Hello my lovely readers! I hope you are well and enjoying our precious little summer right in the middle of spring. I don’t know if you had your first cider of the season, served over ice, but I still haven’t! Let’s see if we can amend that by Easter Monday, shall we? Anyway, this evening (Happy Easter everyone!) I’d like to talk to you about a large town that I spend my weekends in, Reading.
Firstly, I’d like to say how much I love this town! Reading is as small as it is convenient, so getting away from the madness of London has never been easier for me. If you can imagine that within 1.30 hours I can be in peaceful Reading, this is a choice I can live with. From London Paddington it will take you approximately half an hour to reach Reading, otherwise you can choose London Waterloo and it will take you over an hour. As you can imagine, it is conveniently located near London, so you can commute there for work, for shopping or even for your social life. Beware though that trains do not run 24/7, so you may have to leave early from central, in order to catch the final train there.
What I like in Reading
If there’s only one thing I like in Reading, it’s the easiness and convenience of everything. Because my boyfriend’s place is literally 10 minutes away from the city centre, we can go grocery shopping, go to the cinema or do anything else in the city centre without an effort. Just for this, I think I know the city centre quite well and I will let you know all about my favourite places in Reading.
The Oracle shopping centre
Starving for shopping? I think that the Oracle is obvious choice for that, as well as everything else! You can find in there department stores, such as my beloved Debenhams and the House of Fraser and staples like H&M, Next and Zara. The Oracle also carries an excellent pick of restaurants you can choose from for a weekend dinner, early drinks or an early dinner after a long day at work. Chain restaurants such as Cafe Rouge, Côte Brasserie, Bella Italia and The Real Greek are there, so you have plenty of choice! I’ve only been to Handmade Burger Co., Zizzi’s and TGI Friday’s, so there’s plenty of time to taste the rest of them! And whenever the mood strikes you, you can catch a film at Vue, so there’s simply a lot to do in this shopping centre.
Old buildings at the centre of the town
Reading is an old town, and when I say old, I really mean it! It was a settlement back in the 8th century, called Readingum. After that, it became the biggest town in Berkshire and in the 18th century became a trade stop between London and Oxford. Situated between two rivers, Kennet and Thames, you can imagine Reading’s importance in the local economy and politics. For a tourist like me, you can find some of the most beautiful buildings outside London, like the Reading Town Hall, built in the 18th century, or the Reading Abbey. It’s always nice to take a walk around town when the weather’s fine, so you can appreciate the surrounding architecture all the more!
What I love in Reading is the abundance of greenery. We take a walk around Christchurch Meadows normally on Sundays and people (and sometimes, ducks and swans!) watch. But there are plenty of gardens and parks around the city centre, apart from Christchurch Meadows, so you can pick your favourite. I believe I am partial to the park close to the river, because I can appreciate both the green and the (kind of) blue in the same manner. Take my opinion or leave it, you can explore and see which view suits you the best!
The Herd restaurant (Pangbourne)
I know, I know I have written about it before, but this still remains one of the best restaurants I’ve been in the UK. It may not be strictly in Reading (Pangbourne is a village literally 10 minutes away from Reading by train), but my point still stands! Their steaks are to kill for and so tasty, you will lose your mind over them! The atmosphere is relaxed and inviting, the food is amazing, the service is excellent, you can have no objection in visiting it. I look forward to eating there again soon, which is going to happen this Easter Sunday evening! I can’t wait to try again their juicy steaks and potatoes! Ah, this is the life, hihi!
Yes, I feel quite old now, but still, Reading offers some excellent choice for a night out. The blessing (and the curse at the same time) is that it mainly caters for a younger crowd, as most of the club-goers are students! Still you can have a nice glass of wine at London Street Brasserie or at Veeno, and there’s still All Bar One, if you have a mood for a cocktail. If you still want to have a taste of a proper nightlife, Walkabout Reading, Revolution Reading or Sub89 are the places to be! All of them close after 2 am, which is awesome. However you are talking to a person who is not a party-animal anymore, so take this with a pinch of salt!
I tried to give you an overall look of what Reading means to me. In any case, Reading is a fantastic place to spend your Saturday and offers the sort of the quiet life you want after a busy day at the office. It’s no mistake that it is preferred by young families, as it is close to London for a daily commute, plus offers all the benefits of a small town. If you haven’t been there, do try it and let me know how it looked to you!
Till next time,