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Where to Stay in Oxford: Best Areas & Hotels, 2019

Written by Carri Wilbanks

Oxford, home to the famous Oxford University, founded in the 12th century, is an ancient college town and a wonderful place to explore. It's popular with all types of travelers, from families to couples, looking for a weekend or longer escape. There are numerous hotels, from luxury to budget, which, regardless of cost, tend to be smaller historic inns, bed-and-breakfasts, or boutique hotels, which appeal to all kinds of tourists.

The best area to stay is the historic city center, where you'll find the various colleges; medieval churches; and plenty of striking Gothic buildings housing museums, shops, theaters, restaurants, and hotels, like the luxe Vanbrugh House Hotel and the Old Bank Hotel.

Summertown, about 2.5 kilometers north of the historic city center, is the second best area to stay. This popular suburb hosts a number of hotels, including the family-friendly Galexie Hotel and mid-range Burlington Hotel. The main street, Banbury Road, is filled with restaurants, shops, and galleries, and if you walk far enough south on it, you'll reach Oxford proper.

Where to Stay for Luxury

All Souls College

All Souls College

One of Oxford's top luxury hotels is Old Parsonage Hotel in the heart of the historic city center, next to St. Giles church, and surrounded by colleges and charming restaurants. The hotel is elegant and historic, with an original front door dating back to the late 1600s and the original stone hearth in the lobby. There are just 35 rooms and suites, which are stylish and individually decorated and feature marble bathrooms and often freestanding tubs. Away from the rooms, there is a restaurant serving classic British bistro fare, a garden terrace, library, and bikes for guests to use. Parking is free.

Old Bank Hotel has a prestigious location next to some of Oxford's oldest colleges and is also in the heart of the city center, within walking distance of shops, restaurants, and the theater. The property is housed in connecting buildings, which date in part back to the 1300s. The 42 rooms are all luxe in their decor and come in a few different sizes, but the superior deluxe rooms are the best choice as they feature views across the city from comfy window seats. On-site amenities include a restaurant, bikes for guests to use, and free city walking tours by a resident guide.

Vanbrugh House Hotel is another excellent luxury choice in a fantastic location, within walking distance of shopping, dining, and museums and across form the Oxford Union buildings. This boutique hotel is inside an 18th-century Cotswold townhouse and features just 22 individually styled rooms and suites, which are all elegantly appointed and very comfortable, with features like claw-foot bathtubs and four-poster bed frames. Amenities include free Wi-Fi and a restaurant, which serves breakfast and lunch with an option to dine on a garden terrace.

Where to Stay: Mid-Range

Panoramic view of Oxford

Panoramic view of Oxford

One of the top mid-range properties is in the suburb of Summertown. The Burlington House Hotel is on a quiet street just a block from where the bus running into the city center stops. Inside a Victorian home, it's a classic B&B with 12 individually decorated and brightly-colored rooms featuring comfortable beds, flatscreen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. The included breakfast is delicious and comes with hot and continental selections. There is free parking on-site and a relaxing Japanese garden courtyard.

Royal Oxford Hotel is another good-value hotel just a 10-minute walk from Oxford's historic city center. There are 26 rooms, which are simple in decor but well maintained with flatscreen TVs, free snacks, and Wi-Fi. There is a 24-hour front desk and on-site dry cleaning and laundry service. Other amenities include a breakfast buffet for a fee and a Korean restaurant serving lunch and dinner.

The Holt Hotel is a little ways outside of town but worth the stay if you want to be in the countryside. Located in a 15th-century coaching inn, about 1.6 kilometers from the Heyford train station, the historic hotel features individually styled rooms done up in period decor. On-site amenities include a restaurant, free Wi-Fi, and conference rooms. The property is also pet-friendly and welcomes children.

Where to Stay on a Budget

Radcliffe Camera, Oxford University

Radcliffe Camera, Oxford University

Travelodge Oxford Peartree Hotel is a budget choice located just off the A34 about 5.5 kilometers from the city center. The rooms are spacious and tidy and feature king beds with comfortable mattresses and soft duvets, as well as flatscreen TVs and work desks. There are also family rooms with pullout sofas, and children under 16 sleep free with an adult guest.

Premier Inn Oxford Hotel is another budget bet, which offers clean and comfortable lodging but is not located in the city center proper. You'll find it on the outskirts of town but within walking distance of the Oxford Business Park. The rooms are contemporary in decor and relatively spacious. There is free Wi-Fi and parking, and an on-site restaurant serves three meals a day, including an all-you-can-eat breakfast for a fee.

Where to Stay for Families

Punting in Oxford

Punting in Oxford

For families looking for a boutique hotel experience, try the Galaxie Hotel, which is made up of two connecting red-brick Victorian houses on a residential street, about 1.6 kilometers from the city center, in the popular suburb of Summertown. This family-run B&B features 32 great-value rooms, which vary in size but are all stylish and modern in decor, with a mix of dark wood and soothing colors. All are clean, comfortable, and well-maintained. It also offers a few triple bed and interconnecting rooms for families. A full breakfast is included, and there is a garden area with a koi pond and sculptures to relax by.

Just three kilometers north of Oxford's city center and less than a 10-minute walk from shops and restaurants in Summertown, the Remont Oxford Hotel is another good family choice in the mid-range price bracket. It has contemporary rooms, which are clean and comfortable and feature lots of natural light, mango-wood furnishings, and colorful design accents. The property is also kid-friendly, with a dedicated family room featuring a double and single bed and an option for a cot. A full English breakfast is included in the rate, and there is also free parking, two lounges, and a garden with seating areas.

Where to Stay for Couples

Hertford Bridge, popularly known as the Bridge of Sighs

Hertford Bridge, popularly known as the Bridge of Sighs

De Vere Oxford Thames is in a naturally gorgeous location on 30 acres of parkland about five kilometers south of Oxford. It is an elegant, good-value property in a medieval manor, which has a distinct romantic vibe, featuring airy and spacious contemporary rooms, with comfy beds and, in many cases, balconies. There is an on-site restaurant with river vistas, a Roman bath-style indoor pool, a hot tub, spa, sauna, and steam room, as well as a fitness center, and an all-weather tennis court.

Set inside a medieval castle, Malmaison Oxford Castle is a good pick for couples. It is a luxe property that offers elegant rooms and suites with original building features, like exposed steel beams and brickwork, as well as modern amenities like free Wi-Fi and flatscreen TVs. Beds are comfy, and room service is available 24 hours a day. Amenities include a brasserie, which also serves afternoon tea, and paid parking.

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