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Oxford, Cambridge for Open Days: transport & lodging??

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Wayland, MA
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27 posts
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Oxford, Cambridge for Open Days: transport & lodging??

I am going to the UK from Boston MA in July with two sixteen year old girls who are thinking of applying to Cambridge and Oxford. What is the best way to get from Oxford to Cambridge? Train into London, and back out to Cambridge? Megabus? Driving? Will the driving be heinous because of the Open Days (is every sixth form student in the UK also driving there then?), plus I've never driven on that side of the road - or will taking the train and getting from the train station to the university be worse?

We plan to stay overnight in Cambridge, and return sometime the following day to London for sightseeing. Any recommendations for accommodations? I understand that the colleges sometimes allow prospective students to stay, but they won't say until their applications for Open days have been approved, and the applications aren't even out until April.

Thanks in advance!

Cambridge, UK
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1. Re: Oxford, Cambridge for Open Days: transport & lodging??

The drive from Oxford to Cambridge isn't too bad, but driving (and parking)within both towns is a bit of a nightmare. If you've never driven in the UK before, then trains are a much better option. Into London and back out again is the only option in that case, but it's not much trouble.

Cambridge is small, so getting from the train station to (most of) the college buildings is easy. Those that aren't within walking distance are easily accessible by bus or a short taxi ride.

Decent accommodation in Cambridge is sadly lacking. If you can stay in a college then great. Rooms tend to be basic, but clean and it's a good experience. Of the hotels, the Hilton by the river and Hotel Du Vin are the best of the bunch, they're not cheap though. There are a few good B&Bs (check reviews as there are some awful ones as well) and a decent Holiday Inn just outside of Cambridge, near Histon. Personally, I'd avoid the University Arms, Royal Cambridge, Crowne Plaza and Gonville Best Western - all over-priced with some very poor service at times.

Wayland, MA
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2. Re: Oxford, Cambridge for Open Days: transport & lodging??

Thank you for the response and advice!

I was considering using crashpadder.com - I saw a couple of offers that included parking. I'm hoping the girls will find lodging at one of the colleges, but I understand that there aren't enough available rooms to offer them to parents as well. My husband thinks I'll wake up missing one kidney or in a different country...

Bingley, United...
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3. Re: Oxford, Cambridge for Open Days: transport & lodging??

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Cambridge, United...
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4. Re: Oxford, Cambridge for Open Days: transport & lodging??

I often see the groups of potential students walking around on open days.

They certainly don't have their parents with them so you may like to treat yourself to a day of sightseeing / shopping.

Wales
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415 posts
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5. Re: Oxford, Cambridge for Open Days: transport & lodging??

Cambridge colleges offer B&B accommodation. It's cost effective and would give a good introduction to what it's like to be a student.

http://www.cambridgerooms.co.uk/

Cambridge, United...
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6. Re: Oxford, Cambridge for Open Days: transport & lodging??

There is the x5 coach between the two, takes around 3 hours though, plus free wifi and toilet onboard.

Wayland, MA
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7. Re: Oxford, Cambridge for Open Days: transport & lodging??

Thank you, all, for the advice. The X5 at 16:35 took 3 1/2 hours and did not have a bathroom, but it did catch up to the 16:05, so we couldn't complain.

We ended up staying one night at the Silverwood Lodge in Landbeach, 4 miles away, which was okay when we had the rental car planned.... but I left my driver's license in the US, so we had to use public transportation and cabs everywhere. Expensive (relative to the £90/3 day car rental) traveling as a group of three, and a pain in the butt dragging our rolling carry-on luggage around. The porters at Downing did allow us to stash our belongings for the day, bless'em.

We stayed at a crashpadder flat in London, and I stayed at another in Oxford without the girls. Great experiences both times, inexpensive AND bedbug-free. :-)

8. Re: Oxford, Cambridge for Open Days: transport & lodging??

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