Reading is an attractive local destination for those looking for a fun yet relaxing city break. It promises a fantastic range of bars, clubs and restaurants and plays host to one of Europe’s biggest music festivals. Behind all the buzz, Reading also offers exciting group activities that include water sports, river cruises and day-trips to nearby villages.This makes Reading an all year round destination.
The city is easily accessible from many of its surrounding airports, train services or just a drive up from the motorway. Reading has something for every occasion, age, style and budget. So whatever it is that you are looking for, Reading has got it.
Explore the city
Unleash your inner explorer
Explore Reading in a new way with this treasure hunt through the city. Race around the city against the clock completing photo challenges and fun quizzes and discovering hidden facts and amazing sites to see along your way.
Cruise down the river
Hop on this river cruise and see Reading from its waterways. Cruising options include sunsets cruises, cruises with live music as well as cruises to suit time and budget constraints. So why not take in the sights and sounds of Reading on a river cruise departing from Caversham Pier each day.
Lagoona Aqua Park
Dubbed the world largest inflatable park, this seems like the perfect group activity in Reading. Gather your mates and have your way on its Inflatable slides, obstacles and climbing walls. If you fancy something a bit more on the wild side, there are also have jet skis and off-road buggies to whet your extreme sports appetite.
Make a daytrip to a nearby village
Reading is surrounded by many little towns and villages and these include Henley, Mapledurham or Beale Park. Uncover these hidden gems by making a daytrip from Reading. You may find local pubs, quaint restaurants and all around good vibes on your way.
Take part in a festival
Many festivals take place in Reading over the course of the year. This year’s lineup include the Waterfest which celebrates the town’s water heritage, Feastival and Eat Reading which are both food festivals as well as the well known Reading Festival.
Get your night started at the Grosvenor Casino in Reading Central. Place your bets if you’re feeling lucky or a little bit risky. If the cards, chips and slot machines become a little much, there’s a fully stocked bar with plenty of drink to go around.
The gin drinks package at Revolution are on point but so are their wild and exotic collection of vodka cocktails and shots. With a resident DJs, club nights and regular theme parties, every night of the week is a party at Revolution.
The Purple Turtle
One of Reading's oldest and most popular nightspots, this venue is famed for its chilled vibes and laid-back atmosphere every night of the week. Pick your favourite tunes from the Jukebox in the main bar or head down to the Basement to enjoy the sound of the underground.
Eat Like a Local
Sweeney and Todd
An authentic Reading institution, its pies galore at Sweeney and Todd. The daily offering includes up to 20 pies on the menu and must tries include the steak and oyster pies as well as its seasonal offerings.
True BBQ in classic American style. This Reading joint takes British meats and cooks them the true American way. Perfecting the smoked meat cuts take nearly 48 hours, so you should be expecting only the best BBQ here.
Chow Streetfood Market
This food market serves up enticing dishes spanning the four corners of the globe in Reading. These include everything from Mexican tacos and Caribbean jerk chicken to Greek style wraps, Spanish Paella, Pie and Mash, and Georgian cuisine. Find them every Tuesday and Friday at the Market Place in Reading Towncentre.
Much more than just a festival location.
Your inside guide to the ultimate weekend in Reading
Best known for its music festival, university and top notch nightlife, Reading makes for a great destination for a wild weekend away.
Reading at a glance:
- Just a short hop from London, Reading is a compact yet bustling university town easily negotiated on foot
- Home to one of the UK’s largest beer festivals every May, this is a place that knows how to serve a decent pint
- Famed for the Reading Festival held every August, it’s a popular destination for music-lovers
- Tranquil parks and a range of outdoor pursuits are on offer within easy reach of the urban charms of the town centre
Town Centre - a one-stop stag spot The town centre offers a mix of everything you need for a proper stag do. You can even inject a bit of culture with a quick visit to the ruins of Reading Abbey, which can be viewed from Forbury Gardens and from Chestnut walk which runs alongside the river Kennet. When it comes time to hit the pubs and bars, though, you won’t have to look hard in this area, with many of the watering holes boasting riverside views.
The north side of the town centre is another party hotspot with many of the big name clubs and bars here, as well as the train station, meaning you can get into the swing of things as soon as you arrive. You’ll also find casinos including the Genting Club Reading and the Grosvenor Casino here to add that touch of high roller excitement to your big weekend.
Reading University – mix with the students From September to July, Reading is home to more than 17,000 university students. While this can mean crowded clubs on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, it also means plenty of places offering student-friendly prices on their drinks. Whether you want to mingle with those in higher education or relive your own uni days, hitting the clubs and pubs around the university can be a great night out.
Madejski Stadium - for your footie fix Reading loves its home team and if you want to get in on the live action then you can catch a game at the impressive Madejski Stadium. Reading FC, known as The Royals, have a recent history of yo-yoing between the upper tiers of English football, but you can expect world class entertainment whatever division they are playing in.
Best bars and clubs in Reading:
Pitcher & Piano, Friar Street - www.pitcherandpiano.com/where-are-we/reading With a great cocktail menu, this bar and restaurant oozes class. Whether you want an evening of mixed drinks in comfy leather armchairs or an upmarket take on a typical pub lunch menu, Pitcher & Piano is the perfect choice. It’s also available for booking, so you can be sure to get a great seat even on a busy night.
Purple Turtle, Gun Street - www.purpleturtlebar.com/ Is quality music the essential ingredient for your favourite nights out? Purple Turtle was founded by musicians and live music is very much at the core of what it offers. There’s a wide variety of music styles on the calendar at any given time, and an equally diverse list of cocktails, ales, and craft brews. As a bonus, it’s next door to Sakura, one of Reading’s best clubs.
After Dark, London Street - www.theafterdarkclub.com/ While many of Reading’s clubs can fill up with students on weekdays, this city centre club remains very much welcoming to big groups looking for a fun-filled night out. It features a regular old school indie night that will keep you on the dance floor if you aren’t into the usual chart club offerings.
Sub 89: For a rock and roll club night with an alternative twist, Sub 89 is the place to be. Boasting a subterranean hive of social activity pretty much every night of the week, this intimate club hosts comedy, themed music nights and an eclectic mix of live acts. Oh, and the drinks start from £1!
Lola Lo: Looking to cut some shapes and let loose for a few hours? Lola Lo is a vibrant spot which is packed with party going uni students and locals on weekends and there are more drinks specials here than you could shake a stick at. If a mix of commercial rock, modern R&B, dance and hip hop are up your alley, as well as cheap hooch, you’re sure to have a top night out at Lola Lo.
Treehouse Reading: A weekend in Reading wouldn’t be complete with a trip to Treehouse and this futuristic party den offers the opulent feel of an exclusive members club, without the insane price tag. This two floored venue serves up delicious cocktails every night and with karaoke, DJs and other fun and games all on the menu, you really can’t go wrong.
Q Club: The Q Club is one of Reading’s most popular late night spots and if you’re looking for a bit of glamourous debauchery, you won’t be disappointed. This pretty colossal club draws in huge crowds every single weekend, and it’s nights vary from headbanging heavy rock classics right the way though to foot pumping house anthems - so it’s worth checking out what’s on before you head inside!
Food: eat like a local:
Plenty of familiar names and chains are on offer in and around The Oracle, but for something a little different try out one of the more independent dining locations.
London Street Brasserie (www.londonstbrasserie.co.uk/) is a firm favourite, offering a large menu of high quality dishes. If the gourmet edge of the LSB isn’t your style, consider the Spice Oven World Buffet (www.spiceoven.co.uk/) restaurant. Here you can get your fill of Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, Italian, Indian, Spanish and French food.
If a curry is what you crave then head straight to Zyka. This bring-your-own-booze Indian restaurant is a hit with the locals, and if you forget your drinks there’s an off-licence conveniently located a few doors down.
For the morning after the night before, Reading’s best hangover cure has to be Cafe Yolk (https://www.facebook.com/cafeyolk) . Located near the University of Reading, it offers the perfect head-clearing breakfasts, including pancakes, smoothies, and delicious fry-ups.
The best view of the city:
Whether you’re seeking a bit of peace and quiet or nursing a hangover, Forbury Gardens is one of Reading’s most relaxing locations. In 2013, it was crowned Reading’s best hidden gem, but with its central location it is hardly a secret. During the summer, you can watch Sunday afternoon concerts on the bandstand too.
Reading is well connected to the rest of the UK thanks to its large central train station. However, once you’re in town, you might not need much in the way of transportation. With everything pretty close together, walking is sufficient to get many places. If you’re heading a little further afield, such as to the uni or stadium then buses are regular and cheap. If you need a taxi then you’ll find queues of black cabs outside The Oracle and the train station.