Reading and its surrounding villages have plenty to offer young families; with an abundance of parks, water sports clubs and entertainment attractions.
Choose from one of the many highly-regarded primary and secondary schools, experience Reading’s retail scene, or simply take in the stunning landscape of the River Kennet and River Thames.
Sport and leisure activities
Reading owes its existence to its location on the Thames and the Kennet Rivers and both play an important role in the town’s leisure provisions. The banks of the rivers are dotted with rowing clubs and narrow boats and the Thames Path allows access to several of the small lakes that surround the town.
Christchurch Meadows, located on the Thames and within walking distance of the town centre, boasts green open fields, tennis courts, a bike path and a kids’ paddling pool. The meadows are also used for several events and festivals throughout the year, which see excellent attendance from the local community.
Set just outside of the town centre, Palmer Park features acres of parkland and contains an athletics stadium with a velodrome, playing fields for football and rugby, as well as an adventure playground; a popular spot in both summer and winter.
Restaurants, theatres and entertainment
The waterways of Reading also offer a host of places to eat and drink; with different eateries floating on the river, one popular find is a cafe on board a narrow boat, and several restaurants which overlook the water.
Indulge in Reading’s colourful arts and entertainment scene at the town’s independent arts centre, cinemas and world-renowned festivals.
Following an extensive three year renovation of a Grade II listed building, Thames Lido is the latest place to socialise in Reading with a year-round outdoor pool, luxurious spa and stylish restaurant with bar.
Acres of green space
The superb green spaces that Reading has to offer are central to the pleasant appeal of the town, with the surrounding countryside home to Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Prospect Park, formerly the gardens of a stately home is now the town’s largest public park. The Grade II listed property within the grounds has since been converted into a restaurant, providing a perfect day out for families.
Community life in Arborfield Green
For people interested in joining a social community with families, Arborfield Green – a short drive from the centre of Reading – is ideal. The Arborfield Green Community Centre is central to life in the area, with a pop-up café, regular meetings, toddler groups and youth clubs.
Arborfield Green also has a leisure centre with a variety of classes and activities, including the Arborfield Aces youth football club.
Arborfield Green’s new secondary school, Bohunt Wokingham, opened in 2017 and offers excellent modern facilities for local children. Work on a new primary school is underway with new classrooms for younger children from 2020.
Village life in Sonning-on-Thames
Sonning-on-Thames was famously referred to by Jerome K. Jerome in his book Three Men in a Boat, as the “the most fairy-like little nook on the whole river”. Although the village has grown since this famed reference, the area is still a charming place to live.
Set on the banks of the river are two well-regarded restaurants including the Coppa Club and The French Horn; both benefitting from the tranquil setting, overlooking Sonning Bridge. The Mill also offers a unique place to spend an evening, housing a small theatre and restaurant.
For families in the area, local schools include Sonning C of E Primary and Reading Blue Coat School, an independent day school for boys.
Life is peaceful in Sonning. Residents spend their time walking down the Thames Path, rowing on the Redgrave Pinsent Lake or enjoying a drink at the Bull Inn.