Experience the best in South Oxfordshire by visiting Wallingford on the Thames River. Whether it is a day trip or a long weekend, there is an abundance of boutiques, antique shops, stunning gardens, historical sights, and delicious eateries to enjoy.
This picturesque town is famous for a few fictional murders, such as the classic Midsomer Murders, and was once the home of the writer Agatha Christie. Tour some of these mystical locations while visiting the historic town of Wallingford.
Here are some of my favorite places to visit while in Wallingford:
The medieval Wallingford Bridge is an extraordinary structure that crosses the Thames River. The bridge connects the town to Crowmarch Gifford.
The 19 acres comprise the 300-meter-long bridge between Cleeve Lock and Benson Lock. The bridge dates to 1141, undergoing changes over the years.
Hanging out on the bridge and watching the birds play in the water or boats gliding on the water.
This stretch of the Thames River in Wallingford is one of the most stunning locations.
In July, you can see Royal Swan Upping pass through Wallingford, and they sometimes stop off if there are swans in the area. This annual ceremonial voyage along the Thames River is where the census is gathering on the swan population.
In the summer, you may see locals deep in the river, soaking up the sun.
Boat Ride on the Thames
Boating on the Thames is a great activity to consider while visiting Wallingford. You can hire a boat to explore everything the Thames River offers. With a boat tour, you can visit the nearby villages of Goring and Streatley and discover a delightful five-mile stretch of the river free of locks.
Visit Riverside Park or the nearby Benson, where you can hire rowing boats, canoes, and motorboats. In addition, Salter’s Steamers run boat trips from Wallingford to Abingdon and Reading during the summer months. Near the Wallingford Bridge is an excellent mooring facility to view historic castle meadows and more.
The George Hotel
The 16th-century George Hotel, once a coaching inn, is in the heart of Wallingford. It is believed that the hotel once was the Dower House to Wallingford Castle. It is said that Dick Turpin frequented the hotel to evade being arrested.
If you are looking for a place to stay, consider booking The George Hotel.
The Wallingford Castle is described as “one of the most powerful royal castles of the 12th and 13th centuries.” The castle survived multiple sieges and wars like The Anarchy and The English Civil War.
On the orders of William the Conqueror, the construction began around 1067. The castle became an essential royal fortress due to being on the banks of the Thames River.
After many battles, the castle fell into decay. However, the building material was used to build Windsor Castle when King Charles I refortified the castle during the Civil War. The castle prison was still maintained up till the 18th century.
Today the castle gardens are the best-preserved section of the buildings of the Norman design. St. Nicholas’s College is also one of the best to see of the castle.
While visiting the garden, we witnessed a group of airplanes practicing acrobatics in the sky.
- Hours: daylight hours
All Hallows Graveyard
Near Castle Meadows is the graveyard of All Hallows Church, where you will find a monument honoring those buried here. The church was an influential church until 1643. Then, All Hallows Church was abandoned during the Civil War, so its building stones were used to strengthen the castle walls.
Wallingford Museum is an intimate small local museum that tells the history of Wallingford. Housed on two floors of a medieval oak-beamed building in the heart of the town.
- Hours: (March – November) Tue.-Fri. 14:00- 17:00, Sat. 10:30 – 17:00, Sunday (June-Aug. only) 14:00 – 17:00
- Admission: Adult £5
St. Mary Le More
St Mary le More Church is a historic parish standing proud in the marketplace behind the Wallingford town hall. The church dates to 1077, and the west tower was originally from the 12th century but rebuilt in 1653 following damage from a severe thunderstorm.
The church holds an 18th-century ring of eight bells. Two additional bells were added in 2003.
St. Leonard’s Church
The oldest church in Wallingford, St. Leonard’s Church, stands on the Thames Path, a few steps from the Thames River. It is believed that a church has been here since the late Saxon period (6th century).
In the 13th century, St. Leonard united with St. Lucien’s church (no longer there) and formed one of 14 medieval churches in Wallingford. One highlight of the church interior is a series of four murals of angels painted in 1889.
St. Peter’s Church
Also, along the riverbank and next to the bridge is St. Peter’s Church. In 1646, the church was destroyed during the Civil War’s siege of Wallingford. The present church was rebuilt in 1763. The chancel was built in 1904. In 1974, the church was declared redundant and was vested in the Churches Conservation Trust. Today the church is used as a venue.
You can’t help noticing while in the marketplace is the Corn Exchange which shows films and theatre productions throughout the year. The building dates to 1856 and is now owned by Sinodun Players, who bought it in 1975, converting it into a 176 theater.
The Corn Exchange famously doubles as the Causton Playhouse in the popular TV series Midsomer Murders. If you want to check out what is playing at the Corn Exchange, check out the website for more details.
The Old Post Office
Overlooking the marketplace, the Old Post Office was once the home to the town’s prominent post office. In 2009 it was converted into the Oakman Inn bearing the same name, The Old Post Office.
Today it is home to a traditional British pub and restaurant. Inside are many old features, such as the courtyard’s Victorian counter and red post box.
Hours: (Monday – Saturday) opens at 8:00; Sunday opens at 9:00
Wallingford Main Square
This charming city center is in the heart and soul of the old marketplace. The area has been used for market days, dating back to Saxon times.
Today, four markets are held here. The Charter Market is one of Wallingford’s oldest markets and takes place every Friday. If you want to pick up delicious food and produce, visit the Saturday Market hosting local farms within a 30-mile radius, selling items.
Chosley & Wallingford Railway
Enjoy a heritage train ride on the Cholsey & Wallingford Railway that opened in 1866. A round trip takes about 45 minutes from the historic market town of Wallingford to Chosley. The train travels through the beautiful countryside of South Oxfordshire.
The train does not operate daily, so check the website for their schedule.
Admission: Adult £12