The Romans liked Wallingford but proved unreliable tenants. Now the Saxons, they really put the hours in, building the earliest recognizable settlements.
Agatha Christie wrote from Wallingford, led the local amateur dramatics society and is buried nearby in Cholsey. Resident somehow in both mind and body, she’d be happy with the town’s continuing notoriety as it is plagued by heinous murders... the penny drops: this is Midsomer Murders country and Wallingford is the fictional village of Causton.
Before you run for your life, remember: it’s only a television show. That said, a town so touched by history always has a grisly secret to reveal.
William the Conqueror crossed the Thames here and established the castle. After roaming lawless on the open South Oxfordshire roads the murderous Dick Turpin rested up here, the law chasing his blood-stained coat tails.
In 1646 Oliver Cromwell gave the order to sack Wallingford Castle, undoing 600 years of fortifications. Even so, with boats moored under drooping willows that arc into the Thames, Wallingford remains the best example of a Saxon town in England.
The prehistoric road, the Icknield Way, crosses the River Thames at Cholsey.
The town lies on the A4130 which runs to Didcot (6 miles) and the A34 to the W and to Henley-on-Thames (14 miles) and on to Maidenhead (23 miles) to the E. The A4074 connects the town to Reading (15 miles) to the SE and to Oxford (14 miles) to the NW.
- 1 Cholsey Railway Station, Railway Approach, Cholsey OX10 9QD (3 miles SW of town). Cholsey station is a calling point for stopping services operated by First Great Western on the Great Western Main Line between Reading and Didcot. The station was also the junction for a branch line to Wallingford, which is now used on an intermittent basis by the heritage Cholsey and Wallingford Railway.
The area is well served by buses from Reading and most local towns.
Visitors may arrive by riverboat in the summer, from Reading and Abingdon.
- The town lies on National Cycle Route 5 running from Reading to Hollyhead.
- The town lies on the 170 mile circular Chilterns Cycleway at the SW end of the loop.
The town is small enough to see on foot.
Plenty of things to see in Wallingford - the Castle, the River Thames, the ancient market town built on Saxon foundations, the Castle Gardens and Castle meadows, quirky antique shops, coffee shops, and places for supper.
- 1 Wallingford Castle. Ruins dating from 11th century motte-and-bailey.
- 2 Wallingford Bridge. 270-m medieval stone road bridge
- 3 Wallingford Museum. Collections of local interest, in a Tudor house.
- 4 Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary, Old Didcot Rd, Brightwell-Cum-Sotwell, OX10 0SW (3 miles NW of town), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11AM-4PM. Free (donations appreciated).
Take one of the self-guided historical walks (information from the tourist information office in the Market Place), or visit Wallingford Museum. Have a picnic on the banks of the Thames, or investigate the Saxon ramparts which surround the town. If you visit on a Sunday, why not attend the Sunday Gospel Service held by the Wallingford Christian Assembly, at the Gospel Hall, Atwell Close. (5:00-5:45PM each week.)
- 1 Cholsey & Wallingford Railway (2½ mile standard gauge heritage railway), Wallingford Station, 5 Hithercroft Rd, Wallingford, OX10 9GQ, ☎ . Adult £10; Concession £8; Child (5-15 years) £5 (all return tickets).
Wallingford has a large number of independent shops, antique shops and specialist shops. Where else can you buy a violin, visit numerous antique shops, purchase a stunning hat to complete a special outfit, or buy lovely clothes and shoes? Wallingford has it all - and many markets.
- 1 Olde Sweet Shoppe, 56A St. Mary's St, Wallingford OX10 0EL.
- 2 Waitrose (Supermarket), 1 St Martin's St, Wallingford OX10 0EF, ☎ . M-F 8AM-9PM; Sa 8AM-8PM; Su 10AM-4PM.
- 3 Farmers Market, Market Place, Wallingford. Every third Tuesday and fifth Saturday 8:30AM-1PM.
- 4 Country Market, The Regal Centre, Goldsmith Lane Car Park, Wallingford. Fridays 8:30-11:30AM. Selling traditional fruit and veg
- 5 Local Producers Market, The Regal Centre, Goldsmith Lane Car Park, Wallingford. Sa 10AM-1PM.
- 6 Rides on Air (Bikes, Accessories & Workshop), 11 St Martin St, Wallingford OX10 0AL, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 9AM-5:30PM; Sa 8AM-5PM (9AM opening Dec-Feb); Su 8AM-2PM (9AM opening Dec-Feb).
- 1 The Partridge, 32 St Mary's St, Wallingford, OX10 0ET, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa noon-1:30PM and 5:30PM-9PM; Su noon-3PM.
- 2 Avanti (Italian Restaurant), 85 High St, Wallingford OX10 0BW, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu 6:15PM-10PM; W Th noon-2:30PM & 6:15PM-10PM; F Sa noon-2:30PM & 5:45PM-10:30PM.
- 3 The Old Post Office (Pub & Food), St Martins St, Wallingford OX10 0A, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Su-Th 8AM-11PM; F Sa 8AM-1AM; Food: M-Sa 8AM-10PM; Su 9AM-9PM. Great coffee and food.
- 4 Memories of Bengal (Restaurant), 12 Wallingford Rd, Closely OX10 9LQ (3 miles from town), ☎ .
- 5 Shangri-La (3 miles from town), 20 The Forty, Cholsey OX10 9ND, ☎ . Tu-Th 6PM-late; F-Su noon-3PM & 6PM-late.
- 1 Morning Star (Pub), 98 Papist Way, Cholsey OX10 9QL (3 miles from town), ☎ .
- 2 Red Lion (Pub & Restaurant), 39 Wallingford Rd, Cholsey OX10 9LG (3 miles from town), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-F noon-3PM & 5PM-11:30PM; Sa noon-11:30PM; Su noon-10PM; Restaurant: Tu-Sa noon-2:30PM & 6PM-10:30PM; Su noon-4PM.
- 3 The Boat House (Pub& Food), 103 High St, Wallingford OX10 0BL, ☎ . M-Th noon-11PM; F Sa noon-midnight; Su noon-10PM.
- 4 The Dolphin (The Dolly in Wally (Pub)), 2 St Marys St, Wallingford OX10 0EL, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 8AM-11:30PM; F Sa 8AM-2AM; Su 9AM-11:30PM.
- 5 Bean & Brew (Café), 57 St Mary’s St, Wallingford, OX10 0EL, ☎ . M-Sa 8:30AM-5:30PM; Su 9:30AM-4PM.
- 1 Shillingford Bridge Hotel, Shillingford Hill, Wallingford OX10 8LZ, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Free Wi-Fi. From £45.
- 2 The George Hotel, High St, Wallingford OX10 0BS, ☎ . A traditional coaching inn, it has well appointed bedrooms and a lovely courtyard for coffee or a drink in fine weather.
- 3 The Old School House (B&B), 23 Castle St, Wallingford,, OX10 8DW, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Min 2 nights stay at weekends £95-110.
- 4 Little Gables (B&B), 166 Crowmarsh Hill, Crowmarsh Gifford OX10 8BG (3 miles E of town), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 5-7PM, check-out: by 10AM. Pets welcome. Free Wi-Fi in rooms
- 1 Post Office, 18a Market Place, Wallingford, OX10 0AD. M-F 9AM-5:30PM; Sa 9AM-12:30PM.