The vast majority of City centre accommodation is owned by Oxford University or its colleges. However, it is possible to find some privately owned gems. Understandably, given that you are right on top of the action and well placed to get anywhere else in the city, this accommodation is much in demand from students of both universities.
Student accommodation in the City centre varies between modern flats and refurbished older houses.
The Sainsburys in the Westgate Centre or either of the Tescos on Magdalen Street or Cowley Road are the only sensible places to go for anything resembling a regular weekly shop, though there are smaller Tescos and Sainsburys around the city centre.
George Street is the home of the chain restaurant, with plenty of well-known and reasonably priced eateries and pizza houses as well as some independent restaurants. For a bit more atmosphere you can stroll through the Oxford Castle complex where the pedestrian squares conjure up a cool, European feel. Brown's, at the Oxford end of the Woodstock Road, is something of an Oxford institution: once the top place to take your parents (or suggest that they take you), it now has competition from Quod, part of the Old Bank Hotel or Chiang Mai, both on the High Street, and the Old Parsonage at the top of St Giles. Tucked away on Holywell Street is the excellent Japanese restaurant Edamame – just remember to check opening hours and menus before you go.
Most of the takeaways are actually located outside the City centre, although there is a Domino's Pizza located on Park End Street. It's hardly a problem, though, as few won't deliver. No Oxford student experience would be complete without at least once sampling the menus offered by the kebab vans on the High Street after a night out.
Pubs and clubs
Where to start? The Turf Tavern, if you can find it, is atmospheric, very popular, and reputed to be the place where Bill Clinton famously did not inhale. The Eagle and Child on St Giles was frequented by C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and the other Inklings – and nowadays by busloads of tourists. Most popular amongst students is probably The King's Arms on Holywell Street, opposite the Sheldonian Theatre, though The Bear – off the High Street and said to be Oxford's oldest pub – deserves an honourable mention.
Oxford's not really a great place for conventional night clubs, but The Bridge, Lava Ignite, and Lola Lo (which claims 'a unique Polynesian vibe') all boast multiple rooms and lounges, music to suit all tastes, and frequent student nights. The Purple Turtle in the Oxford Union is smaller, louder, sweatier … and it has awesome video games.
Cashpoints with free withdrawals
All the major high street banks are located on Queen Street, Cornmarket, and George Street. There's nothing between Carfax and The Plain, though, except for an elderly-looking hole in the wall round the side of the NatWest.
The city centre Post Office can be found part way down St Aldates.
Buses run from the City centre to all parts of the city and the county. Gloucester Green bus station is the starting point for buses to London and other cities within the UK, or go by train from Oxford station. The Brookes Bus (U5) operates from the city centre to Marston via Cowley Road and Headington.
Look out for
The Oxford Literary Festival, a week-long multi-venue festival featuring world-famous writers and public figures in more than 500 events.