This fun, forward-looking county town is home to one of the best-known music festivals around. It has plenty of heritage and is a great place for a short break, just a short journey from London.
A vibrant urban centre dating back to at least the eighth century, Reading makes for a fun city break. This large town, one of the largest without official city status, has played an important role in Britain’s history. It was the site of the 871 Battle of Reading, waged by King Ethelred and Alfred the Great against the Danes, and, during the English Civil War, was besieged by Parliamentary forces.
It’s also home to the ruins of Reading Abbey, one of the richest monasteries of medieval England, which has just reopened after a £3.15 million restoration project. It was founded by Henry I in 1121, with the king intending of being buried there so that the monks could pray for his soul.
Take advantage of the free admission to Reading Museum to marvel at the famous 70m-long replica of the Bayeux Tapestry, stitched by 35 Victorian women in 1885.
Wander through the pretty Forbury Gardens, the Victorian town garden which has just undergone major restoration, and gaze at the impressive-buff Maiwand Lion statue.
Head to the award-winning London Street Brasserie (or LSB to locals) for delicious dishes with a decent view overlooking the River Kennet. Try one of their Aberdeen Angus steaks.
Once a coaching inn, the Mercure George Hotel is thought to occupy the oldest existing building in Reading, dating back to at least 1423. Located right in the heart of the town, it still retains many of its original features.