Properties for sale in Reading
Reading Area Guide
Reading was built where the Thames meets the River Kennet back in the 8th century, and by the 16th century, it was already the largest settlement in Berkshire. By the 18th century, it became famous for brewing, and it soon became a hub for manufacturing the three Bs, beer, biscuits and bulbs (as well as seeds and other horticultural products). It has continued to grow steadily from the Industrial Revolution to the present day, and it is now one of the largest settlements in the UK to be without city status.
Reading is a commercial hub, with several UK and international companies setting up their UK headquarters in the town. Some of the major companies based there include ING Direct, Microsoft, PepsiCo and Ericsson.
Reading has a population of about 155,700, and its population is younger than the population of England as a whole. It has a smaller population of older people: 11.4% of Reading's population is aged 65 and over, compared to 16.4% in England. Moreover, it has a slightly large population of younger people, as 19.4% of Reading's population are aged 15 and younger and 18.9% of England's population are of the same age. The largest proportion of Reading's population is those aged 30 to 44, which makes up almost one-quarter of the population. Though this is the same for England, only one-fifth of the population of England is aged 30 to 44.
Reading is more diverse that England as a whole, perhaps because of the University of Reading. Almost 75% of the population of Reading describe their ethnic background as white or white British, compared to 85.5% in England. The largest non-white ethnic group is made up of Asian and Asian British people in both Reading and England, but the proportions are very different. In England, 7.7% of the population describe their background as Asian or Asian British, and in Reading, that almost doubles to 13.6%.
There is one way Reading is similar to England, however. Unemployment figures are largely in line with England's. Reading's unemployment rate is 4.6%, just a little more than England's 4.4%.
Reading has a good mix of primary schools rated from satisfactory to outstanding by Ofsted, but outstanding primary schools include Wilson Primary School, Caversham Primary School and Emmer Green Primary School.
There is also a great selection of outstanding secondary schools, but most have converted to academy status, including Kendrick School, Highdown School and Sixth Form Centre and Reading School, 16th oldest in England. The exception to this is the state-run Addington School.
Good secondary schools include Blessed Hugh Faringdon Catholic School and Reading Girls' School, and there are also lots of independent schools with good reputations.
Colleges include Impact International College, which serves international students from over 70 countries, and Reading College, which has been operating since 1955. Other colleges include Bracknell and Wokinham College, ABI College and the College of Estate Management.
One of the top 200 universities in the world, the University of Reading was established in 1892. It emphasises research in environmental sciences and health and food security, and it has recently invested in a new biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences centre.
The A4, also called Old Bath Road, runs from London to Bath and Bristol via Reading. It was replaced by the M4, which just curves around the town, in the 1960s. The A33 connects the town with Basingstoke, and the A4074 goes to Oxford. Other major roads include the A327 and the A4155. Within Reading, the Inner Distribution Road is part of the A329, and it loops through the town to improve traffic flow.
Much of the travel throughout Reading is road based, and as such, buses are the major provider of public transport. Reading Borough Council run Reading Transport Ltd, which manages the frequent bus routes throughout the town. Service to surrounding suburbs and areas is less frequent, however.
Reading Station is a major national junction, so it has services to just about every major city and area in the country. Reading has two services to London, going to Paddington and Waterloo stations. It is also along routes to Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Plymouth, Birmingham, Southampton and Bournemouth. Other stations are Reading West, Tilehurst and Earley, with services to local areas.
Amenities and Shopping
A large and vibrant university town, Reading has plenty to do and to buy.
Museums and Galleries
The Museum of Reading has excavations of Calleva Atrebatum, a replica of the Bayeux Tapestry and the Huntley and Palmers Gallery looking at biscuit making. The Museum of English Rural Life, Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, the Cole Museum of Zoology and the Harris Botanic Gardens are owned by the University of Reading. The Riverside Museum explores the history of the Kennet and Thames rivers, and the Museum of Berkshire Aviation looks at the history of Reading and flight.
Theatres and Venues
The Hexagon is the main theatre and arts centre in Reading. There, music concerts, plays, dance and comedy are all hosted. South Street promotes fringe and experimental theatre, music and comedy. The Town Hall complex has The Concert Hall, which focuses on classical, blues, jazz and folk concerts and lectures. The Reading Repertory Theatre are based in Reading College's Performing Arts Centre, and the Progress Theatre is the premier amateur theatre in the area.
The many music venues in Reading include Q-Club, the largest nightclub in Reading. The Facebar plays rock and alternative music. Oakford Social Club attracts some up and coming bands and DJs, and Sub 89 has comedy and music acts like Gary Numan, Ed Sheeran and Napalm Death. The Highlight also hosts comedy and musical acts, and they also have retro pop club nights.
The Reading Festival is the world's most popular continuously running music festival. It usually features rock, pop and alternative acts, though it has gone through several musical phases throughout the years. The Reading Fringe Festival runs alongside the Reading Festival, and it was set up to encourage people under the age of 25 to engage with the arts.
The Reading Beer and Cider Festival is a four day event showcasing 550 ales, 150 ciders and perries (pear cider) and a number of foreign beers and English wines. Henley Festival celebrates classical, jazz, opera and folk, in addition to rock and pop. It also includes dance performances, comedy, visual arts and more.
Reading is home of the Reading Football Club, currently in the Premier League, and two non-league teams, Reading Town Football Club and Highmoor Ibis F.C. London Irish plays rugby union in the Aviva Premiership, and other teams are Reading Abbey R.F.C., Redingensians R.F.C. and Reading R.F.C.
Reading also has American football team the Berkshire Renegades and Australian rules football's Reading Kangaroos. The Reading Hockey Club are in the English Hockey League's Men's Premier Division and in Women's Division One.
The Reading University Head of the River Race and Reading Town Regatta are held in the town's waterways. The British Triathlon Association helped organise the country's first triathlon just outside of Reading, and the Reading Half Marathon is run in the town annually.
Reading has two big shopping centres: the Oracle Shopping Centre and Broad Street Mall. The Oracle Shopping Centre has 90 stores and shops, including Debenhams and House of Fraser. It also has shops that can't be found anywhere else in Reading. Broad Street Mall has more than 50 shops, including most high street brands and bargain shops like The Pound Shop and The 99p Shop.
The Harris Arcade is a Victorian shopping arcade near Reading station. It has retro and vintage boutiques, record shops, a hat shop, a traditional tobacconist and much more. Broad Street is a pedestrianised high street in the town centre. The Walk is home to higher-end boutiques including Jaeger and Mari e Monti.
The Mall, in Garrand Street, has not been used as a shopping centre in so long, it has been taken over zombies, or more specifically, a zombie adventure experience company called Zed Events.
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