Reading Hotels - Famed for its annual summer music festival and its superb shopping, Reading is also a city steeped in history and the ruins of Reading Abbey loom large in the center of town. Rambling riverside walks which lead to charming villages offer quintessentially British views of thatched cottages, green rolling hills, and traditional pubs, while cruises on the Thames offer cool breezes on hot summer days. In the center of town modern apartment blocks and contemporary shopping centers jostle for space with period buildings, and buzzing bars and restaurants vie for attention.
Things to see
Founded by Henry I in 1121, Reading Abbey was once one of the pilgrimage centers of medieval England, and today its ruins are still attracting hordes of visitors who come to marvel at the ancient stone monument. It's also said to be the resting place of the then King, but the exact whereabouts of his royal remains remain a mystery to this day. Relics from excavations at the ruins are displayed in the Reading Museum. Views of the Abbey can also be seen from Forbury Gardens, a formal Victorian garden, and a wander through its flower-filled grounds is a must when in town. During the summer months weekly performances can be enjoyed at the park's bandstand too. Located on the former site of the Reading Abbey stables, Central Library is a treasure trove of books, periodicals and local historical material, and a peaceful place to swot up on the city's past. Sports fans won't want to miss a game at the Madejski Stadium, home to Reading FC, while history buffs will enjoy a trip to the REME Museum of Technology.
Hotels in Reading
From elegant, privately owned period townhouses and luxurious international chains to modern, low cost hotels, and B&Bs, Reading's not short on choice when it comes to hotels. If you're looking to be pampered and sink into silk-like sheets, there are a number of high-end hotels, some with indoor pools, offering indulgent amenities like 24-hour room service, deep soaking bathtubs and designer toiletries. Mid-range hotels aren't lacking facilities either, with many geared to family stays and business travelers, offering games rooms and meeting facilities. Budget hotels and B&Bs will be more basic, but very affordable bases to explore the city.
Where to stay
Many of the must-see sites are very centrally located so a hotel in the city center's an ideal base for exploring. If you're visiting Reading with kids, the surrounding idyllic countryside offers acres of space for the little ones to run around in. For hotels with river views, the village of Sonning sits on the banks of the Thames and oozes charm, while Mapledurham with its flint walls, country cottages, and watermill is the perfect base for a romantic break and only a few miles from Reading city center.
How to get to
For those arriving by air, London's Heathrow Airport is well linked to Reading with the RailAir express bus service running from Heathrow to Reading Station throughout the day. You can also catch a train from Heathrow (change at Hayes and Harlington station) or whizz down the M4 by car. Reading Station has regular trains departing in all directions with links to locations across the UK including Exeter, London, Manchester, Oxford, and York.