About Reading

Reading is a major cultural destination, with 1000 years of heritage, a vibrant cultural scene, a year-round festival programme and a wide variety of venues showcasing local, national and international performers, from live music to comedy, theatre to visual arts.

Reading is a base for many individual artists and arts organisations, from professional theatre companies to visual arts collectives, music charities and poets. Reading also attracts national and international quality artists to perform and exhibit in the town.

Reading can claim to be one of the major heritage sites in the south east. The RSA rank Reading in the UK top 16% for historic built environment and top 2% for museums. Reading Abbey is the burial place of King Henry I of England. Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen have strong links to the town and many of Britain’s famed Victorian architects, such as Soane and Gilbert Scott, designed buildings in the town.

Cultural venues range from large-scale venues such as the Hexagon, the University or the Abbey Ruins to intimate venues such as RISC, South Street or the Rising Sun Arts Centre – many of whom have joined the What’s On Reading family as partner organisations.

Want to make a night/weekend of it? Reading has all the ingredients for a great stay. We are a key stop on the Great West Way national tourist trail and just 25 minutes from London by train. Reading offers lovely riverside walks along the Thames and Kennet, spa days at Thames Lido, the burial place of King Henry I of England and a host of fantastic museums, not to mention the best shopping in the region and more restaurants than you could ever manage to eat at.

Download the Reading Pocket Map

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