Reading is one of the largest towns in the UK and has a big personality as modern life collides with years of history. Despite its large size and population it is not actually a city although it is often mistaken to be just that.
It sits at the heart of a stunning stretch of the Thames Valley amid green rolling hills, thatched cottages and quaint country pubs.
Reading is also a place with fascinating heritage, it is not only the place that Oscar Wilde wrote his famous Ballard of Reading Gaol, Reading also has a huge replica of the Bayeux Tapestry and a 12th Century ruined Abbey.
Things to do in Reading
Reading festival is possibly the most famous event of the town’s event calendar, taking place each year over the August bank holiday weekend. It is best known for its support of the rock, alternative, indie, punk and metal genres. It was originally known as the National Jazz Festival.
Year round there are plenty of places to explore around the town and with the rolling countryside surrounding the town, green open spaces are just a short trip out of town. Reading has over 100 parks and playgrounds and 5 miles of riverside paths.
The Reading museum in the neo-Gothic Town Hall explores the town’s past starting with its earliest days as a Saxon Settlement and completing the journey through industrialisation up to the 21st Century.
From Forbury Gardens and the Abbey Ruins to Basildon Park and Mapledurham House there is always a country home or green space somewhere just waiting to be explored. Reading is also at the conclusion of the Kennet and Avon Canal and the canal towpath lined with beautiful green trees in the warmer seasons is the ideal way to explore he town.
Reading’s location to the west of London has made it a significant hub in the transport system, especially in and out of the capital city.
By train Reading has become an important transfer point with railway line links to both London Waterloo and London Paddington meaning it can be busy and popular with commuters. It also serves a crossing point for many other services around the south of the UK including Basingstoke.
The busy M4 motorway closely skirts around the borough offering 3 junctions, J10 – J12 which gives good road links to other surrounding destinations and beyond. Other main roads in and out of the town include A33, A327, A329, A4074 and A4155. For local town traffic there is the Inner Distribution providing a ring road for locals which is also linked to the M4 and A33 relief road.
Public transport in the area is very good with a frequent and convenient local bus service connecting with the town and the surrounding areas. National Express Coaches also run out of Mereoak Park and Ride which is close to the town on Junction 11 of the M4.
Reading School, founded in 1125 is the 16th oldest school in England and is one of 7 other state secondary schools and 38 state primary schools in the area. There are also a number of private and independent schools and nurseries in Reading and the surrounding boroughs.
Reading is also home to Reading University for those wishing to go on to further education, it provides hundreds of different courses each year. It was originally established in 1892 established in 1892 as an affiliate of Oxford University.