Oxfordshire County Council logo

Living in Oxfordshire

Information about living and working in Oxfordshire - and our accommodation guide for key workers.

Make yourself at home

Historic market towns, a bustling city, and picturesque, open landscapes: Oxfordshire is a county where you can settle into your own pace of life. Stop and smell the flowers along the Ridgeway, or bounce with the crowd at Oxford’s O2 Academy. Oxfordshire suits many different lifestyles, including a busy social worker’s.

Vs. London

Renting costs 40 per cent less than in the capital and buying costs 43 per cent less on average. The cost of accommodation also stacks up well against our neighbours in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Surrey. And we can offer up to £8,000 in relocation costs to the right candidate.

Well connected

Being one of the most rural counties in England doesn’t mean residents are isolated. London and Birmingham are an hour away on the train, and there is a 24-hour luxury coach, seven days a week that connects Oxford to the capital. Whether you choose to live in our county or not, you’ll find our social work bases easy to access.

A place for pleasure

As a member of the team we’d encourage you to enjoy everything our county has to offer from performances at Didcot’s Cornerstone, to a leisurely day shopping at Bicester Village, to cheering on Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium.

Above average education

As well as being home to two world famous universities, Oxfordshire has brilliant schools. In 2018, over 90% of children got a place at their first choice primary school. The county has GCSE pass rates above the national average, and above average key stage one and two scores.

Local benefits

We offer a staff discount scheme for a range of retailers, holidays, insurance, restaurants, health and leisure activities and rail travel. We also offer a cycle to work scheme, paid eye tests and contributions towards glasses, generous pension contributions of 19.9% with a death in service payment, up to 32 days annual leave each year and paid time off for volunteering.

Our social work bases


Large enough to have the buzz of a major city, but small enough to feel personal, Oxford defies the city stereotype.

You have a wealth of diversity, history, culture and entertainment on your doorstep, including:

  • the redeveloped Westgate Shopping Centre
  • theatres
  • five cinemas
  • the O2 Academy
  • football from Oxford United
  • the Ashmolean museum
  • Museum of Natural History

Although house prices in Oxford are high, residential areas just outside of the city centre, such as Cowley are more affordable. The city is also commuting distance from towns and villages such as Abingdon, Kidlington, and Didcot.


If you’d rather be based further south, try Abingdon on Thames in the Vale of the White Horse, the oldest, continually occupied town in Britain.

Situated on the river Thames, Abingdon offers plenty of shops, cafes, restaurants, markets, riverside walks and pubs.

The average cost of a two bedroom let is £950* per month, and semi-detached property costs roughly £337,600*.

It’s easy to reach from Reading, Newbury, and Swindon – 45, 30 and 50 minutes away respectively. And regular bus services connect you to Oxford’s centre.


Another eight miles drive south of Abingdon is the railway town of Didcot. This well connected town is easily accessible by road and train - just a 14 minutes train ride to Oxford and Reading, and 45 minutes to London.

At its heart sits the Orchard Centre – offering over 30 shops, cafes, a cinema and local markets – and the thriving Cornerstone Arts Centre.

Didcot is also home to Great Western Park, a brand new development with new housing, shops, schools and a college.

And just a stone’s throw away you can find beautiful countryside, such as the iconic Wittenham Clumps.

The average semidetached property is £311,459* and rents sit around £950* per month for a two bedroom property


For those who would prefer the north of the county, Banbury might just be for you. Living in Banbury is being a 20 minute train ride from Oxford, 30 minutes from Coventry and 45 minutes from Birmingham.

According to RightMove, an average semi-detached house in Banbury costs £256,030* and the average rent for a two bedroom property is £800* per month

Even at these prices residents are on the edge of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, where you’ll find Bampton – or Downton, as you may know it from ITV’s Downton Abbey.


Home to the UK’s largest self-build scheme and the world famous Bicester Village designer outlet, Bicester is a thriving, growing town.

New rail links get you to London in 50 minutes and Oxford in 15, yet housing prices are a snip at £308,342* for the average semi-detached house. The average rent for a two bedroom property is £950*.

With millions of pounds being invested, the town will soon offer a new sports village, new schools and an even wider choice of shops.


Sitting roughly 12 miles west of Oxford lies the pretty Cotswolds town of Witney.

This market town, the largest in the district of West Oxfordshire, has a thriving community and picturesque church green at its centre.

Its blend of history, culture and shopping make it a great place to both live and work. And with the chocolate box scenery of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds on your doorstep, you’ll never be short of places to visit at weekends.

Average house prices sit at around £330,477* for a semi-detached and £850* for a two bed rental.

*The housing and rental prices quoted are taken from RightMove.co.uk and are correct as of December 2019.

You don’t have to move

If moving to Oxfordshire isn’t an option then you can still work for our social care team.

Oxfordshire is well connected by major roads and public transport. It’s less than an hour by train to London and Birmingham and a 24-hour luxury coach services connects Oxford to London.

We are also under an hour from many places:

Place Time to office
Aylesbury 45 mins to our Oxford office
High Wycombe  40 mins to our Oxford office
Newbury  30 mins to our Abingdon office
Reading 45 mins to our Abingdon office
Swindon 50 mins to our Abingdon office
Coventry 40 mins to our Banbury office
Stratford Upon Avon 35 mins to our Banbury office
Warwick 25 mins to our Banbury office
Birmingham 45 mins to our Banbury office

20 per cent of our social work staff regularly commute into the county from Northants, Buckinghamshire, Reading, Swindon, Coventry and even Birmingham. Many of staff pair up for car shares, or find a lift share match online, and all six of our social work bases are reachable with public transport.

Finding a home in Oxfordshire - a guide for key workers

We know that care workers and other key workers can find it difficult to find affordable housing in the county. Finding a Home in Oxfordshire (pdf format, 1.4Mb) is a useful guide to your options. It includes information about how to access affordable rented housing through district councils and the help you may be able to get to find housing in the private rented sector.