Home to Reading Football Club this stadium boasts excellent spectator views all the way round the ground and first rate visitor facilities.
Recently the ground has become home to London Irish Rugby Club, and the continuing development of the area has included a brand new high quality hotel
In Reading gaol by Reading town
There is a pit of shame,
And in it lies a wretched man
Eaten by teeth of flame,
In a burning winding-sheet he lies,
And his grave has got no name.
And there, till Christ call forth the dead,
In silence let him lie:
No need to waste the foolish tear,
Or heave the windy sigh:
The man had killed the thing he loved,
And so he had to die.
And all men kill the thing they love,
By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
[Oscar Wilde: from The Ballad of Reading Gaol]
London has Big Ben and Paris has the Eiffel Tower, but Reading has the Maiwand Lion.
Set up in 1897 to comemorate the men of the Royal Berkshire Regiment who fought and died at the village of Maiwand, Afghanistan, in 1880, this very impressive beast is the emblem of the town and a favourite meeting place.
There are many towns around the world with more touristic ambitions than Reading which would give anything to have Reading Abbey on their patch. They would put up a visitor centre and charge admission.
What's so lovely about the abbey is that it's just there, tucked away amongst the office buildings in an informal setting by the river. On a sunny day it's a wonderful place to sit and eat your lunch, and it has a real gothic feel about it.
Reconstructions suggest that it was once one of England's great buildings. It was a royal retreat and the home of Parliament during times of plague in London
The first Cathedral, of Norman style, was begun in 1075 at Old Sarum which is 2 miles from the City. After the demise of the old Cathedral, which subsequently fell into ruin, many of its stones were used to build a new Cathedral in Salisbury. The main body of the building is in Chilmark stone and Purbeck marble, and was begun in the year 1220 and completed in 1258. Situated at the confluence of four rivers, Salisbury is the only city within the county of Wiltshire.
The Cathedral hosts the tallest spire in England at 404 feet and it dominates the city. Many legends grew from the choice of the site to build the Cathedral; some say that the flight of an arrow shot by an archer from the ramparts of Old Sarum marked the place, another that the Virgin Mary appeared to Bishop Poore in a dream telling him to build in 'Mary's Field' which was the site selected, even though is was low-lying and marshy.
Salisbury is one of the few Cathedrals built in the shape of a double cross with the arms of the transept branching off on either side. The cloisters are larger and older than any other of the English cathedrals.
Windsor is a most attractive as well as an historic town. Sir Christopher Wren, the famous architect who rebuilt St Paul's Cathedral after the Great Fire, lived here and was responsible for much of the architecture in the High Street area. His residence is one of the properties to be admired here.
Legoland theme park with lots to do for children, lego model village, rides, gold panning, car racing and lots more. The theme park has spectacular models made entirely from lego bricks one of the leading childrens toys. Allow between six and seven hours for your visit. There are daily shows.
The historic towns of Windsor and Eton have many attractions including Windsor Castle and Eton College. Central London is only 18m away - perfect for a day trip. This tranquil stretch of the River Thames contrasts with the bustle of Heathrow which is only 10m away. Windsor and Eton are linked by an attractive bridge over the Thames, which, for many years, is only for the use of pedestrians.
Windsor is best known for its castle, home of the British Monarchy for almost a thousand years, and the largest inhabited castle in the World. It has been suggested that it was built on the site of a Celtic camp where King Arthur or one of his subordinates lived as the town is mentioned in Arthurian literature. Legend says the Round Table stood atop the motte of the Round Tower. William the Conqueror picked the site (which was then in the parish of Clewer) for a defencive wooden motte and bailey castle, soon after 1066. It was totally rebuilt in stone during the 12th and 13th century, as were most English castles, when the castle became more popular with the English Kings.
Reading Gaol .. Where Oscar Wilde was imprisoned
Reading prison was built in 1844 on the site of a former small jail. In 1973 it became a local prison and in 1992 a Remand Centre and Young Offenders Institution.
The larger than life character Oscar Wilde spent part of his sentence here when convicted of sodomy and imprisoned for two years in 1895 for loving another man, Lord Alfred Douglas. It was here he wrote De Profundis (see below). He was released on May 18, 1897 and later wrote the now famous The Ballad of Reading Gaol. He left England and lived the rest of his life in Paris, using the pseudonym Sebastian Melmoth. Oscar Wilde died on November 30, 1900, at the age of 46.
Reading Abbey was constructed between 1121 and 1164. It was one of the great pilgrimage centres of Medieval England.
Reading Abbey was founded by King Henry I in 1121 as a private mausoleum for his family. It was built on the site of the Danish stronghold set up during the Viking Wars of King Alfred's reign (871). They used it as their countrywide invasion headquarters, and the King besieged them there several times. At the time of the Civil War between Henry's daughter, the Empress Matilda and her cousin, King Stephen, the Abbey was still being built. The latter apparently constructed a motte and bailey castle in its grounds, possibly to harrass Wallingford, though this was a little distant. It was destroyed by the Empress' son (later Henry II) in 1153. The remains of the motte can still be seen in the Forbury Gardens (which take their name from the Castle: the Fore-Borough). The Abbey was finally completed in 1164, forty-three years later. It was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, (Saint-to-be) Thomas A'Beckett.
It was while staying at the Abbey, the previous year, that Henry II had witnessed the trial by combat of Henry De Essex and Robert De Montfort on De Monfort Island in the Thames. Essex had been accused by Montfort of treachery and cowardice, and the two fought a long hard battle until Montfort was victorious and Essex found guilty. The latter was thought to be dead and was taken to the Abbey where he recovered, revealing his defeat had been due to his being blinded by a vision of St. Edmund. He remained a Reading monk for the rest of his life. It was also at Reading Abbey, in 1185, that the Patriach of Jerusalem offered Henry II the crown of his city, if he would defend it against the infidels. The King declined. On three occasions, the Papal Legate summoned ecclesiastical councils at the Abbey, and parliament also met there, notably in 1453. The House of Commons met in the Chapter House and the Lords in the Refrectory, often when they were pushed out of London by the threat of plague. There were Royal occasions at the Abbey too.
The Abbey's Inner Gateway is one of the few remnants of this once great house still standing today. It was the original home of the Abbey School and was attended by Jane Austin. There are some ruins of the Abbey's chapter house and associated features in the Forbury Gardens, where the largest lion in the World stands as a memorial to the Royal Berkshire Regiment killed at the Battle of Maiwand in the Afgan Wars. The other substantially intact Abbey building that remains today is the dormitory of the pilgrims' hospitium or guesthouse of St. John the Baptist. This stands beside the path through St. Laurence's churchyard. It later became the abode of the Royal Grammar School of Henry VII (now Reading School), Stables for Henry VIII's horses when the Abbot's House became his palace for a short time, the Barracks of Civil War Soldiers and, in 1892, the home of University College Reading (now the University of Reading: hence St. James' scallops on its arms).
Going through Locks. Please don't be afraid like we were at first. It's easier than you think. We left sarah on the boat, whilst Helen and I ran to the locks and worked them. A tip is to always have the windlass at hand, never leave it on the lock doors once you have opened them. I left the windlass on once and it flew in the iar nearly knocking me out.
We couldn't wait until the next one came.
The magnificent way the water rushes through as you fill or empty the locks. We couldn't believe that we'd actually worried about it.
The Town Hall is a classic example of the decorative brickwork for which Reading is known, and includes the town museum and tourist information centre as well