A Guide to Student Necessities

Although Uni is about commitment and dedication to subjects you are passionate about, it is fair to say that with work comes play. Students at Reading know how to have a good time and make the most of this beautiful and fun town. Due to the impact of COVID, many students still do not know Reading fully. This guide is here to help navigate you to all the necessities a Reading student needs both on Campus and in Reading town.

Coffee

Coffee is a staple to almost all Students. If you are a budding Fresher; give it a minute and you too will devote your life to a good cup of coffee. 

The Uni has a great range of places to visit including the infamous Dolce Vita located next to the Palmer Building which serves a mean Iced Coffee, priced at around £3, whilst also using eco-friendly cups and bamboo straws; great for students who are aware of their impact on the world. We also have a fast-paced Starbucks now located in the original Blackwell’s Bookshop which of course can tailor to all your extensive beverage needs. 

The library itself has a spacious and modern Café and serves fresh breakfast items for that quick pick me up before your 9 am. 

There are also a few spots many students miss such as the Index Café in the Henley Business School, ‘Eat’ at Edith Morley and Park Bar/Eat located between Windsor and Mackinder accommodation.

It is also good to know where to pop by if one is doing work in town. Reading centre has four Starbucks located at the Oracle Canalside, inside the Oracle Shopping centre itself, the popular corner Starbucks on Broad St. (the large red road in the town centre) and another at Reading station. 

If Starbucks isn’t your favourite for coffee or drinks, do not be alarmed, Reading is also home to four Costa’s; two on Broad St, one in the Oracle itself and another in the station. 

However, if you are a student who prefers a more refined and European-style drink you may be in luck. A few Café Nero’s are dotted about at the roundabout in St. Mary’s Butts, Queen Victoria St., and the Oracle Canalside. A recent addition to the Canalside had been the Nescafe Hut which is ideal for a quick stop whilst rushing around town. 

Those who perhaps have some money left over from rent may also choose to visit Patisserie Valerie or Pret a Manger for their French-inspired coffee kick, both located on Broad St.

Nights Out

Of course, with all that productive work completed thanks to the extreme amounts of caffeine rushing through your system, you may feel like a night out is deserved. Reading is an amazing place for a good night out and although the town itself is smaller than most, the range of places to visit is surprisingly impressive. There are many different stops to cater to your favourite environment and music taste.

On campus we have the infamous Student Union, located in the 3sixty Bar, which hosts events every Wednesday and Saturday. The tickets are cheap and priced at £5-£6, alongside their drinks where you can buy six Jager’s for only £15! There are different rooms which play contrasting music such as current pop, R&B and D&B. Their newest edition is the free 360 Bus which runs from Campus to locations in town such as Cemetery Junction and Erleigh Road, for those who live further in town. It has been very successful and is a fun journey to get you excited for the night ahead. Due to the popularity of Student Union night, it does get busy very fast so make sure to buy your tickets in advance and arrive early so you miss those lines. 

Mojos Bar, also located in the Student Union is a great place to visit due to its beautiful outdoor and spacious seating. Music is played also in the day so if you complete work early and have no 9 am’s the following day, it could be the place for an early drink.

If you are part of any societies or committees then you will have already been acquainted with Park Bar, located at the same place as Park Eat. This is the place for events planned by these societies and is a fun way to meet new people. Those who live in halls and houses closer to town may also know of The Dairy situated on London Road Campus and will suit those who prefer a more pub-like atmosphere.

However, if partying on campus isn’t your thing, Reading town will not disappoint. Starting off with Wetherspoons because they are a staple to a good night out. There are three in reading; The Monk’s Retreat and The Hope Tap both on Friar St. and The Back and Beyond on Kings Rd.

After pit-stopping for drinks there, you may want to move to somewhere with music and more action. Located at Friar StReading’s most popular, wild night out, Q Club, is found here and caters to a wide variety of music tastes as well as a secured great night out. 

The nation-wide Revolution de Cuba, Wild Lime, Sub 89 (which hosts really great events such as Bingo Lingo) and Lola Lo’s; a place where even Made in Chelsea stars were spotted visiting. 

Around the corner is St. Mary’s Butts where places such as Coconut Bar and The Boundary are found. 

Station Rd. is also home to Revolution where you can guarantee a good cocktail fix. If you are looking for something a little different then Gun St. may be the place for you. It is home to the renowned Purple Turtle which caters to more indie-alternative tastes and is the best place for meeting great people, as well as Be at One and Zero degrees for those beer-enthusiasts. 

Hope and Bear on the corner of Cemetery Junction is also a great place for more muted drinks and civilised conversation.

If you can’t bear to part from Reading’s beautiful canal, do not fear, there are many places that will still allow you to take in its beauty. The gorgeous Slug and Lettuce for cocktails is a staple to pretty much any town in the UK and Beach Bar brings the holiday to you. Completed with real sand beach furniture, this bar is great for those who love a moody-tropical vibe whilst they are missing out due to COVID. 

The Oracle itself also holds All Bar One for stylish and pretty evening drinks. If you are a lucky student with a little more cash to spend, why not visit The Botanist on King St. or The Roseate just off Forbury Rd. for a more refined taste.

Gyms

After all that coffee and drinks you will probably feel a bit sluggish but getting into a good routine can really help balance personal and work life. From gym-rats to occasional visitors, Reading holds a nice selection of gyms to cater to where you live and want to travel to. On campus, there is the Sport’s Park which is a popular choice for those who live directly near it or want a cheaper contract at only £16 a month for the classic membership. Do remember that there are also an extraordinary number of Sports clubs to also take-part in on the RUSU website and would also strengthen your team working skills. 

If the fear of running into someone you know on campus whilst working out puts you off the idea, Reading town also has a few spots such as Buzz Gym on King’s Rd. (£20 pm), The Gym Group at St. Mary’s Butts (£129 per 9 months; equal to £14 pm)  and the popular PureGym’s on both Basingstoke and Caversham Rd. (£20 pm for Basingstoke and £15 pm for Caversham).

Days Out

Although it can be hard as a busy student to balance everything at once, it is extremely important to take time out for not only yourself but others too, such as family, friends, and partners. Thanks to (what seems like) things slowly getting back to normal, we also can too. Reading, although small, has many options of exciting things to do. 

The Oracle is Reading’s shopping centre and has almost everything a student could need; clothes shops, restaurants, drinks, stationary shops…the list is endless. 

If you still want to stay in academic mode, you may fancy visiting Reading Abbey Ruins located off Abbey Rd. for some historical grounding, or perhaps Reading Museum on Blagrave St. which is home to an incredibly beautiful and impressive Bayeux Tapestry replica, as well as a rich range of diverse Reading history and art. The Museum of English Rural Life on Redlands Rd. is an informative place for those passionate about English agriculture. 

If you are feeling a more relaxed and chilled-out vibe then the Parisian-esque Forbury Gardens, especially when the weather is nice, is a great place to picnic and socialise with friends. Those who are a little more civilised may find a day out boating along the River Thames to be one of great enjoyment and there are many places along it where you can arrange an aesthetically pleasing day out. 

Maybe you are looking for something with a bit more action, well, Vue Cinema on the Canalside is a great destination for all of you film-enthusiasts. With tickets around £5 it is a no brainer for those fun laughs or terrifying scares. Cinema is not your thing but still enjoy acting, the Reading Rep Theatre on King’s Road is a great place to enjoy art in a more interactive way. Currently they are running performances such as ‘Dorian’ (tale of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde who was kept in Reading Prison from 1895 to 1897 and where he wrote ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’),  ‘A Christmas Carol’ over the Christmas period, ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ in Spring term and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in Summer.

Transport

All these places can be easily accessed by the Reading buses reliably running across all parts of town. Those on campus may wish to use the 21 and 21a straight from outside the Chancellors Building to town centre. Those who already live in town but still can’t muster the energy to walk (which is fair after a busy week of work) may use the Purple 17 or Little Oranges which are again direct to town. Those who have a few more pounds may also wish to use the classic Uber service or Ace Cars in Reading.

 

Hopefully this guide has not only been an informative one, but also highlights the many opportunities out little Reading has to offer. Balance is key and you should work as hard as you can, but when you can relax and take time for yourself you should pull out all the stops.

Written by Layla Cole

Edited by Grace Eakin

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