Explore The Vale of White Horse

vale of white horse

Take the X1, X2 or X3, bus services south between the Ridgeway and the River Thames to enter Oxfordshire's Vale of White Horse, which is home to medieval market villages, abbey ruins, and vintage locomotives. En route, you could find yourself strolling through woodland, boarding vintage trains, or getting close and personal to birds of prey.

And what’s more with the extension of the £2 fare cap, now is a very good time to explore nearby attractions.

To make planning even easier, here are some of our sightseeing ideas for spring that are just a bus stop away.

Destination: Abingdon (X1, X2, X3)

Abingdon County Museum This historic market town set in rural South Oxfordshire has a history dating back to the 7th century, and holds claim to being the ‘oldest, continuously inhabited town in England’. Particular highlights include the Abbey buildings, the Unicorn Theatre, and the County Museum.

Hop off at the High Street in Abingdon for easy access to most attractions.

Abingdon County Hall Museum

The County Hall has overlooked the market place of Abingdon since the late 17th century. It once featured a courtroom on the first floor but is now home to a bright, airy museum featuring information displays and interactive experiences that portray over 6,000 years of Abingdon’s social history, including a locally discovered dinosaur and a fossil collection. From April through October (in suitable weather), you can head up to the museum roof for a panoramic view of the town and South Oxfordshire countryside.

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Abingdon Abbey Buildings

Once a monastery that was known as St Mary’s Abbey, Abingdon Abbey is over 600 years old, and set in its own private walled gardens. Only two groups of the Abbey’s buildings remain. One, which contains the Gateway, St Nicholas’ Church, and some of the Guildhall. And the other, houses the Long Gallery, the Checker, and the Unicorn Theatre.

The abbey is open from May through September on Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 2.00 and 4.00 pm. Outside of this time you can contact the curator to see what is possible.

In Spring, the Abbey hosts the Abingdon Beer Festival, where visitors can sample the beers and tap at the medieval Abbey Buildings, home of a 1,000 year-old brewing tradition.

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Unicorn Theatre

An Elizabethan style theatre located in the Medieval Abbey buildings which offers a range of cultural events, theatrical productions, and activities for the local community.  

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Abingdon Abbey Gardens

The abbey gardens were once home to the 7th-Century Abingdon Abbey. It features flat, wide, accessible paths through formal gardens and open parkland with mature trees. Highlights include an ornamental lake at the eastern end and the remains of Trendell’s Folly, built by a 19th-century wine merchant. From here you can head through Abbey Meadows and down to the Thames for a riverside walk.

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St Helen’s wharf

Directly next to St Helen’s Church, St Helen’s Wharf overlooks the Thames and is a good place to watch the boats go by or just sit down for a relaxing afternoon.

Destination: Millets Farm, Frilford (X1)

Millets Farm Located to the west of Abingdon, Millets Farm is a family attraction in South Oxfordshire with Farm Shop, Garden Centre, Falconry Centre, Play Barn, Adventure Golf, Animal Walkway, Phoebe Wood, Playground and seasonal activities throughout the year. 

The X1 bus runs along the A338 and stops at the nearby garage at Frilford crossroads.

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Destination: Didcot (X2, X32)

Didcot railway centreDidcot is a historic market town that once served as a hub serving the British Army in World War I.  It has grown significantly over the last decade and the introduction of Orchard Centre brought with it a broad mix of mix of shops, cafes, arts and leisure facilities. Unsurprisingly for a railway town, Didcot is best known for its Railway Centre, where the Great Western Society preserves and restores Great Western Railway’s heritage.

Didcot Railway Centre

This 21-acre living railway museum features a unique collection of Great Western Railway steam engines, coaches, wagons, buildings and small relics based around the original 1930s engine shed. On Steam Days, there are rides on the trains and family activities are available. 

The nearest bus stop is outside Didcot Parkway.

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Cornerstone Arts

Opened in 2008, this purpose-built arts, culture and entertainment centre has something for everyone - from children’s shows and plays to live music and comedians. There is a local independent arts café selling and a visual arts gallery that displays a vast range of artwork by both established and emerging artists, ranging from painting to printmaking and installations to video – specialising in 2D.

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Destination: Wantage (X1)

Vale and Downland Museum, WantageThis attractive market town in the Vale of White Horse has a diverse range of independent shops, cafes, and historic sights. It is best known for being the birthplace of King Alfred, whose likeness is represented on a statue in the busy marketplace. The Vale and Downland Museum, the Church from the 13th century, the Market Place with its King Alfred statue, and the numerous walking options both inside the town and to the neighboring villages are the main points of interest.

Alight at the main bus stop next to the Bear Hotel in Market Place.

Vale and Downland Museum

This well-regarded museum spans 10,000 years of local human history from the Wantage area.  It also plays host to a craft exhibition space, a library of local history books, gift shop and a café. 

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St Peter and St Paul

This large medieval church stands opposite the Vale and Downland Museum, and away from the main thoroughfare. It is beautifully adorned inside and features richly coloured Victorian stained-glass windows and numerous historical features that include a 24-candle chandelier dating back to 1711.

Poet John Betjeman was a regular churchgoer here, and a short walk from the church brings you to a small public garden named in his honour.

Self-guided walks

A series of self-guided walking route are available from the Vale and Downland museum covering shorter strolls around Victorian Wantage to longer circular 2 hour walks that explore the surrounding villages and countryside.

Destination: Oxford

OxfordThe bustling heart of Oxfordshire, woven with universities and colleges and a popular spot for films and television shows. Explore the rich history of our city on foot with the Walking Tours, or enjoy a ride on the frequent open top tour buses which run throughout the year.

Hop off the X1,2 or 3 at St Aldates for Christchurch Meadows, Carfax Tower, and The Story Museum. The majority of Oxford's other sights are accessible on foot, but if you want to see more of the city, think about joining an open-top bus tour that lets you get out at 20 different locations.

Christchurch Meadows

A peaceful and historic open green space in the heart of Oxford. Christchurch Meadows are a popular walking spot with the lower part of the meadow used for grazing.  It's the ideal spot for picnics, sitting or just relaxing. Whilst taking a stroll, why not take a look at the college boathouses where rowing teams gather to train and compete.

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Carfax Tower

The Carfax Tower is all that remains of the 12th-century St. Martin’s Church. The church was originally the official city church of Oxford before 1122. In 1896, the church was demolished to make more room for the traffic in the area.

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The Covered Market

Explore the historic Covered Market just off the High Street with over 50 independent shops, cafes, bars and experiences under one roof. It also plays host to a diverse schedule of activities from live music to quiz nights, crafty workshops and book talks.

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Open top bus and walking tours

Oxford has plenty to explore, from the many colleges to the Oxford Botanic Gardens, and the riverside meadows. The City Sightseeing bus tours where you can hop off at any of the 20 stops in the city to explore the main attractions and sights. Kids can enjoy exclusive commentary, and this Easter, a Bunny Hop Trail will be running on select dates.

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Get to these amazing places today on our X1, X2, X3, and X32 bus services. Plan your journey on the Oxford Bus app - it's packed full of timetables, service information and more to make your journey easier and smoother. Download our app today, or take a look at the timetables here on our website.