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Climate

The average Oxford temperature during July and August is 16° Celsius, or about 66° F. This is an average of daytime and overnight temperatures. Most days will be between 65° F-75° F; most nights temperatures will fall to 55° F-60° F. But be advised that England does occasionally suffer a heat wave (temperatures in the 80s or even 90s), and most Oxford buildings are not air conditioned, including those at OCHJS. For local weather, you may consulthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/5day_f.shtml?id=2953

 

Travel:

Participants must have a passport, valid for at least six months beyond the end date of our program. Each participant will arrange travel to England independently. The nearest airports are London’s Heathrow and Gatwick. Alternatively, it is possible to fly to Manchester or London’s Stansted airport, although the ground travel time to Oxford will be longer. For ground transportation from Stansted Airport, seehttp://www.airwise.com/airports/europe/STN

Note that there is no direct coach or rail service from Stansted to Oxford. Travellers will have to connect in London. Expect the journey to take 4 hours or more.

For directions to Yarnton from London airports, click here for directions from Heathrow;  click here for directions from Gatwick North or here for Gatwick South. Oxford Bus Company express buses leave every 20 minutes from Heathrow Airport, 24 hours each day, and every hour from Gatwick Airport. Note that it is considerably less expensive to purchase a return (i.e. round trip) ticket to Oxford on the airport bus. For airport bus information for Oxford or from central London, see the Oxford Bus Company. For bus service between Oxford and central London, see the Oxford Tube for times and fares. The trip requires about 1 hour and 45 minutes each way, depending on traffic. It is also possible to rent a car at the airport. 

    If you take the bus to Oxford, upon first arrival at Oxford’s Gloucester Green bus terminal, we recommend that participants take a taxi to OCHJS in Yarnton. Tell the taxi driver to drop you at Yarnton Manor, on Church Lane in Yarnton (a distance of 4-5 miles). The fare will be £12-14. The Oxford train station is about 6 blocks beyond the Gloucester Green bus station. Taxi fare from the train station is about £14-17. The 20A Stagecoach bus travels from the train station to Yarnton.

 

Local Travel:

While travel back and forth from Yarnton to Oxford is not much of a problem during the day, after 7 PM public bus transportation is limited. Local bus service is provided by the Stagecoach Line. For timetable click here. Service to Yarnton is provided by bus 20/20A. The local stop is Yarnton Village, the Paddocks, about 1/3 mile from OCHJS. After 7 PM until midnight the bus stops each hour at Yarnton, The Turnpike. From there it is a 3/4 mile walk. Please note that the last bus on Sunday drops off at 7:38 PM.

Bus and minibus schedules are even more limited on weekends. If you plan to be out late (past 11:30 PM weekdays and Saturday), a taxi from Oxford will be your only means of transportation.

If you like to bicycle, it is possible to rent a bicycle by the week at OCHJS or from a bicycle shop in town. The cost is about £10/week.

For general travel information from Oxford by rail or by bus click here.

For rail passes, schedules and charges, see http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/passes/uk_index.htm

For low cost bus service from Oxford to London or Cambridge, see Megabus, athttp://www.attitudetravel.com/uk/lowcostbuses/megabus2.html

For information on travel within London via the Tube (subway) or by bus, seehttp://www.tfl.gov.uk/modalpages/2625.aspx

OCHJS also runs a shuttle bus service from its campus to stops in Oxford; participants may elect to use this service. For the summer shuttle timetable, click here. Even with bus and shuttle service, however, participants should be prepared regularly to walk distances of 1/2 mile or more daily.

 

Car Rental and Rail Passes

If you plan to rent a car in England, let me advise you to make arrangements before you leave the States—you’ll usually find a better rate. You might check http://www.europcar.com for competitive rates. If you are planning weekend touring during your stay in England, you can find information about rail passes and other travel information at http://www.raileurope.com/us/index.htm.

 

Banking

For a short stay, it does not make sense to open a local bank account (the process can take weeks). Instead, we recommend using a debit card to obtain cash from an ATM machine. These machines are ubiquitous. In England, banks typically do not charge a fee when you use a debit card from another bank; your home banking institution may do so, however, and it may impose a surcharge of 2-3% on overseas withdrawals. You should check with your bank to determine the amount of the fee as well as your daily withdrawal limit. Also, make certain that your card can be used at overseas locations. Typically, exchange rates when using an ATM card are quite favorable.

Another option is to purchase Travellers Checks in £. A bank will cash them, as will currency exchange windows. Some retail outlets will not accept them, however, making them less useful than the debit card. Even those outlets that do accept these checks will require proof(s) of identification.

 

Cultural Events

 Although OCHJS is located outside the city of Oxford, a fifteen minute bus ride delivers the visitor to the city's center. Even during summer break, Oxford is a busy, vibrant city with many entertainment opportunities. For a quick look at Oxford's offerings, see the Oxford Visitor's Guide at http://www.oxfordcity.co.uk. For an interesting virtual tour of Oxford and environs, see http://www.chem.ox.ac.uk/oxfordtour.

In addition, we plan various gatherings for institute participants on the OCHJS campus. Although there are no athletic facilities on the campus, there are extensive gardens, as well as paths for walking and biking.

 

Useful Telephone Numbers

The telephone number for the administrative offices at OCHJS is (01865) 377946; FAX (01865) 375079. When calling from the U.S., you must first dial the international code (011), then the country code, (44), then the city code (1865), followed by the local number 377946. Note that when calling from the U.S., one omits the “0” in the Oxford city code (01865). When calling within the UK, the “0” is required.

Cell phones from the U.S. will not operate in the UK (or Europe) unless your provider can install an international SIM card. Few domestic cell phone companies offer this. Check with your cell phone provider to determine whether it can offer service in the UK.

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