Favorite thing: In stark contrast to the Victorian red brick constructions of the late 19th century, 21st century Reading is the "Rotterdam of the UK". Many of the companies that the town hosts these days are true 21st century businesses and the various HQ's are in offices designed to reflect their hip status.
Not really a lot different from Palmer and Harvey's days!
- Hiking and Walking
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: Despite the many modern steel, glass and concrete (in whichever order you prefer) buildings around the town centre the "Red Brick" Reading is still one of the town's most stunningly visual features.
In the latter half of the 19th century when biscuits were being baked, beer was brewing and seeds sown the red brick buildings of commercial Reading were built. Although the town lost many of these during the 1960's and 70's unsympathetic redevelopments there are still some superb examples of that style of architecture which include Gold Street and the Town Hall.
- Historical Travel
Fondest memory: Salisbury is the administrative centre of Wiltshire, in Southern England. It is a market town with varied industries, amongst which are the famous Wilton Carpet factories. Salisbury was founded in 1220, when the bishopric was moved here from Old Sarum. The great Cathedral, a splendid example of Early English architecture with the highest spire in England (4o4 feet or 123 metres), was built mainly between 1220 and 1260. The 13th Century palace of the bishops and numerous medieval churches are of interest.
Fondest memory: Windsor is obviously best known to the visitor for its famous castle, which is still used as a main Royal residence by the Queen and the Royal Family. Sir Christopher Wren built the Town Hall*, and a gentleman by the name of Grinling Gibbons did much of the wood carving in the Church of St John the Baptist. The real importance of the town has always been derived from Wondsor Castle, the chief residence of English rulers since William I. The castle was improved and rebuilt by successive sovereigns. Henry II erected the famous Round Tower, and Edward IV began the construction of St George's Chapel, one of the most splendid churches in England, where Knights of the Garter are installed with medieval ceremony. In the chapel several of England's kings are buried. Some of the vaults are now used to store art treasures, national archives, and museum collections. In Frogmore, the royal mausoleum, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, her husband, are buried.
I worked in Windsor for 2 years, and on my arrival I was once told that Sir Christoper Wren originally designed the canopy of the Town Hall with no central supports. The powers that be were not impressed and insisted that more columns should be added in order to support the masonry. Reluctantly Wren did as he was instructed, but apparently the tops of the additional columns (which obviously cannot be seen from the pavement) do not make contact with the underside of the canopy. Whether this is true or not, I don't know!
Fondest memory: >Didcot is rather a non-descript town. The building of the Great Western Railway from London to the West Country sparked its growth in the 19th century. After 160 years since the passing of the Act authorising construction of the line, Didcot is still an important railway junction for North-South and East-West traffic, with connections to Oxford and the North, London, Bristol and the South coast.
Originally a railway town, the local businesses have changed with the times with the atomic energy establishment at Harwell International Business Centre a major employer as is National Power whose cooling towers can be seen for miles around. It is a 2,000 megawatt coal-fired station with a 650ft chimney and six 325ft cooling towers. During the mid 1970's I lived right next to this power station, and I have to admit that it gave off the most unusual sounds every once in a while!
Fondest memory: Reading is the administrative centre of Berkshire, on the River Kennet, near its influx to the Thames.Reading is a market centre with engineering, brewing, and biscuit and seed industries. It was occupied in 871 by the Danes, who burned it in 1006. A gateway and ruins of buildings, surrounded by a public park, remains of
a Benedictine abbey founded in 1121 by Henry I, who is buried here. There are a 15th Century grammar school, the Reading College of Technology, and the University of Reading, with agriculture and dairying departments.
Favorite thing: In mid June, Reading Amateur Regatta along the banks of the River Thames in Reading. In 2005, the Regatta will take place on Saturday 11th June 2005 and Sunday 12th June 2005.
The Saturday sees crews racing over 1500m, and the Sunday over 1100m downstream to the finish just before the rowing club. As the river is only wide enough for 2 crews to race comfortably side by side, the heats tend to take place in the morning, semi finals in the afternoon, and finals in the early evening.
The banks of the Thames get very busy with spectators, and the good news is that as long as you can find somewhere to park, it is free to come and watch! Reading Rowing Club is just behind the Caversham Hotel.
Fondest memory: For more info see:
- Water Sports
- Adventure Travel
- Sailing and Boating
Favorite thing: There are two rivers running through Reading -- the Thames where there are lots of rowers and swans and the Kennet where it connects up to a canal. Walk along the River Kennet and you will find the Blake Lock Museum. In there I discovered displays of 17th-19th century rural British life.
Favorite thing: The Hexagon is a central venue in Reading, and is used primarily for theatrical productions and concerts. It has played host to snooker tournaments, exhibitions and many other events.
As well as these uses it is an important community venue and is centrally located at the back of Broad Street Mall and by the main council offices.
Favorite thing: .. leave immediately - they're a funny bunch over there you know. An old local law stipulates that interaction with foreigners is strictly prohibited..
I've heard they smell funny too..
Fondest memory: geee lemme think!.... seeing it in my rear view mirror?!?
Favorite thing: 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.
Fondest memory: Walks along the Kennet towpath, with boats and swans drifting by on lazy summer days (well, a girl can dream!)
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: You have to visit Henley. It is the home of the world famous Royal Regatta and where the Olympic rowing team is based. The town is situated in a valley in the Chilterns next to the Thames and looks great whatever time of year. This town is great for pubs and restaurants, it’s a very sociable place. The countryside around the town is equally as stunning with plenty of old historical sites to see and many great walks. My favorite past time is to sit in the Angel on the Bridge during the summer with a pint watching the boats and people go by. If you are lucky you might spot one or two famous people in town, it is after all the home of George Harrison from the Beatles.
Fondest memory: Summer eveinings down at Mill Meadows
Favorite thing: There is a Kebab Shop on the main road from the Railway Station heading past the Holiday Inn into Caversham. They do really good value food, esp. kebabs and the best thing is to pick a really hot summer's day to take it down to the Riverside to eat and just watch the world go by.
Favorite thing: Go on a Narrowboat and cruise at your own leisure and speed.
Fondest memory: Setting off for our first trip, we were a little apprehensive of the locks.