Just 40 miles west of central London is where you’ll find Reading, a Berkshire town with plenty going for it. And with the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) raring to go, living in Reading gives you access to first-rate travel connections to the capital.

Reading also benefits from close proximity to nearby Marlow and Henley-on-Thames, which means it’s easy getting to popular picturesque retreats. There’s plenty going on in Reading, too. Living here means you’re part of a vibrant town filled with fun things to do.

The Oracle

Page title: Living in Reading: A Bona Fide Berkshire Hotspot | Essential Living

Get ready to “shop ‘til you drop” at The Oracle, Reading’s premier shopping centre. Overlooking the River Kennet, The Oracle offers scenic settings and high-street delights. Shop the latest looks at chain favourites like Zara, Topshop and H&M.

Go gadget crazy at Apple before stopping for a bite to eat at one of the surrounding riverside restaurants. There are more than 100 shops, 20-plus restaurants and an 11-screen cinema to enjoy at The Oracle.

Find at Riverside Rd, Reading RG1 2AG
Phone no: 0118 965 9000
Email: [email protected]
Follow @oraclereading

Harris Arcade

Page title: Living in Reading: A Bona Fide Berkshire Hotspot | Essential Living

If The Oracle is too commercial for your liking, head to Harris Arcade and browse its independent shops and boutiques. It’s home to fun and innovative traders selling everything from comic books to authentic African clothing.

Most people living in Reading agree that Harris Arcade sets the town apart from the rest, giving it a uniqueness that’s hard to find elsewhere. Wander the colourful and lively shops and discover a side of Reading like no other.

Find at Harris Arcade, Reading, RG1
Follow #harrisarcade

London Street Brasserie

Page title: Living in Reading: A Bona Fide Berkshire Hotspot | Essential Living

Set in a former 18th-century tollhouse by the River Kennet, London Street Brasserie is an award-winning restaurant. Owned by Paul Clerehugh, the Michelin-recognised eatery has become a firm favourite with local foodies.

The menu combines tasty local produce with delightful ingredients from far-flung destinations. And nine chefs work tirelessly to serve up a treat in the form of favourites like beer-battered haddock and porkchop with saute chorizo.

Find at 2-4 London St, Reading RG1 4PN
Phone no: 0118 950 5036
Email: [email protected]
Follow @londonstreetbrasserie

Openhand Openspace

Page title: Living in Reading: A Bona Fide Berkshire Hotspot | Essential Living

Openhand Openspace, which is more commonly referred to as OHOS, is an artist-led centre fostered by the local community. Visitors can enjoy exhibits that include the latest contemporary pieces. While emerging artists can rent studio and exhibition space at affordable prices.

It’s an education and exhibition program that promotes public access to visual art and artists and is open to everyone. So far, the studios and exhibition spaces have been used by over 100 artists. And with the high quality on offer, it looks like there will be plenty more in the future.

Find at 571 Oxford Road, Reading RG30 1HL
Phone no: 0118 959 7752
Follow @openhandopenspace 

Reading Farmers’ Market

Page title: Living in Reading: A Bona Fide Berkshire Hotspot | Essential Living

There's nothing quite like a good-ol' fashioned farmers' market to enjoy local produce and more. Fortunately, the Reading Farmers' Market has plenty to offer. Local traders sell free-range and organic produce sourced from just 30 miles away.

Located on Great Knollys Street, the market takes place on the first Saturday of every month between 8.30am and 12pm. It’s a favourite with those living in Reading who love the fresh meats, cheeses, cakes, pastries and fruit and veg.

Find at Great Knollys St, Reading RG1 7HD
Phone no: 01235 227266
Email: [email protected]
Follow @ReadingFarmMkt

Forbury Gardens

Living in Reading: A Bona Fide Berkshire Hotspot | Essential Living

If you’re living in Reading and want to kick back in scenic open spaces, get yourself down to Forbury Gardens. The public park is located in the town centre and is well known for its Grade-II listed status and Maiwand Lion statue.

The sculpture is a war memorial named after the Battle of Maiwand and commemorates the deaths of 329 men from the 66th Regiment of Foot. There’s also a bandstand and refreshment kiosk, just in case you work up a sweat with all that scenic walking.

Find at Forbury Gardens, Reading RG1 3BB
Follow #forburygardens

The Reading Room Restaurant

Living in Reading: A Bona Fide Berkshire Hotspot | Essential Living

Tuck into modern European food at The Reading Room Restaurant, a fine-dining establishment in a chic hotel. The restaurant and bar provides stylish decor in the form of mood lighting, wood floors and comfortable furniture.

The Reading Room Restaurant offers a relaxing environment, whether you’re having a few cocktails or enjoying a three-course meal. There’s a seasonal a-la-carte menu that’s prepared by award-winning chefs, and all ingredients are locally sourced.

Find at 26 The Forbury, Reading RG1 3EJ
Phone no: 0118 952 7770
Follow @roseatereading 

Reading Festival

Living in Reading: A Bona Fide Berkshire Hotspot | Essential Living

The Reading Festival is so synonymous with Reading that it’s impossible not to mention it in any guide, even though it only takes place once a year. It’s the world’s oldest popular festival that is still in existence and welcomes thousands each year to enjoy top-notch music.

Previous artists who have performed include Nirvana, Eminem, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Radiohead and more. For one day each year, Reading transforms itself from charming Berkshire town to an A-List mecca of the world's best musicians.

Find at Richfield Avenue, Reading RG1 8EQ
Phone no: 020 7009 3001 
Email: [email protected]
Follow @officialrandl

Living in Reading

So if you’re thinking of living in Reading — or live there already — you can enjoy a town that’s full of colour and energy. From fantastic shopping amenities to iconic music festivals, there’s always something going on.

And with the Elizabeth Line set to open, there’s never been a better time to live in this Berkshire town.

Tell us about the place you love in Reading @essliving.

Mark Flint


Mark is a regular contributor to the Essential Living blog and shares all the latest news and sourcing the very best content for our customers.