In and around the local(ish) area
Reading is a wonderful town, it has an abundance of shops, cinemas, bars, restaurants and market stalls. Everything that you could need to take a well-deserved rest from your time studying at university. The university campus offers some lovely walks in the Harris Garden and around the Whiteknights lake. The London Road campus also offers an area of serene tranquillity away from the bustling town centre. When moving to university, it is exciting to move to a new area and part of the fun is taking time to explore it. Despite being in the middle of urban sprawl, it is easy to find places to relax, unwind and think.
Sometimes however, it can feel difficult to feel part of the local community and as a student, it is likely that you will have little knowledge of the local area. Therefore, it is nice to explore your new surroundings to help you feel more at home – particularly once you are settled in. These places are easy to get to by foot or cheaply via public transport and provide you with a more in-depth knowledge about your new home from home.
Listed here are some of the somewhat local places that I like to frequent as a final-year student.
If you head to the village of Sonning (about an hour away by foot from central campus), you will find some cosy pubs and a church after a lovely riverside walk. You can work up an appetite along the way and grab some food or drink before heading back home. You are also likely to see many pups along the way as it is a popular route for dog walkers. Additionally, George Clooney supposedly has a home in the village!
If you are in the centre of town, you can go through the underpass at the train station and follow the path across the road to find yourself in the nearby suburb of Caversham. You can also catch the number 22 bus from the centre of town. Near to the river Thames, it is where the Reading University Boat Club (RUBC) is located, as well as a few supermarkets, boutiques, cafes and pubs. It is a pleasant walk through the Christchurch Meadow and another place that dog walkers visit.
A short (20 minute) train journey away is Bracknell. You can also travel here on the X4 buses. Here you will find a new town that is slightly closer to London. The Lexicon shopping centre can be found here, as well as Bill Hill (a short but pretty walk away from the town centre and a Bronze Age burial mound).
At just 25 minutes away by train, historical Oxford is a wonderful place to visit if you have not already. More shops can be found at the newly-opened Westgate Shopping Centre which is great if your favourite store cannot be found within Reading town centre. Numerous museums can also be found here as well as exploring the grounds of Oxford University: it is a lovely day out.
Hopefully this short blog is helpful and gives some insight into exploring you new local area!
Written by Ella Palin