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 was founded 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 is 20 mi (32 km) north-west of Reading on the A4074/A4130 and 14 mi (23 km) south of Oxford on the A34/A4130.
- 1 Railway Station, Station Rd, Didcot, OX11 7NR. 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 +44 8457 484950 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.
(updated May 2017)