To mark its significance as the birthplace of King Alfred the Great, Wantage’s market square is dominated by a statue of the monarch.

The busy town has many buildings with 18th-century frontages, some of which house high street chain stores, independent shops, offices, cafes, restaurants and pubs.

Market days are held on Wednesday and Saturday and a farmers’ market on the last Saturday of the month. A retail complex on the edge of town includes a supermarket and other superstores.

The town has become a leading venue for the performing arts, including amateur dramatics, folk and Morris dancing, choral and barbershop singing. These plus photography and crafts are showcased in an annual music festival staged each May.


The Vale and Downland Museum: Church Street. Open all year, Monday to Saturday (not Bank Holidays). Includes local history information, touristinformation, gallery space and temporary exhibitions, cafe and shop. For more information, call 01235 771447, visit the website: or email

Ardington House: Surrounded by well-kept lawns, terraced gardens, peaceful paddocks and parkland, this Baroque house was built in 1720. You will find it on the edge of the village of Ardington. Built by the Strong brothers with typical Georgian symmetry, the house is also famous for its imperial staircase. Leading from the hall, the staircase has two matching flights leading into one and is considered by experts to be one of the finest examples in Britain. For information and opening times, call 01235 821 566, or visit the website:


Wantage Town Council: Online at, or call 01235 763459.

Post offices: Wallingford Street, Wantage

Information centre: The Vale and Downland Museum Centre, Church Street, call 01235 771447.

Wantage Leisure Centre: Open every day for swimming, squash, badminton and other sports. Call 01235 766201 or visit the website:

Newspapers: The Wantage and Grove Herald, every Thursday, 40p, Oxford Mail, daily, 40p. The Oxford Times, every Thursday, 80p. Websites: / /