Abingdon-on-Thames is the perfect location to be in high summer. Even on the hottest of days, being on or near the water makes you feel a few degrees cooler, and with the River Thames running through the town it really is a great place to be.
Abbey Meadow & Abbey Gardens
These green outdoor spaces are wonderful places to stroll, let the children run free, sit and watch the world go by or enjoy a picnic.
This summer sees a range of improvements taking place at Abbey Meadows. A superb new play park has already opened and features a Grand Abbey climbing area, Abingdon Lock river scene, sensory area and play garden, and an area for ball games as well as lots of traditional play equipment. The splash park for young children remains open for the summer, while the outdoor pool is closed as a brand new one is being built.
Last year the lovely Abbey Gardens were judged one of the best parks in the country and awarded Green Flag status for the eighth year in a row, which recognises it as a well-managed, well-maintained area with excellent facilities. While you are here, check out the ruins – not relics of the abbey as some may suspect but actually Trendell’s Folly, created in the 19th century when this was a private garden.
Boat Hire and Boat Trips
On the water has to be the coolest place to be! Hire a boat from family firm Abingdon Bridge Marine who have rowing boats and 6/8 capacity diesel day-boats which can be hired hourly or for up to a full day. Or just sit back and relax on one of their organised boat trips which take in some of the most beautiful scenery in England.
Al Fresco Dining
Fix your own picnic with delicious goodies from Added Ingredients deli in Stert Street, where both exotic and more traditional fare awaits. Crumbs Sandwich Bar in the High Street is another great choice with lots of tempting treats. And if you need a new picnic basket and blanket, head to
Lewis Baker in Bridge Street, a regular Aladdin’s cave offering great prices on discounted items.
If you don’t want the bother of preparing a picnic, there are plenty of town centre eateries with tables and chairs outside. Or why not try one of these popular riverside pubs:
The Nag’s Head is situated halfway across Abingdon Bridge. The gardens provide a peaceful retreat amongst the rushes and willows with lots of areas to enjoy outdoor dining, and there are real ales, excellent wines, coffee, bar meals and a la carte menu all available. The Nag's Head won the CAMRA Town and Country 'Pub of the Year' for three years running and has featured in ‘The Good Beer Guide’ 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The Old Anchor Inn sits alongside the river on St Helen’s Wharf, its garden taking in lovely views of the river. The pub offers a changing menu, a good wine selection and an array of regularly rotating ales.
Walk the Walk
If you’ve never done a proper guided walking tour of Abingdon, make summer 2017 the year you do! ‘Walk.About.Abingdon’ is a guided tour around the centre of the historic town, capturing 150 million years of history in around 90 minutes, taking in some of Britain’s most beautiful countryside and historic buildings. Booking required: 0788 091 3819.
A self-guided option is the Abingdon Waterways Walk. This 8-mile circular walk guides you into the heart of this medieval town, through the villages of Drayton and Sutton Courtney and takes in parts of the River Thames, which all make for a great day out. Purchase the illustrated book with maps to guide you and information about the places you pass on the way at Mostly Books or The Bookstore in Abingdon for just £2.
Or how about Abingdon Treasure Hunt Trail? The circular route is 2.5 miles long and you go at your own pace, so it is ideal for all ages and abilities. All correct answers to the treasure hunt questions are entered into the monthly £100 prize draw, so there is even real treasure to be won! The downloadable PDF costs £6.99 or the route can be posted to you: see website for details: www.treasuretrails.co.uk/things-to-do/oxfordshire/abingdon.
Abingdon Antiques and Vintage Fair: 8 July
Much of the above is available pretty much all year round, but for one day only don’t miss this great day out for all the family! Happening on Saturday 8 July, Abingdon Antiques and Vintage Fair takes over the town centre and brings together a wide variety of the finest traders and a designer-maker section where you can stock up on gifts, unique designs and vintage treasures. The event takes place on Bath Street and Market Place, 10 am– 3pm, and promises to be exceptional summer fun for everyone to enjoy.