OXFORD and Wallingford have been named as some of the best places to live in Britain.
As part of an annual survey by The Sunday Times, the city and market town were recognised as some of the most desired places to settle in two separate categories.
Oxford was placed 16th in the nationwide ‘Old Favourites’ category- behind the likes of Cambridge, Bath and Cheltenham.
The Sunday Times wrote the city has ‘everything going for it’ – so long as someone isn’t looking for an affordable home.
They wrote: “Great schools and lifestyle, improving transport links, extraordinary architecture and one of the best universities: Oxford has everything going for it, as long as you’re not looking for an affordable home.
“The pressure on prices, compounded by a lack of space for news homes, is turning incomers away from the favoured ‘villages’ of north Oxford and across the river in Old Marston, family-friendly Headington and traditionally studenty areas towards Cowley.”
Summertown and Jericho have still been deemed the ‘prized hot spots’ and the opening of Oxford Parkway is thought to have ‘enticed people’ north of the ring road.
Meanwhile, Wallingford’s links with Agatha Christie were noted as the town was placed 15th in the ‘Best Places To Live in the South East’ category.
The ‘genteel town’ was praised for its packed, ‘pretty brick and flint properties’.
The Sunday Times said: “Wallingford is a place where there’s always something going on, whether it’s a pancake race, the St George’s Day parade, swan-upping, the car rally, the rowing regatta, the Blues and Beer festival or Bunkfest.”
It’s given us Stephen Hawking, Hugh Laurie, Radiohead and the world’s most famous university, but what else keeps Oxford’s 158,000 citizens sticking around? Let’s find out…
What types of industry are prominent in Oxford?
Understandably given the combined presence of Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University, plus 32,000 students, the education sector is perhaps the crucial industry associated with the city. In fact, Oxford’s government notes that 67% of Oxford jobs are centred exclusively around knowledge-intensive industries. That said, there are many other key sectors, including health, publishing (specifically academic), tourism, hospitality, car-manufacturingand, notably, a world-renowned research sector.
Oxford University: The Radcliffe Camera
Which top companies are situated in Oxford?
According to Oxford’s official government statistics, Oxford is home to around 4,600 businesses providing 114,000 jobs. Just some of the top companies situated in the city include Oxford Council, the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University, NHS Oxfordshire, BMW, Midcounties Co-op, the Science & Technologies Facilities Council and BT. Additionally, Oxford is also a base to many companies including manufacturing, logistics and consulting experts Unipart Group and world-renowned charity Oxfam, who both have their headquarters there. It’s also worth mentioning Oxford’s ever-growing tech cluster that is defining itself by software and gaming development thanks to companies like Natural Motion, Brainomix and Onfido.
What’s commuting in Oxford like?
The ozone layer must love Oxford: commutes by bicycle, foot and bus have all increased lately, while car commutes have stayed roughly at the same level – that’s 68% of journeys within the city being made up from sustainable methods of travel. That’s also good news for congestion considering that, according to Oxford’s government, some 46,000 workers living elsewhere have to commute in by car, train and other means.
What are the salaries like?
In the recent Best Places in the UK to Make a Living survey by Total Money (via the Independent), Oxford charted impressively – coming in at number 19 out of 64.
In terms of employment statistics, it does incredibly well with just a 3.7% unemployment rate and job growth standing at 7% – indeed, one of the unique things to bear in mind is that there are actually more jobs in Oxford than residents (it has a job density ratio of 1.08). The downside is that Oxford’s also the least affordable city in the UK with average house prices 16.2 times the average earnings. For example: Oxford’s median monthly take-home salary of £1,991 is balanced by an average monthly mortgage repayment of £1,423, compared to number 1-placed Blackburn’s £1,646 median monthly take-home salary against a £354 mortgage repayment.
How about Oxford’s nightlife?
Oxford is blessed with great pubs with real history. TV fans can head over to the Turf Tavern (as featured on the Morse TV series), or literature fans can head to the Eagle & Child (a local to JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, once upon a time). For a louder evening, music fans can visit the 02 Academy Oxford for a chance to see everyone from Public Image Ltd to Nelly this year.
Oxford doesn’t attract 7 million visitors per year for no reason. One of the most enjoyable things you can do – weather permitting – is go punting along the river Cherwell. Should the rain strike, however, get into the academic spirit of Oxford and visit the historic Bodleian Library – which was opened in 1602!
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A brief guide to Areas and Neighbourhoods in Oxford
Living & Staying in Oxford
As with any city in the world, there are neighbourhoods which may be more or less desirable to live in, and more or less affordable than the others. So what are the different neighbourhoods in Oxford, and what are the rents and housing like?
Our favourite: Iffley Village is a 10 minute walk from our Olive Tree Suite in Oxford
A guide to the Areas and Neighbourhoods of Oxford City
Central North Oxford – This area is north of the city centre, primarily around Woodstock and Banbury roads. It is within walking distance of the University and city centre, has large individual houses, shared houses, and several apartment complexes. Rent tends to be highest in this area.
City Centre – There are few properties available for rent in the city centre, as most housing is owned by the University.
Summertown – Approximately two miles north of the city centre on the Banbury Road (near Marston Ferry Road) is the self-contained town of Summertown. There are many Victorian and Edwardian homes in this area, as well as several apartment complexes and shared houses. Summertown is on a direct bus route to the city centre. Rent is still fairly high in this area, but less than Central North Oxford.
St. Clements – East of the city centre, along St. Clements Street. This area is popular with students. Rents are lower than in Central North Oxford or Summertown.
Cowley Road – East of the city centre, along Cowley Road, and the side streets. This area is popular with students. There is a great ethnic mix in this neighbourhood, and many shops, restaurants, pubs, and clubs can be found here.
Headington – Headington is a town in its own right. There are many suburbs, with all types of housing, and a full shopping centre. Oxford Brooks University is located here, as well as the popular Headington High School (currently attended by Emma Watson – Hermione of Harry Potter fame). Rents vary greatly in this area. It is not walkable to the city centre, but there are buses that run often into Oxford.
Marston – Marston can be found along Marston Ferry Road, east of Summertown. Houses are much newer here, and so lack the character (and some say, the beauty) of many of the homes in Oxford.
Jericho – Very near the city centre (easy walking distance), west of St. Giles and along the canal is this lovely part of town which boasts narrow streets, century old cottages and townhouses, and a good shopping and eating area along Walton Street. Rent isn’t cheap here, but the housing varies greatly, so good rents can still be found.
Osney – Near to the railway station, it’s similar in look to Jericho, but not as appealing, and slightly further away from the city centre. And there is no equivalent to Jericho’s Walton Street.
South Oxford – Abingdon Road is the centre of this neighbourhood. Rents are less the further south you go from Oxford’s city centre. Many homes in South Oxford are walkable to the city centre.
Wolvercote – There is ‘upper Wolvercote’, which is just west of North Oxford (just before the Wolvercote Roundabout), and ‘lower Wolvercote’, which is over the bridge and down the hill. Upper Wolvercote is a ‘working class’ neighbourhood with many shared homes and flats, in addition to single family homes. Lower Wolvercote is next to Port Meadow and has a more rural feeling. Rents are lower here than in North Oxford.
Botley and Cumnor – West of the City, outside the ring road, and connected mainly through the Park & Ride system. There is a mixture of old and new homes and apartments here. Rents are lower the further outside the city you go.
Iffley – Iffley is a village within a city, with many lovely old homes and buildings and quiet neighbourhoods.
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A stylish gastropub with something for all members of the family, The Fishes has a relaxed, comfortable bar area and a separate dining area including a balcony. Views of the extensive garden provide an idyllic setting for the specialist picnic hampers provided by the talented chefs.
The Trout boasts something for all seasons: a cosy fire in the winter, alongside a stylishly refurbished and well-stocked bar; for the summer months, stunning views from the terrace by the river, with the addition of peacocks wandering amongst the tables.
In the ancient village of Binsey, The Perch is set in a 17th century thatched inn. Their head-chef trained in Paris and combines French-style cooking with English cuisine. With Port Meadow just the other side of the Thames, The Perch is a peaceful retreat from the city.
La Cucina Located on bustling St Clements, within easy walking distance of the city centre, this trattoria and pizzeria offers authentic food in a lively atmosphere – they also offer take away meals and pizzas.
Interesting wire sculptures and Victorian mirrors adorn the walls of this vibrant restaurant in Jericho, bustling at lunch and from early evening due to their popular offer: a glass of wine and two courses for £15.
This is an atmospheric restaurant located in the converted cells of Oxford’s old prison in the heart of the historic Oxford Castle site. The menu changes seasonally and the food is sourced locally.
Jamies Italian was founded in Oxford over 4 years ago and has expanded across the UK. With fresh pasta made around the clock and freshly sourced local ingredients its something that has to be tried.
No 1 Folly Bridge
On the banks of the river Thames, No 1 Folly Bridge is a relatively new restaurant. Visit for drinks and a bite to eat on the pontoon, or enjoy cosy indoor dining. It is also the embarkation point for scheduled boat trips, sightseeing and picnic cruises run by Oxford River Cruises.
Oxford has many more – we can suggest our favourites too!
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The Olive Tree Suite is extremely well situated just outside historic Iffley Village within the southern region of Oxford City. Situated on a major road there are excellent connections for travel into the city by bus, bicycle or car as well as outside for work, travel, shopping and relaxation.
Well situated for transport and local nearby attractions
As well as excellent transport connections the Olive Tree Suite also has several nearby attractions including historic Iffley Village
Walking distance from the picturesque Iffley village – home to 12th Century Norman Church, Iffley lock,
Walks alongside the River Thames and beautiful restaurants and pubs.
10 minute walk to local supermarkets including Sainsburys and Co-op
Nearby convenient bus stops with frequent 10-15 minute travel to Oxford City Centre and the Oxford Train Station
Easy driving access to the A40, M40 and A34 via the Ring Road
Plenty of amenities for your comfort, convenience and security
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Please feel welcome to Contact Us for more information about local amenities and attractions close to the Olive Tree Suite
Oxford is a youthful and cosmopolitan city with plenty to see and do. There are dozens of historic and iconic buildings, including the Bodleian Libraries, Ashmolean Museum, Sheldonian Theatre, the cathedral and the colleges. In the city centre you will find lots of shops, cafés, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, pubs and clubs. There are plenty of green spaces too: riverside walks, England’s oldest botanic garden, the University Parks and college gardens. Outside the city, the countryside is lovely with many stunning villages and other sights to visit.
An Ancient City
Oxford was first settled in Saxon times and was initially known as “Oxenaforda“, meaning “Ford of the Oxen”; fords were more common than bridges at that time. It began with the establishment of a river crossing for oxen around AD 900. In the 10th century, the city became an important military frontier town between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex and was on several occasions raided by Danes.
Originally of strategic significance due to its controlling location on the upper reaches of the River Thames at its junction with the River Cherwell, the town grew in national importance during the early Norman period, and in the late 12th century became home to the fledgling University of Oxford.
The University rose to dominate the town entirely, and by the middle of the 14th century the history of the town was effectively no more than a footnote to the history of the university. A heavily ecclesiastical town, the city was greatly affected by the changes of the English Reformation, emerging as the seat of a bishopric and a full-fledged city. During the English Civil War, the city housed the court of Charles I in 1642, after the king was expelled from London.
The city began to grow industrially during the 19th century, and had an industrial boom in the early 20th century, with major printing and car-manufacturing industries. These declined, along with other British heavy industry, in the 1970s and 1980s, leaving behind a city which had developed far beyond the university town of the past
The “Youngest City”
Oxford is rated as the youngest city in England and Wales and has two universities: Oxford University and Oxford Brookes. 35% of people who live here are aged 15-29 and 27% (40,000 of a total population of 150,000) are university students. With a population of 159,994 it is the 52nd largest city in the United Kingdom, and one of the fastest growing and most ethnically diverse.
City of Beauty and History
Oxford is a beautiful city, with a compact centre, crammed with fine, old buildings, and some interesting urban villages, such as Jericho. As a major university town, it boasts lively nightlife, some great museums, plenty of good performing arts and a wealth of reasonably priced restaurants.
How to get Here
Oxford is about 60 miles from London, and slightly more than that from Birmingham. Both cities are accessible within an hour, traffic permitting, on the M40. Cheltenham and Stratford-upon-Avon are also about an hour away by car. Trains from Oxford to Paddington take just under an hour. Buses are slower, but cheaper. They run all through the night – perfect for those boozy nights on the tiles in London. Another plus is frequent direct bus services to Heathrow and Gatwick.
If you ever feel like a change of scene, the bus to London takes around 90 mins and runs 24 hours a day and when Oxford Parkway station opens this autumn, Oxford will have not one but two railway stations.
The city is within commuting distance of London, just, but also close to the more rustic delights of the Cotswolds.
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The Olive Tree Suite was created in 2015 to provide the very best in accommodation in Oxford for those that appreciate comfort and beautiful surroundings.
Live in luxury, style and comfort in a designer apartment suite in the desirable and peaceful Iffley area of Oxford.
Brand new apartment, completed 2015. Suitable for strictly non-smoking, tidy professional, academic or post graduate student (single or couple). Suite offered occupies the newly completed top (second) floor of a quiet residential house, finished to an exceptional standard giving warmth and charm to this sophisticated property.
Modern Features and Ecologically-minded Apartment Design
Modern fittings throughout with oak flooring with strong eco credentials including Solar PV Panels and thermal insulation for winter warmth. Spacious living area with well-equipped fitted kitchen overlooks peaceful and impressive garden and stunning views of Oxford through glass Juliet balcony. Modern ensuite bathroom plus generous bedroom with double bed and built-in wardrobe and storage areas. Tasteful Moroccan fabrics and subtle lighting combine style and comfort. Walking distance from the picturesque Iffley village – home to 12th Century Norman Church, Iffley lock, walks alongside the River Thames and beautiful restaurants and pubs.
Easy Access and Travel in Oxford
10 minute walk to smaller supermarkets and conveniently situated close to bus stops with frequent 10-15 minute travel to the City Centre. Easy access to the A40, M40 and A34 via the Ring Road.
Off-street storage for bicycles; unrestricted car parking on quiet street nearby. Super-fast
Excellent Features & Fully Featured Apartment
Broadband, WiFi and integrated laundry (washer+dryer) facilities included. Centrally heated.
Serviced: a cleaner attends weekly.
All bills and council tax included.
Long or Mid-term lets are preferred.
Rates quoted are for single person for a min. of 6 months. Shorter term rent is possible, please contact for rates.
Stunning suite inside the city, with easy access to town centre and all surrounding areas.