Reading, located in Berkshire, England, is a town steeped in history and natural beauty. From ancient ruins to picturesque gardens, there is something for everyone in this vibrant town. Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Reading has a plethora of attractions to offer.
In this article, we will explore the top 10 places to visit in Reading, each with its own unique charm and appeal.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Reading
Below is a list of the top 10 places to visit in Reading. Each of these places offer a unique experience for travel lovers:
- Reading Abbey Ruins
- Basildon Park
- Forbury Gardens
- The Oracle Shopping Centre
- Mapledurham House and Watermill
- Beale Park
- Museum of English Rural Life
- Wellington Country Park
- The Hexagon
- Thames Path
Let’s get into the details of each of these places now.
1. Reading Abbey Ruins
One of the most iconic landmarks in Reading, the Abbey Ruins is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts. As the final resting place of King Henry I, this medieval abbey dates back to the 12th century and reveals its architectural grandeur even in its partially ruined state. Explore the atmospheric ruins, wander through the cloisters, and imagine the abbey’s past glory.
Guided tours are available, providing a fascinating insight into the abbey’s history and its significance in the region. The abbey ruins are surrounded by Forbury Gardens, making it an ideal spot for a picnic or a leisurely stroll. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the impressive structure and the beautiful surrounding landscape.
For more information about Reading Abbey Ruins, you can visit this link.
2. Basildon Park
Nestled in the picturesque Berkshire countryside, Basildon Park is a stunning Georgian mansion that offers a glimpse into the elegance and grandeur of the past. With its beautifully preserved interiors, including elaborate plasterwork, fine art, and antique furniture, a visit to Basildon Park is like stepping back in time. Explore the opulent rooms, such as the drawing room and library, and learn about the fascinating history of the house and its former owners. The meticulously manicured gardens offer a tranquil setting and breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Take a leisurely stroll through the flower-filled borders, discover hidden pathways, or relax in one of the seating areas dotted around the estate. Basildon Park also hosts various events throughout the year, such as outdoor theater performances and art exhibitions, adding an extra layer of entertainment to your visit.
For more information about Basildon Park, you can visit this link.
3. Forbury Gardens
Tucked away in the heart of Reading, Forbury Gardens is a peaceful oasis surrounded by historic landmarks. Originally part of Reading Abbey, the gardens were designed in the 19th century and provide a serene escape from the bustling town center. Stroll through the well-maintained lawns, admire the beautiful flower beds, or simply relax on one of the many benches scattered throughout the park.
Forbury Gardens also features a bandstand and a Victorian-era lion statue, both adding to the charm and character of the park. The gardens are a popular spot for events, including live music performances and outdoor theater shows during the summer months. Whether you are looking for a place to unwind or a scenic spot for a picnic, Forbury Gardens is a delightful destination that shouldn’t be missed.
For more information about Forbury Gardens, you can visit this link.
4. The Oracle Shopping Centre
Shopaholics rejoice, The Oracle Shopping Centre is the ultimate retail therapy destination in Reading. Located on the banks of the River Kennet, this modern shopping complex offers a diverse range of high-street and designer stores. With over 80 shops to choose from, including popular brands like Zara, H&M, and Apple, you’ll find everything you need under one roof. The Oracle also boasts an array of restaurants, cafes, and bars, making it a perfect spot to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a coffee with a scenic riverside view.
In addition to shopping and dining, The Oracle hosts various events throughout the year, such as fashion shows and live performances, adding an extra touch of entertainment to your visit. Whether you are a dedicated shopper or simply looking for a place to relax and unwind, The Oracle Shopping Centre has something for everyone.
For more information about The Oracle Shopping Centre, you can visit this link.
5. Mapledurham House and Watermill
For a taste of rural charm and history, a visit to Mapledurham House and Watermill is a must. Situated on the banks of the River Thames, this picturesque estate offers a fascinating glimpse into the past. The Elizabethan mansion, which has been in the same family for over 500 years, is beautifully preserved and filled with original furniture and artwork. Take a guided tour of the house and explore its rich history, from its connections to the English Civil War to its role as a filming location for movies such as The Eagle Has Landed.
The working watermill, which dates back to the 15th century, provides an insight into the traditional methods of grain milling. Go behind the scenes and learn about the intricate workings of the mill or simply enjoy the tranquil surroundings of the river and the surrounding countryside. Mapledurham House and Watermill is a gem that offers a delightful blend of history, nature, and scenic beauty.
For more information about Mapledurham House and Watermill, you can visit this link.
6. Beale Park
If you are seeking a family-friendly attraction in Reading, look no further than Beale Park. Situated on the banks of the River Thames, this wildlife park and gardens provide a wonderful day out for both children and adults alike. Discover a diverse range of animals, including meerkats, emus, monkeys, and red pandas, as you wander through the park’s spacious enclosures.
Beale Park also boasts beautiful gardens, featuring vibrant flower beds, tranquil lakeside walks, and charming picnic areas. Younger visitors can enjoy the adventure playgrounds, miniature train rides, and a sandpit area. With regular events, such as bird of prey displays and animal feedings, there’s always something happening at Beale Park. Whether you want to learn about wildlife conservation, enjoy a peaceful walk, or simply have fun with the family, Beale Park offers a delightful and educational experience.
For more information about Beale Park, you can visit this link.
7. Museum of English Rural Life
Dive into the rich agricultural history of England at the Museum of English Rural Life. Located on the University of Reading’s campus, this unique museum features a vast collection of objects and artifacts that showcase rural life and traditions. From vintage farming machinery to traditional tools, the exhibits offer a fascinating insight into the development of agricultural practices throughout the ages. The museum also holds an extensive archive of photographs, documents, and manuscripts, making it a treasure trove for researchers and history enthusiasts.
During your visit, you can explore the beautifully restored historic buildings, including a working dairy and a traditional farmworker’s cottage. The museum also hosts various events and workshops, allowing visitors to participate in rural-themed activities and gain hands-on experience. Whether you have a passion for agriculture or simply curious about rural life, the Museum of English Rural Life is an engaging and enlightening destination.
For more information about Museum of English Rural Life, you can visit this link.
8. Wellington Country Park
Escape to the great outdoors at Wellington Country Park, a vast expanse of natural beauty and recreational activities. Spanning over 350 acres, this family-friendly park offers something for everyone, from scenic walks and wildlife encounters to thrilling adventure play areas. Explore the woodland trails and discover hidden picnic spots or stroll along the tranquil lake, where you can hire rowing boats or pedalos. Wellington Country Park also boasts an impressive collection of adventure play areas, including a dinosaur-themed play area, a giant fort, and numerous climbing frames.
For animal lovers, the park’s farm offers a chance to meet and feed friendly farm animals. With regular events, such as falconry displays and storytelling sessions, there’s always something to entertain visitors of all ages. Whether you want to embrace nature, unleash your inner adventurer, or simply relax amidst beautiful surroundings, Wellington Country Park promises a memorable day out.
For more information about Wellington Country Park, you can visit this link.
9. The Hexagon
For a touch of culture and entertainment, head to The Hexagon. This iconic multi-purpose venue hosts a diverse range of events, including concerts, comedy shows, theatrical performances, and dance productions. The Hexagon attracts internationally acclaimed artists and performers, as well as local talents, ensuring a vibrant and varied program throughout the year.
The venue’s state-of-the-art facilities and excellent acoustics create an immersive and unforgettable experience for the audience. Whether you are a music lover, comedy enthusiast, or theatergoer, The Hexagon offers a cultural hub where you can immerse yourself in the arts. Grab a ticket to one of the upcoming shows, sit back, and enjoy an evening of entertainment right in the heart of Reading.
For more information about The Hexagon, you can visit this link.
10. Thames Path
For those seeking tranquility and natural beauty, a stroll along the Thames Path is a must-do when in Reading. This idyllic riverside walk stretches for over 180 miles, with a section passing through the town, offering a peaceful escape from the urban environment. Take a leisurely walk along the riverside footpath, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy the stunning views of the river and its surrounding landscape.
The Thames Path is perfect for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, with abundant flora and fauna to spot along the way. You can choose to walk a short section of the path or embark on a longer adventure, discovering charming villages, historic landmarks, and picturesque scenery. Whether you prefer a quiet solitary walk or a family outing, the Thames Path provides a serene and enchanting setting to explore.
For more information about Thames Path, you can visit this link.
Discover Reading: Essential Tourism Links
Below are a number of great resources to help you learn more about Reading:
Hopefully these links are helpful in your future exploration of the amazing place that is Reading.
Reading may be a bustling town, but it also offers a myriad of attractions that allow visitors to connect with history, nature, and culture. From the ancient ruins of Reading Abbey to the tranquil beauty of the Thames Path, there is something to cater to every taste and interest. Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a fun-filled family day out, Reading has it all.
So, pack your bags and embark on an adventure to explore the top 10 places to visit in Reading.