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Reading Local Information: 10 top things to know... more

  • 1. History of Reading

    Evidence has been found of people living in the Reading area since the Stone Age. Reading Abbey was founded in 1121 and the dismantling of the Abbey began in 1549. Remains of the building can still be seen in the town. In the 18th century Reading was a prosperous market town. The River Kennet was turned into a canal in 1723 and this made transporting of goods easier. Many coach...Read moreing inns from this period can still be found today. The Town Hall was built in 1786 and this is now the Victoria Hall in today’s Town Hall. Reading grew dramatically in the 19th century and turned from a market town into a red brick industrial centre. This change was strongly aided by the new railways. The Town Hall and many terraced houses are evidence of this period. The town changed in 1969 when the Inner Distribution Road was built. The M4 was opened in 1972 and this took traffic away from the town centre. The Butts Shopping Centre was built in 1972, followed by the Civic Centre and then the Hexagon Theatre in 1978. Read less

  • 2. Now in Reading

    ...Read more™s Madejski Stadium were part of the town’s expansion in the late 20th century. Read less

  • 3. Events in Reading

    One of the events Reading is famous for is its music festival. The Reading festival takes place every year in August in a site close to the town centre. Other annual events include the CAMRA Real Ale Festival, the Reading Real Ale and Jazz Festival, Reading Pride, the Water Fest and the Children's Festival. The Community Carnival celebrates Caribbean culture and Black History M...Read moreonth is celebrated every October. The Dhoom Damaka is the town’s Asian Arts Festival. Reading Football Club has many fixtures at its ground during the season and the London Irish RFC also play all their home games at the Madejski Stadium. The Reading half marathon takes place every March and attracts 16,000 runners. Read less

  • 4. Attractions in Reading

    The Museum of English Rural Life tells the history of food, farming and the countryside, while the Museum of Reading, housed in a Victorian Gothic building, has many exhibitions including a full-size replica of the Bayeux Tapestry. The Cole Museum of Zoology has complete skeletons of an Indian elephant, a killer whale, a five-metre python, and a pair of giant spider crabs. Hist...Read moreoric houses on the outskirts of Reading include Stratfield Saye House and NT Basildon Park. Read less

  • 5. Things To Do in Reading

    The River Thames and the River Kennet run through the town and visitors can enjoy the rivers by taking a boat tour or hiring a boat. Other activities to try on the water include canoeing, jet-skiing, water-skiing and wind-surfing on the large lakes just outside of Reading. Reading is a starting point for the Thames Path and Ridgeway National Trails. The Thames Path offers plent...Read morey of options for short, picturesque walks around the town. The Ridgeway is an ancient bridleway easily reached from Reading. This offers challenging walks. A Ridgeway Explorer bus operates on Sundays between April and October, giving easy access to the trail. A heritage walk is available around the town centre. Open spaces to visit include Waterloo and Kennet Meadows, Prospect Park, King’s Meadow and Thames Valley Park. Read less

  • 6. Business in Reading

    The two main shopping centres in Reading are The Oracle and Broad Street Mall. Broad St Mall has all the high street names and The Oracle, on the River Kennet has shops for gifts and high fashion as well as many restaurants, cafes and bars. Many big companies have set up in Reading, including the world famous Microsoft and the Oracle Corporation.

  • 7. Transport in Reading

    The nearest airport to Reading is Heathrow, which is a 25-min drive down the M4. Reading has a large and busy train station offering direct routes to many towns and cities in the UK. Reading is just off the M4 motorway, which links to the east and the west. The M40 and M3 are very close, linking to the north and south.

  • 8. Entertainment in Reading

    The Hexagon is a big venue in the town centre offering a wide variety of events from family pantomimes to classical music and much more. 21 South Street offers a programme of alternative theatre, comedy and live music. The Concert Hall offers classical and jazz performances and the Progress Theatre is the venue for amateur drama. The Rising Sun Arts Centre has workshops, music ...Read moreevents and exhibitions. The three cinemas in the town are the 10-screen Vue Cinema, the Showcase Cinema and the Reading Film Theatre. The Jazz Café and the Purple Turtle are both venues for live music. Read less

  • 9. Famous Landmarks in Reading

    The Maiwand Lion in the town’s Forbury Gardens was sculpted in 1884 as a memorial to the men of the Berkshire Regiment killed at the Battle of Maiwand. The Tilehurst Water Tower was constructed in 1931-2 and is situated in Tilehurst, a suburb of Reading. It can be seen from the M4 motorway.

  • 10. Interesting Facts about Reading

    Ricky Gervais was born in Reading in 1961. The comedian, actor, director, producer, writer and broadcaster became famous for his comedy series The Office.


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