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. It is also possible to fly to Birmingham International Airport, which offers direct rail service to Oxford. Travel time from the Birmingham airport to Oxford is about 75 minutes. 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,
see London Stansted Airport. 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 below 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. Follow driving directions below from Heathrow and Gatwick:
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 about £14. The Oxford train station is about 6 blocks beyond the Gloucester Green bus station. Taxi fare from the train station is about £17. The S3 Stagecoach bus travels from the train station to Yarnton.
While travel back and forth from Yarnton to Oxford is not much of a problem during the day, after 5 PM public bus transportation is more limited. Local bus service is provided by the Stagecoach Line. For timetable click here. Service to Yarnton is provided by bus S3 about every 30 minutes. The local stop is Yarnton Village, the Paddocks, about 1/3 mile from OCHJS. After 7:30 PM until 11:58 PM the bus stops each hour at Yarnton. Please note that the last bus on Sunday drops off at 8:09 PM. Bus and minibus schedules are even more limited on weekends. If you plan to be out late (past midnight on 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. The cost is about £10/week.
For general travel information from Oxford by rail or by bus, click on travel and transport at Explore Oxford and Oxfordshire.
For rail passes, schedules and charges, see Eurail Passes
For low cost bus service from Oxford to London or Cambridge, see Megabus, at Megabus Routes in the UK
For information on travel within London via the Tube (subway) or by bus, see Transport for London
OCHJS also runs a shuttle bus service from its campus to stops in Oxford; participants may elect to use this service at a nominal charge. 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 Europcar Car Rental 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 Eurail Passes.
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 Traveler's 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.
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 Oxford Visitors. For an interesting virtual tour of Oxford and environs, see Virtual Tour of Oxford.
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.
I have planned a welcome gathering for all participants on Sunday, 13 July at 6:00 PM at the Manor House in Yarnton. There, you’ll meet the other participants. You’ll also learn more about our schedule and program at that time. Other social events are also being considered—e.g. a bus tour of Oxford, wine and cheese evenings, picnics, pub tours, etc. Also we plan to have a walking tour of medieval Jewish Oxford. If you have any particular requests or suggestions for such events, please let me know.
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 consult AccuWeather - Oxford
Participants should make certain that they have adequate medical insurance coverage for travel to England. Many HMO plans provide coverage only for emergency room treatment. However, several insurers provide special riders or medical plans for travelers.
Additional travel instructions, as well as specific information on the program syllabus, will be provided on this site in the next few months. In the interim, please direct questions to Professor Irven M. Resnick via e-mail ([email protected]) or phone (423) 425-4446; FAX (423) 425-4153.