Vale and Downland Museum

Vale and Downland Museum
The Old Surgery
Church Street
OX12 8BL



general queries


tourist information


General enquiries and administration

01235 771447

Tourist information

01235 760176


01235 760991

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
The Vale and Downland Museum
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The Vale and Downland Museum and Visitor Centre
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. It was runner up in Tourism South East's small visitor attraction awards for 2004. The range of services is very broad, ranging from galleries interpreting the cultural heritage Vale of the 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.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Mon-Sat 10.00-16.00
Closed on Bank Holidays and Sundays except for private bookings at £15 per hour.

Closed Sundays and Bank Holidays
except for occasional special events and private bookings

Admission charges

Entry to the main galleries is by Admission Ticket
Annual tickets are valid for 12 months from the date of issue

£2.50 adult annual
£2.00 adult concessionary annual
(state pensioners & registered disabled)
£1.00 young person annual
(ages 4 to 25 in fulltime education)
£7.00 family annual (2 adults and up to 5 children)
Pre-school children are free

Additional info

Public car park (pay and display) by Civic Hall, about 5 minutes walk away. Buses from Oxford and other nearby towns and villages stop in the Market Place, about 3 minutes walk away. Museum is signed from car park and Market Place via finger-posts.
The Museum has another site, Lains Barn, at Ardington, just outside Wantage. This is used for functions, including civil weddings and receptions.

Archaeology, social history, interactive relief map of the hinterland, specially produced films on the area narrated by David Attenborough, Wantage Tramway exhibit, rural arts and crafts, tanning and cloth making exhibits, agricultural machinery, Dean Butler and the Oxford Movement, Williams F1 racing car, discovery gallery for children.

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Coins and Medals, Costume and Textiles, Land Transport, Religion, Science and Technology, Social History, Trade and Commerce, Weapons and War

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Creatures from the Letcombe Brook

  • 10 June 2014 2-3pm

Sally Wallington, Letcombe Brook Officer, will bring in living creatures from the brook and share fascinating facts about them. Dress for mess to join in this free session, enabling you to learn more about Wantage’s rare chalk stream.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Advance booking essential.


photograph of wounded soldier on battlefield

Men of Wantage: 1914 – 1918

  • 11 June 2014 7:30-10:30pm

Local historian, Trevor Hancock, relates the stories of some of the Wantage and Charlton men who served in World War One. Each person’s journey was different and you will hear about their lives, successes and failures. Not everyone returned. Q and A included.

Suitable for

  • Any age


£4.00 per person. Advance booking recommended.


photograph of poppy field

Pilgrimage to Plug Street

  • 23 June 2014 7:30-9pm

An illustrated historical talk. Tony Hadland’s great-uncle Robert Fisher, son of an Irish soldier, became a waiter, joined a pals’ regiment and died leading a charge in Flanders. This poignant World War One story starts in Bristol and ends at “Plug Street”, the location of Robert’s last stand, which Tony visited in 2013. Q and A included.

Suitable for

  • Any age


£4.00. Advance booking recommended.


Vale and Downland Museum exterior

Talk and Tea: The Wheelwright

  • 24 June 2014 2:30-3:30pm

Meet Len, an Education Team Volunteer, in the museum’s barn gallery and discover how a wheelwright could turn part of a tree into a wheel which could last more than a hundred years. There will be a chance to see many wheelwrights’ tools and you may even get the opportunity to put a replica wheel together! This 30 minute presentation will be followed by a chance to chat with Len over tea and biscuits in the museum coffee shop.

Suitable for

  • Any age


£3.00. Space very limited. Advance reservation essential.