A spotlight was shone on Reading last month when Laura Marling, who went to school there, won a Brit award for best female solo artist. Shes not the only creative success the town has spawned: Reading and surrounding areas have been home to Kate Winslet, Charlie Brooker, Ricky Gervais and Kenneth Branagh. Further back, former residents include literary luminaries Alexander Pope and Jane Austen.
Reading has attracted illustrious residents throughout its long history because of the high standard of living it provides, as well as its location. For the same reasons, the town is one of the UKs most popular destinations for business travellers. Because it lacks a developed tourist industry, there is a dearth of hotel accommodation in the area and the serviced apartments Reading has to offer are becoming an extremely popular alternative choice.
Why is Reading so popular among business visitors? Firstly, although the contemporary architecture in the town centre makes Reading seem a thoroughly modern town, its been an important business centre for centuries. Originally the site of an important market, it became a centre of the brewing industry in the 18th century. Now, Reading is home to offices of an incredible number of high tech companies, from Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft to Virgin Media, Bang & Olufsen and Cisco. There are also a number of accounting firms with offices in the town. Because of its relatively small size, the serviced apartments Reading has to offer are within easy walking distance of all of the towns main business areas.
Readings excellent transport links are also a key part of its popularity. From the central railway station, residents or visitors can travel to London in 30 minutes, as well as numerous other cities across the country. Theres also a railway link bus service to Heathrow Airport, which takes around half an hour. The town has an extensive public transport system, and all of the serviced apartments Reading has to offer are near transport links of some kind.
The town also has excellent shopping facilities: in particular, the striking Oracle shopping centre, which crosses the River Kennet, attracts visitors from across Berkshire. There are also regular farmers markets in the area. Because Reading serviced apartments provide guests with cooking facilities, they can make use of these extensive shopping facilities and then have plenty of space to use the goods when they get back.
Guests staying in one of the serviced apartments Reading has to offer can drive into the countryside in minutes to visit traditional pubs or local villages. Quiet spots in the town centre, meanwhile, include Forbury Gardens and Reading Abbey. Of course, the towns history as a brewing centre means there are a number of popular pubs in the area, and the Reading CAMRA Beer and Cider Festival, which takes place every April, provides a different way for business visitors to unwind.