Before one delves into modern Reading, consider discovering the rich veins of the past. Reading Abbey was one of the holiest sites in pre-reformation England, and St. James Church (a la John Henry Newman) are sure to interest the faithful, and those simply fascinated by Ecclesiastical history. The Reading School, one of the oldest in England, has helped establish Reading as a center of scholarship and learning. The University of Reading, established as a 19th century outgrowth of Oxford, has earned a reputation in its own right as an excellent center of education. Not surprisingly, then, the library has had a prominent place in the city life, with the public library dating back to the 19th century. Several museums, including one dedicated to English rural life, understand the importance of the past as the lifeblood of the present, and keep the cultural blood flowing.
Reading is an important transportation hub, given its proximity to London, Oxford, and other locations. The town's early inception was driven by the location, i.e. the convergence of the Thames and Kennet rivers. The navigable rivers allow industry, leisure, and fastidious transportation all ample space to operate. Reading is also a major railway hub, and bus routes are plentiful. Reading is now a major shopping destination, which is much aided by the simple plurality of ways to get there. One can find everything from luxury clothing to niche foods in the busy streets of this Berkshire county town.
However, Reading is perhaps known more now for its cultural food, foremost of which is the Reading Festival. A practical panoply of rock n roll, the festival draws thousands of music lovers to its yearly anti-cacophony. For those not into the rock genres, Reading is also home to several orchestras and classical troupes as well. Reading is also popular for its home-grown theatre and artistic expressions, which range from the widely accepted to the quite unique and niche.
With its proximity to the rivers and surrounding beauty, it is perhaps no surprise that recreational parks are plentiful. Of particular interest to the travelling family is the Bucklebury Farm Park, which offers trailer rides through an area plentiful with deer, and gives everyone an opportunity to feed the animals. Playgrounds and recreation facilities are also present.
Whether one visits for the natural beauty, the deep history, or the modern shopping and art, Reading continues to thrive throughout the centuries, and contains a treasure for everyone.
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