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Moving to… Reading

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If you’re thinking of moving to Reading, or simply want the inside scoop, we’ve got the guide you need to see. Plenty of countryside mixed with a quick commute to the capital, this part of Berkshire is a blend of urban and outdoorsy living. 

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History of Reading

Reading is one of the largest towns in the UK with a rich and interesting history that dates back to the Roman period. Reading Abbey (which can be visited today) was founded by Henry I in the 12th century, and he is buried within the grounds. The town has been famous for many industries over the years, including iron works and manufacturing.

Fun fact: from 1785–1786, Reading was where Jane Austen went to school!

Where is Reading?

Reading is in Berkshire, South East England. It’s located in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the rivers Thames and Kennet, surrounded by countryside while being one of the best London commuter towns

Average house prices 

The average sale price for properties in Reading currently sits at £307,597, a 5.8% annual increase. 

Asking prices vary depending on property type:

Property typeAverage price
Semi-detached houses£393,509
Terraced houses£315,980
Flats£230,229

Renting in Reading

Renters are looking at around £1,003 a month on average. Again, this will vary depending on property size and type:

Property typeAverage rent (pcm)
Room£534
Flat£973
House£1,815

Cost of living

The average salary of Reading residents is £4,035 per month, which is higher than the national average of £3,000. Cost of living is 11% cheaper than the nation’s capital.

A family of four’s estimated monthly costs are £2,467 (not including rent). A single person’s expenses are estimated to be around £714, again not including rent*.

*These are estimates, to be used as a guide only

Best places to live in Reading

We’ve pulled together information on some parts of Reading to give you an idea of what they’re all about.

Caversham

Caversham is a hotspot for commuters and young professionals thanks to its easy access to London. It also oozes Shoreditch vibes in some spots, home to independent shops and great eateries. It’s also near the river. 

Sonning

North-west of Reading town centre and home to a wide array of property styles is Sonning. Here, you can find large period homes along with some 1750s cottages. Bear in mind here, the price tags are higher, but the area is great if you want easy access to the countryside. 

Calcot 

Calcot is well connected; extremely close to the M4 and home to Calcot Park Golf Course. 

Cemetery Junction

The Cemetery Junction area is popular with students of the University of Reading, bordering on Newtown and very culturally diverse. 

Earley

Earley is an affordable area, offering 20th-century properties and home to some excellent primary and secondary schools. 

Woodley 

Woodley is the largest suburb in Reading, not far from the town centre. It offers a thriving array of shops, restaurants and supermarkets in its own right, however. 

Oxford Road

The Oxford Road area is a good place to be, especially when it comes to a bite to eat. It doesn’t have the best reputation among locals, though. 

Living in Reading 

The town might be most famous for the Reading Festival, but what’s life really like here?

Transport

If being well-connected is a must, you won’t be disappointed in Reading. It’s one of the best cities to live in if you’re a commuter. You can reach London Paddington in 30 minutes, making it popular with those looking to be a stone’s throw away from the capital. Trains come along every 5 minutes or so.

The train station is the central hub of the town, with many platforms, and is one of the busiest outside of London. The Elizabeth line (Crossrail) is due to arrive, however has experienced multiple delays.

Getting around the town itself is easy too, with a network of buses. It’s also close to many airports, including Luton and Heathrow. 

Attractions 

Where to start? Reading offers something for everyone, whatever takes your fancy. 

Madejski stadium is home to Reading football club. The town is also popular with arty, creative types, shown by places such as the South Street Arts Centre. 

Reading Museum is free, where people of all ages can learn about the history of the town, animals and more. 

If you’re a history buff, visit the Abbey Ruins for a taste of the town’s unique, cultural heritage.   

Thanks to being between two rivers, Reading offers much in the way of water sports, including rowing and canoeing.

Shopping

The Oracle shopping centre is waterside and a shopaholic’s dream. Broad Street Mall is another option, home to the likes of a big John Lewis. But, Reading isn’t just home to the high street giants; you can find many indie stores too, particularly down Harris Arcade. 

Green spaces

If you’re looking to escape the hectic buzz of town life, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to green spaces. 

Prospect Park, Caversham Court and Cintra Park are just a handful of options. There’s also plenty of places to escape to and explore in the woods.

Where to eat in Reading

Head riverside if you’re hungry, you’ll find plenty to satisfy your tastebuds. This includes laidback pubs with great views and even better beer, or more fine-dining style joints.

London Street Brasserie deserves a mention here, great for a special occasion. If that’s not what you’re in the mood for, grab a pie at Sweeney & Todd. 

Nightlife

Reading isn’t popular with students for no reason, the nightlife won’t let you down. The biggest nightclub might belong to the student union, but the town centre is a hub of activity, whether you’re looking for a quick drink after work or a heavy night out. Purple Turtle is open until 6am and is a popular live music venue. 

Hidden gems

  • Forbury Gardens is a beautiful retreat and home to the Maiwand Lion
  • Thames Lido
  • Cerealworks A.K.A. Bagel Man
  • Whittington’s Tea Barge for afternoon tea

Who lives there?

Reading has a population of 828,684, with the median age sitting at 40. It’s popular with commuters, students and young professionals alike. Thanks to the number of schools in Reading and things to do, it’s also sought after by families.

What’s not to like?

The town might be well connected, but an annual season ticket to London stations will set you back over £4,000! Also, certain parts of town, particularly those near the university, are known for gridlock and traffic.

Crime rate

Reading’s crime rate sits at 25.7, (25.7 crimes reported per year per 1000 workday people). Compared to the national crime rate, Reading’s crime rate is at 82%. Certain areas are more notorious than others, including Oxford Road.

Typical broadband speed

Due to more of us working from home, good WiFi connection is an important requirement for those moving. Broadband speed in Reading is 30.99 Mbps, which is 2% below the UK national average of 31.68 Mbps.

Moving to Reading?

If you’re thinking of moving to this part of Berkshire to enjoy the best of both worlds, make sure you get the facts first.
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Last Updated: November 30th, 2021

Phil Spencer

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