Named in 2017 as one of the top 15 ‘best places to live in the South-East, Wallingford has plenty to offer those who choose to retire to this attractive South Oxfordshire town.
Wallingford was once an important Saxon stronghold and, in Norman times, minted its own coins on a site near Silversmith Place. Wallingford’s river crossing was famous as was its castle, where a peace treaty, signed in 1153, during the reign of King Stephen, marked the end of civil war.
Today, the River Thames and the ruined castle provide a scenic backdrop to this market town and the Castle Gardens and Castle Meadows are pleasant places to stroll. The town itself offers a peaceful atmosphere, level streets and selection of shops selling everything from clothes and shoes to gifts, jewellery, flowers and books.
The town’s architecture, including the ancient bridge and the Town Hall remain part of Wallingford’s heritage but many of the old buildings serve new purposes like the Lamb Arcade, once a coaching inn, now home to antique shops. Tracing the town’s history, the museum offers a ‘sight and sound’ experience and details events from Roman and Saxon times through to the English Civil War.
Whether you enjoy food and drink, relaxing walks, live music or sporting events, there’s always something going on in Wallingford.
For an evening of comedy, music or drama, there’s the Corn Exchange Theatre and the U3A which offers a monthly programme of talks and outings.
Wallingford’s four markets including the Friday Charter Market and the Local Producers’ Market held on Saturdays are always interesting – and ‘foodies’ will love the Wallingford Food Festival with stalls demonstrating a variety of culinary delights and the best of local produce. For complementary wines, Brightwell Vineyard, just a mile away, offers tours and tastings on summer weekends.
Wallingford offers plenty of sporting opportunities including the chance to enjoy watersports at Dorchester Sailing Club or Wallingford Rowing Club. The 26-acre Sports Park on the edge of town is home to rugby, hockey, football, skittles, archery and petanque clubs as well as to the Portcullis Tennis Club and Hithercroft Squash Club. The Springs Golf Club, less than three miles away. is reputedly one of Oxfordshire’s best – and most scenic – courses. During the summer months, the heated outdoor pool is open at Riverside Park and there’s a pool at Abbey Sports Centre along with a gym and fitness classes. For more gentle exercise, the walk along the Thames Path to Benson Lock is a pleasant way to spend a fine afternoon.
For a day out, Oxford with its historic architecture, bridges, riverside walks, charming shops, restaurants and tea rooms is less than 14 miles away and Reading, home to the Oracle Shopping Centre, is just under 15 miles away. Reading offers an enticing mix of independent and High Street stores, café-bars and restaurants. There’s a choice of nightlife including theatre and cinema and the new River Festival, celebrating art and culture, is a welcome addition to the existing programme of annual events.
Wallingford is well connected being well placed for junction 8a of the M40 motorway and for junction 13 of the M4. The mainline railway stations at nearby Cholsey and Didcot both provide regular services to Oxford, Reading and London Paddington with journey times to London from 41 minutes. Heathrow Airport (Terminal 2) is approximately 35 miles away and Thames Travel operates a comprehensive timetable of bus services to Abingdon, Cholsey, Didcot, Henley on Thames, Reading and local villages.