Reading – City Guide
I’m Zoë, a 3rd year Archaeology student and I live in the Cemetery Junction area of Reading.
Great Night Out
A great night out in Reading starts with pre-drinks with friends at someone’s halls or house. Once you’ve played enough games (Drinking Jenga is always fun), it’s time to head into town. Propaganda on Thursday nights in Sub 89 is always good as it’s the ‘indie’ night and there’s usually something for everyone’s music tastes. If this isn’t for you, Sakura, with its multiple, spacious rooms playing various genres is also a good night out.
On the way back from the club it’s always fun to walk back if you’re with a group of friends, laughing and singing. There are many late night food places to pick up something cheap to help sober you up. After that, provided house/flat mates don’t mind, it’s always fun to bring friends back to your place to watch films and play video games until you pass out from exhaustion.
Best Places to Eat
COSMO is one of the best places to go for a meal in town, especially for lunch, as it will keep your stomach full until dinner time the following night. A good quality all-you-can-eat Pan-Asian, Mexican, Italian, Indian buffet is delicious and only costs £8!
For on-campus eating, the coffee shops are a lovely place to meet up and chat with friends, whilst Mojo’s Bar has a great selection of food and a different daily offer, such as buy-one-get-one free on desserts, or half price pizza. Eat & Drink London Road, whilst off-campus slightly, is a social pub of the university which tends to not get as busy as the other university pubs. It has good food, pool, beanbags to lounge on, and, like all the university pubs, pints are under £2.
If you are looking for pizza, don’t waste all your money on Dominos or risk a funny stomach on £1 pizza from some of the shadier food places on Wokingham Road – go to Milano. For £5 collection you can get a large pizza with 4 toppings, or £7 for an XL pizza (and they are some of the best pizzas around).
For the literary fans, there is the Oscar Wilde walk along the canal and the prison he was in for five years (where he wrote the Ballad of Reading Gaol), with his memory honoured by a gate shaped like him. At the end of this walk are the beautiful ruins of Reading Abbey, an interesting historical gem in the town, which are inaccessible but pretty to look at.
If you and your friends happen to stumble upon a heap of cash (or you are on the wealthy side), the Zombie Shopping Mall is a £139 unique experience of battling through a zombie invasion in a shopping centre, with airsoft guns.
If you fancy meeting up with friends in town but don’t want to go somewhere commercial and generic, Whittington’s Tea Barge, located on the river, is a quaint and adorable way to drink tea and eat cakes and a good place to take visiting family members.
Best Thing about Reading
Reading offers a mix of urban with history and natural beauty; and as it’s compact, most places are in walking distance. It can be useful getting a bike, instead of catching the student buses promoted – especially as they never give out change. That being said, the transport links are really good if you want to escape Reading for the day, with London and Oxford close by.
Worst Thing about Reading
Unfortunately, the supermarkets in town are a bit on the high-end side which makes cheap shopping rather difficult; both Asda and Aldi quite a walk away from the Uni. Also, like other cities, Reading can be quite unsettling in the dark, so either walk back in a group or get a taxi after a night out – the University does a pre-paid taxi card to take in case you don’t have enough money.
Getting an NUS card is crucial – it will get you discounted entry into 360 at the Union which, in first year, is most likely where you will be spending every Wednesday and Saturday night. Likewise, they now offer 10% student discount in the Co-Op, two of which operate in the most popular of student accommodation areas – making it essential when picking up milk, bread, meat and alcohol. Lots of places don’t alert you if they do student discount so it’s always a good idea just to ask.
Regardless of how much money you might have saved or budgeted yourself before university, it is worth getting a student bank account in first year. It takes little effort and means you have a larger overdraft. Be aware that you cannot apply for it post-first year so if you come into financial strain suddenly in your later university years, you will not have the overdraft to fall back on like your friends might have.
If clubs aren’t for you, or you are bored of going out, get a group of friends, pick a regular night of the week and each of you take it in turns to have the others over to yours for a film of your choice and dinner/dessert cooked by you. It’s a great way to get close to people and bond with a nice group.
There are many choice areas to live in Reading, with some being more appealing to students than others. One of the best areas for students is around Cemetery Junction. Scoring a 56% satisfaction rate, it’s close to the University and the town centre, with Co-Op and Asda nearby.
Earley is another popular area, offering spacious houses at low costs, and in close proximity to Asda. However, its distance from campus can be off-putting, also scoring a satisfaction rate of 56%.
When looking for accommodation, some people have had trouble with estate agents so it is always worth asking friends in second and third year about their experiences and recommendations.
Living near town might mean you are about 30 minutes away from the university, but it also means closer proximity to the high street in case you require a job whilst at university
35-38 Friar St, Reading, UK RG1 1DX
Reading University Students’ Union
136 Wokingham Road
Eat & Drink London Road
Back of Beyond
104-108 Kings Rd
Whittington’s Tea Barge
Whittington’s is moored on the north bank of the river Thames, alongside Hills Meadows, Reading – postcode RG4 8DH. Just across the George Street bridge.
Reading University Students’ Union
7 Cheapside, Reading RG1 7AG
5 Gun St, Reading RG1 2JR
Sub 89 for Propaganda
110-117 Friar Street Reading RG1 1EP
Zombie Shopping Mall
Book the shopping mall online at http://zombieexperiences.co.uk/encounters/reading-shopping-mall/