15 Best Things to Do in Reading, England

15 Best Things to Do in Reading, England

By will

Have you ever dreamed of a trip to England?

\Visiting Reading, England is the perfect way to experience the best of British culture.

From its mesmerizing architecture and historic sites to its vibrant nightlife and cultural attractions, Reading has something for everyone.

1. Thames Path

The Thames Path
Photo by Philip Halling

Reading’s Thames Path is a scenic and tranquil walk along the banks of the River Thames.

Stretching from rural Oxfordshire to the bustling city center, it’s a great way to explore the city and its surroundings.

You’ll pass by an array of landmarks, including Reading Abbey ruins and Hungerford Bridge, as well as plenty of pubs and restaurants along the way.

The path is well-marked with signs that explain the history of each landmark you come across.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a vigorous hike, this picturesque route has something for everyone; there’s even wildlife to take in if you’re lucky!

With stunning views of the river and countryside, it’s no wonder that this path has become so popular with locals and visitors alike.

Take your time to enjoy all that this path has to offer – it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience!

2. Reading Museum

Reading Museum
Photo by Bill Nicholls

Reading Museum is a fantastic place to explore the history and culture of the area.

Located in the heart of Reading, this museum offers an array of engaging exhibits, art installations, and interactive displays.

It’s a great place to explore with family or friends and provides an unforgettable experience.

The museum has something for everyone.

From its extensive collections of local artifacts to its vibrant gallery space, there’s plenty to discover here.

There are also a number of activities on offer, from interactive workshops to theatre performances.

With such a variety of attractions, you’re sure to be entertained and educated in equal measure.

No visit is complete without experiencing some of the museum’s most iconic pieces.

From ancient coins to 16th-century maps, there’s plenty for history buffs to marvel at.

And if you want something more exciting than artifacts, why not take part in one of their guided tours?

You’ll get an up-close look at the fascinating stories behind Reading’s past – it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience!

3. Reading Abbey

Reading Abbey
Photo by George Evans

Reading Abbey is a must-see for any traveler visiting Reading, England.

This ancient abbey was founded by Henry I in 1121 and served as a great center of learning throughout the Middle Ages.

The ruins are still standing today, providing a fascinating glimpse into a distant past.

When you visit, you’ll find the remains of the grand abbey church, gatehouse, chapter house, and cloisters – perfect for taking in some history!

Aside from its historic importance, Reading Abbey is also home to some delightful gardens that are sure to enchant visitors.

There are acres of lush lawns to explore surrounded by tall trees and flowering shrubs.

You can wander through the peaceful cloister garth and admire beautiful rose beds, or take a stroll down the riverside path that borders the abbey grounds.

In addition to its natural beauty, there’s also an onsite cafe with delicious treats to enjoy after your exploration.

No trip to Reading would be complete without stopping by this incredible abbey – it’s an experience that will stay with you long after your visit is over!

4. Parthian Climbing Reading

Leaving the historic abbey behind, it’s time to explore Reading’s modern offerings.

For adrenaline junkies and adventure seekers alike, Parthian Climbing Reading is a must-see.

Located in the heart of the city, this indoor climbing center offers an exhilarating experience that can be enjoyed year-round.

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The facility boasts over 1,000 square meters of wall space, with routes ranging from beginner to expert level.

With walls up to 14 meters high, climbers can challenge themselves while taking in stunning views of the surrounding area.

Experienced staff is on hand to provide instruction and support, so even novices will feel right at home.

It’s suitable for all ages and abilities too – perfect for family fun or a group outing with friends!

Whether you’re looking for a unique way to exercise or just something different to do in Reading, Parthian Climbing Reading promises an unforgettable experience.

And with regular events and competitions taking place throughout the year, there’s always something new to explore.

So come along and take on the challenge – your adventurous spirit will thank you!

5. Kennet And Avon Canal

If you’re looking for a scenic way to explore Reading, England, then look no further than the Kennet and Avon Canal.

This beloved canal offers visitors a chance to take in the beauty of the area while enjoying a leisurely stroll or bicycle ride.

The canal is a perfect spot to while away an afternoon, with its peaceful atmosphere and stunning views.

Along its banks, visitors will find plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting – from ducks to swans, herons, and kingfishers.

As well as a variety of aquatic bird life, there is also plenty of fish swimming in the waters below.

For those looking for something more lively, boat hire is available on the canal as well.

Taking out a boat gives you the chance to fully appreciate the beauty of this historic waterway and explore its many winding routes and picturesque locks.

Whether you’re taking in the sights or just enjoying the tranquility at your own pace, a trip along Kennet and Avon Canal is sure to leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed.

6. The Oracle

The Oracle in Reading, England is the perfect spot for a fun day out, and the ultimate shopping experience.

With over 90 stores to explore, you’ll find something that caters to all your needs.

And if shopping isn’t your thing, don’t worry; there are plenty of restaurants and cafes to grab a bite at.

You can even catch a movie at the Vue Cinema or have a few drinks in one of the many bars.

But what makes The Oracle stand out from other shopping centers is its unique atmosphere.

It’s an oasis in the city center where you can spend time with friends and family while enjoying some retail therapy.

There’s something special about being able to take a break from everyday life and just relax in such a vibrant environment.

Whether you’re looking for new clothes, or souvenirs or simply want to unwind after work – The Oracle has it all!

7. Ascot Racecourse

Ascot Racecourse is an iconic destination for horse racing fans.

It’s been hosting some of the world’s most prestigious horse races since 1711 and is a must-see for any visitor to Reading.

From the grandstands to the parade ring, you can appreciate the elegance and grandeur of this historic course.

On race days, it’s a spectacle like no other – the atmosphere is electric!

The history and traditions of Ascot Racecourse set it apart from other racecourses around the world.

And with so much to do on-site, there’s something for everyone – whether you’re a punter or just looking to enjoy some time at one of Britain’s most famous venues.

Whether you want to watch live racing or shop ‘til you drop at one of their numerous retail outlets, Ascot Racecourse has something for everyone.

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience in Reading, Ascot Racecourse should not be missed.

8. Mapledurham Estate

Departing from the thrill of Ascot Racecourse, visitors to Reading can take a short drive to Mapledurham Estate.

This sprawling country estate is teeming with things to do and explore.

The historic house dates back centuries and contains a wealth of history.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the manor, learning all about its fascinating past while admiring its beautiful architecture.

There’s also an adventure playground for children, as well as gardens and woodlands, to explore.

For those looking for something more active, there are plenty of opportunities for walking, cycling, and horse riding around the estate.

For a truly unique experience, visitors can even sample some of the estate’s own award-winning beer!

In addition to the house, gardens, and woodlands, there is also a charming watermill that serves both as a museum and tea room.

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Here visitors can learn about local history while enjoying home-baked cakes and refreshments in tranquil surroundings.

Mapledurham Estate is the perfect place for anyone looking to escape into nature while still being able to immerse themselves in fascinating history.

With so much on offer, it’s an ideal destination for families or couples looking to get away from it all and enjoy some quality time together in beautiful surroundings.

9. Thames River Cruise

The Thames River Cruise offers one of the best ways to explore Reading, England.

Boarding at Caversham Lock, you’ll be taken on a leisurely journey along the river.

As you cruise, you’ll pass by some of Reading’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Abbey Ruins and Oracle shopping center.

You’ll also get to see the beautiful countryside that surrounds the town, giving you an appreciation for its rich history and culture.

The cruise itself is very relaxing; listen to the commentary about the sights you pass or sit back and enjoy the scenery.

There are plenty of stops during your trip so don’t worry if you want to disembark and explore somewhere in particular.

You can even bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy while admiring the views!

When booking your Thames River Cruise make sure to look out for special offers or packages that include other attractions in Reading such as a tour of Windsor Castle or Oxford University.

Whatever package you choose, this is an experience that won’t soon be forgotten!

10. Basildon Park

Having sailed along the River Thames, it’s time to explore the awe-inspiring Basildon Park.

This grand estate is a sight to behold, with its stunning Palladian house set amidst miles of parkland and woodland.

From the moment you arrive, you’re transported back in time, as you take in the sweeping views of this 18th-century masterpiece.

The park was once home to the famous Lord Ilchester, and today offers visitors an opportunity to explore his beautiful gardens and grounds.

Take a stroll through the magnificent formal gardens, where you’ll find elegant terraces, cascading waterfalls, and sculptured topiary.

You can also discover hidden pathways that lead through secret woodlands and meadows full of wildflowers.

For those feeling energetic, there are miles of tranquil walking trails to explore – perfect for a peaceful escape from everyday life.

Basildon Park provides an unforgettable experience; a journey into history that will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired.

Whether you’re looking for adventure or just want to relax in peaceful surroundings, this magnificent estate has something for everyone.

11. Reading Festival

Reading Festival is a must-see for anyone visiting Reading, England.

This iconic British music festival has been held annually since 1971 and attracts over 80,000 people each year.

It’s one of the biggest festivals in the UK, with an incredible lineup of rock, indie, punk, metal, and hip-hop acts.

Plus, it offers an array of activities from camping to comedy to food stalls – there’s something for everyone!

The atmosphere at Reading Festival is truly electric.

As soon as you arrive on site you’ll be surrounded by other music fans who share your passion.

The energy of the crowd is infectious and will make you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.

Everyone here is united in their love of music and ready to have a good time – there’s no better place to let your hair down and dance until the early hours!

It’s easy to get lost in the moment at Reading Festival; you can forget all your worries and just enjoy the moment.

So if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after the last act has finished playing, make sure Reading Festival is at top of your list when visiting England.

12. Wellington Country Park

Leaving the hustle and bustle of the Reading Festival behind, nature lovers can take a short drive to Wellington Country Park.

This glorious park is full of adventure and exploration opportunities, with over 450 acres of stunning scenery.

It features an adventure playground, a lake to paddle in, and miles of woodland trails to explore.

Kids will love the exciting activities on offer at the park, from the thrill-seeking zip wire to the more relaxed tractor rides.

There’s also a magnificent treehouse for those looking for high-level views over the river Thames.

And if that wasn’t enough, there are plenty of animals and birds to spot too!

With its friendly atmosphere and abundance of activities, Wellington Country Park is an ideal destination for families seeking fun away from Reading Festival.

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Whether you’re looking for a quieter afternoon or an action-packed day out, there’s something here for everyone – making it a great way to end your trip to Reading.

13. Museum Of English Rural Life

Situated just outside the city center of Reading, the Museum of English Rural Life offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about England’s great rural heritage.

This museum is packed with fascinating displays and exhibitions that bring history to life.

From traditional farming implements to agricultural machinery, the museum has something for everyone.

There are also interactive activities designed to engage kids in an exploration of rural life.

The museum is home to many interesting artifacts from all over England, including furniture and pottery from the 16th century, as well as items related to the Industrial Revolution.

It is a great place to explore and discover more about England’s past.

Visitors can even get hands-on experience by trying out some of the tools used in rural settings such as milking cows or driving tractors.

With its informative displays and interactive activities, the Museum of English Rural Life is sure to be a hit with visitors looking for an immersive experience in England’s countryside culture.

Whether you’re interested in learning more about farming or just want a break from city life, this museum provides plenty for everyone to enjoy!

14. Kings Meadow

Kings Meadow is a must-see in Reading, England.

Located on the River Thames side of town, it’s a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy nature.

The meadow is home to lush green grasses, flowers, and trees that create a tranquil atmosphere.

Visitors can take advantage of the many walking paths, picnic areas, and benches for those who want to sit back and take in the peacefulness of the area.

The wide open space gives people plenty of room to roam around or just enjoy some quiet reflection.

For an added bonus, Kings Meadow is also home to a number of historical sites.

From ancient artifacts to old churches and monuments, there’s something here for everyone to explore.

It’s easy to spend an afternoon wandering around this area discovering all it has to offer!

Whether you’re looking for a quiet escape or an interesting history lesson, Kings Meadow is worth visiting when in Reading.

15. The Hexagon

The Hexagon is Reading’s premier entertainment venue and it’s a great place to explore during a stay in the city.

Located just off the center of town, this modern theatre has been providing world-class performances for over 40 years.

It hosts some of the biggest names in comedy, music, theatre, and dance as well as hosting local events such as school productions and amateur dramatics.

The Hexagon has something for everyone – it’s the perfect destination to spend an evening or afternoon with family or friends.

The Hexagon also features an impressive array of restaurants and bars, so you can make a night out of it.

There’s a range of eateries from traditional English fare to international cuisine, so you can find something to suit everyone’s taste buds.

When you’re not watching shows at The Hexagon, you can check out the nearby shops and attractions – from high street favorites like Marks & Spencer to independent boutiques offering unique items from around Reading.

With plenty to see and do, The Hexagon is sure to provide an unforgettable experience for visitors.

Best Things to Do in Reading – Final Thoughts

Wrapping up my list of the best things to do in Reading, England, I have to say that this small town is full of surprises.

From the Thames Path to the Museum of English Rural Life, there’s something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for culture or adventure, Reading has it all.

When visiting this city, be sure to check out The Hexagon, Kings Meadow, and Wellington Country Park – these three places offer a unique experience that you won’t find elsewhere.

And if you’re looking for something different and adventurous, Parthian Climbing Reading is a must-see!

Overall, I’d highly recommend a visit to Reading – it’s a great place for all ages and interests!

From its history and culture to its outdoor activities, there really is something for everyone here.

So why not take some time out and experience all that Reading has to offer?

You won’t regret it!


What are the best things to do in Reading with kids?

The best things to do in Reading with kids are visiting Reading Museum, Reading Abbey, and Basildon Park.

What to do during the day in Reading?

The best things to do during the day in Reading are visiting Reading Abbey Ruins, Donnington Castle, and Wellington Country Park.

Is Reading worth visiting?

Yes, Reading is worth visiting because of its rich heritage and diverse communities. It is also considered an agricultural center in the UK.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.