Reading

March of the Droids 2017 location drive is fully underway We’ve whittled it down to 3 possible places, as you may have seen in our previous post MotD2017 Help us decide #MotD Location. Today you will see 3 posts with some more info that we have put together for each. Once these have all been posted we will open up a vote to you, the people.

About The Place

Reading is a large town and unitary authority area in the ceremonial county of Berkshire, England. The Borough of Reading has a population of 155,698 (2011 census) and the town formed the largest part of the Reading/Wokingham Urban Area which had a population of 318,014 (2011 census).  It is located in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, and on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway. By the national road network, Reading is located 40 miles (64 km) east from Swindon, 27 miles (43 km) south from Oxford, 41 miles (66 km) west of central London, and 16 miles (26 km) north from Basingstoke.

The town has had two major periods of growth in its history, the first being in the 12th century with the construction of Reading Abbey and the second during the 19th century as Great Western Railway led to the town becoming a manufacturing centre. Reading is a gem of a place which is full of energy and ambition. It offers something for everyone including Michelin start restaurants, museums, rivers and over eight hundred listed buildings and monuments. It’s also repeatedly cited as one of the UK’s top ten retail destinations for shopping.

These days Reading plays and important part in the I.T. industry with Microsoft, Oracle, Hewlett Packard and Fujtisu all operating in the town, along with the Thames Valley Science Park – a lively community of ambitious, knowledge-based companies. Here you’ll find cutting edge laboratories together with modern, flexible office space within a relaxed, campus style environment. Larger companies wanting to develop bespoke R&D or office buildings will find both the opportunity and expertise to make that happen. Also operating with many tech PR companies that could help get as much SWAG and goodies to play with at our event. With this latter part we feel Reading being ideal, with it being a major technology hub for the UK, it’s a perfect location for #MotD2017.

With things to do and see, Reading has plenty. From places like Forbury Gardens, a public park in the town of Reading. The park is on the site of the outer court of Reading Abbey, which was in front of the Abbey Church. Also a whole host of museums, lakes and more as mentioned before.

With that retail experience and places to go. Situated in Reading is the Oracle, The centre contains 90 shops, including department stores and more. There are also 22 restaurants, cafés and bars along the riverside of the Kennet, and an 11-screen Vue cinema. With plenty of shops, bars, restaurants and things to do for all you weekend stayers. The Oracle Riverside area, with its restaurants and bars, spans the Brewery Gut, a particularly narrow stretch of the River Kennet. The layout allows space for outdoor tables, and there is granite stadium-style seating and a sail-like canopy.

Now for the nightlife and after dark times at March of the Droid. Reading has lots to do. Lola Lo, Sakura, Treehouse, Q Club, The Face Bar, Revolution (Where we were this year in Edinburgh), RYND, The Slug and Lettuce, Pavlov’s Dog’s, The Greyfriar (Craft Beer fans), Matchbox, and if you wanna catch a gif or comedy night there’s Sub 89, Purple Turtle or Milk.

All tastes are catered for from performance and visual arts to Reading’s nightlife. Reading not being a City, but seen by many as big and worthy enough, makes it just right to get that smaller intimate feel with lots to keep us busy as well. A big technology hub, a massive shopping centre, buzzing nightlife and easy to get to. We feel Reading would be a great choice for #MotD2017.

Accommodation

With the usual popular franchise hotels in the Travelodge, Premier Inn, Holiday Inn, Ibis, Hilton and also the MotD hotel of this year, Novotel, accommodation shouldn’t be an issue at all. Currently prices at those hotels range from £35-75 around March next year for 1 night, and likely as usual we’ll see deals going around. Alternatively you have plenty of guest houses and smaller independent hotels around, being a hub for technology, yearly festivals and lots happening, it’s advantages are there in accommodating all our attendees. Also, for those who want to group up perhaps, or for those that want a more personal touch, Airbnb is also available in Reading, we’ve had a look and they are quite cheap. We actually found Reading to surprisingly be the cheapest in accommodation so far.

Travel

Reading’s location in the Thames Valley to the west of London has made the town an important location in the nation’s transport system.

Reading is a major junction point of the National Rail system, and hence Reading station is a major transfer point and terminus. Being one of the busiest interchanges on the national rail network and has direct routes to almost every part of the UK. Railway lines link Reading to both Paddington and Waterloo stations in London. The route to Paddington offers both non-stop (taking around 30 minutes) and stopping services, whilst that to Waterloo offers only a stopping service, however this service does give Reading direct links with Richmond and Clapham Junction. Inter-city services also link Reading to Swindon, Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Exeter, Plymouth, Birmingham and the North of England as well as Southampton Central and Bournemouth. Local services link Reading to Oxford, Newbury, Basingstoke, Bracknell, Guildford and Gatwick Airport.

Reading was a major staging point on the old Bath Road (A4) from London to Bath and Bristol. This road still carries local traffic, but has now been replaced for long distance traffic by the M4 motorway, which closely skirts the borough and serves it with three junctions (J10-J12). Other main roads serving Reading include the A33 from Basingstoke, the A327 from Farnborough, the A329 from Bracknell to Thame, the A4074 to Oxford, and the A4155 to Henley-on-Thames. Basically you’re going towards London.

Myself included, I have made my way to past MotD events via coach, hey, It’s cheap! – National Express also operates in Reading via Reading Coachway, at Junction 12 of the M4, covering routes between major towns and cities in the United Kingdom. Cheap, easy and accessible.

Summary

Reading is large, but not so big that it’s overcrowded and to much. With it’s easy access from London, North, East and all over the UK, being an important part of the UK’s transport system has it’s perks for us. Hotels, guest houses, Airbnb and accommodation in general is never going to be an issue in Reading with it’s regular visitors  for entertainment and booming industry, plus when checking, not that expensive either!

With plenty of after event locations we can frequent also, from trnedy bars and clubs, to craft beer houses, to cocktail bars and maybe some alternative scene gigs and indie venues. We know that is much apart of the weekend as the event for many. We like to connect people, create friends, make existing ones stronger and have a good time at the event, after and on social media afterwards hopefully, too.

More importantly with our event being a technology one, shocker, right! – Reading being one the UK’s technology hubs and home to many tech companies, and more crucial to us, Mobile companies; Nvidia, Ericsson, Huawei/Honor, Intel, Virgin Media, PR companies representing mobile, and a whole host of development houses. It’s an ideal location to take our little Android technology event we feel.