48 hours in Reading
It’s common knowledge that if you’re coming to the end of your city break and you don’t feel like you need another holiday to recover, you haven’t done it right!
Reading has not quite reached city status, but the town still has plenty to offer- so there’s no excuses for not doing some serious exploring. If you have 48 hours spare here, it just wouldn’t be right not to take advantage of everything that is on offer!
Set to be the UK’s fastest growing economy over the next three years, the host of the world-famous Reading Festival is becoming a more and more attractive place to visit. Only 30 minutes from London on the train, Reading has the UK at its fingertips while the town itself boasts a fascinating history, diverse night life and multicultural vibe. Reading is small enough to make any visitor feel part of the community, yet big enough for a jam-packed and exciting 48 hours.
First things first… breakfast. Served at a reasonable price, Café Yolk is a simple but popular café offering a fantastic breakfast menu. From a classic full English to pancakes and waffles, Café Yolk has you covered for whatever takes your fancy on your first morning.
When you can’t fit any more food in, the first place you should head over to is Basildon Park. A historic mansion surrounded by stunning parkland, this National Park played host to many glamorous parties – does it remind anyone of a certain Mr Gatsby?! Its heritage is rich and varied – once used as an American Army base for D-Day training and a prisoner of war camp for the Germans and Italians. Left in ruins by the war, Lord and Lady Lliffe first restored the mansion and garden- today in the hands of The National Trust.
After you have explored the house and the gardens, head to The Umbrello Seat where you can enjoy the surroundings of the park, or follow the footpaths for stunning views of the Thames Valley hills. You won't need to go far for lunch as the Tea Room offers a delicious light snack menu - or if you're feeling fancy, one can also opt for Afternoon Tea! With any luck, the sun will be shining so if this is the case, make sure you pre-book a picnic to take advantage of this rare occasion!
Of course, good weather in England can never be guaranteed so if it is a miserable day, why not make your way to The Cole Museum of Zoology where you can take a complete tour of the Animal Kingdom? This scientific museum contains 3,500 specimens - 400 of which are on display at all times, including the skeleton of a male Indian elephant.
After a long day on your feet, kick back, relax and treat yourself to a nice dinner at one of Reading’s hidden gems. In addition to a warm atmosphere and attentive staff, Valpy Street Bar and Bistro offers a range of cocktails, wines and beers to quench your thirst during and after your meal.
If you’re looking for something a bit more upbeat after dinner, you are in the perfect location to explore Reading’s wide range of bars and clubs where you can let your hair down and dance the night away!
If you’re feeling a bit fragile from the night before and need a good breakfast, head in to the town centre where you will be spoilt for choice, with both popular chains and independent eateries. Reading’s Café Rouge, situated in the heart of The Oracle, is repetitively praised for its character and efficient service. Offering pastries and pancakes, traditional breakfasts, toast and fruit, this place will get your taste buds tingling!
When you’re ready to take on the day, take a short stroll to Reading Station, jump on the train and take the 30 minute journey to Beale Park - this is another one for the animal lovers! The park offers a range of animals - but If animals aren’t really your thing there is still plenty on offer, including a river cruise, fishing or a stroll around the stunning gardens and lakes.
You won’t need to worry about travelling too far for lunch as there is a restaurant on site offering everything from sandwiches to homemade beef-burgers, in addition to a range of vegetarian options. Again, if you like the finer things in life, you can always opt to enjoy Afternoon Tea… again!
If you would prefer to stay indoors, a great place to visit is Reading Museum. Voted number one of things to do in Reading on TripAdvisor, this educational museum provides the opportunity to view galleries containing archaeological finds, art, history and more - all for free! Positioned in the town centre, you won’t be short of places to go for lunch, however, we recommend you venture out a bit further for a classic pub experience. Located just outside of the town centre, The Nag’s Head is a popular alternative to the chains. This is a genuine old-fashioned pub, so don’t expect too much in terms of décor, but in terms of atmosphere, beer and food, this pub will not disappoint.
If there is still time left, the best way to end your trip is with some retail therapy. The Oracle offers over 80 stylish shops, or why not take a stroll through the town centre, grab a coffee and just soak up the atmosphere.