Reading is full of pubs for people who want to drink till they puke, and believe me you will find plenty of people like that. So much so, that they now have a special bus just to cope with the “revellers” in the hope of stopping them from ending up in the A&E but if you want a quiet evening out, followed by a stroll back to your car you are out of luck. You won’t find anything resembling the European cafe culture and in fact you will be hard pushed to find a good place to eat, as the few that do exist get booked well in advance and are away from the town centre.
What you will find is a population lacking in common manners, who are willing to barge into you, yell at you for being in the way and spit on the floor. Their feral children’s only experience of parenting has been to have swear words and threats screamed at them by women with more interested in smoking than their child’s safety or the equally unpleasant out of town shoppers, who live in secluded sleepy villages and come in only to shop at the big name stores, while they at first don’t seem too bothersome, they and their children’s “entitled” attitude is as bad as, if not worse than the mothers who scream and use foul language. At least the mothers care if their child just pushed someone’s granny over, even if that care does stop at the fact that the kid didn’t manage to mug said granny properly, whereas the parents of the entitled child simply won’t accept that their child could have done anything wrong, despite evidence to the contrary and will happily launch a verbal attack on anyone who might so much as look sideways at their badly behaved rude and selfish brats.
Reading is one of the most disabled unfriendly places you can go. Great swathes of pedestrian only areas seem like a good idea until you are less mobile at which stage they just act like a huge barrier. The Major shopping centre car park charges a fortune, so while borrowing a mobility scooter for free sounds like a great idea, in actual fact, the first hours parking is taken up by waiting to get the scooter and trundling to the shops. That’s if you manage to book a scooter… every time I have tried they have been fully booked. Your other option is free kerbside parking, if you have a blue badge, great if you can get it and if you have your own mobility device, but since the council, put in bus stops, loading bays and taxi stands in all but a couple of the convenient spots your chances of getting it are pretty slim, so be prepared to drive round the town several times before losing your will to live and probably collecting a whole load of bus lane tickets.
In short, what was once a fairly nice university town is now a hell hole that must be endured once in a while for essential shopping or visited for the express pleasure of watching the fashion disasters, from the windows of one of the many overpriced chains serving mediocre tea and coffee during few hours they are open.