If you are peckish, as well as a cafe further down, there are some lovely raspberry and blackberry bushes that look very tempting.
Reading is most famous for its music festival held annual in late August. The town centre has been beautifully presented and my favourite places are along the canal and the river. If you go to the Oracle Mall and Vue Cinema you will find the canal that is lined with lively restaurants with excellent music. There are lots of Japanese restaurants and Spanish restaurants, so all my favourites covered. The scene reminded me of the area by the Casino in Melbourne (Australia) that also has restaurants lining the river. We were walking about at night, and unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me so couldn’t take any photos to show and tell.
In the morning we went for a stroll along the river. The sun was out and it was so hot that we didn’t want to get stuck in the car again, so we took the opportunity to get some fresh air and plenty of exericse. The River Thames flows through Reading. To my surprise they even had a couple of black swans. But the rest of the swans were white, and there were also some ducks and lots and lots of geese.
The embankment has been beautifully presented with flowers and footpaths for pedestrians. Just be sure to watch out you don’t get run over by a cyclist! You will also come across a restaurant in the middle of the river called the ‘Island’ which I have been told is very posh, if that is your sort of thing.
In addition to being popular with the swans, some canoeists also found it a popular spot.
We also passed a couple of rowing clubs along the way.
Reading Rowing Club
Reading University Rowing Club.
If you have time you can take a cruise along the river on one of many cruise boats, for a spot of coffee of lunch. Can you see the queue above as people line up to board the boat? Inside the boat they had balloons decorating the ceilings and windows that said 50th. It made me wonder whether it was a wedding anniversary or someone’s birthday?
In addition to the other wild birds we also saw some small brown ducks, that we couldn’t figure out what they were. One of them had a nest just below the bridge, and funnily enough it was located right in front of a nightclub/restaurant. It sounds like the bird enjoys the spoils of left over food from the restaurant and the fine music of the nightclub.
If you are hungry then make your way down to the cenotaph near Reading University Rowing Club and you will find a great big walnut tree.
Are the waters really troubled in the River Thames along here at Reading? The current is not all that strong so it seems perhaps not. My husband even threw a leaf into the river to see which direction it would flow.
There are a couple of bridges that pass over the river and I found them fascinating.
There is a small pedestrian bridge a little further on from this bridge.
Can you see the cyclists crossing over the bridge above?
These adorable ducks are sheltering from the sun under this main bridge. Some more cyclists are crossing under the bridge. I forgot to mention earlier that the river side was full of people enjoying the sunshine and clear skies. Especially young families with children in the play area and many people were out cycling. The funny thing here is that people didn’t have a whistle on their cycle to let you know they were approaching you so you could go to one side. Instead they just snuck up on you and expected you to have already heard them. A bit of a tall order when you are in a group that is talking loudly! he he
The inside of this tunnel was painted with a mural of bright coloured objects that looked very cheerful.
We went to Forbury Gardens today. To get to Forbury gardens we walked through the centre of Reading. People were spilling out onto the cobbles from the cafes and restaurants that were buzzing with people drinking, eating, and conversing. It made me wonder, are all these people here tourists, or do they actually live in Reading? I asked my friends and they explained that most of these people live in Reading. They do not necessary work in Reading, as it is popular for many people living in Reading to travel by train to London every week day for work. I asked if there were many touristy things to do in Reading, and the answer was not really. Apart from the Museum, which we couldn’t find, which is reportedly inside Reading. However Reading is very close to many cultural attractions, such as Windsor Castle and a range of heritage houses. There is also a money jungle activity thing somewhere nearby if you are keen on heights and fancy the idea of swinging from one tree to another.
Just before we reached Forbury gardens we passed a lovely little church, in fact we had passed many different churches in Reading.
In the true fashion of English Churches, this church had a very old cemetery on its surrounding grounds. The church is perched on a corner.
On one side across the road are a selection of old and very new and very tall buildings. On the other side of the road is the entrance to Forbury Gardens.
Tadaima! We’re home! Yes its been a great weekend and so much fun catching up with old friends It’s also our very first trip away from home that we’ve actually been able to do since returning from New Zealand, so I almost feel like this is a milestone for us! Hopefully this will be a sign of things to come, and we have already planned another trip away in a fortnight.
The traffic on the way home tonight wasn’t quite as bad as it was yesterday, but we still got stuck in queues just after Heathrow and saw numerous traffic control cars, ambulances and smashed up cars, and of course the road work didn’t help matters. So we felt very relieved to make it home safely, and very grateful.
Yesterday was a shocker for the traffic, we left here at 1.30pm and our ETA for Reading was 4.10pm. We spent just under three hours stuck in a queue around Heathrow, and by the time we got to our friends house it was 7.30pm. And was I famished! Not to mention sticky and dehydrated. Our car doesn’t have air conditioning so it was a nightmare sitting under the sweltering heat stuck in a basically stationary car for three hours. I was so grateful to finally arrive to Reading, and thoroughly enjoyed the cool breeze and lower temperatures. We had a barbeque and ate dinner outside that was just perfect.
We will be driving to Reading early tomorrow morning. Well that is the plan at least. All of our previous trips to London and Henley earlier this year had to be cancelled due to illness, but I’m hoping we’ll have better luck this time
We are just staying one night, returning on Sunday. So will be very limited time wise. I have been trying to find things to do and see while we are in Reading. So far, I’ve come with quite a few ideas. There is the Museum, and a list of Historic Houses, and Natural Wildlife activities to do.
The historic houses include NT Basildon Park; NT The Vyne; NT Cliveden; Stonor Park; Mapledurham House; Nuffield Place; and Stratfield Saye House. However, I am particularly keen on visiting the River and Rowing Museum at Henley on Thames. The driving time from Reading to Henley is supposedly only 20 minutes away. I expect that time varies on events and seasonal traffic, I’m thinking in particular of the Mens Henley when visitor numbers swell the area. The Museum is open seven days a week that makes it very convenient for weekend visits. Their contact details are 01491 415600. Ticket prices range between £7 for adults, £5 for unemployed, £5 for senior citizens and chldren, and family tickets are also available. The good thing here is that if you get the opportunity to come back again to visit then you should keep your ticket because you can use it again for another 12 months from the purchase date. I must admit the main reason I want to visit this Museum is because I just love the Wind in the Willows. The Museum has a number of permanent exhibitions and the Wind in the Willows Exhibition is one of them. The story brings back so many fond memories from my childhood. Do you remember Mr Toad, Ratty, Badger and Mole? The Museum has 3 -D models of the illustrations that brings the story back to life. I was shocked when my husband told me he had never heard of Wind in the Willows before, so that is why I think we must definitely go to the Museum, as an educational experience for my husband, well its a good excuse isn’t it? In addition to the permanent exhibitions the Museum also has a continuing selection of exhibitions that change over time in the current exhibitions.
If you prefer the outdoors, then there are good variety of activities in or near Reading. They include: Beale Park; Bucklebury Farm Park; The Look Out Discovery Centre; Nature Discovery Centre; The Living Rainforest;
UK Wolf Conservation Trust; and The Herb Farm.
If we are still around in the afternoon on Sunday then I would like to check out the band at Forbury Gardens. I was trying to figure out how to get to Forbury Gardens and found directions from the BBC website on Breathing Places, which is an interesting name isn’t it? The gardens have a long history and are known for its statue of the Lion and the Abbey Ruins.