Though Reading has not quite hit city status, the expanding town is the largest in the UK, home to some of our country’s most loved stars and offers a marvellous retail scene (with a hefty sum of pubs and clubs to suit). With strong literary affiliations and only half an hour’s train ride from the country’s capital,
it’s a strong contender for university choice – and if that’s not enough to boast about, it was home to the first ever Little Chef in 1958 – big time.
It’s music that attracts most to the town of Reading, with its world renowned, self-named festival. Running since 1971, the festival attracts over 87,000 music fans per year with big names like Metallica and Mumford and Sons headlining. Reading’s festival success doesn’t end with music, however, as the town welcomes yearly events such as the Reading Beer Festival (now one of the largest in the UK), comedy celebrations and ‘Waterfest’ – with a floating cinema to satisfy the movie thirsty.
Importantly to the heritage of the town is it’s literary connections. Reading was the place of education for novelist Jane Austen, whilst Mapledurham House, the Elizabethan stately home, was the inspiration for Toad of Toad Hall. Stardom even continues to present day, as the town was home to Oscar-winner Kate Winslet, and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.
Although within close proximity of the UK capital’s retail jungle, Reading proves to be a shopper’s heaven in itself. With two major shopping centres, Broad Street Centre and The Oracle, along with a number of shop-peppered streets dotted between, there’s enough to keep you occupied alongside a busy study schedule. The town has something to offer every type of student, whether that’s clubs, gigs, salsa dancing or comedy nights: head to Sakura for an evening of atmosphere, or pop by Zero Degrees for an unforgettable beer.
With a renovated train station to take you anywhere across the country (from a short trip to London to your parents back up North), Reading is an accessible and entertaining area that makes your time as a student as exciting as it can be