You can fly into either Heathrow Airport or Gatwick Airport outside of London. Both airports have websites which contain valuable information including maps of the airport and travel information. Please visit:
You may exchange dollars for pounds at the airport or at a local bank. You can also order currency on-line. The United Kingdom has not converted to the Euro and still accepts British Pounds.
Travel to Oxford
The bus (coach) is the preferred means of transportation to Oxford. The bus will take you directly into Oxford with few stops along the way. You can pay by British Pounds, Euros or Dollars on the coach. The taxi’s in Oxford only accept cash. If you prefer to take a train, you will have to change trains midway to Oxford. Our participants, in the past, have found the train a hassle especially with luggage. You can find coach information at: https://airline.oxfordbus.co.uk/
Places to Visit in England
There are many beautiful places to visit while you are in England. If you are planning on taking a side trip either before or after the Round Table, please remember to book lodging accommodations early. You can find information about accommodations and places of interest in England near Oxford at the following internet addresses:
Salisbury Cathedral http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/
Warwick Castle https://www.warwick-castle.com/
Post offices in England are usually open from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday and 9:00 am to 12:30 pm on Saturday. The Porter’s Lodge at the College can also post mail for you as well.
Visitors to England are covered for emergency situations under the British National Health Service provisions. Illnesses arising from pre-existing or chronic conditions are NOT covered, so be certain before departure that your present healthcare insurance will cover you abroad. Be sure to fill prescriptions for any medication you take regularly before you leave the U.S. Always carry prescribed drugs in their original containers. This is most important when you go through customs.
No special immunizations are needed to enter England. The International Immunization Certificate is not required for travel in England or France. If a medical emergency occurs, contact the Oxford Round Table directors immediately.
Vehicular traffic in England is often congested and hectic. Since the English drive on the LEFT-HAND SIDE OF THE STREET, be very careful to look RIGHT THEN LEFT before crossing a street. You are cautioned to pay special attention to this difference since most Countries are conditioned to look for traffic in the opposite direction.
Clothes and Baggage
A good rule of thumb is to put everything you plan to take on the bed, then put a third of it back in the drawers. Pack a small canvas or nylon bag because you always come back with more items than you take with you. The college has coin-operated washers and dryers for your use. Remember to keep your passport and any other items you might need (medicine, glasses, contact lens case, film) in your carry-on luggage. Remember to pack light – you will be bringing souvenirs home.
When you receive your passport, you should immediately sign it on the appropriate page since it is not valid unless signed by the bearer. Keep your passport safe and never loan it to a friend or stranger under any circumstance. Many banks require you to show your passport when cashing traveler’s checks.
If your passport becomes lost or stolen, report this IMMEDIATELY to either the Oxford Round Table directors, or the nearest U.S. Consul. It is wise to photocopy the ID page of the passport twice: leave one at home with family members and keep one in your suitcase as you travel. If you can supply the Consulate with a photocopy of the data page, it will quicken the replacement process.
U.S. citizens do not need a visa for short stays in Europe.
U.S. passports: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html
*Passports take about 4-6 weeks to obtain depending upon your Country
Security officials in your city of departure may ask you numerous questions (e.g. did you pack your own luggage?). Don’t be nervous! Instead, take comfort in the fact that this process is for your own safety. Going into England requires you to pass through the customs checkpoint.
Upon arrival in England, proceed to the passport control area. You will be asked questions regarding the purpose and length of your trip. Explain that you are attending a conference. It helps to have your return ticket information on hand in case they ask for it. Proceed to the baggage claim area to pick up your luggage. Carts are usually available to carry your luggage. Remembering your flight number is helpful.
Do NOT leave your luggage unattended at any time.
Do NOT ask anyone else to watch your luggage.
Policemen watch unattended luggage very carefully and it can be confiscated.
Money and Extra Expenses
Although a small amount of cash in British pounds is necessary, the best rate of exchange is generally on your credit card. Some people will bring traveler’s checks but often it is a hassle to exchange them or to use them in a store.
Banks in England are normally open Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. Some independent Bureaux de Change will be open later hours, but often the rates will be higher. British currency is based on pounds and pence. There are 100 pence in a pound. Notes are in denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50. Coins come in various sizes.
Electrical voltage in England is 220 volts (ours is 110 volts). Your hairdryers, razors, etc., will not work there without adapters. Many appliances sold here have voltage transformers built into them (look for a 220 volt switch on the back or side of the appliance). Even if you have a switch, you will still need to purchase a three-pronged adapter for the British outlets (this can be obtained in England or in the US). If you decide to buy adapters in the U.S., check with either Radio Shack or Wal-Mart, or any travel store. Consider using battery operated appliances whenever possible.
Be prepared for all kinds of weather. Check the internet for weather in London or Oxford. Bring an umbrella!!
In general, England prices can be high. Remember to keep your receipts; when you return home, you may have to list everything and its price for customs. If you are making a fairly large purchase, ask the sales clerk for a Cashback (value-added tax) refund form. This form can be mailed to the merchant from the British Customs when you leave England and you will receive a refund in a few months.