Reading 'City' Guide

By Victoria Fellows


Yes, we know, Reading isn’t a city. It’s a town.

Home to many of our consultants and just a stone’s throw from our Theale office is the town of Reading.

Despite bidding for City status four times Reading is still a town. The last bid for City status was in May this year (2022), and with Reading having a larger population and more ‘city status requirements’ than many current cities we were hopeful that bid would be successful. But alas, it was not to be again.

In the meantime, forget the traditional parochial towns that spring to mind. With a population of 342,117, a dynamic restaurant and café scene, and shopping malls to challenge even the most determined shoppers, Reading is practically a city, and with the beautiful South Oxfordshire Countryside and the rolling banks of the Thames right on its doorstep, it offers the perfect balance of city and countryside living.

Reasons to live in Reading (and work in Theale!)

Just a 20-minute drive from IC Resources’ head office in Theale, or a 10-minute train ride, Reading is extremely accessible whether you’re living near the office and fancy a night out, or whether you want to live in a thriving city and hop on a train to get to work.

Many of the IC Resources team pop into Reading for summer evenings sipping drinks by the Thames, wintery days sale shopping in the Oracle, and soaking up the restaurant culture with eateries that range from the Michelin starred L’Ortolan to The French Horn and almost every imaginable eatery chain in-between.

Famous for the Reading Festival which has hosted bands such as Nirvana, Oasis, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, the Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Kings of Leon and Arctic Monkeys and home to the loved but unlucky Royals, Reading is one of the largest and most affluent towns in the UK. In the centre of the Thames Valley, Reading has become a vibrant technology hub, with plenty of tech businesses choosing to make Reading and its surrounding areas their home. Companies include Google, Microsoft, Oracle, PWC and SSE to name just a few, making for no shortage of career opportunities.

Reading is also home to the internationally recognised University of Reading, which is a research-intensive campus with more than 150 years of history, recognised for its expertise in areas such as climate science, business, agriculture, and food science as well as a plethora of well-respected grammar schools.  

Aside from Reading’s dynamic restaurant and shopping scene, the popularity of the city is a result of how connected it is. Just 30 minutes on the train and you’re at Paddington Station in London, and within 38-minutes, you can drive to Heathrow hop on a plane to almost anywhere in the world. This makes Reading a perfect base to explore the UK or even Europe, and benefit from a significantly lower cost of living than in London.  

If you’re looking to live in a smaller village, you’ll find jewels like Theale, just outside of Reading. With easy access to the M4 and direct train lines to Reading (10 minutes) and London (41 minutes), it combines convenience with rolling West Berkshire countryside.

Theale is also home to a number of lakes which means it’s a great place for watersports such as sailing, windsurfing, wild swimming, and waterskiing. If you’re more of a land lubber, you’ll find plenty of rural country pubs, and stunning countryside walks, and outside of the city, you’ll find space at slightly less of a premium.

To the north of Reading, chocolate box villages, and home to celebrities such as James Cordon, George Clooney, Chris Evans, Robbie Williams and Orlando Bloom line the banks of the Thames as it winds its way between London and the Cotswolds. Villages such as Mapledurham, Sonning, Pangbourne and Henley, whilst more costly than Reading to buy property in, tend to hold their value because of the tight South Oxfordshire planning regulations that are in place to maintain the unique English countryside feel.

So, if you’re intrigued by a metropolitan lifestyle with easy access to stunning countryside and chocolate-box villages, contact me today on to find out how working at IC Resources will offer you the best of all worlds.