A visit to Thame – historic market town in the heart of Oxfordshire

Oxford City & Oxfordshire | Magazine 

A visit to Thame

Thame is a charming and historic market town located in Oxfordshire, just a short drive from the city of Oxford. With its beautiful architecture, rich history, and vibrant arts and culture scene, Thame is a great place to visit.

Markets

Thame has a long tradition of hosting weekly markets. These markets are held in the town centre, and they are a vibrant and bustling hub of activity where locals and visitors alike can shop for fresh produce, artisanal crafts, and a range of other goods.

The charter market is held every Tuesday and features a wide range of stalls selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to artisan cheeses, locally made bread, and handmade crafts. Visitors can browse the stalls, chat with the vendors, and sample some of the delicious local products on offer. On Fridays, Thame hosts the Farmers Mart a farmer’s sale where bidding starts on up to 850 cattle with buyers attending from across the country.

Thame is set to host a number of exciting events, including the Spring Market, French Market, and Autumn Market.

The Spring Market, taking place from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th March 2023, is a three-day market that promises to be a vibrant and exciting display of food, drink, and locally made goods. Visitors can browse the stalls around Thame Town Hall, sample delicious local produce, and find unique and interesting goods from local artisans.

The French Market, taking place from Friday 6th to Sunday 8th October 2023, is a special event that brings a touch of French culture to Thame. Stall holders travel all the way from France to sell a range of local crafts, hot food, soaps, and more. Visitors can immerse themselves in the atmosphere, enjoy the unique flavours and products on offer, and experience a taste of France in the heart of Oxfordshire.

Finally, the Autumn Market, taking place from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th October 2023, is another three-day market that promises to be a vibrant and exciting display of food, drink, and locally made goods. Visitors can once again browse the stalls around Thame Town Hall, sample delicious local produce, and find unique and interesting goods from local artisans.

Shopping

Thame is home to a wide range of independent shops, boutiques, and local businesses. From quaint bookstores to stylish fashion boutiques, Thame has something to offer every type of shopper. The High Street, which is lined with a range of charming independent shops and boutiques. Here you’ll find everything from antique stores and gift shops to high-end fashion boutiques and artisan food stores.

For book lovers, The Book House is a must-visit destination. This independent bookstore is located in a beautiful historic building and offers a wide range of new and used books, as well as a range of gifts and stationery.

If you’re in the market for fashion and accessories, be sure to check out Gallivant, a stylish boutique that offers a range of high-end clothing and accessories for women.

Foodies

For foodies, Thame is a delight, with a range of delicious and locally sourced food and drink options. Whether you’re looking for a cozy cafe to enjoy a cup of coffee, or a top-quality restaurant to sample the finest local ingredients, Thame has something to offer.

One of the town’s most popular dining spots is The Thatch, a classic English pub that serves up delicious food and drink in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Their menu changes monthly, with daily specials that showcase the best seasonal ingredients available.

Another popular choice is The Birdcage, a stylish and modern cafe that offers a wide range of delicious breakfast and lunch options. From classic dishes like eggs benedict and full English breakfast to more adventurous options like shakshuka and avocado toast, there’s something to suit every taste at The Birdcage.

Thame is a fantastic destination for food lovers, with a wide range of cafes, pubs, and restaurants to suit every taste and budget. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite to eat or a full dining experience, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your appetite in this charming market town.

Exhibitions, Events & Things to do

Thame Carnival

Thame Carnival is an eagerly anticipated event in the town’s calendar, and 2023’s event is set to be bigger and better than ever before. Taking place on Saturday 17th June 2023, Thame Carnival promises to be a fun-filled day out for all the family, with a range of exciting stalls, games, and activities on offer.

The carnival is a fantastic opportunity for local charities and organisations to raise funds and awareness for their causes. Each stall is run by a different charity, giving visitors the chance to learn more about the important work being done in the community and to show their support.

In addition to the charity stalls, Thame Carnival also features a range of exciting entertainment, including live music, dance performances, and funfair rides. There are also plenty of delicious food and drink options on offer, ensuring that visitors can stay fuelled up throughout the day. This year, Thame Carnival has selected four charities to support:

Red Kite Family Centre, Thame & District Society for the Visually Impaired, Thame Youth Memorial, and Jack & Jill Pre-school Chinnor. These organisations are doing important work in the community, and the funds raised by Thame Carnival will help to support their efforts.

The Thame Food Festival

The Thame Food festival is a two-day festival that takes place in the historic market town of Thame. The festival showcases a wide range of culinary delights from artisan food and drink producers, local chefs, and street food vendors. Visitors can browse the various stalls and sample everything from homemade cakes and pies to locally brewed beers and ciders. There are also live cooking demonstrations from top chefs, giving attendees the chance to learn new skills and pick up tips and tricks from the professionals.

The festival has a great atmosphere with live music and entertainment, making it a fun and enjoyable day out for all the family. Not forgetting the popular Fun Dog Show!


It is a must-visit event for foodies, and a great opportunity to discover and celebrate the best of Oxfordshire’s food and drink scene. Date: Saturday 30 September 2023 and Sunday 01 October2023.

Thame Art Crawl

Thame Art Crawl is a beloved annual event that showcases the rich artistic talent of Oxfordshire and beyond. Now in its 7th year, the Thame Art Crawl promises to be even more exciting than ever before, with a wide range of professional and up-and-coming artists displaying their work throughout the town centre.

From the 17th to the 21st of October 2023, visitors to Thame will be able to explore a vibrant and diverse range of art, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and textiles. The exhibition will be spread out across a range of venues throughout the town centre, making it easy for visitors to explore at their own pace.

Thame Museum

Thame Museum is a fascinating destination for history buffs and anyone interested in learning more about the town’s rich heritage. Housed in the old Court House, this museum is home to a vast collection of artefacts and exhibits spanning centuries of Thame’s history.

One of the highlights of the museum is its collection of display panels, artefacts, and oral histories, each of which tells the story of the town and its people. Every object on display has a unique link to Thame’s past and illustrates life in the community from Neolithic times to present day.

Visitors can expect to see a wide range of fascinating artefacts, including tools, weapons, household items, and much more. In addition to the permanent galleries, the museum also hosts a rich programme of temporary exhibitions and informative talks.

Facilities for local and family history are also available, making the museum a great resource for anyone interested in researching their family tree or learning more about the local area. So if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by and explore the fascinating exhibits and artefacts on display.

Thame Commemorative Plaques Trail

The Thame Commemorative Plaques Trail is a fascinating walking trail that takes visitors on a journey through the town’s rich history. The trail features a range of plaques that commemorate important people, events, and buildings from Thame’s past.

The trail winds its way through the town centre and into the surrounding residential areas, taking in a wide range of historical sites and buildings. Each plaque on the trail provides information about the person, event, or building being commemorated, giving visitors a unique insight into the rich history of Thame.

Some of the highlights of the trail include the plaque commemorating the birthplace of John Hampden, one of the leading figures in the English Civil War, and the plaque marking the site of Thame Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery that was dissolved during the Reformation. The trail also features plaques commemorating a range of other important figures from Thame’s past, including musicians, politicians, and philanthropists. There are also plaques that mark the site of former schools, pubs, and other buildings that played an important role in the town’s development over the centuries.

The Thame Commemorative Plaques Trail is a fascinating way to explore the town’s rich heritage and learn more about the people and events that have shaped it over the years.

The Rycote Chapel & Gardens

The Rycote Chapel is a charming and historic chapel located just outside of Thame in Oxfordshire. Dating back to the 15th century, the chapel is a unique example of medieval ecclesiastical architecture.

The chapel features a range of fascinating architectural features, including a beautiful timber roof, carved stone columns, and intricate stained-glass windows. Visitors to the Rycote Chapel can explore the chapel itself, as well as the surrounding grounds and gardens, which offer beautiful views of the Oxfordshire countryside.

The chapel is open to visitors on selected days throughout the year, and guided tours are available for those who wish to learn more about its fascinating history and heritage.

Thame is a delightful and charming market town that offers something for everyone, from its vibrant arts and culture scene to its rich history and delicious food and drink options. So why not plan a visit to this beautiful corner of Oxfordshire and experience the warmth and charm of Thame for yourself?

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