Abingdon County Hall Museum
Arising out of the shop-lined streets and bustling market square of Abingdon in Oxfordshire, the 17th-century County Hall rises up like a sentinel of the past.
A relic of old
From the first moment you spot it - tall, grand, and strikingly beautiful – it’s hard to pull your eyes away.
Every inch of the building radiates style. Huge Corinthian pilasters emerge out of the ground, creating dramatic empty archways to pass through.
Look higher and the delicate first-floor windows steal all your attention, glinting in the sunlight like the surface water of a lake.
Until finally, the overhanging roof, topped with a compass reaching up into the sky finishes the whole thing off with the perfect amount of flare.
A little history
Now home to the Abingdon County Hall Museum, at one time the whole first floor would’ve been a courtroom.
The two floors signify two completely different worlds of the 17th-century. Below the courtroom and all the official business, the local market was held.
Archways would’ve been packed with stalls selling goods, the hoarse voices of hawkers echoing throughout the entire place.
It now stands in a quiet hush compared to its old days. And with the quiet comes a stillness.
Stand under the pale Oxfordshire limestone and watch as the sunlight carves through the darkness like a torchlight.
From inside, the archways frame the modern town that has grown up around the ancient building – enticing you down long streets one way and onto the market square the other.
Time for a break
Once you’re done exploring inside the county hall, take a stroll around the outside and admire the baroque style some more before taking a seat at the Throwing Buns café.
Sun out? Pull up a chair outside and sip on a hot cappuccino. The hall rises up right in front of you - spend a minute absorbing every curve and line of the building.
Pay extra special attention and you might just spot some of the sculpted moustachioed faces watching out from its walls.
Carrying on your adventure
Tie in your adventure to the county hall with a longer day exploring the streets of Abingdon.
There’s a lot more to the town’s history than the county hall and soon we’re sure you’ll be stumbling across other relics of the past.
All you have to do is take that first step and begin the adventure.
Some useful info:
Tuesday to Sunday: 10am – 4pm
Bank Holiday Mondays: 10am – 4pm
Quiet Time session: Sunday 3pm to 4pm
Free parking, paid parking, toilets, café