Life in Reading
Relaxing and shopping
Reading has a bustling town centre with a range of places to meet with friends, grab a drink and a bite to eat, or just hang out and relax. Check out Reading’s brand new community space, The Biscuit Factory, or drop into Spinners for a game of crazy golf, interactive darts or bowling.
The Oracle shopping centre is home to the big names in retail, but there are also independent stores and boutiques around town. Elsie’s Vintage sells classic clothing from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, The Grumpy Goat is a hugely popular ale and cheese shop, while Eclectic Games stocks one of the largest board game collections in the country.
Nightlife and eating out
Reading has an array of cafes and restaurants dotted along the riverside to excite your taste buds. With Hyderabadi, tapas, Lebanese, Ethiopian and vegan options, you’re sure to find somewhere to satisfy your appetite. Be sure to check out the new Blue Collar Corner street food market, spanning across two floors with delicious street food such as vegan tacos and bao buns.
Club venues and bars extend beyond campus as Reading town centre transforms from day to night. Discover festivals and new music acts, unique club events and cocktail bars, or indulge in one of our late-night ice cream parlours.
Reading has a number of beautiful parks and nature reserves, which are perfect for relaxing with a book or enjoying a picnic. The river Thames runs through a number of them, creating a haven for wildlife and rowers. Try out paddle boarding or kayaking, to Lagoona Park for jet skiing and water obstacle courses.
If you love spending time in the countryside, then you won't have to travel far from Reading to find yourself in the green, rolling hills of the Chilterns, or the ancient woodlands of the North Wessex Downs.
Arts and culture
Reading Festival is one of the best-known festivals in the UK, with over 87,000 fans flocking to see some of the biggest names in music. For six years, we partnered with festival organisers, Festival Republic, to give some of our students the opportunity to work backstage at the event. Working alongside the nation’s leading press publications – interviewing chart-topping bands and reviewing headline acts – our students have interned as content producers, working behind the scenes with industry experts.
Far from being the only one on offer, Reading also hosts jazz, real ale and comedy festivals throughout the year, as well as its own fringe event.
Reading has lively music, comedy and theatre scenes with venues such as Sub89, South Street and the Hexagon, which has hosted acts including Kaiser Chiefs and Omid Djalili and various local and touring stage shows.
Experience the thrill of a live football or rugby match at the Madejski Stadium, which is close to the town centre. The venue, which seats over 24,000 people, is home to Reading FC and London Irish Rugby Club.