Situated 35 miles west of London, Reading gave us the Reading Festival (duh), an occasionally-Premier-League football club and Ricky Gervais; it schooled Jane Austen and, more infamously, incarcerated Oscar Wilde. Now home to around 146,000 people, it boasts a thriving technology industry, is one of the UK's top ten shopping destinations and has more than 100 public parks and play spaces.
Its seven museums include the free Museum of Reading, which offers hands-on activities for children, and the Cole Museum of Zoology at the University of Reading, which houses skeletons of an Indian elephant, whale and giant spider crabs. Those who prefer their animals living and breathing can get up close and personal with wolves at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust and Bucklebury Farm Park.
The beautiful Beale Park is a great destination for family days-out, with its wildlife park (including the ubiquitous meerkats), miniature railway, adventure playgrounds, paddling pools and toddler village. At the confluence of the Thames and Kennet and with surrounding lakes, Reading has around five miles of water-side walks. It hosts regattas and canoe-races and is popular for boating holidays and day-trips, jet-skiing, water-skiing and windsurfing. Other attractions include historic houses, the Madejski Stadium and a vibrant nightlife and international restaurant scene.
Please see our local listings for more information and further suggestions.
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