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“Full of local information” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Vale & Downland Museum

Vale & Downland Museum
Ranked #1 of 9 things to do in Wantage
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Vale and Downland Museum 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. The range of services is very broad ranging, from galleries interpreting the cultural heritage of the Vale of 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.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities, Stroller parking, Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Wantage, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Full of local information”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 13, 2013

A really well thought out museum covering the Wantage locality. Has eating facilities & a Tourist Information Centre.

Visited December 2013
Thank Spanners51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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52 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
79 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“A Tardis”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 10, 2013

Lovely little cafe, outside area, reading material, polite helpful volunteers and a clever, thoughtful museum that captures the interesting history of country area. Seek it out in a side street or ask someone for directions. Well worth a visit, it will surprise you. There is an entrance fee.

Visited October 2013
Thank ospreychick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newbury, England
Level Contributor
114 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Good local Museum”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 13, 2013

We like this place. Lots of stuff to do and touch. A good place to entertain 7 to 10 year olds on a rainy day.

Visited November 2012
Thank Fangthewonderdog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, England
Level Contributor
72 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“A Little Gem of a Museum (with Cafe)”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 11, 2013

Taking a visiting friend to this museum, reminded me of how excellent it is. It gives a real insight into the history of the Vale of the White Horse in general and Wantage in particular. We saw a very well written and presented short Attenborough documentary at the start of our journey through the little museum, which set us up to better appreciate what was to follow.
I'm sure children would like the museum, as there is an opportunity for interaction as well as education. A very helpful mature volunteer walked round with us and gave some personal insights into life in the town.
The museum also lets out gallery space for art exhibitions, and sells books about the local area.
There is an excellent little cafe on-site with very good and reasonably priced freshly produced food such as quiche, baked potatoes with fillings, paninis and sandwiches and soup, also some rather delicious looking cakes. The latte I had was very nice and my friend didn't have to ask for extra hot water for her tea. The cafe was clean and cheerful and there is a small external courtyard for summer use.
Parking is only a short distance away in the Town Hall car park.
I will certainly make a point of visiting the gallery and cafe again and can happily recommend it as a nice place to spend an hour or so.

Visited September 2013
Thank Jay F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ancona, Italy
Level Contributor
1,335 reviews
831 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,647 helpful votes
“A surprise round every corner”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 3, 2013

Phenomenally interesting. Something unexpected round every corner - an old hat shop, a section of a tram, how a tannery worked, a real Williams Formula One racing car (built locally), a winnowing machine by Whyte’s of Fyfield (a local village), Lady Wantage's carriage (looks like a bath chair), parts of the ancient market-place cross (and what happened to it), stone age axes and how they were made, Wantage station (now sadly closed, but there's just a chance it might open again), the White Horse, dendrochronology, the first railway in the Vale, Robert Loyd-Lindsay, the first Baron Wantage, who was one of the founders of what became the British Red Cross and won the VC in the Crimea, Wantage in Roman times, how bricks were made with a decorative blue glaze, pagan temples...

Lots to do as well, esp. for children: push a button on the model railway and the train goes to the other end of the Vale; try the seats in the tram; haul up a sack on a pulley, sit in the stocks...

Maybe the best local museum I've ever seen.

Visited August 2013
Thank ELear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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