Positioned where the Kennet River meets the Thames, Reading is a lively town clustered with waterfront restaurants and shops. Home to the atmospheric ruins of the Reading Abbey and a Victorian replica of the Bayeux Tapestry, Reading is also near the Iron Age ruins of Calleva Atrebatum.
Things to do in Reading
Explore the Reading Abbey, which was founded by Henry I in 1121. Admire the original Abbey Gateway and the pilgrim’s dormitory at the Hospitium of St. John, then wander through the beautifully landscaped Forbury Gardens that now occupy the abbey’s outer court.
Delve into the local history at the Reading Museum, situated within the Italianate Town Hall. Peruse findings from the Reading Abbey and artefacts excavated from the Iron Age town of Calleva Atrebatum, then see a Victorian-era copy of the Bayeux Tapestry that depicts events leading up the Norman Conquest of England.
Jump aboard a riverboat to cruise along the Thames to the Elizabethan mansion at Mapledurham Estate. Admire its 13th-century chapel built in the Strawberry Hill Gothic style and visit the only watermill on the river to still be producing stone-ground flour for sale.
Make a day trip to the ruins of Calleva Atrebatum, which were established as a tribal centre of the Iron Age Atrebates before evolving into an important Roman town. Abandoned in the 7th century, its ruins include an ancient amphitheatre and a small medieval church ringed by the original city walls.
Getting around Reading
The easiest way to explore Reading’s city centre is by foot. London’s Heathrow Airport is around 40 minutes’ drive from Reading, while both Luton and Gatwick Airports are around one hour away. Reading is connected by train to destinations across England and buses travel throughout the city.