Travelling To and Around Reading
Located in Berkshire in the South East of England, Reading is certainly not a difficult place to visit. And a visit there will certainly be well worth your while if you're into medieval abbey ruins, rivers like Thames and Kennet, exquisite countryside such as Thames Valley as well as restaurants, pubs and shopping centres.
Travelling to Reading by Plane
Any of London's airports have regular flights to Reading. Some of the most convenient venues are from the following:
Heathrow Airport, a brief 40-minute drive heading west, down the M4 motorway. There are links to the airport from the Reading rail station via the RailAir express bus service, which runs every 20 minutes and takes an hour to get to Heathrow. You can also get to Heathrow via the Heathrow Connect train service, after changing at Hayes.
Luton Airport, about 50 minutes away by car heading south on the M1 and west on either the M25 or M4 motorways. From Kings Cross station, a Luton Airport Parkway bus takes passengers to Luton Airport every 35 minutes. The airport is also accessible via the London Paddington station and following directions.
Gatwick Airport, about 60 minutes away by car heading north on the M23, clockwise on the M25 and west on the M4 motorways. The rail station at the airport terminal complex has a through service to Reading which runs every 30 minutes and takes about an hour.
Stansted Airport, about 90 minutes away by car heading south on the M11, anti-clockwise on the M25 and west on the M4 motorways. You can also reach the airport through the Stanstead Express train to London Liverpool Street station then taking the tube to the London Paddington Station and following directions.
Travelling to Reading by Train
Inter-city and regional train services provide access to Reading from Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Oxford, Portsmouth, Southampton, Swansea, Winchester and York.
London travellers can get on a train at the London Paddington station and its first stop will be Reading. Trains leave several times an hour while the trip takes around 30 minutes. Other stopping services are also available from Paddington and London Waterloo but they are much slower.
The National Rail Planner usually provides accurate information about train times. For more information, you may call 0845-748-4950 from anywhere in the country.
Travelling to Reading by Bus
There is a National Express bus service to Reading available in numerous stations around the country. Tickets should be ordered in advance. But beware of the stop known as the Reading Coachway, which is not as grand as it may sound and is merely a draughty bus stop near M4 J12 where a supermarket and a McDonald's restaurant are the only amenities. From there, you will have to hop on a taxi or bus to get to Reading.
When it comes to buses, bear in mind that you should not expect change because none is forthcoming. It would be far wiser to change your £20 note by first purchasing a newspaper or chocolate bar before getting your bus ticket.
For the price of two single tickets, you may also opt to get a day ticket, which provides you with unlimited travel within Reading for the entire day and through the night.
Travelling to Reading by Car
The M4 motorway leads right to Reading and is an excellent travel route if you're coming from anywhere from London to Bristol and South Wales. It's a short and leisurely one hour car drive from central London. If you're going to central Reading via junction, your best choice is junction 11, but keep a close eye out for those directional signs.
For a one-day visit by car, head north of M4 J11 to the Madejski stadium complex and use the Park & Ride sit. From there, Reading is a short express bus ride away.
Travelling Around Reading by Foot
Once in Reading, it's easy to explore the central area by foot. A brief walk from the rail stations takes you to several landmarks such as the Abbey Ruins, the Forbury Gardens and Reading's two rivers as well as to the shopping centre and a sizable number of hotels, pubs and restaurants.
Travelling Around Reading by Bus
If you plan on travelling about three to five miles out of Reading, your best bet would be to take a bus and there are several buses that travel most routes every hour, including evenings on both weekdays and weekends. The buses are not as plenty if you're travelling beyond five miles.
Among the available bus services are Reading Buses (tel. 959-40000), Thames Travel (tel. 01491-837988 and +44-1491-837988) and Traveline (tel. 087-608-2-608).