Wallingford is not all that it seems. This most respectable riverside town is, in fact, at the very heart of Midsomer Murders country. Download a leaflet on The Wallingford Connections to find out what has featured where and when. Download a copy of the Wallingford Historical Town Walk to explore the town's more ancient connections. Come on a Friday to catch the traditional Charter Market or on Saturdays for the Local Producers' Market. Come at the end of August to let your hair down at the annual BunkFest: this "wonderful, mad spectacle" brings over 20,000 visitors to the town.
What to see in Wallingford
Wallingford Museum explains the history of the town. It includes The Wallingford Story, a SIGHT & SOUND experience which takes a walk through time from the Romans and Saxons to the Civil War, including a miniature re-creation of Wallingford's huge royal Castle.
Castle Gardens – once part of the site of one of England's most extensive and strongest castles, Castle Gardens are now a relaxing and peaceful spot in which to enjoy the well-kept lawns and flower beds and explore some of the earthworks remaining from the castle.
The Cholsey & Wallingford Railway – this preserved former Great Western Railway branchline is known affectionately as The Bunk Line, although no one can quite recall why. Trains run on selected operating days – steam-hauled, whenever possible. Enjoy Driver Experience Days and see wagons undergoing restoration. Check the website for new acquisitions and progress on the Museum of artifacts and archives, currently being relocated in a Cambrian coach.
In the countryside
Take a 3-mile circular walk following the Thames, from Wallingford to Benson Lock. Allow approximately 1½ hours. You'll find details of this and two more walks are in the Wallingford Scenic Walks leaflet.
Wittenham Clumps, near Dorchester, are named after the two clumps of 300-year old beech trees which crown Castle Hill and Round Hill - formerly known as 'Mother Dunch's Buttocks'. The hills and their panoramic views of South Oxfordshire inspired such artists as the Chilterns' own Paul Nash (1889-1946) who loved to paint these views.
Choose a Cycle Ride into the Chiltern Hills. Download details of three cycle rides, ranging from 11–25 miles. All rides start at the Town Hall in Wallingford. Each route has been developed and tested by families with novice and more experienced cyclists.
Enjoy the view from the river: Salter's Steamers operate passenger trips from Wallingford to Reading, calling at Goring, Beale Park and Mapledurham.
What to head for further afield
Brightwell Vineyard – 1 mile from Wallingford. Oxfordshire's largest vineyard produces award-winning, quality English wines which frequently win medals at National and International competitions.
Nuffield Place – 5.4 miles from Wallingford. Recently acquired by the National Trust, this is the home of Lord Nuffield, the founder of Morris Motor Cars and one of the most remarkable men of the 20th century.
Ewelme – 4 miles from Wallingford. The heart of the charming Chiltern village is a hilltop cluster of 15th-century buildings which include the church, almshouses and a small junior school, said to be oldest in the country. These were the charitable works of Alice, Duchess of Suffolk, the grand-daughter of Geoffrey Chaucer of Canterbury Tales fame. The churchyard has a further claim to fame as the burial place of Jerome K (Klapka) Jerome, author of Three Men in a Boat. Ewelme was once celebrated for the watercress grown in the pretty cress-bed streams which still flow through the village. The Watercress Centre, run by the Chiltern Society, opens to visitors.
The Didcot Railway Centre – 5.7 miles from Wallingford. The centre brings together an imposing and unique collection of Great Western Railway steam engines, coaches, wagons, buildings and small relics, in a rural setting based around the original 1930s engine shed. It has recreated a section of Brunel's broad gauge railway, built to a width of 7ft between rails to provide comfort at high speeds. It has also relocated one of Didcot's Transfer Sheds of the 1850s, used to move goods from the broad gauge Great Western to standard, narrow gauge lines.
Tea at Dorchester Abbey – 4 miles from Wallingford. Dorchester Abbey is the church of the medieval abbey which was saved for this little Oxfordshire village, along with its Guest House, when the rest of the buildings were 'dissolved' by Henry VIII. See the displays in the Cloister Gallery and in 16th-century Old School Room in the Abbey Guest House, then take tea in the Abbey Tea Room. The Tea Room has fans around the world, with many visitors coming back with their children and even grandchildren to enjoy their home-made cakes, baked and served by an army of over 70 volunteers.