The city of Oxford, best known for its medieval university, has a population of 151,000 including a large student population. Home to some of the most affluent people in South East England, Oxford is rich in culture and offers a combination of excellent schools, a plethora of green spaces, proximity to the Cotswolds and good public transport links. Oxford, also referred to as the city of dreaming spires, is steeped in history, illustrated by the vast array of architectural buildings scattered across the city, dating back to the days of the Saxons. Oxford is known as the OX postcode area - a group of postal districts centred around the city. The main towns and villages include Chipping Norton, Didcot, Kidlington, Thame, Bicester, Burford, Carterton, Chinnor, Watlington, Witney, Woodstock, Abingdon, Bampton, Banbury, Wallingford and Wantage.
The High Street, in the centre of Oxford, is filled with the finest fashion outlets, restaurants, jewelers, antique shops, and the famous Oxford University shop. Other popular shopping streets include Saint Clements, Little Clarendon Street, Walton Street, Jericho, and the Covered Market, along with Banbury Road and South Parade in Summertown.
Oxford has a number of fashionable cafes, bars and restaurants, with a wide range of cuisine available, which appeals to all people with different tastes. A lot of pubs around the city also offer superb food, not to mention a fine selection of real ales.
Oxford is a highly desirable place to live. The area offers an extensive selection of attractive homes; Victorian cottages and houses, Regency houses, 1930s semi-detached houses, and new build houses and apartments. Oxford's property market is both strong and stable, which appeals to people seeking to buy property in Oxford. A number of properties in Oxford are owned by the local colleges. North Oxford is typically the most popular and expensive place to buy or rent a home in Oxford. Central north Oxford, which attracts a lot of London buyers, is made up of a network of streets that meet with Woodstock and Banbury Roads, surrounded by the canal to the west, the River Cherwell to the east and Marston Ferry Road to the north. Some of the popular streets to live in are located east of Banbury Road by the Dragon School, and include Bradmore, Crick, Bardwell, Norham, Charlbury, Linton and Garford Roads. Other popular areas include Jericho and Headington. More affordable homes can be found in East Oxford, in areas like Kennington, Littlemore and Blackbird Leys. As well as being a popular place to own property, Oxford also has a buoyant rental market, due partly to the city's large student population.
Getting about in Oxford, which has good public transport links, is best done on foot, by bus, by bike, or by taxi, because access for cars is greatly restricted and finding car parking is notoriously hard. There are five park and ride services located around Oxford's ring road. Buses in town and on the major bus routes are rather frequent and run until quite late at night, but there is no night bus service. Nevertheless, there are plenty of taxis about. Oxford is well linked to London. Getting to and from London from Oxford is extremely simple, thanks to regular direct trains. The railway station, located on the west side of the city, runs direct services to London Paddington which takes 55 minutes. A new Oxford to Marylebone route, which will take 66 minutes, will be introduced in 2013. The local coach and bus services - Oxford Bus Company, National Express and Oxford Tube also operate regular services to London Victoria, among other destinations.
Oxford is one of the most admired tourist destinations in England, with many people attracted to the University and other momentous buildings in the area. The citys attractions, like Carfax Tower and the University Church of St Mary and Virgin, are located within easy walking distance around the medieval heart of the city. Many tourists shop at the historic Covered Market. Check out the city's popular Ghost and Inspector Morse walking tours, or open-top bus tour, which operates throughout the day and allows passengers with tickets to hop on and off at their own discretion. Every Sunday in the summer time, Capital Sport offer self-guided cycling day trips along the Thames and into the nearby Cotswolds. You cannot visit, or live, in Oxford without having a ago at punting. The punt is a shallow-bottomed boat which holds up to six people and is propelled with the aid of a long pole. They are available at the Magdalen Bridge and Bardwell Road.
Oxford, which has a rich history dating back to the 9th century, is home to what is arguably the world's most famous university. The university at Oxford was founded in 1167. Car manufacturing and making vehicle parts are among the main industries in Oxford today, thanks to a man named Morris, who in 1913 started making cars in the city. By the 1930s Oxford was a major manufacturing centre. Today the Mini is built in Cowley. In the 1920s, a number of homes were built around Woodstock Road, along with many more in Wolvercote, Headington, Cowley and Iffle, after the boundaries of the city were extended. Residential construction continued in the 1930s, with more new build houses in Cumnor Hill and Headington Hill. Many council homes were built in Cutteslowe, Headington and Wolvercote. In the late 1950s and 1960s more council housing was constructed at Blackbird Leys and Rose Hill.
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The main hospitals in Oxford are John Radcliffe Hospital, OX3, Churchill Hospital, OX3, and Horton General Hospital, OX16.