Anyone know Reading?(88 Posts)
We're looking a buy and are considering Reading - we need to be commutable to London and Reading is close ish to family as well. But we don't know the town at all so would be grateful for opinions.
We currently live in a small town and it's too quiet for us so we would be looking to live in Reading itself and not surrounding villages. I've heard Caversham is nice but know nothing about any other areas. We have about 250k to spend and want a 3 bed house.
I know there is a grammar school for girls - is it hard to get into?
Any advice at all would be much appreciated because it's a bit of a stab in the dark for us, and we're having to move quicker than we would like after our landlord announced he is selling up (see other thread!).
Thanks in advance.
I've just seen that Priory Avenue property had a second open house yesterday. Perhaps there is still a chance for you as it wasn't snapped up last week.
I suspect a lazy agent. It's not on with a Caversham based agent - they can't be bothered to travel for one off viewings.
Reading is a practical town, rather than an exciting one - but it's ok, really. The great thing about it is the river, and walks - which are easily done from Caversham. You can walk to cute villages and nice pubs easily, and the centre of town is also within easy reach.
We almost moved to Caversham 3 years ago, and have lived in Reading before, but only for 6 months.
The schools seem ok, I did go to see Thameside and the head teacher was indeed very motivated. The secondary for Caversham is Highdown, which is outstanding - so probably still a good option if kids don't get into grammar schools.
Oh, and possibly the most scenic Tesco in the country - in a park, on the side of the river Thames!
Just what I used to hear on the grapevine, just googled it though and it's the third biggest in Europe www.commuterguide.co.uk/counties/berkshire/earley#.UXUVmYy9KSM
It is a bit of a suburban sprawl from what I remember.
I thought that was ingleby barwick near Middlesborough?
Isn't Lower Early meant to be the biggest housing estate in Europe or some funny fact like that?
I lived in West Reading at one point of my time there, just around the corner from the prostitute area (which like I said is under the railway bridge, opposite Lidl supermarket) and it never caused any problems at all. The Oxford Road is so busy and 'open' I can see why people would have no problem walking home after dark. When I was a student I used to walk all over Reading accepter dark and wasn't very comfortable with it really, but I was in the university area so the streets were quieter. I remember reading awful stuff about student attacks in the local newspapers though.
Blimey! Half of Mumsnet seem to live in Reading.
And I would much rather walk along the Oxford Road at night than through a quiet surburban street. Absolutely :-)
No one's ever offered me drugs, huh. I think the children might be a deterrent. And yes, there is some obvious (though it took me ages to realise!) prostitution, but it's never had any negative impact on my life. The worst things are people cycling on the pavement and the arsing dogshit.
Totally agree borntofolk. Variety is the spice of life round here!
Yeah, I used to live in Lower Earley and it was just weird! No one walked anywhere so the streets were always really quiet and there were no corner shops, just a massive Asda so if you wanted a pint of milk you had to go there. I much prefer the character and variety of West Reading, even if it is a bit rough around the edges sometimes... And I would much rather walk along the Oxford Road at night than through a quiet surburban street.
Zeldapinwheel, it really matters which roads you choose, even which end you live on in west reading! Most are fine. I guess some people can live in areas with darker aspects and some can't. I personally couldn't ever live in Woodley, it seems pretty characterless suburbia to me! Horses for courses really.
Much as I like the Newbury, Thatcham area if you consider that you need to also check whether you will be able to get into Doctors and schools. Its vastly over developed - I know someone who was looking in that area and ruled it out because of problems with getting a suitable primary.
I would say any area you look at would be worth checking both during the day and at night - like someone has pointed out Reading has both good and bad areas.
Good luck tomorrow FruitSalad. I agree with the comments about not relying solely on Ofsted for school info, it is so much more than that. The community in West Reading is very mixed and richer for it I think. I have friends with children at most of the schools in this area and none are unhappy despite the varying Ofsted reports.
oh and check out Dinton Pastures which is walkable from Woodley
I'm in Woodley and used to live in London.
If you live Southlake way you can go over a bridge to get to Earley station, one stop from Reading. Southlake houses are cheaper and Southlake Primary just got Outstanding and is fairly easy to get into. Some parts of Southlake people say are a bit rough, but it really is nothing compared to living in London! Personally I think living close to Woodley centre is good, you can bike to station over the bridge in hardly any time.
It is a much slower pace of life here but very family orientated.
Let us know how you get on!
And thank you so much everyone for your help. Mumsnet is great!
Ok, will check out Woodley, West Reading and Caversham. Busy day tomorrow!
My vote would be for woodley or caversham area also.
Having lived and worked in west Reading previously id avoid that area as much as possible. There's at least 2 'massage' parlors on the oxford road and a couple of businesses that do a nice sideline in drugs. From my old bedsit in Russell street my friends and I use to bet which of the hookers strutting up and down the road would get picked up 1st. On several occasions when walking into town on my lunch break dodgy men would come and walk alongside and offer drugs. It's not somewhere I would choose to bring up children if I didn't have to.
Sorry to anyone currently living there!
I live in West Reading/Oxford Rd and have done for the last 5 years. When I first moved to Reading I was warned off living in Whitley or Oxford Rd as they were "rough" areas.
I have lived in Caversham, Lower Earley when I was renting and then moved to West Reading when I wanted to buy as it was all I could afford.
I can honestly say I love living here. I like that it is noisy and busy. I like that if necessary I can go to the shops at 1am and buy my bread and milk! I like that there are at least ten different nationalities in DS school class of 30.
The only remotely hairy moment was getting him a school place as all the schools round here are hugely over subscribed.
Woodley precinct has an independent cafe which isnt great. A Costa. Brown bag cafe which is a small local chain and sells nicer coffee than Costa and nicer toasted sandwiches. Then theres the cafe in the oakwood centre across the road that does a mean full English for £4 inc tea or coffee.
We're also getting a new bar/restaurant which is the same chain as alto lounge in Caversham.
The housing stock might not be the prettiest in Woodley but it offers a lot for families and was voted the second best place in the country to raise a family (Wokingham came first, I do take these surveys with a pinch of salt though (
Quite a few parks, woodford has a leisure centre where theres a pre school and activities for children run. Theres a play park next to it and a paddling pool for if we ever get enough warm weather to use it. Ashenbury park is huge lots of space to wander and also has a play park and a lake to feed the ducks.
There are new houses being built on the airfield and new houses being built near me.
I appreciate it might be a bit too suburban for an ex Londoner though.
I'm looking at Ofsted report, which I know doesn't always tell the full story.
I'm with you on the empty streets at 7pm!
Are you looking at http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/performance/ ? I didn't think Katesgrove looked too bad on there! There's Coley Primary very near too. I think any school near Reading centre may look less than perfect, due to the mixed make up of the area. They won't be purely nice middle class kids, but there will be plenty ;-)
Good luck with the Cromwell Road one then :-)
I feel similarly to you about being in reach of places. Which is what I love about this West Reading/Oxford Road area. Whenever I go over to Woodley of an evening it is creepy how empty of pedestrians the streets are at 7 pm!
That does sound nice. Do you know the schools at all? There's a house which looks nice in catchment for Winchcombe primary and Trinity secondary.
If you looked at West Mills and Speen areas you will be very close to the town centre. Good range of shops including John Lewis home, independent department store Camp Hopsons, all the usual shops plus a range of independents and some like Joules, Jigsaw, Mint Velvet and Lakeland. We have a racecourse too with Ladies days, family days and live music.
Because of the big tech industry in the town I think just about any past time you want is catered for. Vodaphone , Bayer and Quantel are based here plus various other major players have offices even Apple have a subsidiary here. There's a lot more to it than people realised.
I moved here from Bloomsbury/Kensington to the only thing I missed was Harts though they are Tesco express now so I guess it's the same.
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