Reading is the largest town in the county, with a lot of historical importance.
In the neo-Gothic Town Hall, the Reading Museum explores the town’s past, from its earliest days as a Saxon Settlement, through its Medieval abbey, industrialisation and up to the 21st century. It is a free and fun day out for all the family. Discover more about Reading's local history, the Abbey Ruins, animals, art and more.
The Victorian prison life can be explored at the Reading Gaol, where Oscar Wilde was imprisoned between 1895 and 1897, and would later write the Ballad of Reading Gaol while in exile in France. If you decide to do a tour you will see the austere corridors, the hospital, the cells and the cold chapel, but also Oscar Wilde’s own cell.
The town is also home for the annual Reading Festival, an outdoor rock music event. Officially the world's oldest pop music festival, the event takes place every year during the bank holiday weekend at the end of August. The event grew out of the National Jazz Festival in the 1950s and in the early-1970s evolved into a purely rock extravaganza. Many famous bands have played throughout the years such as Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, The Who, Cream and the Kinks.
The central area of Reading is easily traversable on foot. From the main rail station, you will be able to take in the Abbey Ruins, the Forbury Gardens, both rivers, both shopping centres, most (but not all so check) hotels, pubs and restaurants.
Reading is one of the busiest interchanges on the national rail network and has direct routes to almost every part of the UK. There are many routes to Reading from major cities by train. The direct train from London Paddington to Reading takes just 25 minutes, from Bristol to Reading, the journey is 1h 17m and from Oxford to Reading it's just 36 minutes.
Reading has an excellent local bus service. Reading Buses serves the entire Reading urban area and some of the local villages. Newbury Buses offers routes between Reading and Newbury/West Berkshire. Other rural areas are served by Arriva, First and Thames Travel buses.