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Holidays in Wantage

A town packed with literary history and ancient architecture

Nearby Salisbury Plain

Ideally placed for some great touring of the region, Wantage is a small town with a few shops, pubs and good restaurants to try out. From here, visitors can easily reach the iconic and beautiful White Horse Hill, home to the Bronze Age Uffington Chalk Horse.

Situated at the foot of the Berkshire Downs Escarpment, home to the famous chalk horse, the town is well known for being the birthplace of King Alfred the Great in 849AD - there's even a statue of him at the centre of the town square.

Worth a visit whilst in the area is the Vale and Downland Museum, where you can learn all about the rural history of the wider area.

Literary fans may be interested to learn that Wantage was the inspiration to the fictional Alfredston in Thomas Hardy’s novel Jude the Obscure.

There are several walks that originate in Wantage and where trekkers can discover the villages found around the base of the Berkshire Downs Escarpment. Three good routes can be found on the Oxfordshire county council website.

Ancient statue of King Alfred

All three follow a trust-restored section of the Berks and Wilts Canal, where there are also quite a few village pubs to stop for refreshment in Letcombe Regis, East and West Challow, Childrey, as well as East Wantage itself.

Dogs are allowed along most of these walks at heal, and on a lead through fields homing livestock. The countryside is lush and full of shaded lanes and great views of the chalk horse above on the hill.

Also close to Wantage is the former hometown of the well-loved eccentric and composer Lord Berners. His old home, Faringdon House and gardens, remain intact and are occasionally open to the public.

"Wantage lies at foot of Uffington Hill, famous for its Bronze Age chalk horse..."

Worth a visit is the Folly, which was built for Berners and stands at the centre of a large, circular woodland. You can view five counties from the top.

The Berkshire Downs are at the very northern edge of ‘big sky country’ which is dominated by the largely empty Salisbury Plains and Wiltshire. This beautiful area is largely unspoilt having been owned and quarantined by the military, in the main, for exercises since the 1940s.

A reasonable drive south across the area is Stonehenge and other historical and ancient earthworks like Durrington Walls and Old Sarum, which are well worth the journey if you’re in the touring mood.

We have some lovely cottages in and around Wantage. Why not take a look at our collection of holiday cottages to feel inspired?

While you’re there

Faringdon Folly

Learn about the bizarre Lord Berners whilst visiting his folly and woodland.

The Uffington White Horse

Some of the best views in the south of England await you, along with the nation’s most famous Bronze Age art.

Wantage Museum

The Vale and Downland Museum, which is worth a visit to learn about how life was lived in the area throughout the ages.

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