Nestling at the foot of the Chilterns, Watlington is set amidst rolling hills and ancient woodland and, with the Icknield Way and the Oxfordshire Way passing close to the town, it’s easy to explore on foot or by bike.
Much of this area falls within The Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which stretches from the River Thames near Goring, through Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and into Hertfordshire. Local nature reserves, woodland, and riverside habitats support a variety of wildlife: the rich chalk grasslands of Watlington Hill attract up to 25 species of butterflies. For a day out, the countryside is steeped in history, so there’s always something to see from mills, model villages, and museums to historic houses and grand estates set in landscaped parkland.
Watlington may be one of the country’s smallest towns but its delightful range of independent retailers and regular fruit and veg markets attracts shoppers from miles around.
Foodies love the tempting specialist cheeses, freshly baked breads, artisan chocolates and fine wines on offer in Watlington. The traditional butcher supplies high quality meats, pies and delicious, ready-made meals and there’s a mouthwatering selection of local produce at Britwell Salome Farm Shop.
With a post office counter in the local Co-op, a pharmacy, a selection of independent retailers and several hair and beauty salons, you won’t need to travel far on a daily basis. For a larger, weekly shop, jump in the car and head to one of the nearby supermarkets, such as Waitrose in Wallingford, Thame or Henley-on-Thames.
If you’re meeting friends, relax over breakfast or lunch at The Granary Deli and Café, enjoy a home-cooked meal at The Chequers or sample one of the classic dishes – or more exotic options at The Fat Fox Inn. A warm welcome awaits in the lovely, local village pubs including The Fox & Hounds at Christmas Common, The Red Lion at Britwell Salome and The Nelson at Brightwell Baldwin. For that special occasion, the outstanding Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons is less than 10 miles away.
From Watlington, it’s worth the walk up Watlington Hill to soak up the scenery – and take a closer look at the Watlington White Mark.
With the Ridgeway National Trail passing through, this area offers wonderful walks but if you prefer to exercise on the golf course, there are some excellent clubs in the area. Watlington has its own sports
and social club, providing fitness, dance, drama and lifestyle classes along with tennis, squash and bowls and you can even enjoy a delicious meal at the Taj Clubhouse.
Take time out to browse round the High Street shops in the pretty village of Benson, watch the world sail by at Benson Lock or call in for coffee at Benson Waterfront Café. All the delights of Oxford are within easy reach including cinemas, theatres, museums and the shops and restaurants at Oxford’s Westgate Shopping Centre. If you’re looking for a bargain, there’s nowhere better than Bicester Village Outlet Shopping, home to designer brands. Whatever you enjoy – from vineyard tours and wine tasting to taking a trip on a steam train, you’ll find it within easy reach of Watlington.
From Watlington, junctions 5 and 6 of the M40 motorway are approximately 2.5 miles away. Fast and frequent rail services are provided from the mainline stations at High Wycombe, less than 15 miles away, and from Haddenham & Thame Parkway, less than 12 miles away with trains running to Oxford and London Marylebone station with the journey time to London taking from around 30 minutes from High Wycombe and 38 minutes from Haddenham & Thame Parkway.
Heathrow Airport is less than 35 miles away and the Oxford Bus Company provide a service running between Oxford and Heathrow which stops at Lewknor, junction 6 of the M40. The Oxford Tube Bus service which runs between Oxford and London also stops at Lewknor. In Watlington, bus route 11 will take you to Oxford City Centre via Chalgrove and Cowley daily, and route 137 runs between Watlington and Wallingford via Ewelme on Fridays.
Watlington is located approximately 16 miles north of Reading, 18 miles south-east of Oxford and less than 10 miles north-east of Wallingford. The M40, accessed at junction 6 just 2.5 miles from Watlington via the B4009, provides connections with London and Birmingham. Travelling locally, Watlington is situated on the B480 between Oxford and Henley-on-Thames and on the B4009 between Chinnor and Benson.
From Watlington, Princes Risborough, Haddenham & Thame Parkway and High Wycombe stations are just a short drive away, providing services to Oxford, Aylesbury and London Marylebone.
There is a regular bus service from Watlington to Oxford City Centre with a journey time of approximately 48 minutes, a Friday service to Wallingford and the Oxford Tube Service to London.
“Reputedly England’s smallest town, nestling in the shadows of the Chiltern Hills, Watlington offers a traditional market town welcome. With origins dating back to the 6th century, the proximity of the Icknield Way, civil war connections, and mention in the Domesday Book, Watlington is certainly steeped in history.”
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