The town of Wantage is an attractive market town with a good selection of independent shops – in 2014 Wantage won the Great British High Street Award.
A series of walking routes are available – call into the Vale and Downland Museum in Church Street to pick up the maps or download at www.wantage.uk.
Route 1 – The Dudley Iles Nature Trail Part 1
Route 2 – The Dudley Iles Nature Trail Part 2
Route 3 – Victorian Wantage part 1
Route 4 – Victorian Wantage part 2
Route 5 – Old Grove Walk
Route 6 – White Horse Hill Walk
Route 7 – Stockham Walk
Route 8 – Aeroplane Walk
Route 9 – Springfield Walk
Route 10 – Harcourt Walk
Wantage is most famous as the birthplace of Alfred the Great. A statue of King Alfred sculpted in 1877 by Count Gleichen, a relative of Queen Victoria, stands in the busy market place. Alfred was born here in AD 849, when Wantage was an important Saxon town. The history of Wantage goes back long before the Saxon period.
The chalk hills of the Vale are dotted with prehistoric remains and the Romans established a settlement here and built a road linking Wantage and Oxford.
The Betjaman Bust
A sculpture commemorating well-known former Wantage resident Sir John Betjamen stands proudly outside the Vale and Downland Museum. Sir John Betjamen lived in Wantage between 1951 and 1972.
Vale and Downland Museum
Visit the galleries interpreting the cultural heritage of the Vale of White Horse, an artist/craft exhibition space, a visitor Information hub, gift shop, garden space, and cafe.
For more information visit www.wantage-museum.com.
The Sack House
Purchased by the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust in 2012 this small building stands at what was the entrance way to the Wantage canal wharf. It is now open as a museum and canal information centre. It contains displays on the history of the canal, wharf and the building itself and other associated industrial archaeology.
The building was originally used as a weighbridge, coal merchants and a place where traders could hire sacks to send their produce around the south west of England. The enamel sign on the front is from the sack hiring company.
Open from 10am to 2pm on the first and third Wednesdays and Saturdays of each month and occasional special occasions. Entrance is free but donations are welcomed.
Grove is a village and civil parish on Letcombe Brook, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north of Wantage in the Vale of White Horse. Historically, a part of Berkshire until the 1974 boundary changes transferred it to Oxfordshire.
Where is Wantage?
Things to do in Wantage
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Celebrating champion jockey Lester Piggott who was the first baby born in the maternity unit at Wantage Hospital in 1935. Life size bronze statue of Lester Piggott was unveiled by Lester himself on 18th August in the museum garden. Check out the museum Facebook page @valeanddownlandmuseum to see a video from the unveiling. 19th August – 21st December Vale and Downland Museum.Find out more »
Daniel Meadows: Now and Then celebrates the work of one of Britain’s foremost photographers who worked from the 1970s onward, authentically capturing British life. Admission: Admission freeFind out more »
A. R. Penck (1939–2017) was an internationally acclaimed German artist, best known for his work in painting, drawing, print and sculpture. His interests in systems theory and cybernetics, as well as pre-historic cultures and science fiction, guided his art toward an investigation of the relationships between man and society. This exhibition is not only the first solo show of A. R. Penck’s work in Oxford but also his first solo museum exhibition in the UK in 30 years. It features works…Find out more »