Moving to Reading
It would be a mistake to simply disregard the town of Reading as another charmless suburb that exists on the commuter belt of London. Reading, in fact, has a larger net commuting rate into the town, with 30,000 arrivals a day, than the amount of commuters who actually leave Reading, at only 24,000 departures daily.
There are many reasons to relocate to Reading. The town has a flourishing economy and rich history which has allowed it to become a beacon of activity outside of the Capital. With great travel connections, excellent educational services and a host of vibrant activities on offer, moving to Reading is increasingly becoming an attractive option.
Commuting from Reading to London
Reading is only 36 miles from Central London, 24 miles from Oxford and 70 miles from Bristol, giving it a central position between these popular cities. Situated between the River Thames and the River Kennet in the Thames Valley, historically, a perfect location, as the town was an important river port. This prime location has made Reading one of the major railway junctions in the country - great news for Reading's residents, as travelling throughout the UK is now fast and efficient. Heathrow is very close, only 20mins on Railair, the line connecting the town with the airport, meaning the population of Reading has effortless access to the rest of the world.
Interestingly, unlike the rest of the UK, Reading has a maritime climate which means it doesn’t have such extreme temperatures as other parts of the country (ideal if you’re used to warmer climates or simply hate the cold!)
With around 235,000 people making up its urban centre, Reading is the biggest town in the Britain not to have city status. Furthermore, at some point in the future it will most probably attain city status, meaning this is an excellent site in terms of investment, as it, hopefully, continues to grow and become even more prosperous.
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A Vibrant Economy and Diverse Job Market
Reading has always had an incredibly dynamic economy and this has remained the case throughout the twenty-first century. Known in the past for its beer and textile industry in, the town today has been named one of the UK’s top economic areas and currently has the fastest rate of economic growth than any other place in Britain. There are two main reasons for this success:
1) It has the great advantage of being throwing distance from London and Oxford whilst keeping its own distinct identity secure. Residents benefit from jobs in the Capital, while keeping expenses and stress low.
2) Another factor is the available employment. Many corporations, such as BG group, ING direct, Thames Water, John Lewis and PWC have chosen Reading as a base for their headquarters, resulting in the creation of thousands of jobs in the area. The Thames Valley area has often been called 'The Silicon Valley of Europe' and Reading has been a leading force in attracting many businesses from the technology sector, including Microsoft, Jacobs and Three.
House prices are far lower than in London and Oxford. A semi-detached house on average only costs around £360,000, which is almost half the price of the average London home. Seeing as London is only a 30-minute train ride away, this somehow seems incomprehensible, but you’ll find getting on the property ladder is far easier in Reading. Renters are currently paying, on average, £728 a month for a small apartment, which is £200 over the national average. This can be expected due to its close proximity to London.
One home in Reading was recently bought for £650,000 pounds, £200,000 over the normal value. However this home had a certain magic, due to it being the film location for 4 Privet Drive, the fictional home of Harry Potter!
Education and Sport
The University of Reading is currently smashing it! In 2015 the university was placed at 156th in the University World Rankings - its best score ever. The University is one of the best in the country and an enticing option for students. Formed in 1892 as an extension of Christ Church college in Oxford, the University of Reading has since become a key centre of research in the UK, making it especially alluring, not only for potential students, but also for academics looking for new job opportunities.
There are many outdoor activities available. With 100 parks and playgrounds, 5 miles of riverside paths and the nearby Cotswolds, Reading really ranks highly in terms of outdoor recreation. Go see the Royals at Madejski stadium, the local football team has been excitingly ping-ponging from the Premiership to the Championship league in the last decade in a rather dramatic style. Or if football is not your thing, the London Irish rugby team also occupies this great stadium.
Things to do in Reading
Reading is probably most famous for the Reading Music Festival, which is the second largest music festival in the UK after Glastonbury, and the oldest popular music festival in the world. The festival has hosted the biggest names in music for the past 50 years, including The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and Oasis. Other festivals, such as the Real Ale festival, the Jazz festival and Reading Pride also add to Reading's collection of events.
Apart from the great festivals on offer, there’s a vast array of bars, pubs and restaurants, that can be mainly found centrally by the riverside and The Oracle shopping centre. However, being a town, not every culinary niche or musical taste is catered for, but this isn't so important for residents, considering that London is near at hand.
The Reading Museum presents the town’s colourful history in detail and the gigantic Maiwand Lion sculpture in the Fosbury gardens has become the town’s emblem. Over the past 1000 years Reading has been used as a model for Thomas Hardy’s book, Jude the Obscure, is the burial place of King Henry I, and was where Oscar Wilde wrote the poem De Profunidis, whilst incarcerated in Reading Jail.
There are many compelling reasons to move to the town of Reading: excellent transportation, brilliant job opportunities, high standards of education, great sporting events, magical festivals and buzzing nightlife. Living in Reading is definitely something to consider.