Set on the banks of the River Thames, Wallingford is a historic market town that lies partway between Oxford and Reading. It flourished during the Middle Ages as the home of Wallingford Castle, which was the last remaining Royalist stronghold in Berkshire before being destroyed by Oliver Cromwell.
Things to do in Wallingford
Occupying a 16th-century Tudor residence on the High Street is the Wallingford Museum, which houses an impressive collection of local artefacts. In addition to a model of Wallingford Castle and exhibits about the town’s Saxon walls, you can take a step back in time to experience Wallingford during the Victorian era. Kids will love the archaeological sandpits and the “smelly-feely” drawers.
On the northern edge of town are the ruins of Wallingford Castle, a medieval fortification that became one of the most powerful royal castles in the 12th and 13th centuries. It was abandoned by Henry VIII and refortified during the English Civil War before being destroyed by Parliamentary forces. It’s Grade I listed and the grounds include the remains of St. Nicholas College and picturesque meadows.
Train enthusiasts can ride on the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway, a four-kilometre-long heritage railway that opened to passengers in 1866. In the warmer months, it runs steam and diesel locomotive journeys, taking in the scenic countryside of South Oxfordshire. The route passes by St. Mary’s Church in Cholsey where Agatha Christie is famously laid to rest.
Getting around Wallingford
Wallingford is around 25 minutes’ drive from Oxford and 20 minutes from Reading while the centre of London is just over an hour away. Heathrow Airport is a one-hour drive from Wallingford and has flights to destinations across the globe. Trains connect to the Cholsey railway station, which is around five minutes by taxi from Wallingford.