North of the Goring Gap and south of Oxford, Oxfordshire opens out into a broad plain, overlooked from the south and east by the Berkshire Downs and the Chiltern Hills. In the midst of this plain, Didcot stands out because of its huge coal-fired electricity generating plant, which dominates the skyline.
Didcot was founded because it lies at the point where the Great Western Railway's line north to Oxford and Birmingham branches off from the main line from London to Bristol and Cardiff. Since then a large military depot, now replaced by a business park, and the power station, have added to the economy.
If the above makes you think that Didcot sounds like an inappropriate destination for a tourist, you would probably be right. However, if you are a rail enthusiast, you may think differently as Didcot is the home of the Didcot Rail Centre (see 'See' below). And if you need to stay in Didcot because of business or personal commitments, don't despair, there are plenty of interesting places nearby (see 'Get out' below).
Didcot is 20 mi (32 km) north-west of Reading on the A4074/A4130 and 14 mi (23 km) south of Oxford on the A34/A4130.
- 1 Railway Station, Station Rd, Didcot, OX11 7NR. On the main lines from London and Reading to Bristol, Cardiff, Oxford and Birmingham. From London, travel from London Paddington Station; there are several fast trains an hour taking some 45 minutes for the journey. From Reading there are several trains an hour taking around 20 minutes for the journey. Train times (from any station) can be found on the National Rail Planner or by calling +44 8457 484950 from anywhere in the UK. Cheap Advance rail tickets are not available to/from Didcot, but when coming from London it is possible to buy Advance ticket to Oxford or Swindon through Didcot. When buying such ticket on the National Rail website you can open the list of calling points and check if Didcot is there.
If arriving by plane, see the Reading article, and then travel on from Reading.
- The town lies on National Cycle Route 5 running from Reading to Hollyhead.
- The town lies at the E end of National Cycle Route 544 that connects the town to Wantage
- The Hanson Way cycle route runs from Abingdon (15 mi (24 km)) and on to Oxford (a further 9 mi (14 km)) to the N (see Sustrans leaflet for route details).
All locations in and around the town are walkable or drivable.
- 1 Didcot Railway Centre, OX11 7NJ, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Sa Su 10AM-4PM, and Jun-Aug: M 10AM-4PM. An old rail depot adjacent to the rail station. Its collection includes the largest number of Great Western Railway steam locomotives in captivity, together with rolling stock, track and lineside equipment from the Great Western Railway. Much of the stock is in running condition, and the center has two rather short running lines on which it is regularly exercised. There is also a demonstration track of Brunel's original 7 ft (2.1 m) broad gauge. £4-8 (adult); £3.50-6.50 (senior); £3-6.50 (child); lower price applies if no steam trains operational.
- 2 Halk Walk (Falconry Demonstrations and Experiences), Sands Lane, South Morton, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 1 Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Rd, Didcot, OX11 7NE, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 10AM-6PM; Su 11AM-16PM.
- 2 Cineworld Cinema, 27 Station Rd, Didcot, OX11 7NE, ☎ (premium).
- 3 Didcot Wave Swimming Pool, Newlands Ave, Didcot, OX11 8NX, ☎ . M-Th 5AM-9PM; F 5AM-10PM; Sa 6AM-6PM; Su 6AM-8PM. Gym, swimming pools, café
- 4 Didcot Leisure Centre, Mereland Rd, Didcot, OX11 8AY, ☎ . M-F 8AM-9:30PM; Sa 8AM-5PM; Su 8AM-9:30PM. Sports hall, squash courts, studio, cycle studio, bar, function room.
- 1 Orchard Shopping Centre, 20 Station Rd, Didcot, OX11 7LL, ☎ . More than 30 stores including Argos, Sainsbury’s, Next, cafés, Robert Dyas and Boswells coffee shop, a restaurant, entertainment centre and cinema. 500-space car park with free parking for 2 hours.
- 2 Thames Valley Farmers' Market, he Orchard Centre, Didcot, OX11 7LL, ☎ (mobile), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 2nd Saturday of the month, 8:30AM-1:30PM. Monthly Farmers' Market
- 3 Sainsbury's Local (Convenience Store), 53 Wantage Rd, Didcot, OX11 0BS, ☎ . Daily 7AM-11PM. ATMs
- 4 Sainsbury's (Superstore/Supermarket), Central Drive, Didcot, OX11 7ND, ☎ . M-F 7AM-11PM; Sa 7AM-10PM; Su 10AM-4PM. ATMs. Petrol station (different hours).
- 5 Mountain Mania Cycles, 62 Wantage Rd, Didcot, OX11 0BY=, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Bikes, accessories & workshop.
- 1 Prezzo (Italian Restaurant & Take-away), 8 Market Place, Didcot, OX11 7LE, ☎ . M-Sa noon-11PM; Su noon-10:30PM.
- 2 Wildwook (Pizza Pasta Grill), 19 The Orchard Centre, 8 Station Rd, Didcot, OX11 7LL, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa noon-11PM; Su noon-10:30PM. Free Wi-Fi.
- 3 Little India (Indian Restaurant & Take-away), 218 Broadway, Didcot, OX118JR, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- 4 SunKoshi (Nepalese & Indian Restaurant), 226a Broadway, Didcot, OX11 8RS, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Su-Th noon-2:30PM & 6PM-11PM; F Sa noon-2:30PM & 6PM-11:30PM.
- 1 Broadways (Pub & Food), 130 Broadway, Didcot, OX11 8RG, ☎ . Pub: M-W 10AM-11PM; Th 10AM-1AM; F Sa 10AM-3AM; Food M-Th 11AM-4PM; F Sa 10AM-4PM; Su 11:30AM-4PM.
- 2 Ladygrove (Pub), Cow Lane, Didcot, OX11 7SZ, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Th 11AM-11PM; F Sa 11AM-midnight; Su 11AM-11:30PM.
- 3 The Royal Oak (Pub & Food), 118 Park Rd, Didcot OX11 8QR, ☎ . Free Wi-Fi.
- 4 Prince of Wales (Pub & Food), 113 Station Rd, Didcot OX11 7NN, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 10AM-11PM; F Sa 10AM-midnight; Su 10AM-11PM.
- 5 Wheatsheaf (Pub & Food), Wantage Rd, Didcot OX11 0BS, ☎ . M-Th 9:30AM-11PM F Sa 9:30AM-1AM; Su 10AM-11PM.
There is a wide range of take-aways around the town.
- 1 Premier Inn, Interchange, Milton, OX14 4TX, ☎ (premium). Free on-site parking. Free Wi-Fi. from £45.
- 2 The House on the Corner (B&B), 2C Hagbourne Rd, Didcot OX11 8DH, ☎ .
- 3 Southern Wood (B&B), 70 Park Rd, Didcot OX11 8QP, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Free Wi-Fi. Off-road parking. Single from £45; Double from £70.
- 4 Prospect House (B&B), Upton OX11 9HU, ☎ . Outdoor heated pool (Jun-Sept). Free Wi-Fi. Single £50; Double £75 (per night).
- 5 Kingswell (Hotel & Restaurant), Reading Rd, Harwell OX11 0LZ, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 6 Milton Hill (Hotel & Restaurant), Steventon, Abingdon OX13 6AF, ☎ (premium). Free Wi-Fi. In 22 acres of parkland.
- 1 Post Office, 188 The Broadway, Didcot, OX11 8RN. M-F 9AM-5:30PM; Sa 9AM-1PM.
- For architecture, history and culture, visit Oxford which is 14 miles to the north by car or 15 minutes away by train.
- For history of the Great Western Railway, including the STEAM Museum specialising in that subject and the former workshop buildings, visit Swindon, 15 minutes by train.
- For shopping and nightlife, visit Reading which is 20 miles to the south-east by car or 20 minutes by train.
- For attractive countryside and pretty riverside villages, visit Goring and Streatley, which are 9 miles south-east by car or 11 minutes by train.
- And London is only 45 minutes away by fast train. If going to London for the day, buy a one-day Travelcard from Didcot Station; this covers the rail journey together with unlimited travel on the tube and buses whilst in London.