There are so many great activities to do in Reading, both indoors and out from visiting a Roman amphitheatre and marvelling at a replica of the Bayeux tapestry, to walking with dinosaurs.
The best news is a fun family day out in Reading doesn’t have to cost the earth as many of the museums and historical attractions are free!
COVID-19 Update: Some of the places on the list may have restricted opening times and allow fewer visitors, in -line with government guidelines, so it is always advisable to check the venue’s website before you leave.
1. Basildon Park
Set in 400 acres of historic parkland and gardens, this 18th Century mansion has been lovingly restored to its former glory and great for families who embrace the outdoor lifestyle. There is so much space for families to explore, as well as breath-taking views, peaceful trails and secluded picnic areas. Great for spotting wildlife. Suitable for all ages.
Where is it?
Lower Basildon, Reading, Berkshire, RG8 9NR.
How much to budget for: Adult prices start at £13, a family ticket is £32.50, free to National Trust members.
The mansion tea room serves lunch, afternoon tea, plants, books and local produce...and most importantly, ice cream!
Guided house tours (these may now be restricted).
Woodland and parkland walks (dogs are welcomed on leads).
2. Wellington Country Park
Wellington Country Park is situated between Reading and Basingstoke and is a popular place for families to visit. There’s something for everyone, from toddlers to early teens.
Where is it? Odiham Rd, Riseley, Reading, RG7 1SP.
How much to budget for: Prices start from £10.95 in low season to £13.95 in high season.
Walking with dinosaurs! If you dare, there are over 30, lurking, with lost world sounds.
Splash zone (bring a towel and swimming costume).
Welly wheels, little automated jeeps that drive themselves around a track.
3. Beale Park
So much to do and see, Beale Park is an outdoor wildlife park set in 30 acres and is home to a variety of animals and fun attractions including a splash area, so don’t forget to bring your kid’s swimming costumes!
Where is it? Beale Wildlife Park, Lower Basildon, Pangbourne, Berkshire, RG8 9NW.
How much to budget for: Tickets start from £11, ( family ticket of 2 adults and 2 children £35).
Meet and greet the animals including; alpacas, monkeys and owls to name but a few.
Toddler’s village and sandpit.
Gardens, play areas and indoor play.
The pavilion, fishing and river cruise.
4. Silchester Roman City Walls and Amphitheatre
Reading’s most stunning historic landmark is an archaeological site featuring Roman city walls and an amphitheatre abandoned in the 7th century.
Where is it? Silchester, Hampshire, RG7 2HP.
How much to budget for: Free entry, but there is a charge for the car park and the walls are a 10-minute walk.
The walls are some of the best-preserved Roman town defences in England. Open all year round and a fun way for kid's to learn about history.
5. Forbury Gardens
This is the perfect outdoor area for kids to explore. A stone’s throw away from Reading Station and a real hidden gem, a lush green space with historic statues, lots of benches and a cafe. Forbury Gardens are located between the town centre and the ruins of the 11th-century abbey.
Where is it? Forbury Gardens, Reading, RG1 3BB.
How much to budget for: Free entry!
What to look out for
The award-winning ornamental gardens have a surrounding wall which provides a peaceful and tranquil retreat.
There is a bandstand, and bands play in the summer.
The Forbury Gardens is home to the famous Maiwand Lion statue.
Although there are no formal children's facilities, the gardens are wonderful to explore and there is a kiosk which serves coffee, ice-creams and light lunches.
6. Reading Museum
Reading Museum houses wonderful historic and artistic artefacts both local and global and you can browse each gallery at your leisure. The Riverside Museum is a short stroll away from Reading Museum and has one permanent gallery and a second space which is used for community art exhibitions during the summer.
Where is it? Blagrave Street, Reading, RG1 1QH.
How much to budget for: Free Entry; donations appreciated.
Archaeological finds from Roman Silchester and medieval Reading Abbey.
A unique Victorian copy of the Bayeux Tapestry.
Contemporary Aldermaston Pottery and the famous Huntley & Palmers biscuit tins.
7. Museum of English Rural Life
The Museum of English Rural Life is a must-do in Reading with a collection of fascinating exhibits relating to food, farming and the countryside.
Where is it? 6, Redlands Rd, Reading, RG1 5EX.
How much to budget for: Free entry.
The Nook, developed in partnership with students from the University of Reading.
Kids can make brass rubbings on the Farming Circle in the Education Studio.
Relax in the glorious garden, featuring a shepherd’s hut, play-on tractor.
8. Museum of Berkshire Aviation
Berkshire's dynamic contribution to aviation history is impressively displayed at this museum and situated at the historic site of Woodley Airfield, once the centre of a thriving aircraft industry.
Where is it? Mohawk Way Woodley, Reading RG5 4UE.
How much to budget for: Free, but donations are welcome as it is a charitable trust.
Miles and Handley Page aircraft built at Woodley are being re-constructed and exhibited.
Fascinating pictorial records and priceless archives.
9. Dinton Pastures Country Park
Dinton Pastures has a huge park for children to run around in, plenty of wildlife, open spaces and picturesque picnic areas, an oasis in an urban area.
Where is it? Davis St, Hurst, Wokingham, RG10 0TH.
How much to budget for: Free, but there is a parking charge.
335 acres of countryside including three hides for bird watching.
Fishing lakes and feeding ducks.
Perfect area for families who enjoy walking cycling and running.
Play area for children.
10. Legoland, Windsor
Legoland does what it says on the tin. It’s a fun-packed child-centric theme park based around everybody’s favourite colourful Lego bricks. Legoland Windsor has 55 rides and attractions across 12 imaginatively themed lands aimed at a range of 3-12-year-olds.
Where is it? Winkfield Road, Windsor, SL4 4AY.
How much to budget for: Tickets start from £29.
Where to start? There's truly something for everyone and every age at Legoland Windsor, from small children’s adventure rides, to the dragon rollercoasters in the Knight's Kingdom,
Get splashing in Duplo Valley, and step back in time in the Kingdom of the Pharaohs.
Scare and immerse yourself in the 4D cinema and meet your favourite LEGO Movie characters.
Dance with LEGO Friends in Heartlake City.
Get your Lego driving Licence!
11. Ure Museum of Greek Archeology
The Ure Museum has the fourth largest collection of Greek ceramics in Britain. Suitable for ages 7+ and restricted opening times.
Where is it?
Edith Morley Building, Whiteknights Rd, Reading RG6 6AA.
How much to budget for: Free.
Marvel at Ancient Greek pottery like the oil bottles worn on the wrists of athletes.
Egyptian Antiquities including a funeral boat and a mummified cat’s head!
12. Reading Town River And Canal Walk
If you fancy a walk, this three-mile loop around Reading and its two rivers, the Thames and Kennet is really interesting. This beautiful walk takes in the Thames Path, former industrial areas and the historic ground and ruins of Reading Abbey.
Where is it? The walk starts outside of Reading Town Hall, which now houses the Museum of Reading on Blagrave Street. There are several car parks nearby including the Forbury Retail Park situated on Kenavon Drive, which is free and a short walk away. The postcode of the Town Hall is RG1 1QH.
How much to budget for: Free.
Ruins of Reading Abbey.
A perfect place for a picnic.
13. Mapledurham Watermill and Lock
Mapledurham Watermill is a historic watermill and the last commercially working watermill on the River Thames, four miles west of Reading. The mill was built in the 15th century and even gets a mention in The Domesday Book.
Where is it? Mapledurham, Reading, RG4 7TR.
How much to budget for: Tours are available, check the website for details.
The shop selling its own whole wheat flour.
Tearoom serving cream teas.
Take a walk by the river.
The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.