Reading is a picturesque, large town on the Thames and Kennet rivers in southern England and is known for its rich history, tranquil walking spots and annual Reading festival.
Whilst studying in Reading, there are a fabulous choice of shops and restaurants dotted around the town to keep you occupied. Perhaps you fancy visiting a riverside restaurant for some tasty food, or want to find out some history about the town you’re studying in?
We’ve gathered a list of some of the best things to do in Reading to give you a head start on all the fun.
1. Basildon Park
This stunning country house is a 20-minute drive from Reading and offers some idyllic walking opportunities. Basildon Park is a Grade I listed building and is owned by the National Trust.
The park has a cosy tea-room that serves homemade cakes and scones, perfect for a light bite when visiting.
Basildon Park was built for Sir Francis Sykes by architect John Carr and features some beautiful aesthetics. As you walk through the entrance hall, you’ll be stunned by the dazzling plasterwork and the high ceilings of the exquisite dining room.
There is a 400-yard walk uphill from the parking area near the stables, passing through some pleasant woodland.
2. See The Bayeux Tapestry
Why not take a trip to Reading Museum and view Britain’s famous full-size Victorian version of the Bayeux tapestry? The replica in the Bayeux Gallery is a staggering 70 metres long and was made by 35 Victorian women embroiderers in 1885.
The gallery also explores the background and impact of Norman Conquest by William I. It’s open every day during the opening hours of the museum and on Saturday there’s a tour from 2-3pm which only costs £5 per person!
3. Reading Museum
Aside from the Bayeux Tapestry, there’s some fantastic exhibitions to view at Reading Museum. If you fancy learning some history of the town you’re studying in, this museum is a must visit!
Based in the Victorian Town Hall right in the centre of town, discover archaeology from Roman Silchester and Reading Abbey. Why not make a day of it?
A short walk away through the stunning Abbey Quarter is the Riverside Museum at Blake’s Lock, perfect for a relaxing stroll with your friends.
4. Abbey Ruins
Reading Abbey Quarters covers 900 years of history, and once stood as tall as The Blade and as wide as Westminster Abbey. Now ruins, the impressive Royal estate as undergone a three-year conservation project and is open to the public.
If you fancy a picnic with your friends, or simply a quaint stroll to soak in all the scenes, we’d highly recommend Abbey Ruins in Reading.
The ruins are open from dawn until dusk daily, so opening times will depend on the time of year. It’s free to visit, unless you’re attending a ticketed event, which is another fun aspect of the Abbey Ruins to keep your eye out for!
There’s plenty of restaurants, shops and supermarkets nearby if you want to grab yourself a quick bite to take into the Abbey.
5. Forbury Gardens
This stunning public park is worth visiting when studying in Reading, the park is on the site of the outer court of Reading Abbey, offering glorious views of Abbey Church.
There are plenty of idyllic features to enjoy within Forbury Gardens, including a bandstand, the famous Maiwand Lion statue and a kiosk serving delicious ice-creams and light lunches.
The park offers tranquillity and peace, perfect for when you need a break from studying.
6. Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology
Want to expand your knowledge on Greek mythology? We’d urge you to take a trip to the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, located in the University of Reading, you’re destined to be fascinated!
The museum allows you to discover more about Greek mythology through their many vases and imagery. Catch a glimpse of some everyday objects such as the small oil bottles that athletes wore around their wrists to a mask of the Gorgon Medusa.
Their collections mainly consist of material from the Greek and Greco-Roman civilisations of the Mediterranean, as well as prehistoric pottery.
There’s also an opportunity to learn about the Egyptians too, with an exciting collection or artefacts including jewellery, grave offerings, and a mummified cats head!
The museum is open to the general public and is based in the Edith Morley building in Whiteknights Campus, not too far away from your luxury student accommodation.
7. The Oracle
Fancy a spot of shopping? The Oracle is a large indoor shopping and leisure mall on the banks of the gorgeous River Kennet in Reading. There’s a vast array of shops and eateries to enjoy, perfect for a treat on the weekend after a week of university!
The Oracle also has a whole bunch of popular branded shops for you to explore including Boss, H&M, Topshop and Zara. For restaurants and bars, we’d have to recommend Brown’s Bar and Brasserie and Buenasado Argentine Steakhouse for some delicious Argentinian meats.
There’s also a VUE cinema available for you to enjoy if you feel like catching up on the latest new releases with your friends, why not have a bite to eat afterwards? This fabulous shopping facility also has pharmacies available if you require, making it the ideal location for just about anything!
8. Kennet and Avon Canal
This stunning waterway has an overall length of 87 miles and is made up of two lengths of navigable river linked by a canal. It links London with the Bristol channel and passes through some gorgeous landscapes including Wiltshire and the Cotswolds.
Thousands of visitors enjoy walking, cycling, and boating along the peaceful towpaths, offering somewhere to relax, think, exercise, and even commute.
If you’re lucky, you can catch a glimpse of some beautiful wildlife during your walk, a great excuse to get away from the buzz of the town, to enjoy some time to yourself to relax and unwind.