Museums in Reading

Dating back to the 6th century, Reading is a town full of rich history – and it’s lucky enough to have five museums telling its story. 

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Reading Museum

Housed in Reading Town Hall, an impressive Victorian building, Reading Museum has a broad historical remit spanning Victorian paintings, Roman relics and the UK’s only copy of the famous Bayeux Tapestry. Part of Reading since 1883, the museum is free to visitors and opens from Tuesday to Saturday 10am–4pm with an on-site café and shop which sells a range of gifts. 

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Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology

Located on Reading University’s Whiteknights Campus a few miles from the town centre, the Ure Museum is one of the best collections of Greek history in the UK. Opened in 1922, the museum has an important collection of incredibly rare Greek ceramics and terracottas, as well as metal and stone artefacts from the Roman and Egyptian periods. It’s also one of the few places where you can see what a mummified cat’s head looks like if that’s something you’ve ever wondered?

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Reading Museum

Reading Museum

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The Museum of English Rural Life

The Museum of English Rural Life

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Cole Museum of Zoology

Next door to the Ure Museum is the Cole Museum of Zoology. Part of the School of Biological Sciences, it’s home to over 4,000 specimens, with around 350–400 on display at any one time. You can currently see a five-metre reticulated python skeleton, an elephant skeleton and a fossil of the largest spider ever found. 

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The Museum of English Rural Life

Re-opened in 2016, The Museum of English Rural Life covers everything you’ve ever wanted to know about farming and how it’s changed over the centuries. Spanning farming techniques and animal welfare, the two-storey museum is a fascinating archive of more than 25,000 items dating from 1750 onwards including farm machinery, hand tools, livestock paintings, tractors and more. There’s also a popular café and outdoor garden, perfect for when the sun is shining. 

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The Museum of Berkshire Aviation

Located in Woodley, a suburb of Reading, the Museum of Berkshire Aviation is home to a range of aircraft including the mind-boggling Fairey Jet Gyrodyne, a futuristic mash-up of a helicopter and aeroplane that looks like something out of the Jetsons. 

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