Reading Abbey ruins and Abbey Quarter: off-line resources - tours, talks, books, courses

Tours of the Abbey Ruins and related tours

1. Reading Museum have on their Abbey Quarter website a Talks and Tours page, where guided tours are advertised from time to time.

2. The Friends of Reading Abbey can offer tours around the Abbey ruins and Abbey Quarter, and also talks on Reading Abbey to local groups, clubs and societies. Please email the Secretary for information.

3. John and Lindsay Mullaney offer a range of historical walks around the Abbey Quarter and St James Church. More information can be found on their Scallop Shell Press website.

4. A local Blue Badge guide, Graham Horn, offers tours of the Abbey Ruins. See the Reading page on his Tours2order website for further information.

5. Terry Dixon of Terry's Reading Walkabouts organises tours of the centre of Reading including the Abbey Ruins. The link is to his Facebook page which includes contact information: Terry's Reading walkabouts.

6. Walk Reading offer a number of tours around Reading, including Reading Abbey and Forbury Gardens.

7. The Great West Way page on the LivingReading website gives ideas for exploring many areas around Reading including the Abbey ruins and the Museum. Link to Great West Way website page about the Reading Abbey Quarter.

8. The British Pilgimage Trust website includes two routes featuring Reading Abbey, one as the starting point, the other as the destination. St James' Way is a week long route from Reading Abbey to Southampton. Sonning to Reading Abbey is a 1-day route along the River Thames, via pilgrimage sites in Caversham and thence to Reading Abbey. A Camino Pilgrim guidebook to the St James' Way route is listed in the Books section on this page.

9. A map guide to pilgrimage sites in Reading and Caversham was launched during July 2021. It features visits to 13 locations, including the starting point of the St James' Way in the Abbey ruins, the Inner Gateway and the Hospitium. The map is available as a pdf file. Livingreading's website page Reading for modern pilgrims gives background information.

10. The Reading Abbey 900 Walking route around central Reading. This route has been set up to mark the 900th anniversary of Reading Abbey, and highlights Abbey-related buildings and others constructed since the Dissolution of the Abbey: Reading Abbey 900 Walking Route. Important note - the route runs alongside some of Reading's busy roads so Please be aware when away from pedestrian areas.

11. Dr Joe Chick has set up an exploration of the monastic influences still visible in Reading on the On History website. The walk aims to recreate the town at a specific moment in time: the eve of the dissolution of the abbey. The walk is described on the website and is also available via an app which can be downloaded from the website.

Reading Abbey books currently in print

1. Reading Abbey and the Abbey Quarter by Peter Durrant and John Painter with the support of the Friends of Reading Abbey. Published by Two Rivers Press, 2018. 117 pages.
ISBN 978-1-909747-39-5

2. Reading Abbey Records: a new miscellany, edited by Brian Kemp. Published by Berkshire Record Society, 2018. 142 pages.
ISBN 978-0-9573937-6-9

3. The Royal Abbey of Reading by Ron Baxter. Published by Boydell and Brewer, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2016. 354 pages. Book review by John Painter.
ISBN 978 1 78327 084 2

4. Scallop Shell Press publish a number of books relevant to Reading Abbey: Reading Abbey Quarter by John Mullaney; Hugh Cook Faringdon, last Abbot of Reading by Chris Darbyshire; The Reading Abbey Stone by John Mullaney; Reading Abbey: A Pilgrim Church by John Mullaney. Further information about these books can be found on the Scallop Shell Press website.
Two Scallop Shell Press books were published in 2020:
i) A Tale of Two Towns by John Mullaney. Further information about the book is in this pdf file. This also contains a link to a Youtube presentation about the book.
ii) Henry I and his Abbey by Lindsay Mullaney. Further information about the book is in this pdf file.

5. Camino Pilgrim Guides: St James Way - A pilgrim way from Reading to Southampton, starting at Reading Abbey. Information in the Camino Way guidebooks section.

6. Urban Society and Monastic Lordship in Reading, 1350-1600 by Joe Chick "interrogates the standard view of turbulent and violent town-abbey relations through a combination of traditional and new research techniques." Published by Boydell and Brewer.

Many of these books are available from Reading Central Library, where there is also a comprehensive stock of other books about Reading Abbey - Reading libraries catalogue search.



1. Reading Museum arrange lectures related to Reading Abbey from time to time, generally held in the Museum on a Saturday afternoon. Please see their Talks and Tours page for information.

2. The Friends of Reading Abbey can provide a speaker to give a general introduction to Reading Abbey. Please email the Secretary for information.

3. John and Lindsay Mullaney can offer talks on various subjects related to Reading Abbey. Further information is provided on the "About Us" page of the Scallop Shell Press website.


1. The Department for Continuing Education in the University of Oxford hold courses from time to time in subjects related to the historical and architectural background to monastic houses such as Reading Abbey. The courses generally take place in Oxford, but some are held in the Reading area. Search for courses on the Department's website.