The Berkshire town of Reading is the largest in England without city status. It has the longest river-fronted section along the Thames and also borders the Kennet River. It’s a popular commuter town for people who work in London, but the town has more to offer than homes that are cheaper than the capital. As well as being easily accessible from London, it’s close to a number of other towns and cities, including Oxford, Bristol, Maidenhead, and Basingstoke. Reading offers many things to see and do, with some particular things that the town is famous for.
1. Beer and Brewing
Reading has been known for producing a few different things over the years, including “the three Bs” of biscuits, bulbs (plant seeds), and beer. Reading was home to Simonds
from 1785 until 2010 and still hosts the annual Reading Beer Festival, which is one of the largest beer festivals in the UK. Although Simonds Brewery no longer exists, beer is still brewed in and around Reading. Among the more recent additions are Double-Barrelled and the Zerodegrees Microbrewery and Restaurant.
Reading Beer & Cider Festival is run by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) and takes place every year (except for 2020). It’s usually held in the first couple of weeks of May and lasts four days. As well as a selection of beer and cider, the festival features food stalls and entertainment, such as a pub quiz, music, and games.
2. Reading Festival
Reading is the site of one of the most popular festivals in the UK. Reading Festival, which shares a lineup with Leeds Festival and takes place simultaneously, is the oldest popular music festival that’s still in existence. It occurs over the August bank holiday weekend and is held at Little John’s Farm in central Reading. It’s a popular festival for lovers of rock, indie, metal, and punk music, and some hip hop artists have also been featured in recent years.
The festival offers camping at different levels, plus food and drink and plenty of water points for people to refill their water bottles. There are a variety of stages for music of different types, plus an alternative tent that holds comedy and cabaret acts.
Reading has some notable points of interest in relation to the railway. It’s the site of the longest railway viaduct in the UK. The viaduct, which starts just after Caversham Railway Bridge, stretches a huge 2,000m. The town is also where the writer of the Paddington Bear books, Michael Bond, grew up and where he developed his love of trains and train stations. The construction of the Great Western Railway is one of the reasons the local Royal Berkshire Hospital was built. With a large number of serious injuries occurring during the construction, there was a need for somewhere to treat railway workers. The hospital was opened in 1839, and the first patient treated was a 15-year-old railway worker.
4. People of Interest
Reading has some excellent links to important people. Jane Austen attended school in Reading, receiving education at Reading Ladies Boarding School. Speaking of women who were good with words, the first female university professor in Britain was appointed in Reading at University College Reading (now the University of Reading). Edith Morley became Professor of English Language at the university in 1908. Continuing the literary theme, Oscar Wilde also has a connection to Reading. He was imprisoned at Reading Gaol in the late 19th century. While there, he wrote ‘De Profundis’ and then wrote ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’ on his release.
Some other notable people who were born in Reading include the Duchess of Cambridge, Ricky Gervais, Kate Winslett, and Marianne Faithful.
5. Twitter-famous Museum
Reading has a couple of museums, including one that has gained a reputation for running a humorous Twitter account. The Museum of English Rural Life, or the MERL, is based at the University of Reading. Their funny tweets and Twitter threads have covered topics ranging from a “unit” of a sheep to bats in their archives and drawings of chickens wearing trousers. They share photographs and other artefacts from their archives, rural history, and plenty of memes. The museum itself is open to the public and has a shop and cafe that can be enjoyed too.
Discover Reading and everything there is to do there when you visit the Berkshire town. It has a huge range of things to enjoy and fascinating history to explore too.
Like the look of Reading and considering buying a house or property in the Reading or Berkshire area? YesCanDo Money’s mortgage advisers in Reading is a local mortgage broker and advisor who can help you get on the property ladder. They are NO FEE and whole of market mortgage market.