26 November 2021/ Area guides

Serviced and Flexible Office Guide: Reading

Offices to rent in Reading

Located in the county of Berkshire in the Thames Valley is Reading, a historic and affluent market town known for its fantastic transport connections, burgeoning technology sector and fast-growing economy. Its origins can be traced back to the early 8th century, when the town came to be known as Readingum. Reading grew its wealth through the cloth trade in the Middle Ages, rapidly expanding during the 19th century with the introduction of the canal and railway.

Today, Reading is the UK’s largest town, with a population of approximately 235,000 people. It’s also a major commercial centre and economic powerhouse, especially for the information technology and insurance sectors. In fact, it plays host to the headquarters of several multinational companies including Microsoft, Oracle, and Hibu (formerly Yell Group). The insurance company Prudential also has an administration centre in the town while PepsiCo and Wrigley have established offices in the area.

Reading also benefits from a large and highly educated talent pool. In fact, Reading has the 7th best qualified workforce in the UK, with 51% of Reading's population educated to NVQ4 or above, according to the 2020 Centre for Cities report. Not only that, but over a fifth of the University of Reading graduates remain in the town thanks to the buoyant economy and fantastic employment opportunities.

With Reading being so close to London, it’s a popular place for people to live and work. It’s also an attractive alternative to London for many young professionals, especially as it was recently found to be the seventh best place in the country to find employment. In addition, the town has been named one of the best 'cities' to live and work in the UK and was placed second in the UK for growth, just falling behind Oxford, according to the PwC Good Growth for Cities 2019 index.

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Key business areas in Reading

With its close proximity to London and well-developed infrastructure, Reading has attracted many big businesses to the area. The town is particularly well-known for its focus on information technology and is often referred to as the UK’s version of Silicon Valley due to the large number of technology companies that are based in the area. For example, Microsoft and Oracle have multiple building sites within the town.

Other technology companies with a significant presence in Reading include Huawei Technologies, Pegasystems, Access IS, CGI Inc, Agilent Technologies, Cisco, Ericsson, Symantec, Verizon Business, and Commvault. Some of these companies can be found around Reading or just outside the town’s boundary. Many of them can also be found in business parks including Thames Valley Park in nearby Earley, Green Park Business Park and Arlington Business Park.

Transport links in Reading are excellent

With its enviable proximity to London, Reading is well known as a commuter town. With the Crossrail also currently being developed, commuters will have even more options when it comes to travelling to London or getting to the airport.

Reading has direct rail routes to almost every part of the UK

Reading is one of the busiest interchanges on the National Rail network and has direct routes to almost every part of the UK. Paddington is only 30 minutes away by train, with services running every ten minutes. You can also travel to Waterloo from Reading station.

Other stations in the Reading area include Reading West, Tilehurst and Earley. Reading has also recently joined the TfL Rail route, consequently appearing on the London Tube Map. When the Crossrail is completed, Reading will become part of London’s new regional express railway.

Reading benefits from being situated on the M4 corridor

The M4 corridor connects Reading to many flourishing towns and cities including London, Newbury, Swindon, Bristol and Cardiff. Other main roads that serve Reading include the A33, A327, A329, A4074 and A4155. Within Reading there is also the Inner Distribution Road (IDR), a ring road for local traffic. This is linked with the M4 by the A33 relief road, making traveling by car simple and easy.

Reading has excellent local bus services

Reading Buses provides a frequent and reliable bus service, which makes travelling by bus around Reading fast and convenient. Reading Buses serves the entire Reading urban area as well as some of the local villages. The area is also served by Newbury Buses, which offer routes between Reading and Newbury and West Berkshire. Other rural areas are served by Arriva, First and Thames Travel buses.

Reading has world-class business amenities

Hotels in Reading make you feel right at home

Looking for a superb business hotel? Book a night or two at the Hilton Hotel in Reading. Not only will you be able to relax and unwind after a busy day of meetings, but the hotel also has a sauna and indoor pool, while each spacious room features high-speed internet and large wide screen TVs. Another fantastic hotel to consider includes the VOCO Hotel, which offers guests all the creature comforts and modern touches you would expect from a four-star hotel.

If you really want to spoil yourself with five-star opulence, book a room at The Roseate Hotel. Built in 1911 as the Shire Hall for Berkshire County Council, this listed building has 55 well-appointed luxury bedrooms equipped with Penhaligon amenities and even espresso coffee machines.

For more flexible, budget friendly options, there’s also a Premier Inn, Hotel ibis, Travelodge, Holiday Inn and a Novotel.

Reading is brimming with culinary talent

Reading may not be the first place that springs to mind when thinking of gastronomic dishes, but this thriving county town in Berkshire is actually bursting with culinary talent. From small French bistros and modern European spots to Michelin-starred cuisine, there are plenty of different options to choose from if you’re feeling hungry.

Start your day off with a hearty breakfast from Cafe Yolk. This much-loved café on Erleigh Road is famous for its delicious breakfasts and award-winning brunches.

For lunch or dinner options you can take your pick between Asian at Coconut Bar & Kitchen, which serves up some of the finest cuisine from South East Asia, China and Japan. If you’re in the mood for Italian, you can choose to eat at Quattro, which delights diners with authentic Italian dishes as well as a range of Mediterranean classics.

If it’s fine dining that you’re looking for, head to luxury boutique townhouse hotel The Roseate Reading’s restaurant, The Reading Room, for a decadent dining affair.

Reading has a wide variety of meeting rooms available

Whatever style of meeting you have planned, you'll find a venue in Reading ideally suited to it. Many of the hotels offer a range of flexible, spacious and fully equipped meeting and conference rooms perfect for hosting everything from informal meetings to global conferences and big events.

One of the most popular places to meet in Reading is the Regus Centre in Green Park, which provides the perfect backdrop for brainstorming with colleagues, impressing clients, or holding productive training sessions. Also nearby is the Reading Business Centre, which has meeting and classroom-style rooms that can accommodate all business needs.

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Other useful amenities

If you have time on your hands and money to spend, Reading certainly has no shortage of shopping opportunities to explore. In fact, Reading has become a premier retail destination in the south east outside London. There are over 100 shops at the Harris Arcade, including House of Fraser, John Lewis, Next and Apple. There’s also Broad Street Mall, where you can find all your favourite high street brands, as well as a large indoor shopping mall located in central Reading.

However, if spending time outdoors enjoying nature is more up your alley, Reading has over 100 parks and playgrounds, including 5 miles of riverside paths. In the town centre, there is Forbury Gardens and the largest public park in Reading is Prospect Park. Reading also has five local nature reserves: Clayfield Copse in Caversham, with the other four McIlroy Park, Blundells Copse, Lousehill Copse and Round Copse all in Tilehurst.

For those whose work / life balance includes keeping fit and active, there are a wide range of sporting facilities in Reading and the surrounding area. There are leisure centres in town where you can swim, train in the gym, or play ball sports. On the outskirts of Reading, there are also golf courses and water sports parks with facilities for water skiing and wakeboarding.

Notable tenants

  • Microsoft
  • PepsiCo
  • Cisco
  • Symantec
  • Oracle Corporation
  • Prudential, Verizon
  • Thales
  • Bayer

Serviced and flexible offices to rent in Reading

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Key agents in Reading

  • Haslams Surveyors LLP
  • Hatch Real Estate
  • Campbell Gordon
  • Parkinson Holt
  • Savills
  • Hicks Baker
  • Sharps Commercial

Interesting facts about Reading

  • Reading has been the fastest growing economy in the Thames Valley over the last 20+ years, according to the EY UK and Regions Economic Forecast for 2020. Reading's future growth (2020-2023) is also forecast for 2.2%.
  • Reading has among the highest productivity per worker (GVA) in the UK, with an average productivity of £83,801 per job, according to the 2021 Centre for Cities Outlook.
  • Reading was ranked in the top 25 most attractive European cities for Foreign Direct Investment in the FDI European Cities & Regions of the Future report.

  • Reading has the 10th highest start up rate in the UK, according to the 2020 Centre for Cities report. Reading also has the 4th highest number of businesses (per 10000 population) in the UK.
  • Reading is one of the most culturally diverse places for its size in the world, with 150 languages spoken in homes across the town. It’s also ranked 10th city in the UK for the percentage of people born outside the UK.