Reading Mini Guide
About the Town
Reading is located 64km west of London in the Thames Valley, England. It is a commercial and retail centre and part of the London
How do I get There?
The nearest airport is London Heathrow
and from there you can take the RailAir bus service into Reading. If you want to drive, Reading is easily accessible from Heathrow and the London area using the M4 motorway, a journey of approximately 40km. Within the town you can use the local bus service or the OY bicycle sharing system, they have 15 cycles and 3 docking stations around the town.
What can I see in the Town?
Take a walk around Forbury Gardens and you will see the statue of the Maiwand Lion, it is a symbol of Reading and commemorates the soldiers from the Royal Berkshire Regiment who died at the Battle of Maiwand in 1880. Reading Minster is the oldest religious building in the town. Founded in the 9th century, it only gained importance once Reading Abbey was destroyed. To discover the history of the town and see a replica of the Bayeux Tapestry, visit the Museum of Reading.
What About Shopping?
You can shop until you drop in Reading! The main shopping area is Broad Street which has the Oracle shopping centre at one end and Broad Street Mall at the other. For something a little different, browse in the Bristol and West Arcade and Harris Arcade with their small specialist stores. If you want to look around a traditional market, go to Hosier Street, where they also have a farmers market, 2 days a month.
For a little culture you can go and see a play at the Hexagon Theatre or the Progress Theatre which has amateur productions. If you are interested in aircraft and the aviation industry, head for the Museum of Berkshire Aviation, just outside of town. Further afield, just 20 minutes away by car, you can see Windsor Castle.
Where can I Stay?
The 4 star Pentahotel is in the heart of the town and close to the shops and restaurants. It has 200 modern and chic rooms with internet access available for a fee. There is a games room and fitness centre to work off any extra energy and afterwards relax in the lounge area with a drink and light meal. Also in the town centre is the Great Expectations Hotel, a 3 star historic property with 26 rooms. It has a Charles Dickens themed bar and restaurant.
Isn’t Reading Famous for Festivals?
Many festivals have been held in Reading over recent years. Now the most famous is the Reading Festival, with live music, held over the August bank holiday weekend. The Beer Festival at Kings Meadows is the largest beer festival in the UK and is a four day event in May.
The tranquil ruins of Reading Abbey and the beautiful gardens of Forbury Park surrounding it, draw many tourists to the town. Others visit the town’s museum to learn about the nearby Roman settlement of Silchester, the effect of the coming of the railways to Reading and the industrial past of the town.
Outside the town, hiring a car is probably the only way to get to one of the South’s most isolated spots, the site of Silchester. There, in a windswept landscape, you can trace the walls that enclosed the town and discover the remains of the amphitheatre.