In applying for an Oxford traineeship many people find themselves relocating to the city for the year, perhaps never having visited Oxford before. Renowned worldwide as “the city of dreaming spires”, Oxford has for centuries been considered one of the most desirable places to live and work. Steeped in history, yet at the same time thriving and modern, Oxford represents the best of the British university city, with tradition and progress standing shoulder to shoulder.
As a library trainee, you’ll find yourself at the centre of both aspects of the city as its libraries and colleges are its oldest and most prized assets, while both are constantly striving to remain at the forefront of educational excellence.
Aside from admiring the view, however, Oxford is a pleasant and vibrant place to live, busy yet not overwhelming, at times quiet but never dull. Offering “something for everyone” has become a tired phrase, yet few cities in Britain have so strong a claim as Oxford to providing just that.
The sections below offer information about living in Oxford and about what the city has to offer.
Finding somewhere to live in Oxford can be both harder and easier than it looks. It’s harder because there’s never quite what you want, quite when you want it, and it always costs more than you think – the prices here are just about the same as London. On the other hand, there are so many landlords, estate agents and tenancy agents, that you should be able to get plenty of help in finding what you want. The most common choice amongst trainees is privately rented accommodation, found either through letting agents in the area or directly through the landlord. There are also lots of students and young professionals in the city who have spare rooms and advertise them in newspapers and on the internet, so housesharing is a popular option for library trainees.
Council tax in Oxford is quite high, and you will be jointly liable for its payment in shared houses. If you are sharing accommodation with students, you as a non-student will end up paying a disproportionate amount of council tax (up to 80%), so this is something to bear in mind whilst seeking accommodation.
Other options for accomodation are lodging, which is an affordable means of living in good quality central accommodation or renting university accomodation. The University can provide “transit accommodation” for newly-arrived staff. The University Land Agent’s and Accommodation Office offers single rooms in shared houses, single flats and housing for couples and families, for between six months and a year. Eligibility and rates can be found on the Accommodation Office’s website.
There is also the option of communiting from beyond Oxford, it’s not particulary common amongst trainees however can be a good option if you already live within reasonable distance or have parents or a partner who do. Oxford is generally very well served by trains and buses, both of which have their pros and cons. Trains are usually faster but are also usually a lot more expensive than buses and both of them can be unreliable at times. Driving is also an option but the traffic can be awful and unless you have somewhere to park in Oxford then you’ll need to use the Park & Ride. Commuting can be an excellent way to save money however the downside to communiting is travelling and being further away from the social network that living in Oxford can provide.
The Oxford University Accommodation Office is a good starting point for seeking advice and information about relocating to Oxford and the options avaliable in terms of accommodation.
Links to letting agents websites
- Andrews Letting and Management (01865 396500)
- Breckon and Breckon (01865 201111)
- College and County (01865 722722)
- Finders Keepers (01865 260111)
- John D Wood & Co. (01865 575168)
- Lucy Properties (01865 559973)
- Oxford Shortlets (0870 311696)
- Leaders (01865 764533)
- Rentaflat (01865 726966)
Other useful websites
Daily Info is a weekly Oxford publication. The website has lots of adverts for all sorts of accommodation, including houses and house- and flat-shares. People looking for lodgers also tend to place ads here. Using Daily Info, or the University Gazette (see below) will also allow you to avoid agent’s fees. Be warned that properties can be snapped up very fast!
Oxford University Gazette is the University’s official newsletter, and is always worth checking for places to rent.