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“The excitement of a modern city with the charms of English countryside at its most beautiful.”
For anyone wanting to escape the hectic life of the big cities, Reading is perfect. Set in the heart of the Berkshire countryside, where the Rivers Thames and Kennet meet, this county town is not too big and not too small, with a population of just 144,000 (although Greater Reading, including the eastern and western suburbs, has almost 240,000 residents). In fact, it’s the largest settlement in England without city status.
In medieval times the town was an important centre with strong royal connections, and today it’s a commercial centre with links to IT and insurance. It’s also a centre for education, having the University of Reading and the Thames Valley University, with a large student population.
Commerce and Culture
Often referred to as the capital of the Thames Valley, Reading is one of southern England’s most important commercial centres. It’s home to the headquarters of several British companies and the UK offices of many multinationals, including Symantec, ING Direct, Microsoft, Oracle, Sage, Cisco and more.
The town is also a major shopping centre, mainly based around pedestrianised Broad Street. At each end is a major shopping mall – The Oracle at the east end and the Broad Street Mall in the west. Smaller specialist stores can be found in three other arcades, the Bristol & west Arcade, Harris Arcade and The Walk, while Union Street is well-known for its greengrocers and open-fronted fishmongers.
With night-time venues from trendy bars to clubs and restaurants, there’s a wide variety of cuisine and styles to suit every taste. There’s also a good choice of theatres, cinemas and comedy clubs, so there’s always something going on.
Reading also has a surprising number of arts centres, concert halls, fine art galleries and event spaces, thanks to a vibrant arts scene. In recent years it’s had its own Fringe Festival, in the weeks leading up to the annual major music event, the Reading Festival – the UK’s largest after Glastonbury.
Reading FC, the town’s football league side, shares its Madejski Stadium with Guinness Premiership Rugby Union team London Irish. There’s also a second football team, Reading Town, and three semi-professional rugby clubs – Reading RFC, Redingensians RFC and Reading Abbey RFC.
The town is also home to Gaelic Football team St Anthony’s GAA, Australian Rules side Reading Kangaroos and American football team Reading Renegades.
The right connections
On the A4 and M4, Reading is at the heart of southern england’s transport network. It’s also a major rail junction, with services to all parts of the country and London Paddington just 20 minutes away. Heathrow is also within a half-hour drive.
There are many new housing developments around the town, but the most popular areas to live are Earley, Caversham, Wokingham, Tilehurst, Sandford, Purley-on-Thames and Calcot. Reading and the wider area of Berkshire also has an excellent selection of schools, with several grammar and independent Schools setting very high academic standards.
Thinking of moving to Reading?
Then hopefully you’ve found this guide helpful. Now all you need to do is contact our specialist consultants, who can advise you on legal and solicitor job opportunities in the Reading area .