Wisteria Cottage is located within easy reach of all sorts of activities and attractions in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and beyond. Being so close to both the M40 and local bus services, it is easy to use the cottage as a base to explore all of the surrounding area.
A few ideas are listed below. For more ideas see:
Historic Town Trail
Watlington is full of history. It was first recorded as a Saxon settlement in the 8th century ( settlement of Waecel’s people) but discoveries of a Bronze Age axe and Roman coins suggest a much earlier past.
Wander round this historic town and look at the interesting buildings particularly the Town Hall built in 1665, also used as a school for boys, and St Leonards Parish Church. The oldest parts are Norman but many alterations and additions have occurred since. There are also interesting Roman Catholic and Methodist churches. Try to find evidence of the many former inns as you look at the houses.
Explore the Chilterns
If you like walking and cycling, explore the Chilterns!
The Chilterns area is one of England’s finest landscapes and the hills rise 200m above the town. They offer many opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast from walking, cycling, bird watching to photography. Walk or cycle along The Ridgeway, South Oxfordshire Way or Chiltern Way.
If you like nature, bird watching and photography there is plenty to see!
Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve is just outside Watlington. Look out for butterflies, red kites or explore the waymarked trail (www.rspb.org.uk).
Cowleaze Woods is a beautiful wood on Watlington Hill, with a car park offering great views and a mix of habitats including beautiful bluebells in May (www.chilternsaonb.org).
Make sure you visit the idyllic village of Turville 5 miles away through lovely Chiltern beech woods. Situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with Cobstone Mill overlooking the village, the area offers beautiful scenery, stunning walks and a fantastic pub providing great food (www.thebullandbutcher.com).
The River Thames is just a few miles from Watlington and can be accessed at Oxford, Wallingford, Henley, Marlow, Windsor and places in between.
Greys Court near Henley is a Tudor mansion, occupied as a family home until 2003 when it was bequeathed to the National Trust (www.nationaltrust.org.uk). Another NT property is Waddesden Manor, a French renaissance style chateau near Aylesbury.
Stonor Park near Henley is one of England’s oldest manor houses, surrounded by parkland, and contains many artistic collections (www.stonor.com).
Mapledurham House near Wallingford is a 16th century house by the River Thames and contains a collection of paintings and portraits (www.mapledurham.co.uk).
Hughenden Manor near High Wycombe has a colourful past as the home of Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and a secret WW2 RAF base (www.nationaltrust.org.uk).
Nuffield Place near Henley was the home of William Morris, founder of Morris Motor Cars who gave much of his wealth to good causes. His house reflects his relatively modest lifestyle and is a perfect example of a 1930’s country home (www.nationaltrust.org.uk).
If you like gardens, don’t forget to visit Waterperry near Wheatley www.waterperrygardens.co.uk where you can explore 8 acres of historic and inspirational gardens or attend a gardening course.
If you like abbeys don’t forget:
- Abingdon Abbey
Founded by the Benedictine order in 670 but was rebuilt in 955 and again in the 12th century. Destroyed by Henry V111, parts still remain (www.abingdon.gov.uk).
- Dorchester Abbey
This is a pro-Cathedral and place of pilgrimage and is the largest public building in South Oxfordshire hosting concerts and other events (www.dorchester-abbey.org.uk).
Food & Drink
If you like outstanding gastronomic experiences, try Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons at Great Milton just 8 miles away, www.belmond.com, a world acclaimed Michelin starred restaurant where you can also participate in The Raymond Blanc Cookery School.
Or maybe The Crazy Bear at Stadhampton www.crazybeargroup.co.uk. Or a traditional Chilterns gastropub near Chinnor with a Michelin star called Sir Charles Napier www.sircharlesnapier.co.uk where animal sculptures peer out from every corner.
Historic Towns and Cities
- Windsor and Eton (www.windsor.gov.uk).
Visit Windsor Castle, Windsor Great Park, The Savill Garden and more.
- Oxford (www.oxfordcity.co.uk)
The City of Dreaming Spires, Oxford is famous the world over for its university, historic buildings and museums.
If you like Transport, take a trip on an old train!
Chinnor and Princes Risborough and Cholsey and Wallingford Railways are parts of a former GWR branch line and both run steam events at weekends and Bank Holidays:
Unfortunately the section between the two, which went through Watlington, fell into decline after the line closed in 1959. The station building remains on Station Road on the Northern edge of the town towards Shirburn.
Didcot Railway Centre houses a unique collection of GWR steam engines, coaches and wagons in an original 1930’s engine shed. Open at weekends (www.didcotrailwaycentre.org.uk)
If you like Museums have a look round:
- Benson Veteran Cycle Museum
- Abingdon Museum
- Thame Museum
- Wallingford Museum
- River & Rowing Museum Henley on Thames
If you would enjoy taking your children to theme parks visit Legoland:
- Legoland Windsor (www.legoland.co.uk)
Other attractions for younger people are:
- The oldest model village in the world called Bekonscot at Beaconsfield www.bekonscot.co.uk
- The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre at Great Missenden www.roalddahl.com
- Don’t forget Harry Potter World near Watford www.wbstudiotour.co.uk
Theatre and the Arts
- Visit Garsington at Wormsley where a six week summer opera festival takes place in a setting of outstanding beauty www.garsingtonopera.org
- The Kenton Theatre Henley on Thames www.kentontheatre.co.uk
- Add Folk Festivals Towersey Festival www.towerseyfestival.com, an annual festival of folk, world music and traditional dance held in Thame in August
- Fairport’s Cropredy Convention www.fairportconvention.com/cropredy
- Wallingford Bunkfest www.bunkfest.co.uk
- Banbury Folk Festival www.banburyfolkfestival.co.uk
If you like Shopping, why not visit Bicester Village www.bicestervillage.com home to more than 160 designer and fashion brands with up to 60% off RRP.
For more information, please look at www.southernoxfordshire.com/attractions.