Familiar as the fictional town in Midsomer Murders, Wallingford grew up in the 9th century and is little changed today.
Come to Wallingford on a Friday to visit the traditional Charter Market where traders sell all kinds of produce, including plants, eggs, cheese, fish, bread, clothes, fruit and vegetables, cards and gift wrap, pet food and more.
Enjoy a heritage train ride from the centre of Wallingford on the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway. This former Great Western Railway line is known affectionately as ‘The Bunk’, although no one can quite recall why.
Trains run on selected days (steam-hauled whenever possible) and a round-trip to Cholsey takes about 45 minutes. Along the way, look out for the church where Agatha Christie is buried and magnificent red kites.
Looking for a family day out? Riverside Parks and Pools in Wallingford provides watery fun for all during the summer season. There’s an outdoor heated swimming pool and a splash park for children, as well as a café, indoor changing area and even a campsite.
At the end of August, let your hair down at the annual BunkFest. Cancelled during the pandemic, plans are afoot for a bigger and better 2022, with music, dance, drink and spectacle.
Wallingford Town Council has created a six-mile Agatha Christie circular walking trail, which takes you past locations prominent in her life and on to her grave in Cholsey.
Wittenham Clumps, near Dorchester on Thames, are named after the two clumps of beech trees that crown Castle Hill and Round Hill – formerly known as ‘Mother Dunch’s Buttocks’. These tree clumps have watched over much of Wallingford’s history, being around 300 years old! The hills and their panoramic views of South Oxfordshire inspired such artists as the Chilterns’ own Paul Nash (1889-1946) who loved to paint these views.
Heading further afield
Brightwell Vineyard – 2 miles away
Brightwell Vineyard. This typical Chilterns vineyard produces white, rosé, red and sparkling wines, which frequently win medals. The vineyard and winery is open for sales on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 12-6pm. Sales at other times are available from the vineyard house or online. You can also find out more by booking a tour or wine tasting event.
Dorchester Abbey – 4 miles away
Dorchester Abbey is the church of the medieval abbey that was saved (along with its guest house) when the monasteries were ‘dissolved’ by Henry VIII. See the displays in the Cloister Gallery and 16th-century Old School Room, then take tea in the Abbey Tea Room.
Ewelme Watercress Beds and Local Nature Reserve
Ewelme Watercress Beds. North-east of Wallingford, Ewelme is nestled in a green dip, with narrow lanes and pretty cottages tumbling down the hillside to the now defunct watercress beds that are fed by the Ewelme Brook. Production of watercress has sadly ceased, but these beds are managed by the Chiltern Society who organise events in the reserve.
Didcot Railway Centre – 7 miles away
Didcot Railway Centre. There’s lots to see and do at this living museum. Marvel at the imposing and unique collection of Great Western Railway steam engines, coaches, wagons, set against the backdrop of the original 1930s engine shed. The Centre has also recreated a section of Brunel’s broad-gauge railway and relocated one of Didcot’s 19th-century Transfer Sheds.
Nuffield Place – 7 miles away
Nuffield Place was acquired by the National Trust, but was once the home of Lord Nuffield, the founder of Morris Motor Cars and one of the most remarkable men of the 20th century. Explore the perfect time capsule of the house, learn about his cars and enjoy the gardens. The property has seasonal opening times.