Reading has grown intuitively since the middle ages – gradually reaching out to link smaller village communities together into a vibrant metropolitan area, that still contain a number of distinct urban villages, each with a very distinct feel.
North of the Thames and more genteel in feel and aspiration, Caversham has an excellent shopping centre, and a surprising number of quality restaurants concentrated around the Prospect Street area. Emmer Green feels more rural as it links the town with the Oxfordshire countryside, and its past life is very obvious thanks to the village green and pond.
Benefits from its own station (sited between the river and the A329) and a well-loved retail heart. As its name implies Tilehurst was famous as a centre for brick making before Reading’s expansion west made it a key residential centre for the growing town.
Following the Kennet as it emerges from the Thames, historic Newtown was originally built to house the workers at the Huntley and Palmer’s biscuit factory, just east of the town centre. Much of the area was rebuilt in the 1970s to create public sector housing, but has recently seen a boom in private development and is well located for access to London and M4.
Mostly post-war residential development of public and private housing on former farmland, just west of the town centre adjacent to the A4. Notable for its red-brick bay-fronted property.
Major private housing developments dating from the 1970s onward, and well located just off junction 12 of the M4. The area was formerly farmland and site of several manor houses.
A vibrant area, popular for rented accommodation and first time buyers - with large numbers of Victorian terraces and converted properties. Reading's most multi-cultural area, and famous for its array of ethnic shops and eateries. Very easy access to town centre.
Some of the town's finest red-brick properties can be found in this area, alongside traditional red-brick terraced property. Sits east of the town en route to the University's Whiteknights Campus. Popular choice for privately rented student accommodation.
Once a quaint staging post on the main road to Portsmouth, Whitley (south Reading) was the focus of rapid development after the war and is a balance of industrial and residential with several large retail areas, benefiting from the expansion at Green Park and the new A33 relief road.
Earley still retains much of its village feel, particularly in the area known as “old Earley” near the University where some of Reading’s finest Victorian houses can be found. Woodley has a good shopping centre, an industrial park and its own Museum of Aviation – celebrating the areas wartime existence as an airfield and centre for aircraft manufacture. Together Woodley and Earley host some of the largest new housing estates in the UK.
Once quiet villages to the south of Reading, Spencers Wood and Three Mile Cross are now burgeoning development hotspots due to their strategic position just off Junction 11. Yet they still retain Victorian charm and a rural feel. Three Mile Cross is famous as the setting of Mary Russell Mitford’s “Our Village”.