Sat where the Rivers Thames and Kennet meet, and just half an hour from London by train, England’s largest town is a booming tech hub.

Reading is a 30-minute commute by train into London. The main university campus is a mixture of historical and new buildings, surrounded by a lot of nature. The town itself is very vibrant. There is a lovely museum in the town centre. It has all the amenities you could want, including restaurants like Taco Bell, lots of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, as well independent shops. The town also has two shopping centres, one being the main Oracle centre which is very beautiful, and has an outdoor space with restaurants by the River Thames. (Second year student, University of Reading)

What Reading's famous for...

Biscuit Town

Between the 18th and 20th centuries, Reading was widely known for producing the three Bs: beers, bulbs, and biscuits. 

Reading nightlife, according to students

All the bars and clubs are on one main street, Friar Street, which is convenient. Most people tend to go to one club and stay there for the whole night. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, the majority of students go to the nightclub on [University of Reading’s] campus instead of town which is so much more convenient so you don't have to pay for transport. The McDonalds in town shuts at 2am when most clubs shut at 3am – so consider that when thinking about what time to go home! (University of Reading student)

Famous faces

Reading has produced comedy, acting, and actual royalty. Ricky Gervais, Kate Winslet, and the Duchess of Cambridge all hail from here.

Reading nightlife, according to students

There are a lot of bars – there are three just as you come out of the train station. Each club has their own security, but police also stay on the streets. There are also street pastors that take care of [those in need], offer to call a taxi, give water etc. It's really nice. It can get very loud, especially around 1am to 3am. There are also many takeaway places that stay open till about 3 - 4am. What's good about Reading is that cars are restricted to drive through town, [so] only taxis and buses are allowed. (University of Reading student)

Digital hub

While technically a town, Reading sits among the top UK ‘cities’ for number of tech businesses. Popular areas like AI and financial technology are well-represented.

Student life in Reading

Local gems, tips, and things to do, as recommended by students.
Low on cash
Free museums are everywhere, including the MERL (Museum of English Rural Life) and Reading Museum [which] are a great shout. Walks to the Thames are also lovely for a bit of nature in the middle of the town centre. (Third year student, University of Reading)
Treat yourself
Thames Lido is more upmarket, but amazing just for the spa or a lovely meal. Coconut and Revolution De Cuba are really fun and upbeat places, which can turn dancey. (Second year student, University of Reading)
Friday night out
Brewdog quiz nights, club nights at Q, or Purple Turtle. [There are] plenty of small concerts through town for any music taste. (Third year student, University of Reading)
Sunday chilling
Forbrey Gardens are particularly nice, but the university campus and lake are popular with students and locals alike – especially Harris Gardens. There is a lovely hour-walk from Reading to the pub in Sonning that I really recommend. (Third year student, University of Reading)
When family visit
7 Flowers & Tea (Reading's independently-owned florist and tea room fusion), the Mad Hatters' Pottery Painting Cafe, Nibsy's Cafe, and Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC), are places I would recommend. (Second year student, University of Reading)
Feeling cultural
3sixty holds mic nights, poetry readings, and other game nights – a fantastic opportunity to meet some exchange students (often from America) and like-minded people. Also amazing, are comedy nights at The Hexagon. (Second year student, University of Reading)
Catch up with mates
Cafe Yolk is pricey but serves awesome brunch food and milkshakes. Great for after a night out – it’s heaving after the big nights! (Second year student, University of Reading)
Grab a bite
The best dessert place is Sprinkles. It's like a cheaper and better value Creams, and we love it! You can also get it delivered, which is what me and my flatmates did a bit in first year. (University of Reading student)

Harris Garden

A photo of The Harris Garden on campus during spring. (Ella, third year student at University of Reading)

Living in Reading, according to students

Earley is a great area to live in considering its close to Whiteknights campus, and not far from the city centre either, [to walk or by bus]. There are plenty of local shops like takeaways, grocery stores, cafes, and pharmacies too, which is invaluable for convenience. The only issue is that it's a bit of a crime hotspot, especially when you get closer to Cemetery Junction, so you have to be careful. (Second year student, University of Reading)

Living in Reading

Housing, travel, and budgeting tips.

Where you'll find students
  • Wokingham Road
  • Earley
  • Town centre
Local transport
  • Weekly ticket: £9 approx.
  • Based on a simplyUni autumn term ticket (23 Sept-14 Dec) = £115
  • Bus

Student money tips

In freshers' week, there is a bus that goes back and forth from IKEA, so you can easily grab bits to make your room feel more homey. (Second year student, University of Reading)

The cost of living as a student soon adds up, us our budget calculator to find out roughly how much you'll need each month.

​Discover more savings on student life in Reading with UCAS student discounts. Find the latest deals, from fashion brands and eating fresh, to big discounts on tech and travel.

Living in Reading, according to students

Wokingham Road – It has direct bus routes on my road to town, and it is really close to uni. Takes about ten minutes to get onto campus, but is also in the delivery area for the centre of town. Big Asda is close by, but I have a driveway – which is quite common – so I drive to the big Tesco 1.5 miles away. (Second year student, University of Reading)