Moving to oxford.. Advice please please

(29 Posts)
mammie21 Sat 25-Sep-10 00:19:15

Hi ladies..
We are thinking of moving to oxford in january. We have 2 children under 3. DH will be studying part time in Headington so want I am looking for advice about nice residential easily accessible (as both of us don't drive and don't want to either!) location to stay in.
What are the activities for children like in that area?

ANy advice will be greatly appreciated. We are moving from the isle of man.

Thanks ladies. Look forward to some responses. xx

OP’s posts: |
SurreyAmazon Sun 26-Sep-10 21:49:25

I lived in Oxford for a few years so will try and remember the best areas from memory but be warned, Oxford has changed quite a bit in the last few years so its more overcrowded, expensive and not as safe as it used to be.

Headington itself is not too bad an area to live and it has a 'mini' high street with a few banks, supermarkets etc so would save you the hassle of going farther out to shop. Because of its proximity to Oxford Brookes University, some of the houses are owned and managed by the University so you could find yourselves living next door to students. So make sure you ascertain that your future neighbours are not students.

Summertown and Kidlington are both great places to live and that is where most of the middle class families are based. Richard Branson dines in one of the Chinese restaurants in Summertown.

The transport service in Oxford is excellent so it does not really matter too much where you live.

Avoid living in Cowley and Blackbird Leys (anywhere in East Oxford is not advisable) as they tend to be where students and 'chavs' live.

Oxford is surprisingly 'family friendly' and so you won't be stuck for things to do. Or a good place to live for that matter.

I hope this helps and if you have any particular places in mind, let me now and Ill provide more details.


MrsBadger Sun 26-Sep-10 22:08:55

Oxford is lovely, great for families, perfectly possible to do without a car and costs an absolute fortune.

Summertown you are looking at £500k for a 3bed flat

DH and I lived in Headington pre-kids but couldn't afford to buy anything family-sized there so have moved to a satellite town and commute in.

Your budget will be a deciding factor.

IMoveTheStars Sun 26-Sep-10 22:22:17

SurreyAmazon - was lovely sweeping generalisations about entire areas of Oxford hmm Did you ever actually live in Cowley?

OP - like SA says, there are very good transport links. Bear in mind though that traffic in Oxford is hideous so buses through the city can take a long time. Headington's nice, but due to proximity to the hospitals can be very expensive, but then anywhere within the ring road costs.

What kind of budget do have? Iffley village is lovely, Old Headington, Jericho, Summertown are the nicest areas in my opinion. If you want something out of the city then I agree with the recommendation for Kidlington.

MrsBadger Sun 26-Sep-10 22:33:17

yes Kidlington, or even Abingdon - smaller market town with all amenities in walking distance, lots of things for kids and good bus services into Oxford and direct to Headington. And much more affordable.

InvaderZim Sun 26-Sep-10 22:52:49

OK, rents here are expensive, really do your research! Summertown, Jericho, etc could easily be out of your grasp. (Although they are lovely and I have lived and worked in them.)

Headington is lovely, but the designation covers a huge area. The area directly surrounding the shops (which includes Old Headington and Headington Quarry) is quite family friendly.

Marston is fine, but fewer shops etc than Headington.

Both have excellent bus service.

The local council estates are Barton, Wood Farm, Rose Hill, Blackbird Leys... I'm sure I'm missing some out.

Studenty areas include the immediate vicinity to Brookes, including Divinity Road and Cowley Road. Also much of the city centre.

Will you need to think about schools or are you not staying that long?

InvaderZim Sun 26-Sep-10 22:53:59

Are there busses which run direct from Kidlington or Abingdon to Headington? I think they both require a change in the city centre...

MrsBadger Sun 26-Sep-10 23:01:29

kidlington you can get the 700 park & ride bus to the JR and then walk

from ABingdon get the X13 (JR via MArston Rd) or the X23, which goes to the JR up Headington Hill right past Brookes.

Sinkingfeeling Mon 27-Sep-10 12:46:23

Surrey - there are plenty of non-chavs living in Cowley and Blackbird Leys, and your description is insulting to say the least!

Florence Park (bordering Cowley) is very popular with families, more affordable housing than in most parts of Oxford and lots for children to do (fantastic park, Sure Start Centres in the park itself and Rose Hill not far away, drop-in centre and toddler groups, pre-schools etc). Local shops (several Co ops among others) and very good transport links to Headington and the city centre. Cycling may be the best option for the quickest journey though.

I like parts of Headington, but it's a big area and is quite variable I think. If you're renting, you'll probably get more for your money outside Oxford - you could also think about Wheatley, a large village with good facilities and not too far from Headington.

Also, look here for local information - jobs, houses to rent, things for sale, what's on etc.

aquavit Mon 27-Sep-10 12:59:17

lol at surreyamazon's ridiculous characterisation of an area in which houses range from the most expensive in Oxford (Iffley Village) to some of its council estates - and everything in between. I love east Oxford, especially the Cowley Rd - lively, interesting, mix of lots of different people.

MrsB is right, budget will be key. North Oxford is terrifyingly expensive, and tbh not my favourite part of the town because quite quiet and not that much going on in terms of shops, bars etc.

Very few areas of Oxford are without students but the students aren't necessarily a bad thing. If you don't fancy student saturation, Headington and Florence Park are good bets.

wearymum200 Mon 27-Sep-10 19:53:20

Headington is v convenient and family-friendly. If you are going to be renting, renting in Headington and not routinely having to pay bus fares from Abingdon etc (bus fares are fairly pricey) may work out more cost-effective. I love living in Headington; I do drive, but about once a month. The rest of the time we bike/ walk or occasionally get a bus. Marston is cheaper, your DH will still be able to get to Headington easily and you would be a bit closer to the city centre; but shopping in Marston is v limited and you'd prob find yourself having to go further afield (and Marston to Headington involves the only proper hill Oxford has). Lots of family activities in and around Headington.
If budget tight, it is cheaper to live a bit further from cent Headington; try Risinghurst, East Field Close area, Lye valley, all of which are walkable to Headington shops.

JaneS Mon 27-Sep-10 20:26:11

Headington is increasingly posh (they've just got a Waitrose). It is also swimming with students since one of the universities is there.

It may be too far for you, but no-one has mentioned Botley yet, which is the far West of Oxford. It is a long way to Headington but there is an easy bus and it seems to be one of the more affordable areas.

Btw you will fit right in not driving in Oxford - it's a nightmare if you try!

SurreyAmazon Mon 27-Sep-10 23:07:53


You posted: SurreyAmazon - was lovely sweeping generalisations about entire areas of Oxford hmm Did you ever actually live in Cowley?

Why yes I did live in Cowley. As well as Summertown, Wood Farm, and Rosehill hence the reason I summarised what I think of these areas.

As for sweeping generalisations, please feel free to correct anything that you feel is unfair or true.


SurreyAmazon Mon 27-Sep-10 23:14:45


We all have different points of view, and this is mine so I will not apologize if you were insulted by them.

@ Aquavit

Lol back at -----> If you don't fancy student saturation, Headington and Florence Park are good bets.

Headington?? really?

@ OP, I think you better stick with LittleDragon when she says of Headington 'It is also swimming with students since one of the universities is there'.


IMoveTheStars Mon 27-Sep-10 23:35:41


Perhaps it was your use of the word 'chav' that provoked the response that you got?

Surrey FFS, Cowley and Headington and huge areas. Cowley has a brilliant community feel to it. Headington can be crawling with students. It's a University town FFS.. the vast majority of the centre of Oxford is owned by the University. You'll never get away from them.
Also, the OP said her DH will BE a student... did you miss that bit?

''Headington?? really?'
Yes. I'd advise against Divinity Road and surrounding areas too, but Headington is big and plenty of it is well off the student track.

OP - wrt Cowley - personally i think as long as you aren't further east than the old bus garage (so Cumberland Avenue/Glanville Road area) you're fine. Anything south of the main Cowley road area is a colourful area, certainly, but it's definitely a nice place to live.

TBH, if you're planning on staying until your children are school age, this should be your main focus. Schools in Oxford are hugely varied, competition is pretty fierce. If this is the case consider a new thread on schools and catchment areas maybe?

IMoveTheStars Mon 27-Sep-10 23:36:49

agg, forgive typo's...

'Cowley and Headington are huge areas'

SgtAngua Tue 28-Sep-10 00:17:00

I'm in the Florence Park area & can highly recommend it as a child friendly place to live.

The park is lovely & right on the doorstep with a fantastic newly built Family Centre in it.

The river is a stones throw away with lots of ducks to feed & a nice friendly cafe, called the Isis, on the tow path. When I go into town I almost always walk in along the towpath rather than getting the bus, although they are very frequent, as it is such a lovely walk.

There are shops, including a grocers, bakers & coop 5 minutes walk away. The local library & swimming pool are also in walking distance.

All this & Brookes is an easy cycle ride away!

< Can you tell that I like it here?>grin

IMoveTheStars Tue 28-Sep-10 00:26:33

Oxford's weird.. it's a lot like London with it's nice little areas being right next to renowned bad ones. (Iffley Village next to Rose Hill, Headington quarry/Old Headinton next to Barton)
Just reminded me of living in London in that places like Stoke Newington are a stones throw from Hacknet, similarly Dulwich/Nappy Valley a short trip from Peckham/New Cross

SgtAngua Tue 28-Sep-10 00:37:00

Yes Jareth, I've always thought that about Oxford.

On that note "Iffley Borders" is estate agent speak for the outer reaches of Rose Hill & is not the same as Iffley Village.

IMoveTheStars Tue 28-Sep-10 00:40:10


Seems to be quite a lot of useful info here, at least.

OP, when you do come back, let us know your budget/expectations/school requirements etc and someone should be able to give you a postcode to aim for grin wink

mammie21 Tue 28-Sep-10 20:31:25

Hi Everyone..

Thanks for the very interesting range of comments.. initially i thought no one might respond.. everything taken on board..

Thanks again ladies..

OP’s posts: |
Fresher Mon 31-Oct-11 08:22:21

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

tracyr28 Fri 11-Nov-11 20:27:55

Love your blog Fresher - just passed onto a friend

Oxford is great and I think everyone has covered the areas well. Only addition is somewhere like Cumnor but probably too far over the other side for your husband to get to Headington unless he would be happy cycling

Lucycarr Fri 11-Nov-11 23:31:09

Hi Mammie21,

We moved to Oxfordshire in January my dh works in Summertown and I at the JR, being totally new to the area we initially made the mistake of living as far out as Faringdon - cute market town only 18 miles from Summertown but a hell of a commute!

We moved again in July and are now just outside Kiddlington and Woodstock. We really like it here. The bus service from Kiddlington is v good and the bus lanes make this a quicker option than driving. I can definately recomend the area.

Summertown is lovely but as the others have said - Pricey - rent upwards of 1200 pounds for a small three bed no garden, there are occasional bargains but they fly off the books.

Good luck


LubblyLorna1 Thu 09-Aug-18 04:32:33

Anyone got a view on wolvercote.?

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