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home > Towns & Villages > About Wallingford

About Wallingford

From its setting on the banks of the River Thames, Wallingford is a market town ideal for spending a day exploring its mix old and new or for spending several days on a short break to explore the surrounding countryside. You might arrive on foot, by car, bus, boat, cycle or heritage train but you will always find the 'Wallingford Welcome' to greet you.

The Market Place with its 17th century Town Hall still hosts many markets, including the Charter Market every Friday – a tradition since the granting of the Town Charter in 1155 - and the weekly Local Producers Market every Saturday morning. Independent traders offer a colourful variety of products and antique shops give a browsing flavour of past times.

King Alfred's Saxon earthen fortifications still surround the town on three sides – the largest and best surviving example of their kind – and the huge mounds of the great Royal castle, demolished by Oliver Cromwell but once dominating the middle Thames Valley, are a reminder of the many Queens, Princes and even Kings who lived and visited Wallingford. William the Conqueror crossed the river here with his army in 1066 and ordered the building of the castle, Queen Matilda and King Stephen fought for control of the kingdom in the 12th century and it was here in 1646, that the Royalists made almost their last stand in the Civil War.

The modern ‘Queen of Crime', Dame Agatha Christie, lived on the outskirts of the town for forty years and is buried in the neighbouring village of Cholsey. We recommend the Cholsey Agatha Christie trail - experience the walk that inspired Agatha Christie! Many of her renowned books were written here in the peace of her home. There are more grisly links with crime through Midsomer Murders, the TV series of worldwide renown: Wallingford was the original ‘Causton', home of DCI Barnaby.

Claims to Fame:
Best example of surviving Saxon Fortified town in England

Royal Saxon and Medieval stronghold with a very rich history from King Alfred in the 9th century to the Civil War in the 17th century

Home of Judge Blackstone in the 18th century whose Commentaries on the Laws of England influenced the Constitution and Legal System of the newly founded United States of America

Home of Agatha Christie, world famous crime writer

Location as ‘Causton' in Midsomer Murders TV series

Wallingford Parish Church Choir voted Britain's favourite choir by listeners of Classic FM in 2011

Five things to do in Wallingford:
  • Investigate the town's colourful history at Wallingford Museum, full of unexpected gems
  • Visit the Town Information Centre under the Town Hall to pick up leaflets on walks in the town or just outside the town, or borrow an audio version of the self-guided historical tour to discover the hidden secrets of the town's narrow back-streets.
  • Check the latest entertainment at the Corn Exchange theatre/cinema (featured in Midsomer Murders)
  • Enjoy some retail therapy in the town's wide variety of independent shops and keep up your strength in one of the numerous restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and hostelries - there's something to suit all tastes and pockets
  • For rest and relaxation, visit the Riverside Park swimming pool or walk in the tranquil Castle Gardens among the ancient ruins, watching the flight of the Red Kites overhead, or simply stroll down a quiet stretch of the Thames Path, observing the boats, birds and wildlife            

Three things to do near Wallingford:

  • Dorchester Abbey: Saxon bishopric of St Birinus, 12th century abbey.
  • Wittenham Clumps: Enjoy panoramic views over the Oxfordshire countryside and explore the earthworks of the ancient hill fort on Castle Hill.
  • Nuffield Place: 1930's home of William Morris, Lord Nuffield. One of the UK's greatest philanthropists (National Trust).


What’s on in Wallingford:

April's St George's Day celebration is a traditional highlight. May brings the Wallingford Food Festival and Classic Car Rally. Wallingford Carnival and the popular Blues and Beer festival are held in June. September hosts Bunkfest, the three-day festival of steam, music and dance. Many other events take place throughout the year including regular events on the preserved Cholsey and Wallingford Railway (CWRPS).

Browse the Wallingford events on the Southern Oxfordshire What's On Events Calendar or on the Wallingford community website.

Where to stay in Wallingford:
Looking for tourist accommodation or somewhere to stay in Wallingford? To view Hotel, B&B, Guest House, Inn, Self-Catering properties, Caravan and Camping sites in Wallingford use the search facility on the right hand side of the page and click Wallingford in the location option.
Visit Southern Oxfordshire only works with Quality Assured accommodation in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse districts.

Tourist Information:
Wallingford Town Information Centre
Town Hall
Market Place
OX10 0EG
Tel: 01491 826972

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