Where to find Reading Abbey

Directions to the Abbey

The grounds of Reading Abbey occupy a large area to the East of Reading town centre. They are a few minutes walk from Broad St and the Oracle centre, Reading's main shopping area, and from Reading railway station. The Abbey grounds include what is now Forbury Gardens. The ruins of Reading Abbey occupy an area at the Eastern end of the grounds, next to what was Reading Prison, now closed.

There are several car parks within a few minutes walk, as shown on the map. In addition, there are two car parks on the other side of the railway, and in the same direction and over the River Thames, a car park on Hills Meadow.

To get to the Reading Abbey area from Broad Street and the Oracle: at the Broad Street entrance to the Oracle, go across Broad St and along Buttermarket into Market Place. Turn right at St Laurence's church into The Forbury. This is where the Compter Gate once was, one of the gates into the grounds of the Abbey. Continue along The Forbury to reach Forbury Gardens.

To get to the Reading Abbey area from Reading railway station, leave the station on the South side. Go left along Blagrave St into Forbury Road. Cross Forbury Road near the major roundabout. The entrance to Forbury Gardens is along one side of the roundabout.

The main elements of the remaining Abbey structures, the Inner Gateway and the ruins, are to the South and South East of Forbury Gardens, away from the railway line side. The Inner Gateway is prominent from the Gardens, on the other side of Abbots Walk. To get close to the ruins (currently closed during conservation work), continue walking along Abbots Walk. Towards the end, a path goes off to the right into a small garden, the Cloisters Garden. From here, the Abbey ruins can be seen. The path continues down a flight of stairs to Chestnut Walk by the River Kennet.

SatNav data for the Abbey ruins:-
Nearest Postcode: RG1 3HW         Grid reference: SU720735         Latitude: 51.456345    Longitude: -0.96506149

Map of the area around the Abbey Quarter



Some documents from the past about the location of Reading Abbey ruins


Section from John Speed's 1610 map of Reading showing the Abbey area. Further information.

Mary Russell Mitford's succinct description of the location of the ruins of Reading Abbey, shown in the extract above, appeared in "The works of Mary Russell Mitford: Prose and Verse" (in "The Lost Dahlia"), published in 1841.