What Reading lacks in cathedrals, it certainly makes up for in location. This was just one takeaway I took from living in the town for a year, as a Sheffield visitor getting to grips with some Southern grounds on my yearlong job placement. With weekends to fill and varying budgets to spend (sorry to the end of the month), I soon found that there were plenty of amazing day trips from Reading. So, grab a glass, put on your walking boots, or even buy yourself a fancy hat. There are so many great day trips from Reading – and the best part is that they’re all within thirty minutes!
This article is written by Faraway Lucy writer, Emily Whitaker.
1. Stanlake Park Wine Estate
How long does it take to get there? 5 minutes by train and 16 minutes by car
Address: Waltham Rd, Twyford, Reading RG10 0BN
Phone number: 0118 934 0176
When life gives you lemons why not… go wine tasting? Stanlake Park Wine Estate in Twyford is the perfect getaway for a relaxed afternoon with a group. And I won’t judge whether it’s a special occasion or a Wednesday afternoon. The estate boasts a 17th-century cellar with wine tasting tours beginning at £20 per person. Here you can learn about how wine is made and sample the award-winning English wines made here.
The estate has a relaxed, friendly and unpretentious atmosphere, making this a perfect spot to visit and get to grips with some locally sourced wine! Top tip: always take a responsible adult into the wine shop with you for a cheaper visit.
2. Dinton Pastures Country Park
How long does it take to get there? 9 minutes by train with an additional walk and 12 minutes by car
Address: Davis St, Hurst, Wokingham RG10 0TH
Phone number: 0118 974 6343
If you’re looking for a trip that’s a stone’s throw away, but you still want to feel like an explorer, then Dinton Pastures is one of the best day trips from Reading for you. It costs zero pennies to visit here in exchange for the plenty of calories that you’ll burn, with an estimated walking time around the park of one hour and thirty minutes.
But don’t be fooled… first time visitors are sure to be surprised by the many inlets and hidden spots that you’ll find, making the park a real treasure for orienteers. The inbuilt orienteering course, in association with the British Orienteering Foundation, has up to thirty spots to check off the list. (And a shorter route for any groups prone to a dispute!)
In the summer months, the park boasts adventure sports, from pedaloes to paddleboards and kayaks, and a whole range of other guided activities. Oh, and did I mention the café on-site? Potentially not a completely free trip after all. But after all those burnt calories? You earnt it.
How long does it take to get there? 13 minutes by train and 20 minutes by car
Address: Wokingham RG41 2YQ
Fancy an afternoon thrifting, reading and grabbing a bite to eat? Well, at my self-proclaimed Sunday spot, Wokingham is sure to offer you that relaxing afternoon that we often need. In just a couple of train stops, you can quickly leave the buzz of the centre for the quiet of Wokingham’s regenerated market town.
Boasting cafes, restaurants, charity shops, stores and a Waterstones (I may as well have paid rent), it’s the ideal spot for anyone wanting a lighter browse followed by a bite to eat. You’ll be sure to bump into some locals and feel welcomed by its friendly atmosphere. Something that is especially heightened during Wokingham Festival on the August bank holiday weekend!
But the party doesn’t stop when the night draws in, for the town is also a great place for pub drinkers that love some live music. Wokingham has a little bit of a lot of things, so what’s not to love?
How long does it take to get there? 20 minutes by train and car
Address: Market Street, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 1FL
If Wokingham has a little bit of a lot, Bracknell has a big bit of everything. It’s one more stop along on the train and in this short space of time, you’ve found the happy medium between the atmosphere of Reading and Wokingham. Although traditionally known as an industrial and service hub, Bracknell has been fighting back in recent years to mark its spot on the day-trippers map.
The Lexicon has done exactly this, now offering a whole range of shops and hospitality spots for the day-trippers that fancy a haul without the fuss. Branch out some more and you’ll soon find… well, plenty of branches. As Bracknell has been trying to tell us for years, it’s got more to it than meets the eye. There’s Bracknell Forest, home to a Go Ape course, and there’s even an adventure swimming park at Coral Reef Waterworld. It really is one big microcosm of the city and the country. It turns out Bracknell isn’t so bad after all!
How long does it take to get there? 20 minutes by car and 32 minutes by train
Address: Station Rd, Henley-on-Thames RG9 1AY
Phone number: 01491 576982
Obsessed with boats? Probably not. Enjoy getting dressed up on a summers day to watch some boats with a drink in your hand? There we go. Henley-on-Thames is famously home to the Henley Royal Regatta. So if you’re living in Reading and you haven’t already marked the date in your diary, this one’s for you. It’s a great day out with a group, especially if you wear the right shoes. And you can quickly go from watching the boats to dancing the night away in the makeshift bars on the river edge.
When the regatta isn’t in full swing, however, Henley still boasts some very (if not more so) picturesque views and a pleasant walk along the river. There’s everything you’d expect to find in a town, including some very cool antique shops (we’re talking first edition books!), and a river and rowing museum to browse. I personally enjoyed visiting Henley a few times in the year, even if it’s just to witness the contrast between the peaceful everyday and the party in July. So, give it a couple of goes and let me know which one you prefer.
6. Beale Wildlife Park
How long does it take to get there? 20 minutes by car
Address: Lower Basildon, Pangbourne, Reading RG8 9NW
Phone number: 0118 976 7480
There are only so many places you can find a meerkat in Reading, and lucky for you, Beale Wildlife Park is one of them. It’s a great spot for a day of family fun, with the park boasting a worldwide wildlife experience, from bees and aviaries to meerkat, lemurs, and reindeer.
A family ticket costs £36.00 and adults can enter for £12.00, making this a reasonably priced day out for everyone to enjoy. There’s plenty to learn on the guided talks and loads to explore, including a range of play areas for children and cafes for anyone wanting to relax.
7. Basildon Park
How long does it take to get there? 21 minutes by car
Address: Lower Basildon, Reading RG8 9NR
Phone number: 01491 672382
For all the Downton Abbey fans out there, what better way to spend a weekend than exploring an 18th-century house used in the original filming? Known as the family’s London residence, Basildon Park, or ‘Grantham House’ was used for filming during the Christmas Day episode in 2013 and more.
The house boasts a ‘seen on screen’ feature, but its journey doesn’t stop there, with plenty more TV shows (did I hear Bridgerton?) and series utilising the house and gardens for filming. And aside from all that juicy stuff, the house is still three hundred years old, so there’s plenty of history to discover from beyond the screen. Family prices are set at a £25 standard and adults visit for £10.
How long does it take to get there? 24 minutes by train and 34 minutes by car
Address: Windsor SL4 1NJ
Love historic sites that sit across from a Wetherspoon’s? Then Windsor’s one of the best day trips from Reading for you. This day trip can be as jam-packed or as relaxed as you want it to be. Whether you’re hiking the long walk or sitting across from Windsor Castle with a beer in your hand, you’ll have to admit one thing… it’s very pretty.
Begin your day with a boat trip along the river, then walk off some more calories as you climb Windsor Hill to find the castle. It’ll be basking in all its royal glory, but your pockets don’t need to be filled with crown jewels to find a reasonably priced (although slightly packed) restaurant or café to enjoy an afternoon bite.
After you’ve restored some energy, enjoy a long walk or simply take a look at the breathtaking views that the hill has to offer. There’s plenty of ways to navigate this town, but after attempting a few different routes myself, that’s the one I’m backing.
How long does it take to get there? 25 minutes by train and 48 minutes by car
Address: Oxford OX1 1RQ
As an Oxford student once told me, you will never find Oxford more beautiful than when you’re not actually studying there. As with many things, the stress of studying can quickly distract from the beauty of the city, meaning that Oxford is simply calling for its day-trippers to come and enjoy everything it has to offer.
It’s the perfect city to explore, because, with the city centre and the University combined, there is so much to see and do. But the good thing is that you can still fit most activities into just one day in Oxford! Take a stroll around the city and you’ll be sure to come across one of the 39 different colleges (of which Magdalen has been voted a favourite for its deer park) and a whole range of Instagrammable views that even made it into Harry Potter.
And when you’re not walking, why not hop on a punt at the nearest river inlet? Professional punters make navigation look easy, but it’s always more fun to have a go yourself. To re-energise after all that exploring, return back to the buzz of the centre for a bite to eat in a café or a restaurant. My only warning… be careful of the bikes. Some may say that the love for cycling here is enough to rival Amsterdam.
How long does it take to get there? 25 minutes by train and 1 hour 11 minutes by car
You know it, you love it and you’re probably going to visit it. If you find yourself in Reading, it won’t be long before you hop on a twenty-five-minute train to Paddington Station to enjoy all that the big city has to offer. And don’t be fooled by the expense of London, for a day trip here can also be as cheap and cheerful as you want it to be.
Make use out of the free museums and a trip around Harrods stationary section. As for the arts scene, why not visit the world’s most famous theatre with a standing ticket at Shakespeare’s Globe costing just £5? There are also lots of beautiful parks in London and London Instagram spots which are free to visit too. London is an experience that is even sweeter without the expense, making this one of the best day trips from Reading to enjoy all year round.
How long does it take to get there? 27 minutes by train and car
Address: High St, Ascot SL5 7JX
Phone number: 0344 346 3000
If you already bought your shoes for the Henley Regatta, then this is a great place to reuse them. Being frequented by none other than the Queen herself, it’s hard to have missed Ascot‘s famous name in the racing calendar. It’s an eclectic mix of competitors, dresser uppers, and those that just can’t wait for the live event that is put on in the evening, making this a great spot for a big group to enjoy an annual get-together.
And when the races aren’t on, you’ll find that Ascot has a whole range of scenic walks and little pubs where you can sit and reminisce about the great time you had. Sounds pretty idyllic to me.
So there you have it: 11 great day trips from Reading you need to go on. Which of these day trips from Reading has most caught your eye? Please let me know in the comments below!
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