Things to do in Reading, Berkshire

Located in the beautiful county of Berkshire, Reading is a vibrant and historic town that offers a perfect blend of old-world charm and modern amenities. From its rich cultural heritage to its bustling shopping streets, there is something for everyone in Reading. Explore the stunning architecture of the Reading Abbey Ruins, immerse yourself in art at the Reading Museum, or enjoy a leisurely stroll along the picturesque River Thames. With its excellent transport links, including a direct train service to London, Reading is the ideal destination for a day trip or a longer stay. Discover the charm of this delightful town and create unforgettable memories.

Things to do

Visit Reading Abbey Ruins

One of the top attractions in Reading is the Reading Abbey Ruins. This historic site dates back to the 12th century and was once one of the most important religious and political centers in England. Today, visitors can explore the ruins of the abbey and learn about its fascinating history. The site also features a museum where you can see artifacts from the abbey's past. Don't forget to take a stroll through the beautiful Forbury Gardens, which surround the ruins.

Discover the Museum of English Rural Life

For a unique cultural experience, head to the Museum of English Rural Life. This museum showcases the history and traditions of rural England, with exhibits on farming, agriculture, and rural crafts. You can learn about the lives of farmers and rural communities throughout the centuries, and even see some adorable farm animals. The museum also hosts special events and workshops, so be sure to check their website for upcoming activities.

Explore Basildon Park

Nature lovers will enjoy a visit to Basildon Park, a stunning country house surrounded by beautiful gardens and parkland. This Georgian mansion offers guided tours where you can learn about its history and architecture. After exploring the house, take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Basildon Park is also known for its scenic walking trails, so don't forget to bring your walking shoes.

Shop at The Oracle

If you're in the mood for some retail therapy, head to The Oracle. This modern shopping center is home to a wide range of shops, from high-street brands to designer boutiques. You'll find everything from fashion and beauty to electronics and homeware. After a day of shopping, relax and enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants and cafes in the center. The Oracle also hosts regular events and entertainment, so there's always something happening.

Visit the Museum of Reading

Learn about the history of Reading at the Museum of Reading. This museum showcases the town's rich heritage through a variety of exhibits, including archaeological finds, art, and local history displays. You can explore the Victorian replica of the Bayeux Tapestry, discover the story of Reading's famous biscuit industry, and even see the only surviving copy of the Bay Psalm Book. The museum also offers interactive activities for children, making it a great family-friendly attraction.

Enjoy a Boat Trip on the River Thames

Take a leisurely boat trip along the River Thames and enjoy the scenic views of Reading and the surrounding countryside. There are several boat tour operators in the area that offer cruises ranging from short trips to full-day excursions. Sit back, relax, and let the captain guide you along the river while you take in the sights. Some boat tours also include commentary, providing interesting facts and stories about the area.

Watch a Performance at The Hexagon

For a night of entertainment, catch a performance at The Hexagon. This popular entertainment venue hosts a variety of shows, including theater productions, comedy acts, live music, and dance performances. Check their website for the latest schedule and book your tickets in advance. The Hexagon is known for its excellent acoustics and comfortable seating, ensuring a memorable experience for all.

Explore the Thames Path

If you enjoy walking or cycling, the Thames Path is a must-visit attraction in Reading. This long-distance trail follows the course of the River Thames, offering beautiful views and plenty of opportunities to connect with nature. You can choose to explore a shorter section of the path or embark on a multi-day adventure. Along the way, you'll pass through picturesque villages, historic sites, and tranquil countryside. Don't forget to pack a picnic and make a day of it.

Visit Beale Park

For a fun day out with the family, head to Beale Park. This wildlife park and gardens is home to a variety of animals, including meerkats, lemurs, wallabies, and birds. You can explore the park's beautiful gardens, take a ride on the miniature train, or enjoy a picnic by the lake. Beale Park also offers educational talks and feeding sessions, allowing you to learn more about the animals and their habitats.

Discover the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology

Located at the University of Reading, the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology houses a fascinating collection of ancient Greek artifacts. You can explore exhibits on Greek pottery, sculpture, and everyday objects, and learn about the history and culture of ancient Greece. The museum also offers educational programs and workshops for both children and adults. Admission is free, making it a great option for a budget-friendly day out.