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Wallingford is a Thames-side town that blends historic charm with modern amenities. At its market centre, a vibrant mix of independent retailers can be found alongside pavement cafes and antique shops. Other local treasures include the weekly and monthly markets, and The Corn Exchange theatre.
For newcomers to the area, the town is made even more appealing given the beauty of its surrounding greenery. Wallingford’s quintessential English countryside was made famous by the TV series Midsomer Murders, which was filmed here.
Situated on the Thames Path and close to the Ridgeway, these scenic open spaces are best explored on foot. Many visitors come to walk the Agatha Christie Trail, which stops at the writer’s former house and final resting place in Cholsey. The Wallingford Castle Meadows is another tourist trap, not to mention the outdoor heated pool that sits adjacent to Wallingford Bridge. Both are just as popular with residents, especially during the summer months.
While there are few reasons to leave Wallingford, those commuting have impressive transport links nearby connecting to Oxford and central London. Coupled with local schools and an abundance of property types, this area attracts a diverse population of both young and old.
The closest train station is two miles south of Wallingford in the picturesque village of Cholsey. Frequent services travel between here and London Paddington, as well as Reading and Oxford. Other major services can be found at Didcot Parkway, which is just a 12-minute drive away. From here, trains connect to the capital, the West Country and Wales.
Wallingford is surrounded by the M40, M4 and A34. This offers convenience for those travelling by car: central Oxford can be reached in 33 minutes, and Reading in 24 minutes. Heathrow is the closest international airport, taking approximately 46 minutes via the M40.
Wallingford School, the area’s main secondary school, is judged ‘good’ by government watchdog Ofsted. It’s a popular choice for parents given the excellent A level results and impressive facilities. As a Sports Specialist College, it encourages active development, with an exciting roster of extra-curricular activities. Its Special Education Needs department is also highly renowned, with dedicated staff to help individual students.
Many of the local primaries and infant schools feed into Wallingford School. These offer similar appeal, with many judged ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’. The most desirable include Fir Tree Junior School, St John’s Primary School, and St Nicholas CE Infants’ School and Foundation Stage Unit.
Those embarking on higher education have the convenience of nearby Abingdon & Witney College. A range of courses for the young adult includes first degrees, apprenticeships and adult learning. The college is just a 21-minute drive from Wallingford.
The ruins of Wallingford Castle provide an insight into the area’s regal past. This stronghold shaped the town’s history for over 600 years, when royal opulence gave way to civil unrest, leading to its eventual demise during the Black Death. Although little remains of the castle, the surrounding gardens are still enjoyed by visitors and residents alike.
Following the castle’s demolition, Wallingford became better known for its market town character. Thanks to its proximity to the Thames, the area prospered during the Middle Ages as a trading destination. Several weekly markets keep that heritage alive today, allowing residents to buy everything from hand-crafted goods to locally sourced produce.
Whether it’s the outdoor pursuits, historic treasures or family-friendly fun, Wallingford boasts an exciting mix of attractions. Here are just a few of the highlights: