Reading is the county town of the Royal County of Berkshire - now the only county in Britain allowed to called itself ‘Royal’. The city is situated a mere 40 miles west of London in the heart of the beautiful Thames Valley, with the Chiltern Hills to the north and the Hampshire Downs to the south.
Reading is widely regarded as the commercial capital of the Thames Valley, a thriving centre of commerce & light industry, but close to delightful countryside.
Business in the local area
The Thames Valley has one of the most buoyant economies in the South East and generates more wealth than any area in the UK apart from London. Easy access to Heathrow Airport makes the region a magnet for multi-national, with world leaders such as GlaxoSmithKline, Microsoft and Vodafone amongst the 100,000 businesses which have chosen to locate themselves in the Thames Valley.
Re-named the “Silicon Valley”, the city of Reading is dominated by hi-tech industries. Information and communciation technologies is the major business cluster, whilst the life sciences and biotechnology sector is steadily gathering momentum.
The automotive industry is also well represented by the likes of Honda, BMW and Volvo.
As the principle business centre in the Thames Valley, Reading boast the highest concentration of accountancy firms in the region. Reading is host to all of the Big 4, most of the Top 20 firms and a number of strong independent practices such as James Cowper and Target.
For the sports enthusiast Reading boasts the Madejski Stadium which is home to Reading Football Club and London Irish Rugby Football Club. Music lovers will be aware of the annual Reading festival which has placed the area firmly on the musical map. For entertainment on a more regular basis, Reading is home to various venues including the Hexagon which hosts ballet, theatre and film and the South Streets Art Centre which is renowned for its range of performing arts and comedy acts.
Reading has a vibrant nightlife scene with the Riverside Development at the Oracle Centre housing a number of popular eateries and watering holes. Foodies will also enjoy the farmer’s market held on the first and third Saturday of each month on the Cattle Market site at Great Knolly’s Street.
With excellent rail and road communications, Reading is an ideal geographic location. The M4 motorway provides easy access to London, the south-west and Wales and there is a frequent bus service to London. The large, modern mainline station is well linked in most directions. Trains run frequently to and from London (Paddington and Waterloo), the fastest taking only 22 minutes.
The UK’s main airport, Heathrow, is less than 40 kilometres away and the M4 link makes access possible in 30 minutes via a frequent coach service from Reading station. There is also a direct rail connection with London Gatwick airport, with an hourly service and a journey time of 90 minutes.
Reading itself offers a choice of living accommodations from newly renovated flats to larger family homes. Other popular areas that attract professionals who commute into Reading include Windsor, Bracknell, Twyford, Henley-on-Thames and Newbury.
The average cost of a detached house in Reading as of December 2010 was £411,000, with the average flat costing £164,000.
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Reading offers good schooling in both the private and state sectors. Independent schools include the Oratory Preparatory School and nearby Bradfield College.