WANTAGE has been rated among Britain’s top market towns after a mystery visit from tourism experts.

An expert from Hidden Britain, disguised as a tourist, toured the town last month and judged it on facilities, shopping, parking and visitor information.

The town scored 86 out of 100, compared to the national average of 73.

The visit was organised by Vale of White Horse District Council, Wantage Town Council and Wantage Chamber of Commerce, who are working to boost the town’s economy.

The chamber introduced a Wantage and Grove loyalty card and the district council is offering drivers two hours’ free parking.

Elaine Ware, Vale cabinet member for economy, leisure and property, said: “The visit highlighted that the town has much to be proud of and our efforts are paying off.”

Mayor Charlotte Dickson said: “Just over two years ago, people were claiming Wantage was on its knees. Now we’re being recognised as a market town that is leading by example and really showing how you can work together to get through these tough economic times.”