O2 Oxford Academy, 190 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1UE
Public Transport – Oxford railway station is around 2 miles from the venue, and there are buses and night buses running to and from the station to the venue throughout the day. Take the City 5 bus through the city centre, which stops on Cowley Road, about 100 yards from the venue.
Night buses back to the centre are all preceded by an N and take cash fares (although this may have changed with Covid precautions).
Driving – the venue is best approached from junction 8A of the M40, the A34 Junction 13, Newbury Bypass if coming from the M4, or the A40 if approaching from the West. Cowley Road is the B480 off the Eastern By-pass A4142.
Parking – Parking is not brilliant near the venue – there is a council car park called Union Street Car Park, OX4 1JP, with 74 spaces and no height restriction but is quite expensive at £15 if you are staying over 4 hours. However, the website says
The overnight charge starts at 8pm, however if a customer arrives at 7pm we would only require payment up until 8pm, the ticket machine will then transfer automatically into the evening tariff.
The customer does not need to pay the evening fee in addition to the daytime tariff.
So according to this, you only need to pay the fee up til 8pm from your arrival.
There is also a similar car park at St Clement Street, a little further away (about half a mile/10 mins walk) – OX4 1AB and also street parking around 10-15 minutes’ walk further down Cowley Road (away from the centre). In the immediate vicinity the street parking is permit only – check Google maps Streetview for the streets further along.
There are several disabled parking spaces on the streets near to the venue, and also in the council car parks – according to Oxford City Council’s Website, Blue Badge Holders can park in resident zones as well as marked disabled bays.
Park and Ride
Oxford has 5 Park and Ride sites, all open 24 hours, and where you can park overnight too. The best one for getting to the venue is the Thornhill one, off the M40 and A40 to the east of the city. The 400 bus takes you into the centre in 15 mins, and is closest to Cowley Road – you need to get off at St Clements Street stop and walk from there. The timetable runs until just before midnight.
Food and Drink
Cowley Road has no end of places to eat – there is a huge amount of takeaways and also a Nando’s, KFC, Subway, Costa, Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s Express and also a good number of restaurants and daytime cafes, including one in a Record Shop called Truck Store, all within a 5-10 minute walk of the venue. Click the link at the start of this paragraph for the Google map of the area. Particularly recommended by a local fan is Kasbar, a Moroccan bar and Tapas restaurant, open til midnight.
There are several pubs close by, some also serve food – one that may be of interest is the James Street Tavern, unsurprisingly on James Street, which has a covered garden and sun terrace, but not currently doing food.
The Black Swan on Crown Street also has a James lyric connection, and is an Irish Bar but not serving food.
The Cowley Retreat is on the corner of Bullingdon Road and Cowley Street, on the next block to the venue and may be the best option for meet-ups. It has a large outdoor garden and is serving a reduced menu of burgers and fries.
The Library is also very close to the venue, a small pub serving craft beers.
There is a Brewdog further up, but is unfortunately closed on Tuesdays.
A 5 minute walk down Cowley Road away from the town, past Manzil Street Gardens, brings you to the City Arms, which may be a better bet for a drink and food. They serve burgers, chicken, veggie options, pies and curries and have a pancake offer on Tuesdays!
A little further in the opposite direction, towards the centre, is Big Society, a large pub/American style diner on the corner of Cowley Road and Jeune Street which is open until midnight, serves a good pub menu til 10pm and has 2 beer gardens.
In the continuing Extraordinary Times we find ourselves in, you will appreciate that the venue is going to be set up a little differently to what we are used to. As you will already know, you will need to provide proof of your vaccination via the NHS app, or paper equivalent or a registered Lateral Flow Test done within 24 hours of the show. The venue has a comprehensive guide to all the Covid protocols, which can be found here – https://www.academymusicgroup.com/o2academyoxford/faqs-reopening-update
They have specified that you do not bring a bag larger than 30cm x 21cm – roughly around the size of an A4 sheet of paper and the cloakroom will not be available.
Toilets will be available but expect longer queues than usual – so you may need to plan your drinking with this in mind! Similarly, the bars will be open but they request that you use contactless payment where possible.
Please arrive in plenty of time – the venue say that their staff will be on hand to direct you and answer any questions and if you are booked for the VIP, you will have further instructions emailed to you directly nearer the time.
There are still lots of good deals to be had via Booking.com and similar sites for that night – with it being a Tuesday, it’s not as in demand as a weekend – and there is a Premier Inn on Cowley Road near to the by-pass which is still showing as a reasonable price (£68 at the time of checking), along with a few others across the city) and Travelodge have several hotels nearby too – the one at the Peartree services is currently £45 for that night.
Oxford City Centre
If you’re around during the day, you might want to go into historical Oxford itself and have a wander around. There are several city guides online with all you need to know
Oxford City Guide – everything you need for your visit to Oxford City
Oxford City Guide with downloadable Audio Tours, including a Harry Potter Tour