All you need to know about Wantage

Wantage is a market town in Oxfordshire, England. Part of Berkshire, it’s located on Letcombe Brook, roughly eight miles from Abingdon, 24 miles from Reading and 15 miles away from Newbury. It has a population of more than 11,000, and is twinned with the following places: Mably (France) and Seesen (Germany). The town sits at the foot of the Berkshire Downs escarpment and includes the suburbs of Charlton and Belmont.

Wantage is recognised as the birthplace of King Alfred the Great. It started life as a small Roman settlement and first appeared in the Doomsday Book in 1086. In 1246, the town secured weekly trading rights to host a market – which it continues to put on to this day.  

In the 19th century, Lord Wantage - a British soldier, Politian and philanthropist - was appointed as the local benefactor to Wantage. He saw to it that a marble statue of King Alfred was built in the town and also donated considerable sums to the Victoria Cross Gallery in the town. The gallery has since been turned into a shopping centre.

Today, Wantage is one of the largest town’s in the Vale of White Horse. It’s undergone considerable regeneration, and is home to both affordable housing and great schools. The town boasts various sports clubs including Wantage Town football club, Wantage & Grove Cricket Club and White Horse Harriers AC.

Its popular attractions include the Vale & Downland Museum, and Betjeman Millennium Park. Other local sites worth seeing include Buscot Park - in nearby Farindgon,  Kelmscott Manor and Shaw House - located just 13 miles away in Newbury.

Wantage is located at the crossing of the B4507 valley road, and connects to the A417 road - which runs all the way from Reading to Cirencester. It’s also adjoined by the A338 road, which links Hungerford to Oxford.

There are various buses which run through Wantage and on to other towns and villages including Didcot, Faringdon and Abingdon. While the town does not have its own train station, it’s only eight miles from Didcot Parkway station. From Didcot Parkway, you can catch a train direct to London Paddington station, via Reading. The closest airport to Wantage is Heathrow Airport at roughly 42 miles from the town.