Brand new shopping malls, quirky markets and 1930s vintage arcades – shopping in Reading has got the lot!
Reading is only 30 miles from London, but with one of the most modern shopping centres in the country, it’s a retail destination in its own right. Opened in 1999, The Oracle is home to three huge department stores and over 90 shops spanning high-end fashion, kids’ toy shops, jewellery and technology. When it opened, it increased the retail space in Reading by a third, with part of it going to an 11-screen state of the art Vue cinema.
After all that shopping, you’ll need to refuel. The Oracle has over 20 cafés and restaurants, or if the weather’s nice, you can make your way to the gorgeous riverside area that’s full of outdoor tables and stadium-style seating. And, as it’s only a minute’s walk from our Reading Central hotel, so you’ll be perfectly placed to take in all the action.
Slightly older, but worth checking out, is the Broad Street Mall, a short walk from The Hexagon in the town centre. Built in the 70s, this two-floor shopping centre is home to over 60 stores and cafés including Footlocker, Samsung and more niche stores like Games Workshop and arts and crafts store Jelly.
If you’re looking for an entirely different shopping experience, the Harris Arcade is worth a visit. Built in the 30s, it’s home to a wonderful range of shops where you can buy comic books, collectable vintage toys, real ales, and cheese – you’ll find all sorts there.
Located to the south of the town centre is Reading Gate Retail Park, a nine-store out of town retail park home to large stores including TK Maxx, Currys and Oak Furniture Land. There are over 1,000 free car park spaces as well as a KFC, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s.
Held on the first and third Saturday of the month at The Cattle Market on Great Knollys Street, Reading Farmers’ Market is the place to come for farm-fresh produce, baked goods, cheese, fresh meat and even locally brewed beer. Running from 8.30am to midday, the event showcases some of the best local food and drink.
Running from Wednesday to Saturday, the Hosier Street Outdoor Market offers everything from artisan ice cream to fire-hot chillies. The market runs from 9am to 4pm and, as well as more niche products, it has vendors selling fruit and vegetables, flowers, plants and clothing and is located near Broad Street Mall in the centre of Reading.
Finally, if rummaging around another person’s junk to find your treasure is your idea of a fun morning out, the Swallowfield Car Boot sale on the A33 takes place every Sunday and bank holiday. With around 300 sellers, you’re bound to find something that takes your fancy, with haggling encouraged and early birds getting the best bargains – but with a 7am start time, you might need to grab a coffee on the way.
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