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Pictures of Reading

in the county of Berkshire

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About Reading

This town lies on the extremities of the Berkshire Downs and the Chiltern Hills at a point where the waters of the rivers Thames and Kennet meet making the River Thames a major river for the rest of its journey to the sea. It grew to importance during the Norman period, and in 1121 Henry I founded a Benedictine Abbey here, it is where he was buried in 1136. The town has many historic Royal connections, Thomas a' Becket consecrated a church here in the presence of Henry II, and later following the Dissolution Henry VIII granted the town its first Royal charter in 1542.

Reading flourished as a cloth making town, but this declined early in the 17th century when the Civil War left its mark. It was the opening of the Kennet and Avon Canal in 1810 and the eventual arrival of the railways in 1840 that were to turn the tide for Reading and it is upon these events that its fortunes where founded.

Today Reading is noted for its university and for its vast industries. Both its rivers are navigable, often gay with bright narrow boats coursing waters formerly the scene of barges laden with coal and other goods being transported from city to city. The tow paths of both the Kennet and Thames offer visitors the chance to discover lush river meadows made bright by the chatter of wildlife in both trees and water, and often you may come across unusual reeds and water-plants. From Reading during the summer you can take an enchanted boat journey to Mappledurham House or Henley-on-Thames, this is well worth the time for the amazing river scenery.

The town contains exceptional museums and art galleries, particularly notable are the abbey ruins burial place of Henry I. You should also see Reading Goal made famous by Oscar Wilde's Ballad of Reading Goal. In the Reading Museum and Art Gallery you can see a copy of the Bayeux Tapestry and then there is the Waterways Museum, this is sited at Blakes Lock close to the mouth of the Kennet and Avon Canal, this has numerous exhibits and is of interest to all ages.

Reading offers multi-cultural restaurants, excellent hotels, good entertainment and leisure facilities, plenty of shops, pubs and inns. Urban it might be but for those who look beyond that which rises towards the sky, there are many pleasant surprises.

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Hotels & Accommodation in Reading

Reading Hotels  Reading Cottages  Reading Bed & Breakfast

Premier Inn Reading Central in Reading, Berkshire, England3 stars

Premier Inn Reading Central

Reading, Berkshire, England (0.1 miles, 0.2 km)
Close to the Oracle shopping complex and a short walk from Reading Train Station, Premier Inn Reading Central is a modern, good-value, efficient base....
More info and book online..  Price from £44.00

House of Fisher Reading in Reading, Berkshire, England

House of Fisher Reading

Reading, Berkshire, England (0.2 miles, 0.3 km)
Located in the heart of Reading town centre, 5 minutes’ walk from the railway and bus station, House of Fisher Reading offers studio and 2-bedroom apartments, secure parking upon request, and access...
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Mercure George Hotel, Reading in Reading, Berkshire, England4 stars

Mercure George Hotel, Reading

Reading, Berkshire, England (0.2 miles, 0.4 km)
Believed to be the oldest building in Reading, this historic hotel has original features, elegant rooms and a traditional restaurant. Mercure George Hotel is situated next to the Oracle Shopping Cent...
More info and book online..  Price from £55.00

Pentahotel Reading Centre in Reading, Berkshire, England4 stars

Pentahotel Reading Centre

Reading, Berkshire, England (0.2 miles, 0.4 km)
In the centre of Reading, the stylish 4-star Pentahotel offers a chic guest lounge and a games room. Spacious air-conditioned rooms each feature a 32-inch flat-screen TV and free in-room movies....
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Quality Hotel Reading in Reading, Berkshire, England3 stars

Quality Hotel Reading

Reading, Berkshire, England (0.2 miles, 0.4 km)
In Reading town centre, the Quality Hotel Reading is situated next to the Oracle Shopping Centre. The traditional hotel offers free on-site parking, a 24-hour front desk and hearty breakfasts....
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Reading Reviews

3 stars
Review by Edward Lever(15th July 2014)

A historically important town now strangled by the motor-car
Reading has a rich history and at one time was the location of one of the most important Benedictine Abbeys in England (until dissolved by Henry VIII and now even the ruins of the Abbey are inaccessible to the public). Over the years, Reading became a major market town and in Victorian times, with its position on the Great Western Railway, became a wealthy industrial town. Many famous manufacturers were based in Reading, such as Huntley & Palmers Biscuits and other large manufacturers. Other industries such as aviation and electronics came along later. The town has not coped well with the advent of the motor-car. The road layout of Reading is still based on the medieval road plan and there are only two river crossings across the Thames connecting to the north. Traffic jams in Reading are the stuff of legend, since at one time the major road through Reading (the A4) was the only way for Londoners to get to Devon and Cornwall. Despite its poor road system, its status as a hub for other transport links is excellent. The railway station has recently been modernised, and Heathrow Airport is easily accessible by a dedicated coach service. The M4 motorway runs a few miles south of the town. Reading in recent years has become a multi-cultural town, and English is not often heard spoken in the town centre. The local government of Reading is firmly to the left, leading some residents to refer to the town as the PRR (People's Republic of Reading). The town centre is well provided with good shops and is safe for visitors during daylight hours, although street-begging can be a problem. Caution is needed later at night, where the alcohol culture occasionally leads to rowdiness and fisticuffs. Reading is a good base for exploring the surrounding countryside, being about equidistant between Oxford and London. The River Thames and River Kennet flow through Reading, so the town has quite a 'watery' feel, which to some extent offsets the less desirable aspects. In summary, Reading is a good base to get to other parts of the south-east, and is less expensive than London.
3 stars - Average

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Nearby travel help

Reading Station(0.4 miles, 0.7 km)
Reading West Station(0.8 miles, 1.3 km)
M4 Junction 11(2.8 miles, 4.5 km, direction S)
M4 Junction 12(4.1 miles, 6.5 km, direction W)
London Heathrow Airport(22.7 miles, 36.5 km, direction E)
Reading to London(36.8 miles, 59.2 km, direction E)
Southampton Airport(38.4 miles, 61.8 km, direction SW)

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