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Oxfordshire vs Bath/Bristol

(39 Posts)
likeatonneofbricks Thu 24-May-12 19:28:45

Does anyone know both areas well and can give me pros and cons. By oxon I mean a town, but not Oxford itself as too full of tourists and too biased towards academia (well so is Bath with tourists but only in the summer). I don't know any other towns in Oxon but I've heard that it's the best place to live, also great countryside. To me, it beats the west by its proximity to London where I like to go couple of times a week. Is Abingdom nice enough and has a reliable bus/cheap taxis to the nearest station? Can anyone also tell me about the 'atmosphere' of Oxon, as I think Bristol and Bath are definetely nice places, well the beeter parts of them (friendly, lots of shops, beautiful houses) - is Oxon more snobby? sorry a bit of a rambly post with many questions. Oh, and is Oxon more expensive, bar Oxford itself?

JazzAnnNonMouse Thu 23-May-13 20:28:51

I grew up in Oxfordshire (near Abingdon) and now live in Bristol.

Oxford and bath are quite similar.

I really like both - I would say that oxon is wealthier and potentially has better schools but there is less going on and less community projects etc.

What are you looking for?

lucyfer2000 Thu 23-May-13 19:02:48

Hello likeatonneofbricks. What did you decide in the end? I'm in a similar ( mostly between Bristol,bath and surrounding towns) and wonder how you got on?!

likeatonneofbricks Tue 12-Jun-12 14:32:42


likeatonneofbricks Tue 12-Jun-12 14:32:21

girlgone - thank you for Lyme Regis advice, are b&b's/small hotels good there? would ne nice to go overnight and look around properly. Is it very small - and anything in the surround to see? Do you know how long is the bus trip - I do like the idea of nice villages en route.

likeatonneofbricks Tue 12-Jun-12 14:29:41

thanks, Milla, will have a look further up Gloucester rd - it does look endless on the map! I'm not discounting Wales smile - never been there but v.impressed by scenery shown on tv - though it tends to be North Wales. How far is Gower by train from Temple meads, do you know? is it an area or a town, and anything there apart from beach (nice town centre?)

LittleMilla Tue 12-Jun-12 08:25:10

Hello, only just checking back in here. We're further up Gloucester rd as the end near the big train viaduct is a bit gritty tbh.

My dh cycles to parkway as trains are quicker. From the new place that will take him 20 mins max, all flat.

I don't know about trains to seaside, but you shouldn't discount south Wales. Gower is breathtaking and certainly one f the reasons why we moved.

girlgonemild Sun 03-Jun-12 20:50:58

Forgot about public transport.
You can get to Clevedon for a seaside walk in 45mins on public transport.
For a proper seaside trip I think train to Exeter (about an hr) and then a train/bus to Sidmouth/Budleigh/Beer or even Lyme Regis would be your nicest option. The bus rides can be very picturesque through lovely villages so not too much of a chore although I guess the time all adds up if it's only a day trip.

likeatonneofbricks Sat 02-Jun-12 22:58:42

girlgone, theoretically Bristol is not far from the sea, but the trains to proper seaside are very slow, and what looks like short distance doesn't prove to be! can you recommend nearest nice seaside places? dorset?

likeatonneofbricks Sat 02-Jun-12 22:56:38

thanks Sinking, v.impressive with the events site! schools not an issue, as you've guessed - but I love MN grin. Do you know how to look for Jericho on property sites? is it mentioned in descriptions or should i go by postcode? I find that most Oxford flats are modern on the sites, and I'd cosider both houses and flats, whatever is larger space-wise.
Witney I'd go and look at as well. thanks, DukeH.

Sinkingfeeling Thu 31-May-12 23:43:43

Daily Information

Sinkingfeeling Thu 31-May-12 23:29:31

Do you have dc, OP? If you don't need to worry too much about school catchments, and want to be close to the station, Jericho sounds like a good bet for you. Plenty of Victorian houses and some very, very nice streets - 15 min walk from the city centre and the railway station I'd say. Also a good range of independent shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs. There is heaps going on in Oxford, partly because the two universities create some buzz but there are also lots of different non-university groups and clubs, depending on your interests. Have a look at the 'what's on' pages of Daily Information for starters. Good luck with your decision!

DukeHumfrey Thu 31-May-12 21:44:30

Witney to London - drive to Charlbury, FAR better (see my comments above).

But if you definitely want city stuff, spend a weekend in Oxford exploring the city not Blackbird Leys though. Loads going on - look out for Daily Information pinned up everywhere.

girlgonemild Thu 31-May-12 20:39:58

I don't know Thame well sorry.
Witney would be a case of bus to Oxford station and train from there I believe. A relative lived there and liked it. I would live there I think. It seems good value for money, But if you want the best transport links Oxford is probably what you want.

I like Oxford as much as Bristol, slightly more contained which can be good and definitely good for being closer to London. Some trains are under an hour. I know what you mean about areas though it's hard to know where exactly you'd want to settle down. I read that Florence Park is a popular up and coming choice second to Summertown but no idea about it personally. Something around the Cowley Road or Jericho maybe?
Bath is lovely but I think it would be an expensive place to live day to day too many gorgeous high end shops!
I do love the laid back west country vibe though and being closer to beaches etc is a big bonus for Bristol. I think it just depends what you'll use more.
Difficult but nice choice you have there!

likeatonneofbricks Thu 31-May-12 19:53:35

amenities are

likeatonneofbricks Thu 31-May-12 19:52:15


likeatonneofbricks Thu 31-May-12 19:51:36

girlgone, what do you think of Thame?
do you actually prefer Oxford/Witney to Bath/bristol? and is there a rail station on Witney that connects to london well?
Sinking, your posts are very pursuasive re Oxford, I must say!maynbe I dismissed it a bit foolishly as looking at property sires, it's either summertown nice houses but v,high prices (and i agree soulless) or it's 30s housing stock elsewhere, and still not much cheaper. but it sounds good re social life.
I find that Bristol has a surprising lack of classes and social things in the evenings (if it does, it's mainly hands-on pottery/embroidery)or it's a bit cliquey in the areas of clifton/rdland, and going somewhere far in the eve not an option as trains are bad when late. Don't drive at the moment. Haha, academic who escaped his predicatble circle! I wouldn't go to Southville as transport and amemities is much better in redland/clifton.

girlgonemild Thu 31-May-12 13:33:48

I know both areas fairly well. Personally North Oxfordshire towns and the villages are a little dull for me.
Witney is very close to Oxford and has some nice shops (Joules, Waitrose!) and good schools I hear and would enable you to make the most of Oxford without having to pay to live in the better areas of the city I think. It's close to Woodstock and Blenheim obviously which are lovely and Blenheim is great for kids.
I wouldn't go for Banbury or Bicester. They are convenient for London trains but don't sound like they'd give the lifestyle you want.
Otherwise I love Bath and Bristol. Bristol is more affordable, longish travel time to London but frequent trains etc. Redlands and Clifton are lovely, Kingsdown is at the bottom of Redlands and has the good architecture but cheaper I think.
Areas just south of the river and cheaper and are nice I think. Like Southville has a lovely community centre

Sinkingfeeling Wed 30-May-12 23:43:13

Places in Oxford you might be interested in are Jericho (15 min walk from station) and Osney Island (5 min walk from station); further from station - Iffley Fields, Old Headington/Headington Quarry, Old Marston, Iffley village. I really like the Florence Park area, not 'genteel' at all, but a very friendly community with lots going on for children especially. Houses are mostly 1930s. Summertown is very nice indeed (lots of lovely Victorian villas) but very expensive, and IMVHO a bit soul-less. I would have thought you could develop a great social life in Oxford around your own interests (heaps of evening classes, book groups, choirs, sports clubs etc etc) - I only know one academic in my social group and I think he permeated our circle by stealth. wink

likeatonneofbricks Wed 30-May-12 23:24:19

Milla, yes, I suppose you did say that it's more lefty equiv of Northcote, more gritty you mean? how far is Temple Meads from Bishopston though? I do travel by train quite a bit.

likeatonneofbricks Wed 30-May-12 23:21:18

thank you so much for all the info! Will go and visit Thame as it sounds good, I quite like genteel if it's not all too prim. The size is more of a question as I never lived in small towns. Vllages not for me at all at the moment, NotDavid. But I wouldn't want a big city really, as the whole pointof moving out of London is to find a place that has advantages of being small (as to me other big cities will be just poor comparison to London). Bicester is out as I get depressed ny modern developments - to me, the place has to look nice, with old architecture, that's why I like Bristol. It's jst the distance from London that's an issue with Bristol. LittleMilla, which parts of Gloucester rd aer good? I ve seen a little patch of it bext to Redland station but it didnt seem great tbh. Yes I know Northcote rd, I know London well especially central and SW, isn't Gloucester rd much more down to earth (from what i've heard)?
Sinking, could you name those interesting parts of Oxford you mention, aer they far from the station? I don't know the place so I only went to the obvious around the centre (i.e summertown)? Haha I really don't mind academics, my father is one, but as far as Oxford ones I think they form an exclusive group and if you want to develop social life there it doesn't leave a lot of other groups to choose from? just limits the options, and possibly the atmosphere.

Sinkingfeeling Sun 27-May-12 22:02:03

Abingdon is nice enough, but doesn't have good transport links to London - of the two, I'd say Thame is much nicer and has better transport links. Thame has a lovely range of independent shops (both have a Waitrose though smile) and a more generally genteel atmosphere. Don't dismiss Oxford as being full of academics and tourists though. You could happily live in Oxford without encountering a single academic (and if you do, they're generally harmless) and tourists mostly confine themselves to the city centre in the summer months. There are some very vibrant, interesting parts of Oxford and, of course, excellent transport to London (50 min by train, or you can get the coach there in around 1 hour 20 min, if the traffic's in your favour).

LittleMilla Sun 27-May-12 21:59:59

We are currently living in a rented flat in Redand (right up next to downs) but have ended up buying somewhere in Bishopston. Most brilliant park called St Andrews park and Gloucester Rd is pretty colourful. Reminds me of a more lefty/hippyish Northcote Rd (if that means anything to you), but has the good independent vibe. Not too wankerish in terms of indie shops, just decent stuff run by nice people. Not overpriced or prententious.

Lots of families and I feel that he has more about it compared to Clifton village, say. Fine for an afternoon coffee with mates, but I wouldn't really want to live there TBH. There's a central hub and lots of very good schools. Although you do need to be on their doorstep to (almost) guarantee a place.

Oh, and there's an abundance of good quality character houses that haven't been done by the developers. So we've bagged a decent deal and are just excited about creating our perfect family home.

You can prob tell I am v.happy about the move to Bristol grin.

theplumfairy Sun 27-May-12 20:24:59

Actually tourists are in oxford centre most of the year but I think I have become immune to them.

theplumfairy Sun 27-May-12 20:23:31

I love oxfordshire but then I have always lived here, bar when I was at uni and a couple of years drifting round the country with my job. Having tried a few other places I honestly can't think of anywhere I'd rather live.

Thame probably meets your criteria in terms of transport- really good links to marylebone in under an hour. Its quite pricey but a nice market town with a small high street and some restaurants and bars. It is quite posh but that's not always a bad thing.

I couldn't really comment in an unbiased way on the atmosphere- I am a native so I think its lovely! But I have never had an issue with the academics overrunning the place. I quite like having such a historic place on my doorstep anyway. Tourists are a bit of a pain in the height of suMmer but only in the city centre.

If you want a small town have you thought of bicester? There is a lot of new development in and around the town and it has very good train links to London.

NotDavidTennant Sun 27-May-12 20:06:43

I think you're comparing apples and oranges. Bristol is a city and Bath is a large(ish) town, whereas Oxfordshire is predominantely small towns and villages (apart from Oxford itself obviously). You need to really think about what size of place you want to live in.

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