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7 great places for freshers to visit in Reading


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If you've just joined the University of Reading there are probably loads of places you haven't heard of yet - there are so many great places to eat, drink, and explore, both on and off campus, and I'm here to tell you about just some of them. 

Check them out...

Places to eat

Cafe Yolk

Nestled in the middle of the Erleigh Road student area is this cosy little cafe. It’s called Cafe Yolk for a reason, that being, the whole menu is based on eggs - making it the perfect eatery for hungover brunches with your housemates. Pancakes, waffles, french toast, omelettes; this place is brunch heaven.

The Dairy 

The Dairy, which is (somewhat confusingly) also known as Cotton Club as well as Eat Drink at London Road, is a campus bar and cafe that's open from 10am to 11pm. The menu includes student staples; pizzas, burgers, and cheesy chips. On top of this there are regular live sports showings.

As it's on the London Road campus you're unlikely to visit unless you're a student in the Education Department, or sitting an exam in the Grand Hall. This means it's usually pretty quiet during the day and you're always guranteed a seat. So instead of waking up at the crack of dawn to fight for a seat in the library head down to London Road and study here instead. 


Places to drink

Ice House

Located on the ground floor of Wessex Halls is the amazing Ice House, the only on-campus cocktail bar in the whole of the UK. The cocktails here are delicious, with student-friendly prices, and during happy hour cocktails are 3-4-2.

Ice House also offers cocktail masterclasses for groups, which are perfect for society socials or to gather friends to celebrate a birthday. To top it all off there’s a 25-seat cinema at the side of the bar, with regular film showings throughout the term. It’s situated away from central campus, on the other side of Whiteknight’s Lake, but it’s definitely well worth the walk.  

Caffeine & Cocktails

Caffeine & Cocktails is in the middle of town, just behind The Oracle shopping centre, opposite the entrance to Debenhams. As its name suggests, this bar specialises in cocktails with a caffeine kick. Each cocktail is carefully handcrafted by expert mixologists and tastes incredible. From coffee-infused to fresh and fruity, the cocktail menu is extensive and bursting with so many different flavours. This luxurious bar has a relaxed vibe and is  a lovely place to unwind after a stressful day at uni.


Places to explore

Harris Garden

Behind the biology building is the Harris Garden, a charming botanical garden. It’s a tranquil space on campus, where you can get away from all the hustle and bustle and take some time out. There are 12 acres for you to explore; it’s full of cherry blossom trees, a wildflower meadow, and a fancy walled garden.

Whiteknight’s campus is renowned for its spectacular beauty, and has been awarded the Green Flag Award for six consecutive years in recognition of it being one of the best outdoor spaces in the UK. However, as the Harris Garden is hidden away not every student is even aware of its existence. It would be a massive shame to miss out on exploring this gorgeous garden, so make sure you put time aside to visit it one afternoon.

Places to shop


Catch the number 21 bus from outside Whiteknight's House; it will take you directly to Asda in just under ten minutes. At only £2 for a return ticket it's pretty cost effective, but if you'd prefer to take a taxi go with a couple of your flatmates so you can split the £6 fare. This Asda is open 24 hours from 8am on Monday to 10pm on Saturday, and then 10am-4pm Sunday. It has a massive homeware section, which is handy if you need to replenish your dwindling cutlery (for some reason all your knives, forks, and spoons will gradually diseapear over the year). 

The Oracle 

This shopping centre houses 80 shops, and will fast become your go-to place when you head to town. There are plenty of restaurants here for you to take your parents when they visit, as well as a huge Boots, and an Apple store. Get the 21 or 21a bus for £2 return, or walk there in around 30 minutes from campus. 

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