What to Do When You’re Stuck in Reading over Christmas

As an international student living nearly 12,000 kilometres away from home, I tend to have no choice but to stay around over Christmas break. That however doesn’t mean that we have no option but to binge watch shows after shows, or to hibernate through the long month! Instead, the festive break is an opportunity to explore our lovely town even more.

Visit Reading’s very own Winter Wonderland

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This year, Reading’s Winter on Ice opens at Forbury Gardens (just behind the Post Office in town), and hosts an exciting range of games, rides, festive food and drinks. The Christmas lights are lit up from morning till dark, but it is definitely at its prettiest after sundown. The Baileys hot chocolate and mulled wine at the Apres Bar will get you straight into a festive mood.

Reading Winter on Ice, Opens Daily 10am – 10pm http://readingwinteronice.com/

Explore Reading’s Live Venues

Reading itself is filled with pleasant surprises around its corners, apart from the well-known clubs and pubs. Cool live events take place weekly, from Jazz and Acoustic live music in town centre’s lovely Artigiano Cafe, Bohemian and Blues nights in the uniquely independent Global Cafe at RISC, to Motown and Soul Nights at Oakford Social Club.

Artigiano, Opens 7am – 9pm (11.30 on Wednesdays), Jazz Nights every Wednesday starting from 8pm, Acoustic Nights every Thursday starting from 8pm http://www.artigiano.uk.com/reading.html

Global Cafe at RISC, Opens 11am – 11pm (1am on Fridays and Saturdays) http://risc.org.uk/global-cafe

Oakford Social Club, Opens noon – late http://www.oakfordsocialclub.com/events

Relax with a Cup of Coffee in Hand


If loud places aren’t necessarily your thing, do not worry, as there are plenty of other cool venues to visit! Coffee lovers should visit the new C.U.P. (Coffee Under Pressure) Cafe located at St Mary’s Butts (just by the Church), which serves beautifully-crafted coffees.

Artigiano is also a contender in this category, with its lovely atmosphere and amazing range of cakes and drinks (not to forget half-priced breakfast pastries in the morning!).

C.U.P. Cofffee, Opens 8am – 7pm Mon-Sat and 10am – 6pm Sun http://www.cupreading.co.uk/ 

Artigiano, Opens 7am – 9pm (11.30 on Wednesdays) http://www.artigiano.uk.com/reading.html

Try Charming and New Restaurants

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Those looking for a charming restaurant to wind down should visit Bill’s, also located at St Mary’s Butts. The restaurant is built inside a reworked Church building, still keeping the comforting atmosphere of the structure alive. Bill’s serves British and European cuisine, and their range of desserts such as the Eton Mess is definitely to die for.

Another strong recommendation is Bluegrass BBQ, a newly-opened American smokehouse located at Gun Street. Other than their amazing ribs and pulled pork dishes served from noon till late, Bluegrass also serves an exciting range of American-style pancakes in the morning.

Fans of Asian cuisine shouldn’t worry as well, as town centre’s Coconut bar serves an amazing range of beautifully-presented South East Asian, Chinese and Japanese dishes.

Bill’s, Opens 8am – 11.30pm https://bills-website.co.uk/restaurants/reading/

Bluegrass BBQ, Opens 8am – late http://bluegrass-bbq.com/

Coconut Bar and Kitchen, Opens 11am – 1am http://www.coconutbarkitchen.co.uk/

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