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Student working at the Cole Museum
University of Reading
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A very realistic review of Reading uni!

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Edit this page (last edited September 2, 2004)

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The university of Reading was originally an extension college of Oxford University and gained its royal charter to award university degrees in it's own right in 1926. The age of the university, pre-dating the 1900's is reflected in some of the universities more prestigious buildings, most notably Wantage Hall. The university has progressed over the years and now offers highly valued and sort after degrees. This is reflected by Reading continuously being placed comfortably in the majority of the UK's league tables, as well as in research and teaching assessment tables. Reading is particularly well known on an international level for its agricultural subjects. Other particular subjects which are well regarded and known (with some recieving the elite 6* research rating) include psychology, politics and english to name a few. As a result competition for places rises from year to year attracting high quality students from all corners of the globe.


Sports: The university is a major competitor in the university sporting association as well as internally with inter-hall sports helds every Wednesday. As a result the university has excellent sporting facilities as rated by the Good University Guide 2003 including a large sports hall and gym, football pitches, playing fields as well as a selection of exercise and aerobics studios on the campuses. Suprisingly, the University at the moment lacks a swimming pool on its premises, but this is about to change as talks are already underway on a major new project to bring a swimming pool to the university.

Part-time jobs: Reading really is able to offer an excellent and varied ammount of jobs available to students in both the university and local area. Pay wages are also good, although this is mainly because of the fact that you are living in one of the pricier areas of the country.


Bars and clubs: Reading has a good selection of bars and pubs as well as some good clubs in the local area, mainly situated in the town centre and on London road. Both the clubs and bars range in style and taste and with the ever increasing ammount of such places, there is definetly a mix of places for most people on campus. Drinks can get quite expensive at the weekend but remain fairly low on week days monday to thursday. London, however is only 20 minutes away for those that get bored of all that Reading has to offer.


Accommodation policy: Reading has a great range of halls on offer and are able to offer a hall place to all 1st year students who apply by the specified deadline. 2nd year students are normally required to move into houses with friends in the second year and third year students are able to apply for accomodation in halls all though they won't be garunteed to get a place.

The halls at Reading vary from good to bad. For example, the nicer halls on (or around) campus include Wantage, Sherfield and Whiteknights. These hall definetly have the best facilities and rooms and are clean and pleasing to the eye. Other halls such as Sibly and Bridges are to be perfectly honest a bit of a dump, although none are dangerouse to live in, its just that the rooms aren't as nice or spacious and the halls from the exterior look a bit gloomy, saying that thoe, what uni doesn't have its good and bad halls!

Rents vary from about £60 self catering to £110 catered, en-suite a week. Especialy for the area the university is situated in these prices are very good so take advantage if you can!

Housing is also provided in the private housing sector although I am unable to comment as of yet as to the standards although the prices range from about £70+ per week.


Reading currently has three campuses, the London Road site (where the original university started life), Bulmershe site and main Whiteknights campus. All three campuses are situated in close proximity to one another and boast scenic and capturvating scenery in which to work and play hard in. The main Whiteknights campus in particular is situated in a 320 acre parkland campus with the academic buildings and majority of halls scattered around the extensive land featuring a large lake. The environment is a generaly happy and laid back one where the majority of students seem to know each other or someone's friend type of thing which can be a minus as well as a plus for you prospective students.

Architecture: The main Whiteknights campus including its surrounding halls mixes both the old with the new. As mentioned in the general section, the university began life in the late 1800's on the old London road site and progressed onto the main Whiteknights campus some years later. Therefore, the most noticable architecture present is the eye pleasing victorian architecture, the now rather ugly looking concrete style architecture buildings of the 1960's and the more modern designs of the last few years which can be found in buildings such as the ISMA centre.

Local area: The main Whiteknights campus where the majority of departments are based is situated approximately 10-15 minutes by foot to the town centre with the London road site situated slightly closer. The Bulmershe site is situated at the edge of the east side of the town and is approximately a 15 minute bus ride away. The centre of Reading town has gone through some rapid development over the last 10 years due to the towns close proximity to England's "silicon valley". As a result, along with the main high street, Reading now boasts the Oracle Centre which is excellent for all shoppers tastes. The new centre also boasts a new Warner Village Cinema as well as some trendy bars such as BAR 8 and well known restaurants such as TGI Friday's. Major department stores now situated in Reading include John Lewis, Debenhams and House Of Fraiser. More details relating to the Oracle Centre can be found

In terms of the nightlife, Reading already plays host to an already sizable selection of bars and clubs including the usual chain pubs such as Witherspoons. The selection of such places also grows from year to year too! As for nightclubs, there are about five main nightclubs catering for differing tastes from usual dance anthems (the matrix) to drum and base and rock (the after dark club). Most of the pubs and clubs also present discounted student nights throughout the week making the student pound stretch that little bit further. All in all, you can definetly have a great night out in Reading, and I'll doubt that you will get bored of the town that quickly, but if you do, London is approximately 20 minutes by train directly from the trainstation situated to the north of the town centre.

Looking at other aspects of the surrounding area, both the university and the town is situated in some of the most scenic country in England, Reading is also located next to some beautiful rivers which are an idylic place to chill out during the spring and summer months.


The University of Reading became a university in it's own right in 1926

The University attracts just over 20,000 applications each year making the average A level entry score BBC

The University of Reading is a cosmipolitan university with over 128 countries represented there

The University of Reading has three campuses with the main Whiteknights campus housing the majority of departments

There are currently 14,000 students at Reading with 60% being undergraduate and 40% postgraduate

This years guardian league table placed Reading in 21st position (out of 121 higher education establishments)ahead of universities such as Birmingham, Exeter, Liverpool and Sussex!


The university definetly deserves the repuatation as one of the most beautiful university campuses in the United Kingdom

The students union especialy its new club can prove to be a great night out, especialy for a 1st year fresher

A degree from the university is highly valued and sort after (especialy a 2:1, 1:1)

There are loads of jobs available to students both off and on campus which pay good rates

The university has an active students union with a wide variety of sports and non sports clubs

The degree structure of the university is very flexible especialy in the first year where you are given the option to explore other subjects than the one which you are majouring in

There is a great mix of students here from all over the world

Great library that has over 1 million books in stock

Let's not forget the famous Reading and WOMAD festivals!


Reading itself can prove to be quite a pricey area in which to be a student in

In terms of nightlife, the limited number of clubs (5) in Reading may pose a problem for large city loving students, although London is only 20 minutes away

Some of the halls are a bit of a dump

One or two of the academic buildings look quite ugly by todays standards

All in all, Reading is a great university and town to be a student in and has the added advantage of being extremely close to London. If you both work and play hard, an undergraduate will not only have a great time here but will also have one of the best possible chances of finding a good job with job prospect scores being among the highest in the UK, beating the employment scores of other leading universities such as Birmingham, Leeds and Exeter.

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Reply 1
I should point out that clubbers may find themselves a little more dissapointed than this description would make out.

The Matrix closed, for infamous reasons, but was quite well regarded with radio 1 and such doing nights there.

RG1's, the ultimate student club that it was, shut to no-one's great surprise.

Utopia closed because of the Matrix opening in town (it is situated at junction 12). It used to run buses from halls on student nights and have some truly evil deals, and generally sounds like it came closest to what a clubber would expect from a full on night club, but as I say, closed. There were rumours of a resurrection though with the death of the Matrix.

The Fez is the last large club in town, but from what I've heard of the big clubs in other places is not quite to the same level. It does cater to a lot of tastes though.

The town is full however with bars, and "bars with dancefloors", as well as more relaxed drinking establishments. I've also heard of the existence of a more idie/alternative/metal style club called, I think, the boxing club, but have not yet been.

However, I gather that true clubbers are more than willing to explore London anyway.
Student working at the Cole Museum
University of Reading
Reply 2
The quality of the student housing varies tremendously too, and is entirely dependant upon the care of the landlord towards their houses. Most can easily fall into the stereotypical student house - but frankly, this is what most students deserve based on how I've seen some living :smile: Many are very well looked after, and some have had conversions that really really should not have been done. Basically, there are treasures out there, there is fine out there, acceptable, and awful. You just have to look. Prices seem to be fluctuating though, and the typical 4 or 5 person student house/flat seems to have dropped from £70->75 a week down to £60->65, with some even cheaper, based on the recent searching by one of my office mates.
Reply 3
Thank you very much for posting all that you guys , it was very helpful--- i am desperate to know what halls im in!!!-driving me mad.
Reply 4
that is some good information, thanks :smile:
Reply 5
my house next year is £255 a month for 4 people. which is about the middle of pricing. someone I know is paying 230 and other paying 270/280 each a month.
Reply 6
bars with dancefloors are much better than clubs. they are all open till 2 as well.
Reply 7
dont forget afterdark!!!! sooo awesome great place to go out
Reply 8
oh beofre I forget. Someone told me there is a Jazz Bar - is this true? If so, tahts damn cool :biggrin:
Reply 9
Only £255 a month? At RHUL (not all that far from Reading) I'm paying £300 a month, and have heard of some people having to pay as much as £350! :eek:
Reply 10
Boxing club is pretty pants. There's a bar big enough for about 5 people, and then some doors to a big room. That's it. You can go to Camberly for the Agincourt, but it's got the nickname 'underage-incourt' for a reason. You'll want to avoid Chameleon in Wokingham as well.
Reply 11
Boxing club is pretty pants. There's a bar big enough for about 5 people, and then some doors to a big room. That's it. You can go to Camberly for the Agincourt, but it's got the nickname 'underage-incourt' for a reason. You'll want to avoid Chameleon in Wokingham as well.

Hey people i'm from wokingham and regualy go Reading for pubbing/clubing.

I have to agree that dont go to "Chavmeleon" that place has never been decent after about 4 name changes and refurbishments...the only student friendly bars/pubs in wokingham are "the gig house" (llyods chain) and square bar up near the town hall. Thats about it....

Reading for me is quite good, being only just 18 i may not have a vast experience of clubs but i can safely agree that the fez is defineltly worth a visit.

right next to the fez is the purple turtle (not a gay bar) which is a popular metal/rock bar which had international bikini mudwrestling the other day :biggrin:.

For an alternative to the fez u have the Bar Risa/Jonguleurs Comedy Club (comedy ends 10 i think then bar until 2) which is immesly popular on thursdays. (£5 after 11 tho :frown: ) drinks once you get in are quite cheap for reading standards.

For the Ultimate cheap drink pub goto Pavlovs Dog on the road with virgin megastore (opposite Fez etc) on Mondays with the vast majority of drinks £1! get there early tho, very long queues sometimes!

Now...the controversial Braniggans in the Oracle Centre...I personaly hate it. Some people love it. Ultimate Cheese really. Decide for yourself, contuary to popular belief student night is thursdays but the busiest night is definatley Monday with BOGOF on all drinks (i think).

Walkabout however is a good bar (before 11) so is the Monks Retreat both on the main drag of 2am bars near the station (avoid Ice Bar)

Ponana (next to the hump back bridge opposite queens car park) is alright for a chilled night out

Kebabs, one word: Zona's (on the road to the station)

Thats it really, beign a rock/comercial dance music person i wouldnt really know clubs/nights for r'n'b,trance etc but theres a view of a local for ya.

p.s. the Boxing club is no longer, due to unfornate events visit BukandSkit (amazing small festival in reading btw - not the carling weekend one) for updates as they opperate in maidenhead too and will possibly come back to Reading later next year with a better venue too (the boxing club was a just a small dingy hall with a very small bar.) The boxing club was thier worst venue so far. Great local bands though.
we are an impartial website that reviews bars and clubs...and the one that gets the best reviews at the moment is Thursday nights at Bar casa- £1 per drink and at capacity every thursday- check back to for more details.
Reply 13
reading is good, but don't stay in reading student village
they just fined me £150!!!
Reply 14
What did you do?
Reply 15
we did nothing special...
We had a party and they had to close it down at 3am because of the noice.
But IMO that's no reason for giving me a fine of £150 is it...
Reply 16
i was wondering if reading was culturally diverse because on the cd i recieved it didnt seem to be so ...
i was wondering if reading was culturally diverse because on the cd i recieved it didnt seem to be so ...

Reading is very culturally diverse. Ive noticed it more since I moved to Portsmouth which seems to be totally the opposite
Reply 18
really helpful review! What is the 1st year halls accommodation like? what are the pros and cons of places like the student village? :smile:
Reply 19
Reading is very culturally diverse. Ive noticed it more since I moved to Portsmouth which seems to be totally the opposite

Very very! Take a look down oxford road if you dont believe me :wink: