Reading for modern pilgrims


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Start walking the Camino in Reading

Welcome to Reading, a modern destination with a medieval history. Reading is the departure point for modern pilgrims and walkers retracing the steps of medieval pilgrims along St James’ Way to Southampton and then on to Galicia in north-west Spain to join the Camino Ingles, one of the routes of the world famous Camino de Santiago.  

Reading has lots to see and do while you are here, including a number of important pilgrim sites, so take a day or two to explore Reading's medieval history and get your Pilgrim Passport stamped before you set off on the St James Way. 

Print version - Reading for Modern Pilgrims map guide (landscape)>>

View online -  Reading for Modern Pilgrims map guide online (A4 portrait)>>


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Pilgrimage in Reading

HandofStJames St JamesChurchReading 1Throughout the Middle Ages, Reading and Caversham were recognised centres of pilgrimage. The focus in Reading was Reading Abbey, which possessed over 230 relics including the Hand of St James (see right), which made Reading the centre of the cult of St James in early medieval England. On the other side of the River Thames was the Shrine of Our Lady of Caversham, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which was visited in person by Queen Catherine of Aragon as late as 1532. Both were dissolved in the late 1530s, after which the location of the Shrine of Our Lady was lost to local memory, and has only been re-identified in recent years.

St James' Way

Hand of St James 042The St James’s Way is a long-distance walk of 68 miles running from Reading Abbey south to Southampton, and part of the Camino Ingles/English Way, the network of pilgrimage trails that run as far north in England as Durham to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, where St James is buried. This route will soon be marked with the scallop shell, symbol of the pilgrims to Santiago, and the yellow arrow to point you in the right Camino. 

Start at St James' Church in the Abbey Quarter and get your passport stamped in the church office. Stamps all count towards your Compostela.


What to see in Reading for modern-day pilgrims

Our map guide will show you where all the places of historic or pilgrim interestReadingAbbey cropped

can be found. Don't miss Reading Abbey Ruins, the Abbey Gate  and Forbury Gardens,  St James Church, where you can get your pilgrim passport stamped, the modern Shrine at St Anne's Church as well as Reading Museum. 

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