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    Work and Play Beside the Thames

    At the meeting point of the Thames and Kennet rivers, affluent Reading is close to London, yet far enough to feel completely different. For this reason it is an important business hub, particularly for IT. The M4 motorway runs directly from here to Heathrow Airport, and trains from its station terminate at Paddington.

    The town has literary connections to Jane Austen – whose school was in the Abbey Gateway – and Oscar Wilde, who was imprisoned in its jail. Nowadays, the Reading Festival is its biggest cultural event and has earned a place in the town hall museum. However, its most impressive exhibit is a replica of the Bayeux Tapestry.

    The Reading shopping options include Broad Street and The Oracle, a riverside complex also housing bars, cinemas and restaurants. The river continues south to one of the town’s green spaces, some housing golf courses. Forbury Gardens features a bandstand and large lion statue, and next door are ruins of an abbey founded by Henry I.

    Potential day trips include the Roman remains at Silchester, and river cruises to Henley-on-Thames, while sport lovers should visit the Madejski Stadium, home of Reading FC and London Irish rugby club.

    Booking.com’s Reading accommodation includes hotels with spas, cheap apartments and guest houses with parking.