Side view of the Orator prep school near Reading

A Complete Guide for Living in Oxfordshire

Are you considering moving to Oxfordshire, particularly South Oxfordshire? Or perhaps you have recently relocated. To give you a helping hand, we at The Oratory Prep School have created this guide to help you understand what it is like living in Oxfordshire.

South Oxfordshire is a charming district that paints a picture of rolling hills, cozy villages, and a friendly community. With a population of around 146,500, this area brings together both the tranquility of rural landscapes and the buzz of modern life. It has four main towns which are Didcot, Henley-on-Thames, Thame and Wallingford.  It is also close to Reading in Berkshire, which allows for convenient travel between the two neighbouring areas.

This is a place where history, nature, and community come together to create a truly unique experience.

According to the census, South Oxfordshire population grew 11.0% between 2011 and 2021, with many families choosing to settle and raise children in South Oxfordshire.

Discover more about South Oxfordshire below.

Living in Oxfordshire

House Prices & Estate Agents In South Oxfordshire

Area type: Non-Metropolitan District

Average Detached House Price: £852,681

Average Semi-Detached House Price: £445,503

Average Terraced House Price: £392,139

Average Flat Price: £268,089

Estate agents in South Oxfordshire

  1. Chancellors – Wallingford Estate Agents
  2. Wallers Estate Agents Ltd
  3. Oxfordshire Estates – Sales and Letting Agents Abingdon
  4. Allen and Harris Estate Agents Didcot
  5. In House Estate Agents

What Makes South Oxfordshire A Great Place To Live?

In 2019, Halifax named South Oxfordshire the sixth best place to live in their quality of life survey, and recently many Londoners have chosen to swap the capital for a quieter and more relaxed pace of life.

Discover a world of heritage and culture. The district is a treasure trove for those fascinated by the past. Historic buildings, gardens and landmarks can all be explored in this intriguing area.

Lovers of the countryside will find much to do in South Oxfordshire with its natural beauty and abundance of wildlife. Whether you fancy a gentle stroll along the river or a more vigorous hike, there are many routes to suit your tastes.


Schools in South Oxfordshire 


Transport links in South Oxfordshire 

South Oxfordshire is surrounded by beautiful countryside  and is just a short drive from Reading.

The excellent transport links include:

  1. Car: Like in many areas, private cars are a common mode of transportation in South Oxfordshire. Many residents and visitors use their own vehicles to travel within the region.
  2. Bus: Buses provide public transportation services connecting towns and villages in South Oxfordshire. Different bus routes operate throughout the area, serving both urban and rural communities. The main bus company in the district is the Oxford Bus Company.
  3. Train: South Oxfordshire has several train stations that are part of the national rail network. Trains connect the region to larger cities like Oxford, Reading, and London, making it easy to travel longer distances. Train services in South Oxfordshire are run by Great Western Railway
  4. Bicycle: Cycling is a popular mode of transportation for shorter distances, especially into more urban areas and around college towns like Oxford. Many roads and paths are bike-friendly, promoting eco-friendly and healthy travel.


Things To Do In South Oxfordshire

Since South Oxfordshire is a district, it consists of several main towns which means there are plenty of things to do with the family.

We have created a list of local activities, so go out and explore!

Explore Local Villages and Towns: Take some time to explore the charming villages and towns in South Oxfordshire, such as Henley-on-Thames, Wallingford, and Thame. These areas offer a mix of historic architecture, shops, and local eateries.

  1. Explore Henley-on-Thames: Enjoy the riverside charm, historic architecture, and the renowned Henley Royal Regatta.  
  2. Visit Wallingford: Discover the medieval town, Wallingford Castle Gardens, Wallingford Museum and local markets.
  3. Didcot Railway Centre: Experience steam train rides and vintage locomotives at this railway heritage site.
  4. Greys Court: Visit this National Trust property near Henley-on-Thames with its historic house and gardens.


Places To Eat In South Oxfordshire

There are many wonderful restaurants and places to eat in South Oxfordshire.

  1. The Quince Tree, Henley-on-Thames: Café and restaurant with seasonal dishes in a rustic setting.
  2. Orwells Restaurant, Shiplake: Michelin-starred restaurant known for innovative British cuisine.
  3. The Beetle and Wedge Boathouse, Moulsford: Modern British cuisine with Thames views.
  4. The Cherry Tree, Henley-on-Thames: Traditional pub serving comfort food and drinks.
  5. Coppa Club, Sonning: Stylish restaurant with diverse menus and riverside views.


South Oxfordshire Facebook Groups & Online Forums 

Before moving to an area, it is sensible to reach out to the locals for tips and advice.

We have prepared a list of Facebook groups and forums for anyone thinking about moving to South Oxfordshire.

  1. South Oxfordshire Villages  – A group for South Oxfordshire villages; information, news, events, travel updates, and to support our village enterprises!
  2. WONDERFUL WOODCOTE South Oxfordshire – A community group where villagers can discuss and advertise charity events, promote local clubs and societies and discuss various causes for the betterment of the village.
  3. Didcot facebookers – Join this group if you are from the town of Didcot, Oxfordshire, located in the South-East of England! Share your stories, events, clubs etc.
  4. – Information regarding South Oxfordshire.


Where To Go Shopping In South Oxfordshire

  1. Orchard Centre, Didcot: A modern shopping destination with a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.
  2. The Covered Market, Oxford: A historic indoor market offering a range of products, from food to clothing and crafts.
  3. Henley-on-Thames High Street: Explore the charming streets of Henley with boutique shops, cafes, and local stores.
  4. Broad Street, Reading: A bustling shopping area in Reading with a mix of high street and independent shops.
  5. Westgate Oxford: A modern shopping complex in the heart of Oxford, featuring a range of shops, restaurants, and a cinema.
  6. The Oracle, Reading: A large shopping mall with a diverse selection of shops, restaurants, and waterfront views.
  7. Thame High Street: Discover Thame’s quaint town centre with a variety of independent shops, boutiques, and cafes.


Sports & Entertainment in South Oxfordshire 

In South Oxfordshire, there are plenty of sporting activities and other exciting events to keep your family busy in your spare time.

Sporting leisure activities in South Oxfordshire:


  1. Didcot Wave Leisure Pool: A modern leisure centre with swimming pools, fitness classes, and sports facilities.
  2. Chiltern Way: A network of walking and cycling trails through the Chiltern Hills, perfect for outdoor activities.
  3. Badgemore Park Golf Club: A scenic golf course near Henley-on-Thames offering golfing opportunities for players of all levels.
  4. Thames Path: A long-distance walking trail along the Thames River, ideal for nature walks and exploration.
  5. Oxford Sports Lawn Tennis Club: A tennis club in Oxford providing courts for various racquet sports.


Parks In South Oxfordshire

If you love nature and the outdoors, then South Oxfordshire will be great for you. There are an abundance of parks and woodlands for you to explore.

  1. Henley-on-Thames Riverfront: Enjoy the serene Thames River views and Mill Meadows in Henley-on-Thames for picnics, walks, and relaxation.
  2. Cutteslowe Park: An expansive park in North Oxford with playgrounds, tennis courts, and open lawns for outdoor activities.
  3. South Park, Oxford: Offers panoramic views of Oxford, walking paths, and open spaces for leisurely strolls and kite flying.
  4. Wallingford Castle Gardens: Explore the historic castle ruins and peaceful gardens in Wallingford for a tranquil escape.
  5. Christ Church Meadow, Oxford: Riverside paths, open fields, and iconic college views make this meadow a peaceful retreat.
  6. Nuffield Place Gardens: Part of Nuffield Place, these gardens offer well-maintained lawns and flowerbeds for relaxation.
  7. Harcourt Arboretum: A diverse collection of trees in Nuneham Courtenay perfect for leisurely walks in a natural setting.


Nurseries in South Oxfordshire

There are a variety of nurseries and preschools in South Oxfordshire, and here at The Oratory Prep School, we have our own Nursery provision called Little Oaks.

Our exciting nursery, located within the stunning grounds of The Oratory Prep School, caters for children from 2 to 4 years and is open 50 weeks per year. To find out more, please click here.


Looking for a School in South Oxfordshire? 

If you are looking for an excellent Catholic boarding school for boys and girls aged 2-13 in South Oxfordshire, then please do come by and say hello!  It is certainly a very special place, which holds the children at its core, and all our pupils benefit from an excellent education enriched by our outstanding facilities.

To book a personalised tour or to find out about our next Open Morning, please see the visit us page.



proud supporters of Military Families


Join us at one of our Open Events or our Registrar can arrange a personalised showround of our school.

© The Oratory Preparatory School 2024