JAMES SHAW

James Shaw
Cultural Exchange
19 January 2016

If you thought that by moving out of London you would be leaving the cultural experience behind, think again. In my area alone there are three very active market towns, Henley, Wallingford and Thame which, aside from the culinary delights of farmers’ markets and cafes, are brimming over with festivals of every description.

Not only are they a great draw for the local communities who are actively involved in attending the various events but they attract a large number of celebrities, be they authors, chefs or sporting heroes.

Raymond Blanc was prominent at last year’s Thame Food Festival, whilst Sue Perkins, Michael Parkinson, Richard E Grant and Brian Blessed were some of the well known names who lined up to speak at the Henley Literary Festival. Wallingford has its own Blues and Beer Festival in June and this year has Wilko Johnson in the line up and Henley, off the back of the rowing regatta, has a music festival which it describes as ‘the UK’s most magical summer party’.

To be part of these events endears a great sense of community on a local level and helps newcomers to the area become part of the scene. Enticing thoughts when thinking about where to move to, particularly given that the new Oxford Parkway link on the Chiltern line means that Thame is just over half an hour’s commute to London Paddington.

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