Reading, in itself, might not be the world’s most obvious tourist destination. But this perfectly pleasant commuter belt town outside of London is convenient to a whole lot, including new national walking route, the Great West Way, Oxford, and of course the British capital. It’s also a popular spot for business conferences and, perhaps most important of all, once a year gets taken over by the raucous Reading Festival – one of the biggest pop music events anywhere in Europe.
One of the benefits of its small tourism status is that accommodation is reliably affordable. This said, it can be a bit of a minefield, lacking international scrutiny many of the privately run “inns” that offer rooms are often not worth even the minor outlay it costs to stay in them. Fortunately, we’re here to help you avoid mildew on the pillows with these first-class recommendations.
From £57/ night
Housed in a very pleasant, old-fashioned suburban building, the rooms here are stylishly furnished, though retain traditional touches: beyond anything else, it’s actually a great insight into the kind of way most people in Reading live! The Abbey House is also excellently located, both if you want to pop into Reading town for food, or to the station, from whence central London is only 25 minutes away. Most rooms have en suite bathrooms, all have WiFi and tea & coffee making facilities, and to cap it off, there’s an onsite public lounge and bar, where you can grab a drink at the end of a long day.
From £70/ night
Part of the social fabric of Reading, this large tavern with a neo-classical façade got its name from being the place English author Charles Dickens popped into when in town to host public readings. The bar area retains a real aura of charm with flag stone floors and exposed beams and is a great place to bump into locals, and get some traditional grub. As for the rooms, well, they’re not going to win any prizes for design, but if you can look past the pastel colours and cheap wooden fittings, they’re perfectly comfortable, warm and clean, and good value for money. Free WiFi is, of course, available throughout.
From £50/ night
Ibis Styles hotels are, granted, not too everyone’s taste. Fundamentally because the “styles” they tend to have seem to have been produced by a mad French A.I. programme trying to understand modern interior design. But if you can get round the inexplicable pictures of horse racing, the whacky shaped furniture, and wall patterns like an analogue TV losing signal, there’s a lot to recommend. Namely, it’s comfortable, and very clean, and run with the kind of professionalism that just makes you accept the design like that’s just what hotels ought to look like. There’s also a full batch of functioning amenities, including en suites to every room, flat screen TVs, WiFi and free toiletries.
From £40/ night
With the charm of a large, old fashioned coaching inn, the Bath Hotel is a great choice if you want to avoid chain hotels but still get an executive quality of comfort and cleanliness in your stay. The rooms are cozy in a typically English way, with carpets, heavy curtains, and plush bedding, as well as extensive tea and coffee making equipment. On site breakfasts are reliably hearty and there’s a bus stop just outside if you don’t want to walk the 15 minutes into town. WiFi is available throughout.
From £37/ night
Located in a sizable late-Victorian building, the Hillingdon Prince Hotel offers guests independence, with a number of self-catered rooms, complete with fridges microwaves and kitchenettes. The rooms are unlikely to win any design awards, being fairly featureless, but they’re perfectly comfortable, and all have en suite bathrooms, TVs, and WiFi. There’s also a communal lounge area, some excellent cooked breakfasts in the morning, and an onsite gym to burn them off!