anyone lived in Oxford and Cambridge?

(10 Posts)
maslinpan Thu 02-Jul-15 13:34:47

My DH is potentially going to be offered an irresistible job in Oxford later on in the year.... but I really don't want to move the family from where we are! If there is anyone who has lived in both places your insight would be massively helpful. I imagine that there are many similarities: small and crowded centre, high housing prices, high living costs, lots of Uni related activities for the family, decent pubs, congestion, tourists etc etc.
We are in a lovely, friendly village 20 mins bike ride out of town, but I don't know if there are many options like that around Oxford...? Can anyone sell Oxford to me, please?!

MillieRoad Thu 02-Jul-15 13:37:41

You will never have to contend with the A14 again so surely that must appeal? I imagine the lifestyle is fairly similar but I would struggle to move the children away from Cambridge too. How old are yours? Have you thought about schooling?

maslinpan Thu 02-Jul-15 13:49:17

DCs are 6 and 10, so the move would be toughest for DD who will be moving up to secondary school in another year. Private schools are not on the agenda and we don't set an awful lot of faith in OFSTED, so it would be more important to us to have a local school where friends are largely within walking/biking distance. A14 is admittedly a downside (particularly as we live in Girton), but we don't have to regularly use it. I know the centre of Oxford has serious traffic congestion issues too, so that would be no big improvement!

MillieRoad Thu 02-Jul-15 13:55:30

True, I think they are both gridlocked during rush hour. Secondary school is a great time to start afresh and make new friends for your DD so I would actually see that as a fairly good time to make the move. Good luck, it can't be easy. If he is working for the university then hopefully that will make making friends a little easier as there is always someone else who has just arrived and is looking to make friends.

CambridgeMinor Thu 02-Jul-15 14:02:40

Had long message, but lost it, grr. Yes, you're right, on a tick list there are far more similarities than differences. I think Oxford, being larger, has a more interesting although equally pricey variety of residential areas.

Cycling in and out of surrounding villages in Oxford is tougher because it's a lot more hilly. smile

maslinpan Thu 02-Jul-15 14:06:04

Hills? Bloody hell, that would be a bit of a shock! But I would be keen to have suggestions of villages that are nice to live in - I don't want to live in actual countryside though, somewhere with good bus routes is essential, we are currently in a village that really is more of a suburb so an equivalent would be fine.

CambridgeMinor Thu 02-Jul-15 14:15:54

Maybe have a look at Iffley, Botley or Wolvercote for village/suburbs. Haven't had personal experience of living there though.

Headington and Summertown are residential areas of the city I'd recommend, depending on budget. Hinksey also has a nice feel to it and a great open air swimming pool.

DarkLightBlue Thu 02-Jul-15 14:16:51

I have lived in both, and did love both. You are right about the similarities! Oxford has some of my favourite pubs and restaurants, I would prefer to eat out in Oxford rather than Cambridge. Cambridge seems to get more clogged up with tourists, but maybe that's an erroneous impression.

Oxford is quite a bit bigger, less green, a bit less flat! Maybe that would be relevant for cycling. Lots of people do cycle in Oxford of course, but it seemed to me a bit less safe for it than Cambridge. Trying to think of facilities that Oxford has that Cambridge doesn't - can only think of the ice rink, and maybe the Covered Market (which is great).

Cambridge centre is much more attractive imo, with regards to shops and green spaces - it's a bit more spread out and leafy. Particularly since Cambridge renovated Lion Yard and the bus station, which has made it much nicer round that area. Oxford seems to have more truly grim bits - Oxpens Rd, Botley, Blackbird Leys -, probably just because it is bigger, and of course there are lovely bits too, and it does have green spaces like the University Parks, Christchurch Meadow, the Oxford Canal, the Thames...

Oxford arguably has better transport links. In particular a fantastic coach service to London, and to the airports that runs through the night. The railway station is less of a trek. But the traffic problems are dire, and it's awful in a car.

Cambridge seemed to get a lot less rain than Oxford grin, but to be a bit colder.

I don't know about friendly villages round about Oxford, I lived in Oxford itself. Most of my colleagues lived in Abingdon, which is nice enough, and has a very good bus service to Oxford (but no station).

If I was you, I probably wouldn't want to move either, and now, no longer living in either, if I had to choose one to return to, I'd probably pick Cambridge (only just though!) and I think DH would choose Oxford. I don't have experience of living in either with children - mine are quite young, which I think would partly influence me thinking Cambridge is better. If I had teens, maybe Oxford.

maslinpan Sun 05-Jul-15 11:25:08

Thanks everyone, lots of really helpful comments for us to think about.

romseyroo Mon 06-Jul-15 14:12:11

I've lived in both. Iffley (if I had the budget!) or Hinksey (off the Abingdon Road) would be my choices if I was moving back. Possibly Headington, though arg the hill! Or in my fictional world, Jericho - we can dreamsmile

In terms of outside Oxford, Abingdon is ok but most of the estates there are pretty soulless. Witney is nice but a bit self-satisfied (as you'd expect given its MP...). Closer in, Wolvercote is lovely, but again v pricey. I'd go for as close to town as I could manage! Think hard about schools though - Cherwell's catchment has shrunk to pea-size in recent years.

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