London to Oxford by train

How to take a rail journey from London to beautiful Oxford

Oxford is an easy day trip from London by train, but there is a choice of departing from Marylebone or Paddington stations.
The ticket prices and journey times are sufficiently similar for the choice of station, from which to take the train, to be the key factor when selecting the optimum journey.

Marylebone is closer to central London, but is only served by the Bakerloo line of the London Undergound.
The Bakerloo line also goes to Paddington, but if you'll be taking it northbound, heading off from Marylebone becomes the logical choice, because Paddington is further away.

However, the tick in the box for Paddington is that is also served by the Circle, Hammersmith & City and District lines.

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Routes

Option 1: departing from Marylebone station

Travel Information

Final Destination: Oxford

All trains also call at: Bicester Village for the designer outlet retail park and Oxford Parkway

A Chiltern Mark 3 train is used for the 18:10 departure on Monday to Friday.

2 x trains per hour

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

The cheaper 'Advance' tickets tend to be available from around 10-11 weeks ahead of the travel date, but tickets can be booked up to 12 weeks ahead.
So if you look up a journey more than 10-12 weeks ahead and can't see any 'Advance' tickets, it will mean that they haven't been released for sale yet - it won't be because they have sold out.

The two disadvantages of booking an 'Advance' ticket is that they can only be used on the specific departure you select when making a booking; and then if you don't take that train, because you change your travel plans or don't get to the station on time, they can't be refunded.

The big plus of booking an 'Advance' ticket is the price, they can be more than £14 cheaper than the alternative Off-Peak and Anytime tickets.

Though the cheaper 'Advance Ticket's won't USUALLY be available at all on the busiest departures, so trains departing London between 17:00 and 19:00 tend to be more expensive

There can also be limited availability on certain travel dates, and these restrictions are listed on the Chiltern Railways website - the lack of 'Advance' ticket availability is usually indicative that services will be disrupted on those dates due to works on the railway.

Booking at the station:

The Advance tickets won't be available if you book tickets last minute at the station, but if you will making a day trip and booking tickets last minute at the station, look out for the 'Off Peak Day Return' tickets; particularly if you will be using ticket machine.
Those Day Return tickets cost only 10p more than an Off Peak single ticket.

Though if you will be making a London to Oxford day trip by train, it can pay off to book online in advance.
Typically if you can book just a couple of days ahead, two single Advance tickets for each way of the journey can save £10 compared to the price of an Off-Peak Day Return ticket.

Seat Reservations:

Chiltern Railways doesn't offer seat reservations on its trains, so aim to be at Marylebone at least 10 mins before departure to absolutely ensure you have a seat.
Though in ShowMeTheJourney's experience seats will be available on the overwhelming majority of departures on this Marylebone to Oxford route.
Although that being at the station early advice, particularly applies if you will be leaving London between 16:30 and 18:30.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
Chiltern Railways from £5.40

Chiltern Railways Guide

National Rail from £5.40

National Rail Guide

In Great Britain each Train Operating Company provides its own booking service for journeys by its trains, but many of their websites also sell tickets for nationwide journeys, regardless of which company operates the trains on the routes you wish to travel by.

The National Rail website is plugged into all of the train operator's booking services, so when more than one of these companies offers tickets for a route, it in effect offers a price comparison service.
It isn't a ticket agent, so you will be connected to the website of your choice in order to make a booking.

National Rail from £5.40

National Rail Guide

In Great Britain each Train Operating Company provides its own booking service for journeys by its trains, but many of their websites also sell tickets for nationwide journeys, regardless of which company operates the trains on the routes you wish to travel by.

The National Rail website is plugged into all of the train operator's booking services, so when more than one of these companies offers tickets for a route, it in effect offers a price comparison service.
It isn't a ticket agent, so you will be connected to the website of your choice in order to make a booking.

On this journey

Good to Know

When making a train journey from London to Oxford you can;

(1) take these trains operated by Chiltern Railways from London Marylebone station

(2) OR take alternative trains operated by Great Western Railway (GWR) from London Paddington station.

There is typically no difference in ticket price as both Chiltern Railways and Great Western Railway (GWR) offer discounted Advance tickets if you can book ahead online.

Those GWR trains are marginally faster, but Paddington station is further from central London than Marylebone.
So what can tip the balance for what route you should choose is whether the starting point of your end-to-end journey from London to Oxford has easier access to Marylebone or Paddington stations.

If you will be taking the Bakerloo Line from central London, it's highly likely that you'll have a faster end-to-end journey if you make the connection into a train on to Oxford at Marylebone, rather than at Paddington.

Though also worth knowing is that if you book Advance tickets for the GWR services, you will receive a complimentary seat reservation, so your seat(s) will be assigned, but seat reservations are not available on these Chiltern Railways services.
Also if you want to travel First Class you will need to take those GWR services.

Option 2: departing from Paddington station

Travel Information

Final Destination: Oxford or Worcester or Great Malvern or Hereford

The new Intercity Express trains operate virtually all trains from Paddington station to Oxford - incuding all those which continue to destinations beyond Oxford, but be aware that these other trains may still be used on occasional departures, particularly at weekends.

Monday to Saturday: 2 x trains per hour
Sundays: 1 x train per hour

Tickets

Book early and save: Yes

The cheaper 'Advance' tickets tend to be available from around 10-11 weeks ahead of the travel date, but tickets can be booked up to 12 weeks ahead.
So if you look up a journey more than 10-12 weeks ahead and can't see any 'Advance' tickets, it will mean that they haven't been released for sale yet - it won't be because they have sold out.

The two disadvantages of booking an 'Advance' ticket is that they can only be used on the specific departure you select when making a booking - and then if you don't take that train, because you change your travel plans or don't get to the station on time, they can't be refunded.

The big plus of booking an 'Advance' ticket is the price, they can be more than £14 cheaper than the alternative Off-Peak and Anytime tickets.

Though the cheaper 'Advance Ticket's won't USUALLY be available at all on the busiest departures, so trains departing London between 17:00 and 19:00 tend to be more expensive.

Also worth knowing is that on this route, Advance tickets will only be available until 18:00 (6pm) on the day before travel.

Booking at the station:

The Advance tickets won't be available if you book tickets last minute at the station, but if you will making a day trip and booking tickets last minute at the station, look out for the 'Off Peak Day Return' tickets - particularly if you will be using ticket machine.
Those Day Return tickets cost only 10p more than an Off Peak single ticket.

Though if you will be making a London to Oxford day trip by train, it can pay off to book online in advance.
Typically if you can book just a couple of days ahead two single Advance tickets for each way of the journey can save £10 compared to the price of an Off-Peak Day Return ticket.

Seat Reservations:

Book an Advance ticket for these GWR trains and not only will you save money, but you will also have a complimentary seat reservation.

In contrast if you book Off-Peak tickets, singles or Day Returns, your seat(s) won't be assigned.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
GWR from £5.40

GWR Guide

National Rail from £5.40

National Rail Guide

In Great Britain each Train Operating Company provides its own booking service for journeys by its trains, but many of their websites also sell tickets for nationwide journeys, regardless of which company operates the trains on the routes you wish to travel by.

The National Rail website is plugged into all of the train operator's booking services, so when more than one of these companies offers tickets for a route, it in effect offers a price comparison service.
It isn't a ticket agent, so you will be connected to the website of your choice in order to make a booking.

National Rail from £5.40

National Rail Guide

In Great Britain each Train Operating Company provides its own booking service for journeys by its trains, but many of their websites also sell tickets for nationwide journeys, regardless of which company operates the trains on the routes you wish to travel by.

The National Rail website is plugged into all of the train operator's booking services, so when more than one of these companies offers tickets for a route, it in effect offers a price comparison service.
It isn't a ticket agent, so you will be connected to the website of your choice in order to make a booking.

On this journey

Good to Know

When making a train journey from London to Oxford you can;

(1) Take these trains operated by Great Western Railway (GWR) from London Paddington station.

(2) OR take alternative trains operated by Chiltern Railways from London Marylebone station

There is typically no difference in ticket price as both Great Western Railway (GWR) and Chiltern Railways offer discounted Advance tickets if you can book ahead online.

These GWR trains are marginally faster, but Paddington station is further from central London than Marylebone.

So what can tip the balance for what route you should choose is whether the starting point of your end-to-end journey from London to Oxford has easier access to Marylebone or Paddington stations.

If you will be taking the Bakerloo Line from central London, it's highly likely that you'll have a faster end-to-end journey if you make the connection into a train on to Oxford at Marylebone, rather than at Paddington.

Though also worth knowing is that if you book Advance tickets for these GWR services, you will receive a complimentary seat reservation, so your seat(s) will be assigned, but seat reservations are not available on those Chiltern Railways services.

Also if you want to travel First Class you will need to take these GWR services.

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