Our Abingdon activities roundup includes several museums, the historic Abbey and its stunning gardens, outdoor swimming pools and much more.
Activities in Abingdon
Take a trip back to the 20s and 30s at Pendon Museum, a wonderfully evocative experience that uses miniature scenes to recreate English rural life via three dioramas covering railways, villages and landscapes. The downsized museum brilliantly captures the history of the period right down to minute details – quite literally, in this case – giving you a great overview of how life was a hundred years ago.
Abingdon Abbey and Gardens
Millets Farm Centre
Covering a wide range of animals, indoor and outdoor play zones, a maize maze, an old-fashioned carousel, falconry and acres of woodland to explore, the Millets Farm Centre is the perfect family day out. They also have a pick-your-own range during the summer, meaning you can stock up on over 30 different fruits and vegetables including strawberries, sweetcorn and cherries. Or, you can just head to the well-stocked farm shop and pick up a wide range of fresh produce including their amazing home-grown apple and pear juice. The centre is also home to several other businesses including Frosts Garden centre, Farmhouse Kitchen and the Potting Shed Cafe.
With a heated outdoor pool, splash park for kids, playground and scenic riverside walks, Abbey Meadows is a gorgeous park overlooking the River Thames, and easily walkable along Ock Street from our Abingdon hotel. You’ll experience it at its best during the summer months, but the park is open year round with plenty of paths suitable for walking and running as well as several cycle trails. The newly renovated green space also has a sensory garden, trampoline, an area for ball games, plenty of seating and public toilets.
Abingdon Abbey and Gardens
Dating as far back as the seventh century, Abingdon Abbey was once one of the most prominent Abbies in the UK, on a scale to rival some of England’s great cathedrals. Sadly nothing remains of the Abbey today, but its remains are marked out in the Abbey Gardens with plenty of information boards highlighting what the Abbey would have looked like and its importance in the Medieval time. The gardens are essentially split in two – the formal gardens with flower beds and leafy borders and the open parkland that leads to the lake which teems with wildlife.
It’s not overstating it to say that the Abingdon Market is one of the oldest and best of its kind in the country. An institution in the town for centuries, the market day is on Monday – as decreed by the Royal Charter, no less – and held on Market Place on the High Street from 8am-3pm you can shop ‘til you drop picking up a wide range of local produce, arts and crafts and artisan food. Alongside the weekly market, the Thames Valley Farmers’ Market takes over on the third Friday of each month while the Local Excellent Market – selling local food, beer and crafts – runs every three months on Saturdays from 9am-2pm.
Perfect your barrister’s closing motions at the Abingdon Museum, housed in a stunning 17th-century converted courtroom. The museum charts the history of the region through a series of interactive features while the basement contains the café, access to its online database and a range of toilets. The museum is free to enter, but it’s worth paying the small admission price for the rooftop terrace, which offers gorgeous views across the town and the River Thames.
Abingdon Marine Centre
No visit to Abingdon would be complete without a trip on the Thames. And the Abingdon Marine Centre offers a wide range of boat and steamer trips allowing you to take in the scenic River Thames or you can hire out your own rowing boat or powered diesel boat by the hour and take control of your own tour. The centre is open daily from Easter until September, at the weekends during October and only on Fridays from November to April.