Traveling Internationally with Instruments

Travel recommendations for visitors to the Oxford workshop.

Where is the workshop?

St. Edmund Hall of Oxford University; main switchboard +44 (1865) 279000

The formal address is St Edmund Hall, Oxford, OX1 4AR. It is located in Queen’s Lane, just of the High St. (“The High” in Oxford parlance), and here is the Google map reference. The William Miller building is at Dawson Street, OX4 1GF. and here is the map reference.

Travel recommendations within the UK, including from airports, can also be found on the St. Edmund Hall website.

See also the satellite view of the college and the map of Oxford.

Flying to Britain and airport links

The most convenient international airport to get to Oxford is Heathrow, LHR. There is a frequent coach (=nice bus!) service from LHR which stops in the High St. at Queen’s Lane, a few yards from the college, and (the previous stop) at St. Clements, a few yards from the William Miller Building. The buses run every 20 minutes during the day, and details can be found at the Oxford Bus Company website.

Some people may find the Continental service from Newark to Birmingham, BHX (or other, indirect links to BHX) to be better for them. BHX is served directly by British Rail, and there are hourly trains from Birmingham International direct to Oxford. The schedule can be found on the National Rail web site. This site will also help if you are spending time elsewhere in the UK before or after the workshop. If you know your schedule you can often find cheaper fares for advance purchase on The Trainline website.

Good fares can usually be found on Expedia, though it is worth keeping an eagle eye out for airline sales, and the discounts sometimes available on individual airline web sites. Most major airlines fly to Heathrow, with direct flights to most major cities worldwide. Early booking is advisable as flights are often full at this time of year, and even if not full, the cheaper seats may be taken.

Travelling by car or train in the UK

The St. Edmund Hall website gives information about the college and location details (under Contact Us>Maps, including one for the William Miller Building).

It is not impossible to park a car for the week in Oxford, but you would need a serious discussion with your bank manager first! The best options are the Park and Ride places but note that they only allow a maximum of three days’ stay. It is possible to stop briefly at St Edmund Hall or the Miller Building to drop luggage and then go to park. Seacourt is recommended, as the no. 400 bus goes direct from there to Queens Lane and also to St. Clements for the Miller building; the timetable (schedule) is here.

Oxford is well served by trains from all directions. The No. 5 bus outside Oxford station takes you directly to the Queens Lane stop on High St, and the next stop is near the Miller building. The bus runs every 8 minutes during the day and, less frequently, in the evening, and the schedule is here.

Travelling with musical instruments

It is essential to check your airlines’ policy for musical instrument carry-ons before flying. This is normally on their web site, and you may wish to print it out to take it to the airport if you have an instrument that does not fit in your single normal carry-on. You may need special packing, or early arrival at the airport, or a polite request to the check-in agent to call to check with their supervisor.

If you are travelling from the USA do not attempt to bring an instrument with any ivory parts, such as reinforcing rings on antique bassoons, ivory tips on bows. You will get it into England but may have it confiscated and destroyed by US Customs on your return. If your instrument is made of a protected species on the CITES 2 Appendix it is not a prohibited import but it would be wise to carry a manufacturers’ receipt showing the date of purchase. For example, cocobolo was added to the list in 2013 for raw lumber. If in doubt, check.

Remember to put your sharp pointy things in your check-in luggage: screwdrivers, reed knives, bass clarinet pegs, etc.

Insurance

Check your musical instrument insurance policy to see if they do cover loss and damage to instruments in checked baggage – just in case. Some do, some don’t, and some may impose conditions such as acceptable instrument cases. Many airlines will not cover instruments, or will limit liability to, say, $2,500. Check this in good time. Lark and Allianz have good reputations as musical instrument insurers, and Lark at least will insure checked instruments.

What if I have questions?

After you are accepted into the workshop, you will receive additional details via email. You also may contact the Workshop Director by email if you have any other questions.