The large town of Reading is not technically a city but has the character of a metropolitan area. Located at the confluence of the Rivers Thames and Kennet, this county town was once the medieval site of Reading Abbey monastery and a thriving textile industry. In recent times, Reading has since become a commercial centre for insurance and information technology.
Reading is home to major companies like ING Direct and Microsoft, as well as the major retail centres of refurbished Broad Street and modern, mixed-use Oracle Centre. This county town is also home to a thriving population of young city workers and students from the world-class University of Reading. They support a thriving nightlife, with Reading bars on Friar Street and Station Road in the town centre, as well as the upper class Caversham suburb. Reading itself splits into up-and-coming East Redding and the more cosmopolitan West Reading, with annual festivals like Reading Pride and one of the UK’s largest beer festivals. The splendor and history of the Victorian Forbury Gardens and Reading Abbey ruins sit in the city centre, as well, but you can easily escape into the green rolling hills of the Thames Valley beyond the town limits.
As a prominent centre for commercial and information technology, Reading has seen its fair share of regeneration and creation of commercial property for rent. Both Oracle Shopping Centre and Broad Street Mall were redeveloped into mixtures of retail, leisure, residential, and offices to rent. More recently, Chatham Street west of the town centre has been the site of the mixed-use Chatham Place and Chatham Square, with a variety of investment property for sale. Even the town’s central transportation hub is undergoing the Reading Station upgrade in order to meet the rising commuter demand.