Reading is one of the south east's largest towns only 25 minutes from London by train, with trains running every five minutes or so, Reading is home to many of the city's commuters. Reading also has easy links by road or rail to Swindon, Oxford, Basingstoke, Heathrow and farther afield. Beyond the hive of commercial activity, Reading is nestled in the heart of Royal Berkshire offering beautiful riverside walks on the Thames and tow path ambles on the Kennet and Avon canals and with the nearby Berkshire Downs and Chilterns, beautiful countryside is never far away. Reading offers a rich mix of shops and markets. In the heart of the town, The Oracle combines chic boutiques with department stores such as Debenhams and House of Fraser and within a minute's walk there are many high-street favourites including John Lewis and Marks & Spencer. There are restaurants, cafes and brasseries to suit every taste in Reading. Plus there are numerous bars and restaurants on the Oracle Riverside.
Reading school founded in 1125 is the 16th oldest school in England, there are 6 other state secondary schools along with 37 state primary schools in the borough. In addition there are some well-recognised and top ranked independent and public schools in Reading and its surrounding catchment. Schools such as Leighton Park, Queen Annes, The Abbey, Crosfields, Bradfield College, The Oratory and Bluecoat are just some of the outstanding public schools in the area. Kendrick girls' school is one of the top grammar schools in the UK. Reading University established in 1892 is a 'red brick' and ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world. There are almost 23,000 students from all over the globe.