Reading Da Da Da, Reading Da Da Da Reading Da Da Da
Yes we are now in one of my three hometowns, one being London (aka birth place) and the other is yet to be revealed.
Ah Reading, the home of rollercoaster- equivalent of football team (www.readingfc.co.uk), Ricky Geravis and Kate Winslet, yes it’s an Oscar winning town, if Kate wins an Oscar she declares in the name of Reading, take that Slough!
So upon arriving in Reading, you’ll notice something strange about the station, no not the weird, wired tall black beggar (well bugger I prefer to use), seriously if this man asks you for a pound, say this “I’ve seen you in Oxford and London, you have more money than I do. Again don’t let that put you off the largest town in the UK. Anyway it would be the random mixed building, part old church, part futuristic biodome, its one of the official stops for the new crossrail that goes straight through London & Essex. If you are reading this in the future (call me Doc from now on), enjoy this as in the past we had to get, I can't bring myself to say it…. A slower train! I know it was cruel times; it was practically a steam locomotion!
For those who have found themselves in Reading, I’m sorry in advance however; with my handy guide you’ll find the best spots, drinking holes and activities. Thankfully TripAdvisor has sorted the list for me so here you go - http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attractions-g186363-Activities-Reading_Berkshire_England.html
End of blog!
I’m joking of course, as much as we all love TripAdvisor there’s nothing better than getting first-hand knowledge than the guy who claims to be from London :)
For people looking for a bed for the night, don’t worry we have many a hotel here however if you are on a shoestring budget, you better prepare to stay in the only hostel near the town centre Hillingdon Prince (http://www.hillingdonprince.co.uk/ ), its cheap, old fashioned and right near the infamous smother!! So pop on over for comedy, beef West Indian curry and cake. (And a lash if you say anything out of turn)
There loads of hotels and if you have a buddy just get a room together, surprisingly you’re spoilt for choice, I would recommend the Ibis hotel (http://www.ibis.com/gb/booking/hotels-list.shtml ) or the Novotel (http://www.novotel.com/gb/hotel-5432-novotel-reading-centre/index.shtml ). The Ibis houses all the girly hen dos that couldn’t afford Oxford or London in need of a quick thrill and the Novotel is occupied by the drunken horny businessmen contracted by Microsoft & Yell. I wonder why they put those two next door to each other……..
If you can’t afford a hotel or even the world’s oldest looking hostel, then may I suggest walking another 500m east of the Hillingdon to the university area and maybe luring them with a hot meal and a pint for board? You’ll be surprised it will work, the sluttier and hungrier the student the better the chance.
Here in lovely Reading, you may not have the best in terms of physical activities (unless you are on that hen do). We are home and close to many national trust parks, royal estates and even a wine vineyard, please check the TripAdvisor link from earlier for more information.
Now for the shopaholics amongst you, you’ll be happy to know that Reading is /was one of the top 10 places for Shopping outside of London due to it’s amazing array of high street chains, independents and for the greeny inside you, CHARITY SHOPS! Literally how this town has so many and none of them have closed is beyond me. My favourite is Oxfam Bookshop which is just off market place and in there you will see the last stoner from Woodstock, the last time I was in there I think he just figuring out the number 9.
Right for the bit I seem to be the famous for but finding me less and less interested in at the moment. With a major university, 2 massive sports teams (reading FC & London Irish Rugby) and a lack of a good ice rink, you’ll be overwhelmed with drinking holes (I’m not sure if I like this term).
So here are top 10 bar/pub recommendations, albeit biased:
Actually screw it, I’m gonna get you battered while you are here, so try this pub crawl
- Zero Degrees (http://www.zerodegrees.co.uk/reading/ ) – a microbrewery with nice collection of own brews and good surroundings, never busy but good atmosphere
- Purple Turtle (http://www.purpleturtlebar.com/reading/ ) – rock/dance bar where the people of Reading Festival won’t let the spirit die! Great for a Sunday night
- Slug & Lettuce (http://www.slugandlettuce.co.uk/slug-reading/ ) – 2 for 1 cocktails on a Monday /Tuesday, actually if you are at the turtle on Sunday you could head over here the day after for a refresh! (Marvin promoting bad drink habits since 2000). You’ll also get the see the very illuminous riverside and other bars, come in Winter for the German outdoor bar/market
- Great Expectations (http://www.relaxinnzreading.co.uk/ ) – cheap bar and also B&B, great for those who are passed out already.
- Global Café (https://www.facebook.com/risc.org.uk ) - So basically everyone you saw in the charity shops and smoking near the Reading Uni will be here, there’s even a very nice arts & craft shop attached to it. Please don’t purchase anything here when under the influence as you will knock something over…..which is why I can never return unless I cough up £7…. NEVER!!!
- Copa (http://rguide.co.uk/copa ) - quiet but very large bar, with great food and good view of the rest of the river, am I selling this riverside view still?
- The Blagrave Arms (https://www.facebook.com/TheAllNewBlagrave ) - I like to call this the “sexual ambiguous” bar, one minute it’s full of Horny business Novotel men, next its ladies, then its gays when the cheesy 90s dance music list is thrashed out! I’ll be there for all three stages.
- The Oakford Social Club (http://www.oakfordsocialclub.com/ ) – Great for open Mic Night which is sponsored by BBC Radio and has great imported beer selection and a burger bar, hello calories!!
- Milk (www.milkreading.com ) –gotta say this is my personal fave, generally an older crowd but funky beats, open mic and comedy nights and the famous milk and rum in a bottle concoction you can’t go wrong or home
- Hope Tap – It’s a Weatherspoon’s, that’s all I need to say! For anyone outside of the UK, basically this is traditional English pubs but not at actually British prices, you can actually buy a round on a tenner and come back with some shiny coins….
Hopefully you’ve had a good taste of the local night life and why Reading is so awesome, if not, you ungrateful bugger!!
IF you are of a sensible disposition or with a weak Liver we have other activities such as indoor rock climbing (http://www.readingclimbingcentre.com/) , Indoor Skiing (http://www.skiplex.co.uk/home.aspx) & Indoor Karting (http://www.team-sport.co.uk/go-karting-reading/). We obviously don’t like our people to go outside.
If the sun is out for more than an hour you can try this play, been here its loads of fun although be careful on the high rope, when slip and you go from Arthur to Martha... (http://www.uniqueoutdoors.co.uk/activities.asp)
AS for the photographers and walkers amongst you I highly recommend walking the length of the Kennet/Avon River that runs through Reading. If you was lucky enough and messaged me, I could walk you along for guided tour and show you where I jumped in got pushed in and where I did canoeing and capsized and almost drown as a boy scout, oh such fun!!! Great views, good for cycling and pub stops.
The epic Reading Festival (http://www.readingfestival.com/) I don’t have to bother selling this to you, it’s on BBC news every year, so probably thethird biggest festival in the UK (after Glasto & V) in terms of coverage & media exposure, Daphne & Celeste, that is all!! Also come for Reading Carnival, not exactly Notting Hill but it’s safer and less crowded (https://www.facebook.com/ReadingCarnival) again you’ll see the infamous Smother Dutty Winding to a tune 3% of the world has heard of.
Marvy for Mayor!
Optimistically, by the time you have read this, my petition to make Reading more interesting town, might be under way as I’ll be honest, the only things Reading is famous for is the football team, the unique collection of quirky and chain shops and the festival. In my petition to make Reading Ready (that’s the campaign name, don’t laugh) I would like to bring the following into the town:
- An independent cinema to rival Vue Cinema
- Laser tag/quest (the last one we had literally disappeared
- Bowling alley and Ice skating rink
- A megastore for Reading FC, actually in the town
- Namco Museum (with Street fighter 2 turbo for you golden oldies)
- Indoor market for the more, shall we say….. Middle class with eclectic food stands/art etc.
Reading is part of the crossrail link, you might as well make the most of it and keep people in the one of the most diverse towns in the country (I’m flying my mini union jack/Reading Royals flag as we speak!)
Again watch this space, Reading has more to offer and I need to get off this couch and explore it a bit more……. Oh Mario Kart……..
Well I stopped playing Mario for 10 minutes and went outside, my lord, there's a magical woods just behind my house whiich I completely forgot. It made me nostalgic for the old days where I'd run around with my friends in th dark and claim to have done my homework in 20 mins. Yes its Sulham Woods, I remember a friend of mine trying to impress the girls by going down a steep hill on a crappy BMX bike and to my shock, he didn't break as many bones as he deserved (yes I'm dark!) .
Now for a bit of Fun....
Reading has its fields and woods and if you walk far enough there's a pub near the end of the trail towards the River Pang, if I remeber. It might be some old bird with a keg of Guinness and some pork scratchings, either way you'll be welcome.....