My Favourites

My Favourites

Save your favourites with a single click and you’ll never forget a brilliant Muddy recommendation.


Top places to live in Oxfordshire Watlington

This small but perfectly formed market town has an impressive high street and foodie offering, plus stunning walks aplenty. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.


It’s snuggled just under the western edge of Chiltern Hills and has a very cosy market town feel to it. And rightly so, as it claims to be the smallest town in England. Watlington was mentioned in the Domesday Book and was likely a settlement centuries before then, so it does have history in spades. People move here for its strong community vibe – it has over 60 community organisations and a well-used playground and skate park for the youth – and it often attracts young families from London who are looking to put down roots.


Surprisingly, for a small place, there’s quite a lot. For special occasions demand that little extra Olivier at the Red Lion is a dead cert (it’s British fine dining has had a nod from the Michelin Guide). For more everyday eating, The Granary Deli, on the High Street, is a great spot for breakfast or lunch or those multiple coffees in-between and you can stock up on local bread and UK cheeses while you’re there. The Spire and Spoke offers pizzas and craft alses, whilst The Chequers and The Fat Fox are two steady locals with reassuring pub food menus. 


For big supermarkets, you have to jump in the car to Thame but that shouldn’t stop you making the most of an impressive high street offer. Calnan Brothers is the sort of butchers that people cite as reasons for not moving (maybe it’s the award-winning sausages?) and Peter Osborne Fine Wines will do a good job of keeping your cellar (OK, kitchen cupboard) stocked up – owner Martin Chapman has been in the business over 50 years so he’s worth listening to. The Orange Bakery is run by teen baking maestro Kitty Tait and her dad and does a fine line in sourdough and pastries. Stilla Hem is a delightful Swedish-style interiors shop, So Sustainable provides organic, plastic-free natural products and refills while Bella Luce Lighting make you dream of magazine-style interiors. For designer gear, hop in the car for 30 minutes to luxury outdoor designer outlet Bicester Village with its 160+ boutiques and restaurants.


Hike up the 235 metres to the top of Watlington Hill and you will be rewarded (weather dependent) with incredible views over the Vale of Oxford. Christmas Common sits above Watlington on the Chilterns and there are several walks (from two to 12 miles) that will keep you busy – and children expelled of excess energy; plus, go in late spring and you will find yourself in a sea of bluebells. The lovely privately owned 850 year old Stonor Park or the National Trust treasure of Greys Court (nowhere better for bluebells in spring) are a 15 minute car trip if you’re looking for a full, family day out. Nuffield Place is close too – the former home of Sir William Morris of Morris Minor fame.


Middling. The average price over the last year was £481,391. As a family-focused town, it’s not surprising that most of the sales last year were detached homes averaging out at £614,722. Semi-detached sold for around £497,806 and terraces for an average of £426,714.


A charming 2-bed brick and flint Grade II listed cottage in the heart of Watlington. On for £415,000 with local agent Griffith & Partners.


There’s top girls’ prep school Godstowe, of course. Then Watlington Primary School (‘Outstanding’) serves the town’s younger residents and Icknield Community college (rated ‘Good’) serves the older kids, while nearby Wallingford School rated good and Thame’s Lord Williams’s School rated ‘Outstanding’ are also strong secondary and Sixth Form options. Watlington is on the bus route for all the top in independent schools in the area such as Moulsford, d’Overbroeck’s, Oratory Prep, Magdalen College, The Manor Prep, Headington and Oxford High.


There is a chalk triangle carved into Watlington Hill, which, from the correct angle, makes the Church of St Leonard look like it has a steeple. All the whim of local squire Edward Horne back in 1764.


79 miles. Unfortunately, Watlington doesn’t have its own train station so you can either drive to High Wycombe (20 minutes) where the fastest train gets to Marylebone in 26 mins, or to Haddenham & Thame Parkway (20 minutes) where the train takes 33 minutes (or up to 55 minutes off-peak). Season tickets from £4,340. Alternatively, you can hop on the Oxford Tube coach from Lewknor and it’s about an hour to London. Driving into London will take you 1 hour 13 mins.

View the full Top 200 Best Places to Live

be the first to know

Sign up for our free newsletter for our curated best bits of Bucks & Oxon


Best Place to Live in Oxfordshire Reader Vote

We made our selection – now it’s time to have your say!

Cast your vote by entering your email address and ticking the town or village you think deserves to win for the chance to bag £1,000 to spend at John Lewis, courtesy of our partner Strutt & Parker.

Your email address

The email address you provide is confidential and will only be used to validate your vote. For further information please read our Privacy Policy here.


A new restaurant, cocktail bar and wine merchants have recently joined the already lively high street of this buzzy market town in south Oxon.

Great Tew

Perched on the edge of the Cotswolds, Great Tew boasts postcard-perfect architecture, rolling hills and David Beckham as your neighbour.


Dubbed 'the gateway to the Cotswolds' this buzzing town on the Oxon/Glos border by the River Windrush ticks all the boxes for the Cotswolds idyll.


This historic market town, five miles south of Oxford, offers bang for your buck with riverside walks and excellent schools aplenty.


This small but perfectly formed market town has an impressive high street and foodie offering, plus stunning walks aplenty.


A bustling high street brimming with brilliant indies and thriving cultural and lifestyle scene earns this classic market town top marks from Muddy.



A stunner of a riverside town with excellent restaurants and shops Henley is hard to beat (although you'll be paying for it!).


For those who're not quite ready to ditch city life Jericho is a happy middle ground - its foodie scene punches well above its weight, plus you're a stone's throw from central Oxford.

Know another brilliant place to live in Oxfordshire?

Tell us your favourite town or village and we’ll check it out for our next edition of Best Places to Live.

I nominate...


Now go and win yourself a whopping £1,000 to spend at John Lewis on an insanely squishy sofa, wardrobe overhaul, kitchen gadgets - or whatever you like! - thanks to our partner Strutt & Parker.

Photo of sofa

Need to know

  • - Read our full Reader Treat Terms and Conditions here

  • - The prize is a £1,000 voucher for John Lewis
  • - There is no cash alternative
  • - Entrants must be UK Residents aged 18 or over
  • - The prize draw closes on 22 Mar 2022
  • - Once notified by email, the winner will have 48 hours to accept their prize
  • - Only one entry per person per county allowed
  • - Voucher must be redeemed within 24 months