Moving to Reading

An overview of Reading

It would be a mistake to simply disregard Reading as just another suburb on the commuter belt of London. As one of the largest towns in the UK, you can rest assured that Reading has something for everyone – rich history, great travel connections, excellent educational opportunities, and a collection of cute cafes and remarkable restaurants.

And, if you’re itching to go on a night out post-lockdown, you won’t be let down. Whether you’d rather dance your troubles away in a sweaty club, or sit down in a traditional pub with a local larger in hand, Reading has it all. 

The cost of moving to Reading

The cost of moving to Reading will vary from person to person,and it will chiefly depend on two key factors: where you’re moving from, and how much stuff you’re moving.

For example, if you are looking to move the contents of a three-bedroom house (roughly 875 cubic metres of stuff) from Manchester to Reading, you should expect to pay roughly £1,316. This fee includes:

  • Loading/unloading
  • Packing services/materials
  • Dismantling/reassembling of furniture
  • The fee for distance travelled

The drive from Manchester to Reading is around 185 miles, and most removal companies charge £1 per mile. (Source: comparemymove, 2020).

The amount of money you’ll end up paying for the move will also depend on the removal company you hire, your moving date, and whether you opt for any supplemental services, such as packing and assembly.

The cost of living in Reading

Similarly, the cost of living here varies from person to person. Like any other city, the price of property, council tax, and groceries in Reading will fluctuate, depending on the neighbourhood you settle on.

To give you a rough idea of how much money you’ll be spending, we’ve outlined prices for a few food and entertainment items below:

ItemPrice
A pint of beer£4.08
Milk78p
12 large eggs£2.71
500g of local cheese£4.86
A loaf of bread89p
Good quality red wine£8
Basic dinner out for two£30
2 tickets to the cinema£19

Data from Expatistan, January 2021

Property prices

Currently, the average price for a property in Reading is £359,496. In terms of property types, flats are likely to cost an average of £227,499, whereas a terraced house will be a bit pricier at £311,586.

So, if you’re moving to Reading from somewhere in the north of England, you might be looking at property prices that are a bit steeper than what you’re used to. For comparison, buying a house in London will put you back roughly £666,264, whereas in Manchester it will only cost you £200,069.

Considering renting instead? The average asking rent price in Reading currently stands at £1,238 per month, which sits nicely in the middle ground between prices in the north and south of England.

Council tax

The amount you’ll pay for council tax depends on which band your house is in – in Reading, this varies from £1,317.37 to £3,952.08 per year.

Council Tax bandTotal
A£1,317.37
B£1,536.92
C£1,756.48
D£1,976.04
E£2,415.16
F£2,854.27
G£3,293.41
H£3,952.08

Electricity bills

Bills in Reading will also fluctuate, depending on your lifestyle. According to NimbleFins, the average cost of electricity in Reading is 16.6p/kWh – cheaper than the UK average of 18.75 p/kWh.

Plus, if you’re paying standing (fixed) electricity charges in Reading, you can expect to pay an average of £81.58 – only pennies higher than the UK average of £81.08.

The beautiful neo-gothic architecture on Reading's historical museum

Public transport in Reading

Hopefully you won’t have to spend too much time stuck in the car, since Reading is a wonderfully walkable city. If you’re unable to do so, however, or you simply can’t bring yourself to brave the English weather, you’ve got a couple of options to get you from place to place.

  • Bus – The city’s bus network is super efficient and operates all over the town. There are a number of buses that run each hour on weekdays for most routes, but services at evenings and weekends are less frequent. Like most places in the UK, the further you go from the city centre, the less frequent the bus service will be
  • Train – Despite only having one station in the town, Reading is a major junction point in the UK’s national rail system. This means you’ve got great links to other cities, including direct trains which can take you to London Paddington in 30 minutes

Working in Reading

According to PayScale, the average salary in Reading is £34,000 – slightly higher than the UK average of £30,800.

Reading has, for a long time now, been known as the hub of information technology companies. Most recently, Microsoft and Oracle have set up offices within the town, with many other technology companies joining them. Infact, Reading is home to over 20% of the South’s most successful private technology firms.

Other popular sectors in Reading include business and financial services.. And, if it’s retail work you’re hoping to get into, Reading has two large shopping centres, a mixture of chains, and a handful independent retailers too.

For anyone not quite ready to part ways with their job in the capital just yet, Reading is also an excellent commuter town. Enjoy the slightly quieter life in Reading, whilst only being a 30-minute train journey away from London, with quick access to the M4.

The top companies in Reading include Microsoft, University of Reading, Vodafone, Oracle, NVIDIA, and Zscaler.

The best neighbourhoods in Reading

  • Caversham – Just a mile out of Reading sits Caversham – a peaceful suburb for those looking to settle down with a quaint lifestyle. Although it’s quite a way out of the city, you’ll still have a collection of charming pubs, spectacular lakes, and gorgeous architecture right on your doorstep. Plus, there’s a great sense of community here, especially during the local Caversham Artisan and Farmers' Market
  • Woodley – As the largest suburb in Reading, Woodley is sure to have lots to keep you and your family entertained. Situated just four miles east of Reading town centre, this area usually has lots of events on, and is practically down the road from Reading’s bustling town centre
  • Earley – Proving highly popular for young families, Earley has lots going on – excellent school opportunities, a variety of family-friendly activities, not to mention its gorgeous 20th-century bay-fronted houses on offer. However, this sought-after area does come at a price, with the average detached home coming to £529,252

Highclere Castle – otherwise known as the set of Downton Abbey – looking majestic on a lovely sunny day

Things to do in Reading

Enjoy Reading’s nightlife

As Berkshire’s biggest town, you can expect a huge array of nightlife spots in Reading. Home to an impressive collection of bars, clubs, and pubs – as well as one of the UK’s most rowdy musical festivals – you’re sure to find something up your street.

From hidden-away cocktail caverns, to student nightclubs, to traditional pubs – this town's got it all.

Visit Reading Museum

Spend your afternoon gazing at the neo-gothic architecture of Reading Museum, and, of course, all the treasures that await you inside.

Here, you can explore Reading’s historical past, from its earliest days as a Saxon settlement, through its Medieval abbey, to the 21st century. You can even find the country’s only copy of the Bayeux Tapestry, depicting the Norman conquest of Britain.

Follow the Thames Path

his 14.3-kilometre trail starts at Reading and makes its way to Henley-on-Thames. The picturesque walk features beautiful wildflowers and glimpses of quaint villages that lie along Berkshire’s waterways.

And, after all that walking, you’ll have earnt a classic pub lunch at The Miller of Mansfield, located at the end of the trail. Perfect for a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Follow the Thames Path

This 14.3-kilometre trail starts at Reading and makes its way to Henley-on-Thames. The picturesque walk features beautiful wildflowers and glimpses of quaint villages that lie along Berkshire’s waterways.

And, after all that walking, you’ll have earnt a classic pub lunch at The Miller of Mansfield, located at the end of the trail. Perfect for a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Step back in time at Highclere Castle

Any period drama fans? If so, you’ll recognise this dramatic castle as the set of Downton Abbey. Roughly a 40-minute drive from the city centre, this stunning building looks even more majestic nestled in the Berkshire countryside.

Take a tour around the 250-300 rooms in the Castle Saloon and explore the main staterooms of Downton Abbey. Alternatively, you can follow the stairs down to the cellars where you will find the Egyptian Exhibition, which celebrates the 5th Earl of Carnarvon's discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Explore The Abbey Ruins

This tourist attraction has a lot of history. King Henry I ordered the construction of this once-spectacular Abbey, which also served as a section of Jane Austen’s boarding school and a jail that held Oscar Wilde.

After reopening again in 2018 – following a part Lottery-funded, part council-funded refurb – the ruins are now something for visitors to admire. The events schedule should continue post-pandemic, including drawing workshops, open-air theatre, and tour guides in Medieval costumes.

Float down the Kennet and Avon canal

This peaceful waterway runs all the way to Bristol. Why not hire a boat, bring a kayak, or just stroll down this tranquil trail and take in nature for the day?

Within the town, you’ll be able to see a selection of wildlife, particularly water birds, but the further you go from the centre, the more animals will come out to play. Expect kingfishers, little grebes, and tufted ducks.

Explore Reading’s many parks and gardens

Reading spoils its residents with acres of luscious green parks. Some of our favourites include:

  • Caversham Court – Located on the north bank of the River Thames, this mansion has now been transformed into a public garden. Aside from the beautiful views, many flock here for the culture, including an open-air theatre and cinema
  • Beale Wildlife Park and Gardens – Situated by the River Thames, between the villages of Pangbourne and Lower Basildon, this outdoor park boasts 30 acres of gorgeous greenery and is home to an exciting mix of animals and attractions
  • Prospect Park – As Reading’s largest open space you can spend hours upon hours exploring this lovely area. Plus, if you have little ones, they’re sure to enjoy the little steam train that makes its way through the park on the first Sunday of each month. The site is also host to a number of annual events including the Reading Carnival