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How do you get to Reading?
Reading's Berkshire location, in the South East of England, means it's convenient for visitors from all over the UK and beyond.
If you're traveling from London, hop on the train at Paddington or Waterloo and arrive in Reading in 20 minutes! The breezy journey from London makes Reading a popular weekend break destination for those who live in the busy metropolis.
Prefer to drive? It takes less than an hour and a half to travel between Central London and Reading by car. If you're staying the night, look for a hotel with parking to make your trip even more straightforward.
If you're visiting the town from further afield, the best way to get to Reading is usually by train. Trains connect Reading directly with Bristol, Swansea, Manchester, Plymouth, Cardiff, Oxford and many other parts of the UK. When you arrive at the train station, hop on a local bus, in a taxi or walk to your Reading hotel; getting around is easy thanks to the town's small size.
What are the top things to do in Reading?
Famous for its annual music festival and a world-class university, Reading is also within easy reach of London. The spectacular North Wessex Downs, one of England's Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), is right on the town's doorstep, too. There's something for everyone here!
Whether you're planning a long weekend with family or a romantic getaway, there's plenty to see and do in Reading. Find fun adventure spots like Beale Wildlife Park to keep kids happy, or soak up the local atmosphere when you visit some of the town's great restaurants, bars and venues.
Why not head out to the countryside? The North Wessex Downs boasts many scenic walks and cycling routes, viewpoints and charming pubs to help you make a day of it. Or plan your visit around Reading's celebrated music festival? The event takes place in summer every year – there's no better time for music-lovers to visit this charming town.
Ready to plan your perfect trip to Reading? There are many things to see and do around town and in the surrounding countryside. Spend your days exploring historical landmarks and modern attractions, or head into the North Wessex Downs for outdoor adventures.
Reading also boasts an exciting contemporary culture to immerse yourself in, including many great places to eat, shop and enjoy live music and theatre. Spoiled for choice? Here are some of the best things to do during your visit.
This free museum is easily one of the best things to do in Reading, with exciting exhibits that appeal to all ages. Reading Museum showcases the town's history through various objects dating through the centuries. At the same time, temporary exhibitions keep things fresh every time you visit. Highlights from the permanent collection include significant archaeological finds and a Victorian copy of the Bayeux Tapestry.
When you're done in the main museum, enjoy a short stroll to the Riverside Museum to learn the story of Reading's two rivers: the Thames and the Kennet.
Museum of English Rural Life
Reading's Museum of English Rural Life is a museum, archive and library dedicated to farming and the English countryside. It's run by the University of Reading, making it a perfect place to brush up on local knowledge and learn more about the region before your adventure continues. It's free to visit. Plus, there's a garden, cafe and shop to help you make a day of it.
Reading Abbey Ruins
Are you interested in exploring the town's history? Elevate your trip when you visit Reading Abbey Ruins in the town centre. King Henry I founded Reading Abbey in 1121; it was one of Europe's largest royal monasteries in its day!
The area around the Reading Abbey Ruins has been developed into the town's fascinating Abbey Quarter, including Reading Museum, the Town Hall, Reading Gaol, St James' Church, St Laurence's Church and the Forbury Gardens – lots to see!
Spend a couple of hours exploring the Abbey Quarter, popping into plenty of cafés, restaurants and shops as you go. These modern conveniences are scattered alongside the area's historical landmarks, which means plenty to keep you busy for a whole day.
Reading is home to one of the UK's best-loved festivals – it's Reading Festival, of course!
The annual summer festival boasts a diverse and lengthy lineup; a music lover's dream, with acts spanning rock, punk and metal to indie, dance, pop and electronic. There's plenty to wrap your ears around at Reading Fest, from global superstars to up-and-coming musicians and local talents.
Either camp at the festival or choose day tickets and book a nearby hotel in Reading. Either way, getting to the festival site is easy thanks to the event's town centre location. Public transport is made readily accessible to festival-goers, including specific coaches from around the UK and shuttle busses between the site and the train station. It's less than two miles away, which means walking is an option if you have 30 minutes.
The best restaurants in Reading
Whether you're visiting Reading for a casual weekend break or celebrating a special occasion, some great food and drink can help elevate your trip. Many excellent cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars are dotted around town, so you can always find somewhere to grab a bite and a drink nearby.
Need help deciding what to eat and drink in Reading? Here are some of the best spots around to help make planning easier.
- Heckfield Place. An exciting restaurant with a seed-to-plate philosophy, meaning nothing goes to waste! Heckfield Place is set in a 400-acre estate just 20 minutes drive south of Reading. Menus are planned around seasonal local ingredients, making this among the best in the area for sustainable – and delicious – dining
- L'Ortolan. Fine French food in a Grade II-listed former vicarage? Find it at L'Ortolan, a beautiful restaurant with a Michelin star for 18 years. It's easy to see why from the moment you step inside; white tablecloths, impeccable service and a modern French menu showcasing local, seasonal produce. Ask the sommelier to match wine to each course for an unforgettable experience
- The Corn Stores. Right by Reading train station, this restaurant and cocktail bar is set inside a Grade II-listed building, a stunning setting for lunch or dinner. The onsite butchery and smokery mean seak and smoked salmon are star ingredients, plus signature cocktails to end on a high
- Thames Lido. A unique retreat in Reading, Thames Lido combines a beautifully-restored open-air swimming pool with an appealing restaurant, a perfect place to watch the swimmers or enjoy lunch after a couple of lengths. The menu changes with the seasons, keeping a strong focus on sustainability