The Ultimate Guide to Living and Working in Reading
Read everything you need to know about Reading in our area guide below! everything from living there, visiting on holiday and where to stay the night is covered, as we answer all your questions about Reading! Use the links below to skip to the different sections!
Probably best known for the famous Reading Festival which is held annually. Headliners such as Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Fall Out Boy, The 1975 and Foo Fighters are regular attendees and cause people to flock to the festival every year. Living in Reading can be fun, and is great for commuting to different cities nearby, including London, so living in Reading definitely has its benefits!
What is the population of Reading?
Reading has an estimated population in 2021 of 344,810, according to World Population Review.
Reading has a large Polish community, which was established in the town more than 30 years ago and it still continues to thrive in 2021. An estimated 3 quarters of the population in Reading is white, according to the 2011 Census, with over 65% identifying as White British. Asian is the second largest ethnicity, holding 9% of Reading’s overall population, followed by 6.7% who are Black and 3.9% who are Chinese.
Crime in Reading
According to Plumpot, Reading has a crime rate of 66. This means that for every 1000 people in Reading there are 66 crimes committed. This is 1.3% lower than Berkshire’s overall crime rate and in 2020 Reading was considered one the 20 safest cities in the UK, even thought Reading is technically a town not a city.
December 2020 in Reading saw a sharp rise in bicycle theft, giving it the worst crime rate in Berkshire for bicycle theft according to Crime Rate.
Higher Crime Areas in Reading
Reading is a relatively safe town during the year, except for August when crime rates tend to rise due to the Reading Festival. Although mostly safe, there are a few places in Reading where you should be a little bit more cautious.
Theft is a common crime in this area due to Richfield Avenue playing host to the Reading Festival. There are only residential homes in this area, so unless you are looking to attend the festival you most likely wouldn’t visit here. Unfortunately, due to its proximity to the festival it is also a less desirable place to live.
Cheapside and West Street
These two streets are crime hotspots in Reading, where quite a few different crimes, including criminal damage, bicycle theft, theft, and public order.
Unsurprisingly, Reading Station has a high crime rate as an area with crimes such as public orders, thefts, and vehicle crimes common.
A well known street in central Reading (just behind John Lewis) and backs onto numerous bars and nightclubs. With the late night venues scattered along this street and most people visiting at night having a drink or two it is no surprise that this is a crime hotspot. Be aware here for theft, vehicle crime, assault, and criminal damage.
Trafford Road is the spot with the highest reported crimes in Reading. Crimes such as theft, drugs robbery and anti-social behaviour are common.
Living in Reading
In this section we discuss everything you need to know about living in Reading, whether you are thinking of relocating, attending the University of Reading, or commuting here for work.
House Prices in Reading
The current average value for a property in Reading is £451,848. Overall, Zoopla reports that the properties in Reading have seen on average a 9.92% rise in value over the last 12 months and a 2.31% rise since March 2021.
Property Prices by Property Type
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Renting in Reading
Home reports that on average you can expect to pay £1,138 per calendar month for a property in Reading.
How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Flat in Reading?
On average you can expect to pay £1,011 per calendar month for a flat in Reading.
Renting Prices by Property Type
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The Cost of Living in Reading
As a rapidly developing town, that some argue should be a city, Reading is an attractive place for commuters who want to work in the capital but don’t want to pay the high prices and want more rural living.
Although eating out in Reading is 24% cheaper than eating out in London, Reading is still a little bit more expensive compared to other towns in the region but it’s still a good choice for commuters.
Is Reading a Safe Place to Live?
The Thames Valley Police are stationed in the centre of the town and have been praised for their responsiveness and inclusiveness within the local community. They have recently launched an alert system where locals can sign up to receive alerts about the latest crime figures, either by email or text. Furthermore, there is the Community Safety Partnership which consists of statutory agencies that tackle crime, anti-social behaviour and offer support for the impact that crime can have.
Overall, Reading is one of the safer towns to live in within Berkshire and the UK.
What Neighbourhoods in Reading are the Best?
Whether you are looking to get on the property ladder, looking for a new family home or a stylish bachelor pad there is a neighbourhood in Reading that will suit your needs and budget.
Lower Earley and Earley
Popular with families, Earley is a quiet Reading suburb boasting affordable housing, great commuting links to central Reading and is situated in one of the most desirable postcodes in England. With easy access to everyday essential shops like Asda, Co-Op, Iceland and Marks and Spencer’s this area is designed with families in mind as it also plays host to the Maiden Erlegh Nature Reserve. The perfect place for family picnics, walks around the lake and nature spotting, this 27-acre nature reserve is the perfect place for families.
The commuting links are great here too with direct links to London Waterloo; getting you there in under 75 minutes and easy access to the M4 which offers connections to nearby towns and cities.
Shinfield & Arborfield
Popular with commuters, these neighbourhoods offset the busy working like of the town centre with quiet rural living. Just 5 miles from South-East of Reading and West of Wokingham, it’s surprising that both Shinfield and Arborfield offer plenty if open space and historical characteristics.
Shinfield is home to one of the only Michelin Restaurants within the area, La Ortolan. Serving French cuisine with a modern twist, this prestigious restaurant brings in people from all of the surrounding areas making it a hub of cultural activity.
Woodely & Charvil
Rich with aviation history, shopping and parkland, Woodley offers a great place to enjoy a community feel whilst still holding onto luxury. The ideal place for families with a larger budget, living in this area give you front garden access to Southlake; the perfect spot for walking the dogs, feeding ducks and walks around the lake. Similar Charvil has this community feel and is perfect for younger families due to its proximity to not only two secondary schools but also five primary schools.
Caversham & Caversham Park Village
The most exclusive areas situated 2.3 miles north of Reading is a semi-rural suburban area offering access to luxury housing, shopping restaurants and bars.
Reading Transport Links
As a hotspot for commuters Reading has excellent transport links for the surround towns and cities, including the nation’s capital, London.
The most popular form of commuting, Reading central railway station is just north of the city centre and is the second busiest railway hub excluding London. There are 140 trains running daily with direct routes that include the ever popular Reading to London Paddington.
The local bus services in Reading offer great links around the town and to more rural routes. If you are looking to hop around the more urban areas, then a simplyReading all day fare will cost you £4 (Adult) for unlimited all day travel whereas if you are looking to travel between urban Reading and it’s rural surroundings, grab a simplyNetwork all day fare for £7 (Adult).
Top Tip: Most Reading buses routes have an exact fare policy; this means that the drivers don’t carry change in order to keep buses on time and keep the drivers safe. So, if you are looking to use the local bus services, take exact change or just contactless.
Reading has a wide range of local cycle routes and connections for those looking to travel by bicycle and joins to the National Cycle Network.
Reading’s Closest Airport
Both Heathrow and the smaller Southampton airport are in reach from Reading in just under an hour, offering plenty of choices if you are looking to venture abroad. Head down the M4 and you’ll reach Heathrow in around 40 minutes or head down the M3 to reach Southampton airport in 46 minutes.
What are the Schools like in Reading?
Reading has an impressive number of schools within its boundaries, including primary and secondary schools that have received an outstanding rating from Ofsted. One of Reading’s Educational claims to fame is that world-renounced author of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, attended Reading Ladies Boarding School in 1784.
With over 50 primary schools in the area, with seven attending the coveted Outstanding rating from Ofsted, there are many for families to chose from. All Saints Junior School was established in 2011 and was one of the first free schools to open in England, making this school a popular choice for many families. This primary school won ‘Best School’ in the Pride of Reading Awards in 2013, which has since just increased the school’s popularity.
Other highly ranking schools in the area include The Hill Primary School, Oxford Road Community School and Thameside Primary School, which are ranked among the top 10 primary schools in Reading.
There are 20 secondary schools in Reading of which four have received an Outstanding rating for Ofsted. The best secondary school in the area is Kendrick School, which boasts 100% of their students achieving a Grade 5 or higher in their English and Maths GCSEs, followed by fellow recipients of the Ofsted Outstanding rating, Reading School, Maiden Erlegh School and UTC Reading.
The University of Reading
An affiliate of Oxford University, the University of Reading is known for their high academic standards and diverse range of academic courses. Established in 1926 by Oxford University as a way to extend academic services, Reading consistently ranks within the top 250 Universities in the world and top 50 within the UK.
There are four major campuses that make up the university in the UK, London Road and Whiteknights; which are based in the town of Reading, Greenlands; which is based Buckinghamshire on the banks of the River Thames and Iskandar Puteri; located in Malaysia.
With strong global links, this university is the perfect place to consider attending if you are looking to study abroad or take a placement year.
In this section we discuss visiting Reading, and everything there is to see in the town alongside where to stay and where to eat!
The event that Reading is most famous for, Reading Festival is the world’s oldest popular music festival still in existence with some of the biggest UK and international bands featured as headliners across the 3 day festival. 2021 Headliners are set to be Liam Gallagher, Queens of the Stone Age, Stormzy, Catfish and the Bottleman, Post Malone and Disclosure.
Held over the last bank holiday weekend in August, a standard ticket will set you back £250.75 (including booking fees and delivery) but if you want to snag a ticket for free you can volunteer to work the festival as well.
Staying Overnight in Reading
If you are planning to stay overnight in Reading whether for business or leisure there is always the perfect place, see our top picks for where to stay.
The Roseate Reading
Situated in the heart and soul of Reading, The Roseate Reading Hotel is central to all of the local amenities and offers over 50 luxury rooms throughout its two adjoining buildings and is accompanied by a spa. With a walking grade of 96 out of 100 on Trip Advisor, you can find 151 restaurants and 36 local attractions within easy walking distance of the front door.
With a rating of 4.5 from 841 reviews, it’s no surprise that this hotel is a recipient of the Travellers Choice 2021.
Beech House Hotel
With a charming facade hiding comfort and luxury within, the Beech House Hotel is the best choice for rest and rejuvenation whilst you explore Reading. Slightly further out, this hotel is perfect for those looking for easy access into Reading but with a more rural feel.
An ‘Excellent’ (4.5/5) rating on Trip Advisor from over 350 people is assurance enough that this little hotel is the perfect place to stay.
If you are after luxury then look no further, this hotel is briming with comfort, relaxation, luxury and just a touch of glam. Central to everything going on in Reading, the Malmaison is across the street from the train station making things that little bit easier. With 150 restaurants and 44 local attractions within a 15 minute walk, this is the perfect place to set up camp as you explore Reading.
With a rating of 4 on Trip Advisor from over 1,395 reviews, it’s no surprise that this hotel is a Trip Advisors Travellers Choice 2021.
Things to Do Reading
With culture and diversity rich in Reading there are lots of things to do whilst you enjoy your stay.
Reading Abbey Ruins
This Medieval Abbey was one of the largest monasteries in Europe when it was commissioned to be built in 1121 by King Henry I. Housing dozens of monks and centred around a grand church, the abbey was a place for spiritual revival until in 1539 where 400 years of monastic life suddenly stopped when King Henry VIII created the Church of England.
Explore the historical ruins of this magnificent abbey and learn all about its history and connections to the royal family.
The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology
Home to ancient Greek artefacts, modern art and cast replicas this museum has multiple exhibits to visit and offers a glimpse into the past. Admission to this museum is free but they do kindly ask for a donation upon entrance to help with the upkeep of the museum.
The Rising Sun Arts Centre
An award winning independent arts centre that has been the heart of culture within Reading for the last 27 years. With different events, activities and music showcases there is an ever changing attractions for the family to visit.
Top 10 Things to Do in Reading
- Basildon Park
- Beale Park
- Wellington Country Park
- Silchester Roman City Walls and Amphitheatre
- The Museum of English Rural Life
- Reading Station
- Reading Museum
- Kennet & Avon Canal
- Forbury Gardens
- The Hexagon
Things to Do with the Kids in Reading
Keeping kids of all ages occupied can be challenging but Reading really does offer something for everyone.
Wellington Country Park
Suitable for children aged below 8, you can find multiple areas with things to occupy the little ones. From zip wires to sand pits, to gravity defying jumping pillows there is enough here for a fun packed family day out.
For younger children and toddlers, there is an indoor soft play area whilst bigger kids can enjoy the wonders of the animal petting zoo!
RedKangaroo Trampoline Park Reading
Wall to wall trampolines, a ninja course and wipe-out game makes this the place to be for kids aged 5- 12. A standard ticket for anyone over 4 years old is £11.95 but be aware that they do only allow the branded Red Kangaroo socks to be worn in the park, which will cost you another £2.50.
Shopping in Reading
Whether you are looking for well-known high street brands or independent shops with hidden treasures, you can find the perfect place to shop in Reading. The main hotspots for shopping in Reading are the Oracle, Broad Street Mall, Harris Arcade, and Reading Gate Retail Park.
An indoor shopping centre which plays home to over 90 stores and 3 department stores, of which include big brand names like Apple, Debenhams, and House of Fraser. From toys to jewellery to technology there is nothing here that won’t tug at your purse strings and better yet after all the shopping you can stop at their food court, which homes over 20 different cafes and restaurants.
Broad Street Mall
This two floor shopping centre is quite a bit smaller than The Oracle, however it still homes over 60 shops and cafes for you to enjoy and is well worth the visit. Here you will find niche stores alongside some bigger brand names like footlocker and Samsung.
Are you looking for vintage classics, rare ales, and comic books? Then visit the Harris Arcade. Built in the 30s and home to some of Readings most interesting stores, you’ll never be quite sure what you will find here but there is certainly a hidden treasure to be found.
Reading Gate Retail Park
Home to shops such as TK Maxx, Currys and Oak Furniture Land, the Reading Gate Retail Park is certainly one to visit if you are looking for some home favourites.
A Night on the Town
Reading, although a town, feels like a city with its nightlife. With hundreds of bars, pub, and clubs there is somewhere for you to have a good time.
The Greyfriar of Reading has been described as a hidden gem of Reading, where one can go for a bite to eat, sip on real ales and maybe play a round or two of darts. This is a traditional English pub through and through, from the (above) standard beer garden to the friendly staff.
If it’s not a traditional pub you are looking for, maybe a visit to a Victorian pub might be your speed. The Three Guineas in Reading is just across from the train station and offers guests good beer, straight forward no fuss food and sports on the TV. A quick stop for a bite to eat or a place to relax in the beer garden, this pub is a must hit on the list.
When first walking into The Botanist, Reading you are greeted with stylish and modern pub décor but it is when taking a sip of your first craft beer or cocktail you realise that the styles of a modern English pub have been expertly combined with something a little bit unique. Whether it is their extra flourish on pub classics; like the Sunday roast or their impressive range of cocktails made by expert mixologists, this is sure to be a unique experience.
Be at One is a very popular place in Reading to go and sip cocktails with your friends and is known for their fun atmosphere. If their choice of 100 different cocktails doesn’t take your fancy, why not have a go at their masterclasses and learn to make your own! Open until 3am on Friday and Saturday night, you can dance the night away here.
If your one for live music and craft beers, the Oakford Social Club offers just this. With live music from bands and DJs to acoustic sessions, to quizzes, this is a more relaxed atmosphere but still tonnes of fun!
For a quiet glass of wine with nibbles, Veeno – The Italian Wine Café is a must do on your list. A well known wine bar chain, their impressive range of wines and picky bits is sure to impress the most experienced wine connoisseur.
Wild Lime Bar and Kitchen is a great place to visit all round, whether drinks with the girls, a lite brunch or an evening of cocktails there is no better place to be. The music selection gets raving reviews from patrons that dance away into the evening.
Around at 4-7pm every day? Why not visit happy hour at Caffeine & Cocktails, where during happy hour get a 2 cocktails for only £8! With 20 drinks to choose from in this stylish and chill atmosphere, this is the perfect place to relax with friends and family.
However, Q Club does give all other nightlife a run for their money. With fire breathers, entertainers and pyrotechnics accompanying a range of R&B, rock and chart music, this is a popular club to spend an evening, especially if you go on Thursday where it hosts the ever popular indie night Propaganda.
It wouldn’t be a good clubbing experience if you couldn’t find an ultra-cheesy, ultra-fun, tiki themed bar. Lola Lo caters to the younger crowd, whilst decked out in full hula skirt, playing a mix of R&B, indie hits and chart toppers.
Purple Turtle, a funky themed local Reading hotspot, is a cocktail bar turned nightclub on certain nights of the week offering a place to dance your heart out to some of the biggest hits of the year. Some nights hold live music, others are dance club anthems but whatever night you go your sure to have a great time.
Most of the nightlife in Reading can be found down Friar Street and Riversdie so take a wonder down these roads to find some of the hottest spots in Reading!
Top Places to Eat in Reading
- Miller and Cater, European Grill
- Las Iguanas Reading, Mexican Brazilian
- Buenasado Argentine Steakhouse, Argentinian Grill
- Whittington’s Tea Barge, British Café
- Coconut Bar & Kitchen, Japanese & Thai
- Osaka, Japanese Sushi
- Quattro, Italian & Mediterranean
- The Griffin, British Bar
- Revolution, Italian Pizza
- Zizzi, Italian Pzza
Need a Locksmith in Reading?
When moving into a new home changing the locks is vital as you never know how many keys are out there and risk the keys falling into the wrong hands. Arrange for a Reading Locksmith to come and fit a new lock the day you get your keys to provide you with peace of mind. We at Keytek® Locksmiths Reading provide a professional local mobile Locksmith service complying with British Standard and Home Insurance policies to ensure your home is as secure as can be! What’s more is all our customers benefit from a FREE home security check on site to ensure your home is as secure as can be!
There are many other things you need to consider when moving home so check out our Moving Home Checklist to help you along the way! If you’re considering improving the security of your home further still, checking out our Ultimate Guide to Home Security here!
View our Keytek® Locksmiths Reading page to find your local Locksmith today or call us on 0118 907 3068!