Reading 2021 for the travel trade

The 900th anniversary of one of England’s medieval gems, Reading Abbey Ruins, is the cornerstone of Reading’s leisure tourism offer in 2021.

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Reading has a fascinating and compelling story to share with visitors in 2021. At the centre of it are the stories surrounding Reading Abbey, built 900 years ago in 1121 as the burial site of King Henry I of England. A heritage visit to Reading also includes finding out more about the time famous figures Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde spent in what is now known as Reading’s Abbey Quarter and wondering at the only full-scale replica of the Bayeux Tapestry, which can also be seen in the Abbey Quarter’s Reading Museum. Reading also boasts boat trips along the longest stretch of the River Thames in any English local authority area and the region’s best range of hotels, not to mention excellent shopping, dining and a riverside spa. Reading promises to be one of 2021’s most unexpected destinations.

Reading 2021 Travel trade pack

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Reading hosts a number of excellent museums. A visit to Reading Abbey Quarter should start at Reading Museum, which tells the story of the foundation of the Abbey. It also boasts the only full-size replica of the Bayeux Tapestry. The MERL - the Museum of English Rural Life, is the national museum dedicated to food, farming and countryside.  The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology and the Cole Museum of Zoology (re-opening in a new home in 2021) are both on the University of Reading campus in Reading.  Reading is also the UK capital of Escape Rooms with indoor and outdoor games available across a number of venues.

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The Thames and the Kennet

Reading sits on a majestic stretch of the River Thames. Thames River Cruise offer circular sightseeing tours and themed events aboard their range of craft. Water sports fans can hire kayaks and SUPs on the Thames at Wokingham Waterside Centre or the new Caversham Lakes open water swim centre. The restored Edwardian Ladies bathing pool, Thames Lido, offers spa treatments and swim and dine packages at this new glamorous riverside destination. Reading is also a great stopover for people on boating holidays on the Kennet and Avon Canal, which flows through the centre of the town.

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Reading has the region’s best hotel offering, with a wide range of town centre and out-of-town options. Stay in the Abbey Quarter in five-star luxury at the Roseate Reading; take a dip in the pool in the centrally located Novotel Reading; enjoy Thames views at the riverside Crowne Plaza; or step back in time to Reading’s original Victorian railway hotel, now a Malmaison.  Hilton, Ibis, Travelodge, Holiday Inn and Voco are among the international brands also represented in Reading and there is a wide range of self- catering/serviced accommodation available in central Reading. Find out more>>>

Reading is a short-break destination along the Great West Way, the UK’s new tourist trail from London to Bristol. Just 22 minutes by train from London Paddington, easily accessible on the M4 motorway, by boat on the rivers Kennet or Thames and on foot along the Thames Path national trail, Reading is one of the best-connected destinations in the UK.

Reading offers a warm welcome to groups and international visitors. We’ve developed a number of resources to help groups, tour operators and wholesalers create inspiring programmes to discover the history and heritage of Reading.


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