DidcotEarth : Europe : Britain and Ireland : United Kingdom : England : South East England : Oxfordshire : Didcot
North of the Goring Gap and south of Oxford, Oxfordshire opens out into a broad plain, overlooked from the south and east by the Berkshire Downs and the Chiltern Hills. In the midst of this plain, Didcot stands out because of its huge coal-fired electricity generating plant, which dominates the skyline.
Didcot grew up because it lies at the point where the Great Western Railway's line north to Oxford and Birmingham branches off from the main line from London to Bristol and Cardiff. Since then a large military depot, now replaced by a business park, and the power station, have added to the economy.
If the above makes you think that Didcot sounds like an inappropriate destination for a tourist, you would probably be right. However, if you are a rail enthusiast, you may think differently as Didcot is the home of the Didcot Rail Centre (see 'See' below). And if you need to stay in Didcot because of business or personal commitments, don't despair, there are plenty of interesting places nearby (see 'Get out' below).
Didcot has a rail station on the main lines from London and Reading to Bristol, Cardiff, Oxford and Birmingham. From London, travel from London Paddington Station; there are several fast trains an hour taking some 45 minutes for the journey. From Reading there are several trains an hour taking around 20 minutes for the journey. Train times (from any station) can be found on the National Rail Planner  or by calling 0845-748-4950 from anywhere in the UK.
Cheap Advance rail tickets are not available to/from Didcot, but when coming from London it is possible to buy Advance ticket to Oxford or Swindon through Didcot. When buying such ticket on the National Rail website you can open the list of calling points and check if Didcot is there.
Alternatively Didcot is 20 miles north-west of Reading on the A4074/A4130 and 14 miles south of Oxford on the A34/A4130.
If arriving by plane, see the Reading article, and then travel on from Reading.
All locations in and around the town are walkable or drivable.
- Didcot Railway Centre, 1235-817200. Sa-Su 10AM-4PM (M 10AM-4PM Jun-Aug). Didcot Railway Centre is in an old rail depot adjacent to the rail station. Its collection includes the largest number of Great Western Railway steam locomotives in captivity, together with rolling stock, track and lineside equipment from the Great Western Railway. Much of the stock is in running condition, and the center has two rather short running lines on which it is regularly exercised. There is also a demonstration track of Brunel's original 7 foot broad gauge. £4-8 (adult); £3.50-£6.50 (senior); £3-£6.50 (child); lower price applies if no steam trains operational. 
- Cornerstone Arts Centre Didcot
- Cineworld Cinema
- Didcot Wave Swimming Pool
The Orchard Centre is an open air shopping precinct  which hosts more than 30 stores including Argos (general homewares), Sainsbury’s (food supermarket), Next (clothing), cafés, a restaurant, arts centre and cinema. It also hosts:
- 500 space car park with free parking for 2 hours
- Monthly Farmers' Market – Thames Valley Farmers' Market
- Wildwood Kitchen  in the Orchard Centre is a reasonably priced restaurant offering pizza, pasta and grill items.
- For architecture, history and culture, visit Oxford which is 14 miles to the north by car or 15 minutes away by train.
- For shopping and nightlife, visit Reading which is 20 miles to the south-east by car or 20 minutes by train.
- For attractive countryside and pretty riverside villages, visit Goring and Streatley, which are 9 miles south-east by car or 11 minutes by train.
- And London is only 45 minutes away by fast train. If going to London for the day, buy a one-day Travelcard from Didcot Station; this covers the rail journey together with unlimited travel on the tube and buses whilst in London.
- A new shopping centre has opened up (http://www.orchardcentre.co.uk) and a cinema has been opened (Didcot Cineworld details). Amongst the shops in the new shopping centre are Next, Argos, Robert Dyas and Boswells coffee shop.
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