The alluring Oxfordshire town that is an A-list favorite


Gruesome deaths occur surprisingly regularly here. The most recent was during a staging of Amadeus. The crowd was thrilled when the actor slid a shiny silver knife to his throat. A thick red liquid began to spread on the floor and his eyes wore a look of pure terror. Special effects at their best, the audience thought, until the screaming woman next to him made it clear that he had, in fact, accidentally ended his own life.

Yet another untimely demise to add to the dozens imposed on residents of this sleepy Oxfordshire town, with its ruined castle and 13th-century churches. Luckily for the locals, the murderous nature of this place only exists in the realms of fiction. For Wallingford, which sits on the River Thames between Reading and Oxford, for years played the role of the fictional town of Causton in ITV’s Midsomer Murders.

During filming, independent shops dress up their windows for the occasion, roads are closed and the actors of the drama descend on the city center – including John Nettles and Neil Dudgeon, the sharp-eyed detectives busy with the resident psychopaths and crooks . Fortunately, genuine visitors have nothing to fear. The actual population of Wallingford is an affluent bunch and the town center is a lovely little place when the cameras are put away.

stamp of celebrity

So charming, in fact, that he has long captured the attention of the great and the good. The Corn Exchange Theater which appeared in Midsomer’s Death of a hollow man episode was presided over for a quarter of a century by Agatha Christie, no less, who lived just down the street at Grade II listed Winterbrook House. The beautiful 17th-century riverside property went up for sale last year (for £2.75million) and a group of locals are hoping to raise enough money to turn it into a museum. For now, super Christie fans can admire it from the road, peek around its gardens and then tackle the council’s Agatha Christie walking path.

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