About Wantage

Wantage in Oxfordshire is a lovely small market town in the Vale of White Horse, and has a good range of shops and services, including plenty of places to eat and drink. Links with the past are very strong too and Wantage is a great place to visit to enjoy this historic part of England.

Whether you are a visitor, or a resident, we hope this website will help you get the most out of our lovely town. If you’d like to get in touch – please click here.

The Saturday Market in Wantage


A shopping trip to Wantage is fun! The shops are close together, you can park outside of Sainsbury’s or by the Civic Hall and the square itself is full of delightful, independent shops, pubs and cafes. For example, try visiting Dolphin Art, Little Sweetie or Jason’s Flowers. Need a break? Pop into the King Alfred’s Head, Petit Pain, Costa Coffee at The Arbery or just round the corner, there’s The Bay Tree Cafe and The Downland Cafe in The Vale and Downland Museum.


Wantage was shaped by its importance as a market town and remains at the heart of Wantage even today. There are numerous inviting pubs and places to eat, plenty of interesting shops, annual fairs, markets on Saturday and Wednesday, Farmer’s Markets, French and Italian Markets and features the amazing Dickensian Evening held every December.


Wantage has a good selection range of pubs, restaurants and take-aways – catering for all tastes! Not just in the square, but all around Wantage, Grove and nearby villages.

The Vale Islanders dancing in Wantage


Wantage has a fine reputation for the arts – music, dances and poetry – and this is celebrated each year with an Arts Festival during the Summer. John Betjeman lived in The Mead, Wantage (by Letcombe Brook) for many years and wrote poetry about Wantage. Thomas Hardy’s “Jude the Obscure” was set in nearby Letcombe Bassett where “Arabella’s Cottage” can still be seen. In the novel Alfredston is Wantage. There are numerous thriving music and dance groups, including the Icknield Way Morris Men, the Rose Hips Belly Dancers and band, The Vale Islanders 17th century dance group and Cornucopia Appalachian step-clog dancers.


Where do we start? Birthplace of King Alfred, 13th century Parish Church, home to the first steam tram in Britain, nearby ancient White Horse Hill, Ridgeway Path (National Trail), Uffington Castle and Wayland’s Smithy. The town itself is full of beautiful historic buildings and is a delight to visit. The Vale and Downland Museum is the ideal starting point from which to explore the town and surrounding area.

Looking towards The Ridgeway path


Wantage is a perfect centre from which to explore the beautiful countryside of the Berkshire Downs – particularly The Ridgeway. You can stay overnight in Wantage or one of the villages, or at The Court Hill Centre, located on the Ridgeway itself. There are historic walks around the town too – pop into The Vale and Downland Museum to ask.

See our page on walking and cycling Walking and Cycling