Tips for Exploring Reading’s Historic Locations

Once the centre of international pilgrimage, Reading has a rich and fascinating history which underlies much of its modern offering. There are more than 1,000 years of history in Reading, from St Mary’s Church at the heart of the town to the remains of the Abbey, which makes a fascinating visitor attraction today. 

If you’re heading to Reading for a historical trip, make sure you don’t miss these beautiful spots.

Reading Abbey Quarter
Start your time in Reading by heading to the Abbey Quarter. Reading Abbey Quarter draws on the town’s unique cultural heritage within the former grounds of Reading Abbey. Once one of Europe’s largest royal monasteries, the abbey has overseen almost 900 years of British history. 

Reading Abbey Quarter is home to Reading Museum, the Town Hall, Reading Gaol, St. James’ Church, St. Laurence’s Church, and – of course – the remains of the abbey itself. 

The Abbey Quarter is open daily from dawn until dusk, except to accommodate occasional ticketed events. 

We recommend you start your visit to historic Reading with a couple of hours exploring Reading Museum, before diving in further with a stroll around the Abbey Quarter.
Reading Museum
Reading Museum is set inside the Victorian Town Hall. Just a two-minute walk from the train station and main bus stops. With collections including archaeology, art, history, and natural history, the museum is a perfect first stop on any historic visit to the town.

The museum is home to an exciting array of permanent collections as well as an ever-changing offering of temporary exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see. Historical highlights include archaeological finds from Reading Abbey, a Victorian replica of the Bayeux Tapestry, and a complete Iron Age dog skeleton, excavated nearby.
Visiting Reading Museum as a Group
Reading Museum offers group tours for ten to twenty people. Choose from a 20-minute introduction to the museum, a Bayeux Tapestry tour, and even a ninety-minutes outdoor tour of Reading Abbey Quarter. If you’re visiting in a group, make the most of this offering and get more from your time at the museum.

Choosing a hotel in Reading

Whether you’re planning a weekend or week-long trip to Reading, you’ll want to choose a comfortable and welcoming hotel to accommodate your stay. Our Novotel Reading Centre is perfectly suited to family, couples, and business stays.

If you’re looking for hotels near Reading train station, you’ll be delighted to discover the Novotel is just around the corner, a three-minute walk, making it easy to access if you’re travelling by rail.

When you’re not out exploring Reading’s historic offering, unwind in the indoor pool, sauna, or Gourmet Bar and Restaurant. For a homely stay in Reading, there’s no better choice than Novotel.
We recommend

Reading Festival Guide for Families
Beautiful Country Walks Near London for All the Family
The Best Things to do in London (That you Haven’t Heard of) 

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