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.

About Wantage
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.

About Wantage
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.


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


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.

Notable People

Wantage England is known for two famous people in particular – King Alfred and John Betjemen. King Alfred the Great was born in Wantage in 849 AD, and is well-known for his role in preserving English culture during a time of Viking invasions. Alfred also established a legal code, created a standing army, and improved the education of his people.John Betjeman was born in 1906 and is remembered as one of Britain’s most beloved poets of the 20th century. A long-time urbanite, Betjeman used Wantage as a escape from city life to focus on writing poetry inspired by traditional village life. His most well-known work includes Summoned by Bells, which won him the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Both King Alfred and John Betjeman are celebrated figures from Wantage’s history who were able to make lasting contributions to their community and beyond.


Wantage England has many beautiful photography locations for shutterbugs to explore. The town of Wantage is home to the stunning Vale of White Horse, which offers sweeping views of rolling hills and lush greenery, perfect for capturing magnificent landscapes. There are also plenty of historical sites such as the ruins of King Alfred’s Palace and the ancient church of St Peter ad Vincula that make for interesting photo ops. The town also boasts beautiful Victorian architecture and a variety of charming shops and pubs in the high street, all prime subjects for photographers. On top of these attractions, photographers in Wantage England can take advantage of some spectacular open spaces such as Uffington Castle, hoping to capture moments of rural beauty or wildlife. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder why Wantage continues to be an attractive destination for photography enthusiasts around the world.

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