In the list of outstanding UK cities to visit, Reading isn't necessarily a name that immediately springs to mind. However, the relatively understated city on the outskirts of London has been slowly making its way into the limelight. Indeed, in a recent survey by PwC, it was deemed the best place in the UK to live according to major factors such as work-life balance, income quality and a better class of jobs.
One of the city's most lauded factors is its impressive shopping facilities, which include retail giants John Lewis, Primark, Debenhams, and Argos, to name just a few, as well as more specialist stores such as Hidden Hearing and Vision Express. Those who love to indulge in a bit of spending frequently travel to what is one of the top ten shopping cities in the UK, rivalling a number of destinations that get far more positive press.
Reading offers two major shopping centres: The Oracle and the Broad Street Mall. Both are well recommended for any visiting tourists. The Oracle is a hub of high-quality fashion and brand enthusiasts. As well as this, it contains a sumptuous range of different eateries, allowing visitors to indulge in everything from a deli sandwich to a Big Mac! The Broad Street Mall, meanwhile, hosts a wide range of different high street names, as well as a number of specialist chains.
Those looking to travel to Reading for a bit of shopping have a number of parking options: there are several substantial town centre car parks, a specialist park and ride service, and a brand new £850 million train station is located right in the heart of the town. Nearly all shopping areas are fully pedestrianised, and there are a large number of pavement cafes available to those who fancy a break and a coffee!
Enjoying the scenery
While many people simply love to shop, of course, there are just as many who would rather go for a long walk alongside some beautiful scenery. Well, for those who love a bit of greenery, Reading has a fair few different options. It's possible to wander through the Forbury Gardens – a Victorian formal garden that has been lauded across the UK for its natural beauty.
From the gardens, visitors can walk through to the ruins of Reading Abbey, burial place of one of the Kings of England. There is also the opportunity to walk the picturesque canal on the way to Blake's Lock. There's even the option of enjoying a nice meal at the Barge restaurant.
Another historical figure of note to have spent his time in Reading was Oscar Wilde, who penned his historical poem whilst imprisoned at Reading Gaol. Today, the gates at the historic venue bear Wilde's name.
Finally, the city also enjoys an easy link to London, so anybody wanting to head into the capital after their time in Reading has a range of different options to explore, including bus, rail and other forms of easily-located public transport.