On the water

Waterways have always been important to Reading. The town owes its existence to its location on the Thames and the Kennet Rivers, and has seven miles of unspoiled river frontage as well as lovely lakes made from former quarry pits. The centre of the town is close to the confluence of the two rivers with the town’s history and present revolving around them.

The River Kennet

The Kennet flows through the centre of today’s town centre, bisecting the Oracle and providing riverside dining opportunities.  It then flows past the ruins of Reading Abbey on its journey east with a weir and pumping station (now a restaurant) before it meets the Thames.

The River Thames

The Thames is a few hundred metres north of Reading town centre, beyond the Great Western Mainline. A short walk under the station subway and across Vastern Road brings you to the south bank. The new pedestrian bridge links you to leafy Caversham and beyond.

Make the most of the rivers

Today, both rivers play an important part in the town’s leisure time.  Rowing clubs dot the banks of the Thames, narrow boats and other craft are up and down and through the locks; The Thames Path takes walks through the heart of Reading while there are great walks to pubs and cafes both east and west of Reading on both the Kennet and Thames.

  • River cruises are available from near Caversham Bridge on the Thames. Thames River Cruise offer a number of circular cruises and themed onboard events. 
  • The annual Waterfest celebrates the town’s water heritage
  • Caversham Court Gardens is an historic Thameside garden listed on the English Heritage Gardens Register. Regenerated thanks to a major Heritage Lottery Grant, the 17th and 19th Century features of the garden have come back to life.
  • Christchurch Bridge is the newest bridge over the whole stretch of the Thames. Linking leafy Caversham to the town centre, this pedestrian and cycle bridge is winning architectural awards.

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  • Treat yourself to a treatment, lunch and a swim at Thames Lido by Caversham Lock.
  • You can play bowls on an island in the middle of the Thames
  • Join a canoe club to see the town from the river
  • Thames Valley Park is a popular recreation area east of the city centre
  • Sonning Village is a pleasant 4 mile walk east of Reading along the river. Stop at Sonning Lock for coffee and cake on the island.
  • As part of a weekend break, a leisurely afternoon cruise to nearby Henley, Mapledurham or Beale Park is a highlight, or enjoy the action of the various regattas, canoe races and other events which are a regular feature of the summer months.
  • You may even make the river your base for the weekend by renting a cruiser or barge for a few nights and exploring the best of the Thames from the water. 
  • Enjoy a throwback to the 2018 Reading on Thames Festival with this guided walk, courtesy of Reading Tree Wardens and Two Rivers Press. 


Open water swimming, a new aqua park, family beach and stand up paddleboarding (SUP) are on offer at at Caversham Lakes (see pic below). 

South of Reading, Lagoona Park offers  an inflatable obstacle course in the middle of the lake as well as a land based course, plus paddle boarding.





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