (2001 census). The River Thames runs through Oxford, where for a distance of some 10 miles (16 km) it is known as The Isis.
Oxford is home to the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world.
Buildings in Oxford reflect every English architectural period since the arrival of the Saxons, including the mid-18th century Radcliffe Camera, the hub of the city. Oxford is known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold in reference to the harmonious architecture of Oxford's university buildings.
Oxford has 5 park and ride sites that service the city centre;
Pear Tree (Link to city centre with bus 300)
Water Eaton (Link to city centre with bus 500)
Thornhill (Link to city centre with bus 400)
Redbridge (Link to city centre with bus 400)
Seacourt (Link to city centre with bus 300)
A service also runs to The John Radcliffe Hospital (from Thornhill/Water Eaton) as well as the Churchill and Nuffield Hospitals (from Thornhill).
Standard bus services are provided by the Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach Oxfordshire. Both companies also operate regular services to London.
Oxford railway station is placed out of the city centre. The station is served by numerous routes, including CrossCountry services as far afield as Manchester and Edinburgh, First Great Western (who operate the station) services to London and other destinations and occasional Chiltern Railways services to Birmingham. The present station opened in 1852.
The city has a ring road that consists of the A34, the A40 and the A4142. It is mostly dual carriageway and was completed in 1966. The main roads that lead out of Oxford are:
A40- which leads to London and High Wycombe (as well as the M40 motorway south) to the east, and Cheltenham, Gloucester and South Wales to the west.
A34- which leads to Bicester, the M40 north, Birmingham and Manchester to the north, and Didcot, Newbury and Winchester to the south. The A34 is entirely grade separated dual carriageway all the way from Bicester to Winchester.
A44- which begins in Oxford and leads to Worcester, Hereford and Aberystwyth.
A420- which also begins in Oxford and leads to Bristol passing Swindon and Chippenham.
The city is served by the M40 motorway, which connects London to Birmingham. The original M40 opened in 1974 went from London to Waterstock where the A40 continued to Oxford. However, when the M40 was extended to Birmingham in 1991, a mile of the old motorway became a spur and the new section bended away sharply north. Now the M40 does a large arc around Oxford (staying around 10 miles away from the centre) due to the woodland that the motorway had to avoid. The M40 meets the A34 a junction later, the latter now being in two parts, the A34 restarting in Birmingham.
There are two universities in Oxford; the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University.
Oxford is home to wide range of schools many of which receive pupils from around the world.