Visit Reading and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Reading, Berkshire. Henry I lies buried in this county town where John of Gaunt was married. Archbishop Laud was born in Reading, Jane Austen went to school here and Oscar Wilde was imprisoned in Reading Gaol.
Strategically placed on the Thames, occupied by the Danes in 871 and sacked again later, Reading has always been important; it was known at one time for its cloth, but now for its University and various industries. Henry I founded an abbey planned for 100 monks here in 1121. It was consecrated by Thomas a Becket in 1164 in the presence of Henry II and was for many years an important centre. Sovereigns came, Parliament met here, and the abbey was rich enough for Henry VIII to cast covetous eyes upon it at the Dissolution. The last abbot was hanged at the gates on an apparently trumped-up charge and Henry built a palace which was last used by Charles I. However, almost as little remains as of the previous Reading castle.
The Inner Gatehouse, or Abbey Gate, now a museum, was built in the 13th century, restored in the 19th and still stands. The shell of some of the chapter house is now covered with ivy, and the west wall of the dormitory and south wall of the refectory still remain. Of great interest are the beautiful capitals, c. 1130, to be found in Reading Museum in Blagrave Street. The museum also has Delft ware, old metalwork and Roman antiquities dug up at Silchester.
Forbury Gardens, where the monks used to walk, now contains a massive lion erected in memory of the 19th-century Afghan campaigns. The Church of St Laurence, originally built by order, of Henry I in the 12th century, is now mostly 15th-century Greyfriars Church - at one time Guildhall, poor-house and town gaol - was built in 1285 by the Franciscans. What remains is mostly 14th-century and it was restored in the 19th. St Mary's, the original parish church, occupies a central position in the town.
Reading boasts some Georgian buildings, for instance in London Street, a few earlier houses, and the splendid 19th-century. Royal Berkshire Hospital. There are several interesting museums. The Museum of English Rural Life at White-knights Park was founded by the University of Reading in 1951 and has a collection covering all aspects of past village and country life. The Cole Museum of Zoology is mostly for students and exhibits dissections, skeletons and models, while the Museum of Greek Archaeology has a display of antiquities. Both are part of Reading University.
Reading's suburbs: Purley-On-Thames, Southcote, Horncastle, Calcot, Tilehurst, Earley, Lower Earley, Whitley, Caversham, Caversham Heights, Coley, Coley Park, Emmer Green, Little Heath, Fords Farm, Whitley Wood and Woodley.
Nearby towns: Bracknell, Goring, Henley, Oxford, Twyford, Wargrave, Wokingham
Nearby villages: Binfield, Burghfield, Pangbourne, Shiplake, Theale, Winnersh
Have you decided to visit Reading or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Reading bed and breakfast (a Reading B&B or Reading b and b)
- a Reading guesthouse
- a Reading hotel (or motel)
- a Reading self-catering establishment, or
- other Reading accommodation