There’s no doubt that Wallingford is a desirable place to live.
In 2022, it was named one of the 8 Best Places to Live in Oxfordshire by the ‘Muddy Stilettos’ website which described it as ‘ a characterful riverside town with a burgeoning foodie scene, indie shopping and the market town essential … Waitrose.’ In 2020, it was voted one of the best countryside locations to relocate to by ‘Compare My Move’ and also in 2020, it was high on the list of the Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live in The UK.
There’s plenty of evidence of Wallingford’s historic importance but today the ruined castle, once a royal stronghold, provides a scenic backdrop to this market town. The Castle Gardens and Castle Meadows are pleasant place to stroll and the town itself offers a peaceful atmosphere, level streets and a selection of High Street names, including Boots and independent stores selling everything from clothes and shoes to flowers and books.
Browse around the Wallingford Bookshop, head to Wildwood or the antiques centre at Lamb Arcade for vintage finds or take a look at Past & Presents for gifts. If you’re eating at home, Wallingford has a choice of bakeries as well as The Keep, pub-come-offlicense where you can stop for a drink, and take your choice of beverage away with you afterwards. There’s the Cookhouse Deli and the Grape Minds wine merchants as well as Just Trading, the refill shop and the Wallingford Tea & Coffee shop. Wallingford’s four markets, including the Friday Charter Market and the Saturday Local Producers’ Market attract locals and visitors alike. Wallingford Medical Practice is based on Reading Road, there are a couple of dentists close to the town centre along with three opticians including Boots. For a day’s retail therapy, Oxford is just a short journey away or you could be at the designer outlet at Bicester Village in about 40 minutes by car.
Wallingford is the perfect place to eat out with plenty of options.
If you’re meeting friends for coffee, a light lunch or afternoon tea, there are plenty of cafes including some well-known names. If you’re dining out, The Shellfish Cow serves excellent seafood and beef along with wines, beers and cocktails.
At Le Clos, a French wine bar, you can order cheese, charcuterie plates and French style pizzas to go along with your wine. The Old Post Office is a favourite for brunch lunch or dinner and Avanti Italian Restaurant is a local favourite. The Five Little Pigs, which opened in 2021, has a menu of inventive small plates, cocktails and a bottomless brunch from Thursday to Sunday.
There are plenty of cafes to choose from. Ribizli is a vegetarian café serving homemade soups and stews.
There are some wonderful walks in and around Wallingford.
On a fine day, there’s nothing like strolling around Wallingford Castle Meadows, site of one of the greatest medieval castles in England. Walk alongside the river on the Thames Path to Benson lock, just three miles from the centre of town. Walkers and cyclists will delight in the South Oxfordshire countryside surrounding Wallingford.
Those who reach the top of Wittenham Clumps near Dorchester will be rewarded with one of the best panoramic views over the county. If you prefer to explore by bike, there are three scenic routes, ranging from 11 to 25 miles in length which start from Wallingford Town Hall.
If you want to head a little further afield, Shotover Country Park, near Oxford, is a lovely place to immerse yourself in nature. Here, you’ll find wooded valleys, hilltop grassland, scenic landscapes and a wealth of wildlife.
Living in Wallingford means being able to make the most of sports and activities.
The Springs Golf Club, less than three miles away, is reputedly one of Oxfordshire’s best – and most scenic courses.
If you enjoy ‘messing about in boats’ there’s Dorchester Sailing Club or Wallingford Rowing Club. The Body Training Studio in Wallingford has a gym and fitness classes as well as a pool – and, during the summer months, there’s a heated outdoor pool at Riverside Park. Water-skiers and wild swimmers will enjoy nearby Queensford Lakes – one of the cleanest lakes in the UK with an onsite café to warm up afterwards.
Living in Wallingford means never being bored. There’s a branch of both the WI and the U3A with monthly talks and outings. There’s also a whole range of local clubs and societies including a Ramblers Association, Tuneless Choir, Bridge Club, Gardening, Art, Photographic, Cricket and Tennis Clubs. Locals can join the Wallingford Historical and Archaeological Society, the Handbell Ringers or, for the more active a running group, cycling group or over 50s Badminton.
Wallingford Corn Exchange offers a varied programme of theatre, film, comedy and live music.
Bunkfest is the highlight of Wallingford’s annual calendar. Taking place on the banks of the River Thames, it’s a popular festival with something for everyone including live music and dance, real ale, cider and food.
For an evening entertainment or a day visiting some of the country’s finest museums, Oxford with its theatres, cinemas, galleries, museums and gardens is less than 14 miles away. Reading, 15 miles from Wallingford, is home to the Hexagon Theatre, Reading Concert Hall and South Street Arts Centre.
Wallingford is well connected being well placed for junction 8a of the M40 and junction 13 of the M4.
The mainline railway station at Cholsey, about 3 miles away and at nearby Didcot, both provide regular services to Oxford, Reading and London Paddington with journey times to London from around 41 minutes.
Heathrow Airport (Terminal 2) is about 35 miles away and Thames Travel operates a timetable of bus services to Abingdon, Cholsey, Didcot, Henley on Thames, Reading and local villages.
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