Vale and Downland Museum

Church Street, Wantage, Oxfordshire, OX12 8BL
Tel: (01235) 771447

The Vale and Downland Museum is located in the busy market town of Wantage in Oxfordshire, UK. The museum has been nationally acclaimed as an outstanding example of community partnership. The range of services is very broad ranging, from galleries interpreting the cultural heritage of the Vale of White Horse region, to a cafe with a delightful terrace and garden.

It also acts as a springboard for residents and visitors to enjoy and appreciate the countryside around Wantage.




The Vale and Downland Museum library has approximately 1500 books, pamphlets and periodicals which are available for reference use by staff, Museum friends and visitors doing research on the Vale of White Horse.

The library includes more than maps in various scales and of various dates from 1795 to the present day.

The most valuable part of the museum library’s holdings is a collection of photocopies and transcripts of Wantage documents bequeathed to the Museum by the late Lis Garnish. These include Wantage wills from 1500 to 1699 (with comprehensive card index), leases, churchwardens’ accounts, governors’ minutes, removal orders, etc.

A gift from Alan Rosevear of photocopies of Wantage wills from 1700 to 1857 and other documents complements the Garnish collection.

Family History

Researching family history/local history is becoming increasingly popular and is both interesting and rewarding. However, as you can appreciate, this research in often time consuming, and therefore the museum is unable to undertake research on your behalf.

They can advise you on how best to begin your research.

Museum shop

The Vale and Downland Museum shop stocks a wide range of items for sale, such as Books and Leaflets on Wantage Local History, the Ridgeway and the surrounding locality and Maps of the Area.

Visitor information point

In cooperation with the Vale of White Horse District Council and with support from Wantage Town Council, the Vale and Downland Museum operates a Visitor Information Point. This provides information about places to visit, events, entertainment, transport and accommodation in Wantage and the surrounding Vale of White Horse area of Oxfordshire.

Friends of the Vale and Downland Museum

The Friends of The Vale and Downland Museum aim to educate the public by the promotion, support, assistance and improvement of the Vale & Downland Museum in co-operation with its management and staff.

Downland Kitchen Cafe

The Downland Museum Cafe serves delicious home-made lunches and cakes six days a week.

Friendly atmosphere, courtyard seating.

Click here to visit their website