Vale & Downland Museum

Vale & Downland Museum entrance

The Vale & Downland Museum in Wantage is full of interactive exhibits showing the heritage of the area, from Anglo-Saxon days to modern day businesses.   At the entry desk we were warmly welcomed and told about the museum.  We were shown the various different trail sheets children can have a go at and we started our tour around the displays and exhibits.

The first exhibit we found was a huge interactive landscape model of the area.  The kids enjoyed pressing the buttons to discover different things within the landscape.

lois and cody looking at vale map display

Next we were fascinated to find a Saxon woman’s skeleton and Anglo-saxon outfits for children to try on.

anglo-saxon outfit

Cody learned how to build a brick wall, while Lois had a go at putting together a wheel.

We were all excited to see a Williams F1 car on display as the team’s headquarters is located just a few miles down the road.  My Dad has worked for Williams almost all my life so the team has always been a big part of our family.

kids stood in front of williams f1 car

Upstairs Cody and Lois enjoyed taking a more scientific approach to things by having a go at using a microscope.  Lilian enjoyed having a go at weaving.  This museum is bursting with interactive activities which is fantastic.  It is so family friendly and has something for all ages.

Joined on to the museum is a lovely gift shop and cafe with food freshly made on site.  I highly recommend their cakes!  It’s a lovely place to enjoy a snack or lunch during your visit.

There are regular events and activities as well as theme days and workshops.  School holidays and weekends are a great time to look at what’s on.  There are also regular tots groups including a weekly music group and monthly ‘Alfie meets’ sessions.  Once a month they also hold a Lego club meeting and drawing workshop.  There is so much to get involved in!

John Betjeman monument

The museum is open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-4pm (excluding bank holidays).  Entry is free but please do leave a donation in one of the collection boxes to keep this fantastic place open.  Children of all ages are more than welcome but please leave dogs at home unless it is a guide dog.  Disabled access is limited in some areas due to the nature of the historic buildings which make up the museum space but most areas are accessible.   The nearest car parks are at the Beacon or Sainsburys just a short walk away.

Address:  Vale & Downland Museum,  19 Church Street, Wantage, Oxfordshire, OX12 8BL

Price: FREE!  (please leave a donation in the pot)


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