The Oscar Wilde walk
Visit the Oscar Wilde walk and the ruins of the Abbey. The Walk on the Wilde side is, appropriately, between an arm of the River Kennet and the walls of the prison ('Reading Gaol') and is a haven of tranquility five minutes walk from the busy commercial heart of the town. Walks along the Kennet towpath, with boats and swans drifting by on lazy summer days (well, a girl can dream!)
Opens till 2am. amazingly good atmosphere. Great setting/decor inside too. Kinda mellow. Wednesday is world music, friday/sat can be sort of housey, big Beat, Trip hop thing so everyone is happy. Am over the moon each time i go there anyway! no pints sold-just bottles +spirits. You gotta get a Tequila slammer in there MAN! And coz the music is good, the dance floor will always be busy, but at the same time, lots of good seats around. basically, its halfway between bar and club. anything
Swans at Caversham Bridge Promenade
A picturesque place on the River Thames, the Promenade is very popular among the locals for a huge flock of swans living in the area.
When a swan - Tom - died in an accident a couple years ago (Tom was killed by a dog), local newspapers published the story on their first pages and people laid flowers on the place the incident happened.
The Thames and boaty things
Dot and Ian Hart love their boat and love taking it on the Thames. I have known them, via the internet, since 1996 and visited them June, 2005. We floated down the Thames, in their boat, Hearts' Content.
A lovely trip. A very pleasant way to see the villages and towns in that part of England.
"The better-known part of the Thames"
Dorothy and Ian met me at Waterloo Station and took me for a walk around the harbour, to see all those famous tourist attractions that I had never seen in real life. This was certainly a much busier part of the famous river, than I experienced the next day.
"Floating down the waterways of France, Holland...."
Dot and Ian Hart have seen a lovely part of France and of the Netherlands in the last three years. They have taken Hearts' Content across the Channel to France once and to the Netherlands twice.
They have kept comprehensive records of their trips on their website: Floating Down the River:
"From Reading to Sonning"
The Thames is one of Britain's great rivers, and probably its most famous since it flows through London. Reading is built on the Thames. The monks of Reading abbey used the river for delivery of their supplies.
Today the Thames is still a working river, but less so than in the past. It is used for many forms of recreation. If you look closely at this photograph taken from the path between Reading and Sonning, you may see canoeists in the distance.
This path is now part of the National Cycle Network.
At Kennet Mouth, where the River Kennet flows into the Thames, the industry of Reading's present and past meets the countryside.
Here Brunel's Great Western Railway crosses the Kennet and continues to London where it terminates at Paddington Station. Reading's other main line crosses the Kennet at almost the same point, on it's way to London's Waterloo station. Between the two lines is a gas holding facility.
Next to the GWR railway bridge is a recently rebuilt footbridge known as Horseshoe Bridge. It was originally built to allow horses pulling barges along the Thames to cross the Kennet. It used to have wooden slats across the footway to allow the horses' hooves to grip on its steep sides.
Even a gas holder can be picturesque.
"Thames Valley Park"
At Thames Valley Park, just to the East of Kennet Mouth a nature reserve has been set up behind the office buildings. Here you will find recreated wetland habitats, typical of the Thames flood plain.
There are many birds on the Thames including a lot of swans. The vast majority of the Swans are Mutes (Cygnus olor), but you may occasionally see other varieties. You might even come acrss a Black Swan (Cygnus atratus), an immigrant from Australia, no doubt escaped from someone's private collection.
Many people choose to take holidays on the Thames, either owning or hiring a boat. A wide variety of boats are available, but the traditional narrow boat is the most picturesque.
In his book "Three Men in a Boat", Jerome K Jerome, didn't think much of Reading, but I hope you'll agree that it has improved since then.
We came in sight of Reading about eleven. The river is dirty and dismal here. One does not linger in the neighbourhood of Reading. The town itself is a famous old place, dating from the days of King Ethelred, when the Danes anchored their warships in the Kennet, and started from Reading to ravage all the land of Wessex; and here Ethelred and his brother Alfred fought and defeated them, Ethelred doing the praying and Alfred the fighting.
In later years, Reading seems to have been regarded as a handy place to run down to, when matters were becoming unpleasant in London. Parliament generally rushed off to Reading whenever there was a plague on at Westminster; and, in 1625, the Law followed suit, and all the courts were held in Reading. It must have been worth while having a mere ordinary plague now and then in London to get rid of both the lawyers and the Parliament.