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Reading

Travel Guide Europe United Kingdom England South East England Berkshire Reading

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Introduction

Reading (pronounced red-ing, or to many locals red-in) is a town that is often passed by or through, but not normally a stopping point for travellers. For example, if you travel by train between London and Bristol your train will stop at Reading, and making the same journey by car you would go past Reading on the M4 motorway. Despite this, Reading is quite a historical town with the Minster Church of St Mary the Virgin, and the remains of the Reading Abbey (dissolved by Henry VIII) both within the small town centre area.

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History

Things which have either happened in Reading, or the town is known for include:

  • "Battle of Broad Street" in 1688
  • Three B's - biscuits (Huntley & Palmers), beer, bulbs (as in light bulbs)
  • Ballad of Reading Gaol, written by Oscar Wilde when he was imprisoned here

Although Reading Borough Council in recent years have had signs made that indicate Reading is a city (such as road signs, and on local buses) it does not have city status. The council have attempted to gain a Royal Charter to grant city status upon Reading a number of times, however this has never been granted.

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Events and Festivals

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Getting There

By Plane

The closest airports to Reading are equi-distant and similar duration, Southampton, Birmingham, Heathrow. Travel between Heathrow and Reading can be achieved using the Rail Air service.

The next closest airport is Gatwick, which has also has a direct train service to Reading taking 90 minutes.

By Train

Reading station is a major station on the network, with almost all passenger trains that pass through Reading stopping here. It's possible to catch a direct train to Reading from places such as London, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester and further afield such as Glasgow. Reading also services as a station where you may need to connect to another train service.

The station is located 2-3 minutes walk from the main high street of Reading, Broad Street.

By Car

Located close the to M4 motorway, the Reading area is served by junctions 10 (east), 11 (central) & 12 (west). Reading is also on the A4, though following this route could get confusing if you are just passing through particularly if you are heading eastbound.

By Bus

National Express, and MegaBus have their stop near junction 12 of the M4, on a roundabout outside a big supermarket. It's not the most convenient of locations for the town of Reading, and direct coach services are limited resulting quite often in a connection being required.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

Reading is serviced mainly by Reading Buses which is owned by the borough council. There are some other smaller companies which provide routes to closeby towns and villages, but not really within Reading itself.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Fines Bayliwick CountryhouseLondon Road Binfield, BracknellHotel-
Ibis Hotel, Reading Centre25A Friar StreetHotel-
The Abbey House Hotel118 Connaught RoadHotel-
Crescent Hotel35 Coley AvenueHotel75
Parkside International Hotel72 Bath RoadHotel78
Holiday Inn Reading M4 Jct 10Wharfedale Road, Winnersh Triangle, Reading, BerkshireHOTEL-
Hillingdon Prince39 Christchurch RoadHOTEL-
15 Earley Apartment15 Station Road, Earley, RG6 7DYGUESTHOUSE-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet caf├ęs can be found in many cities and towns. All UK public libraries provide access, often branded as "People's Network", usually at no or little charge, though there is usually a time limit. Some hotels/hostels also offer internet access, including wifi, but most times at a cost. Using the internet on your personal phone can become expensive very quickly, with carriers charging 100's of times the local rate for data. To avoid these expensive roaming charges, you can hunt for wifi at a local cafe or hotel, or rent a mobile hotspot via several providers including DATAPiXY, and XCOM Global.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to the United Kingdom is: 44. To make an international call from the United Kingdom, the code is: 00

In case of emergency, call 999 or 112 from any phone. Such calls are free and will be answered by an emergency services operator who will ask you for your location, and the service(s) you need (police, fire, ambulance, coastguard or mountain rescue). You can call this number from any mobile telephone as well, even if you do not have roaming.

Although the number is declining, you can still find payphones in many public areas, especially stations, airports etc. You can usually pay with cash and sometimes by creditcard or, for international calls, special phonecards are still available.

Mobile phones are heavily used. The main networks are T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and O2. 3G data services are available, usually priced per megabyte and coverage is usually very good in the UK, however it may lack in rural areas. Roaming on your personal phone plan can be expensive. To manage costs, consider purchasing a local UK SIM card for your phone. Several companies offer local SIM cards including Telestial, and CellularAbroad.

Post

The Royal Mail provides postal services in the United Kingdom. The Royal Mail's store fronts are called Post Office and offer services ranging from sending letters and packages to foreign currency exchange. Use the branch locator to find the nearest Post Office branch. There will be at least one post office in any town/city and there are quite often post offices in larger villages. It's common for a post office to be incorporated into a grocery store, where there will be a small counter located at the back of the store for dealing with post related matters. All post offices are marked with signs that say 'post office' in red lettering. Post boxes can be found at any post office and standalone large red post boxes on the streets or red boxes in the sides of public buildings. For sending packages overseas, it might be a good idea to check prices and services with international companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.

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Quick Facts

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Population
232,662 (2001)
Dial Code
0118
Coordinates
  • Latitude: 51.455585
  • Longitude: -0.972526

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This is version 15. Last edited at 13:08 on Apr 2, 14 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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