The best things to do in Reading in August

Claire Slobodian
Reading Festival

It’s holiday season, and we’ve got a packed lineup of 20 events to help you make the most of your summer in Reading. Hopefully it will stay sunny enough in August for us to enjoy the great list of music festivals, summer parties, markets, outdoor film screenings and scavenger hunts happening around town. Explore them all with our list of the best things to do in Reading in August, organised in date order.

August 2018 events in Reading

Stand and Deliver Comedy

Thursday 9 August, 7.30-10pm, Speakeasy Cocktail Club, £6, book now

This monthly stand up comedy night brings professional comic headliners to Reading supported by new, exciting and untapped comedians. For August the headliner is Canadian Bobby Mair, with support from Kathryn Mather.

Poets’ Cafe

Friday 10 August, 8.30pm, South Street Arts Centre, £5, read more

Poets Cafe is Reading’s longest running verse-based platform. August’s event features an extended open mic night for local poets to read and share their works and favourite pieces by other poets. Andrew Curtis hosts.

A Vow to Kill

Saturday 11 August, 12pm & 3pm, £22, book tickets

Embrace your inner sleuth with this quirky live-action murder mystery scavenger hunt around Reading town centre. Race in search of clues to solve the latest interactive murder mystery game from the team behind A Gamble with Death and more. This time, Supermodel Beau Kay has been found murdered before her big day and you have to crack the case. It’s a fun and exciting way to explore Reading, solving problems and riddles, and looking for evidence found on local businesses, lampposts and shop windows.

Here Comes the Sun

Saturday 11 August, 11am-11pm, Rising Sun Arts Centre, Free entry

The Rising Sun’s annual family-friendly festival returns with a packed day of music, poetry, comedy, food, art and dance. All proceeds from the day will go towards funding for the arts centre’s upkeep.

There will be three stages spread across the centre with music coming from folk trio Little Red, Nightjjar, and Deerful. There’ll also be Zimbabwean-inspired beats from Limpopo Groove and pulsing electronica from Tiger Mendoza among many other acts. As well as music, there’s improv from the Zap! comedy group, dance demos art shows and an an outdoor cinema festival screening locally-produced shorts. All in all, a good day out.

Kids Summer Festival 2017

Saturday 11 August, 11am-7pm, Palmer Park, Admission £3, Under twos free.

This packed summer holiday family fun day will feature funfair rides, face painting, craft sessions and stalls from local vendors. There’ll also be be balloon science show and dance workshops, a One Direction tribute show and circus shows throughout the day.

Cult Screens open air cinema
Cult Screens at Caversham Court Gardens.

Cult Screens outdoor cinema

Wednesday 15 – Friday 17 August, Gates 7.30pm, film at 9pm, Caversham Court Gardens, from £15, read more

Catch Best Picture Oscar winner The Shape of Water (15 Aug) alongside the River Thames this month at outdoor cinema Cult Screens. You can also catch mind-bender Inception (16 Aug) and musical The Greatest Showman (17 Aug).

See more outdoor film screenings in Reading this month.

Vegan Summer Nights

Thursday 16 and 30 August, 4-9pm, Station Hill, free entry

Ethic Collective, the team behind the monthly vegan market at Station Hill present a series of evening street food pop ups outside the Biscuit Tin. There’ll be vegan wine and beer from The Biscuit Tin and Thursday 16 sees Bison Kitchen burgers and Seitan hotdogs, Thursday 30 is Caribbean Earth Pot Food and La Petite Bouche Bakery.



Friday 17 August, from 8pm, The Oakford Social Club, free

Local alt-rock four piece, Mellor, are known for their breakneck riffs and high energy guitars. Catch them as they launch their latest single ‘Safe Word’ at this free gig, along with support from lo-fi alternative rock band Mother and Alt-rockers Flashfires.

The Merl Museum

The Merl Family Picnic

Friday 17 August, 11-2pm, The Museum of English Rural Life, free

Take a picnic, and your teddy if you like, to one of our best hidden gardens at The Museum of English Rural Life for this family day out. There’ll be garden games, activities and a tractor for the kids to clamber on.

Dragon boat

Dragon Boat Race

Sunday 19 August, 9am – 4pm, Thames Valley Park Riverside, free entry, read more.

Fun-filled family festival, The Reading Dragon Boat race returns to the Thames with a series of boat races competing for the the winners trophy. There’ll be knockout rounds all day, with the big finale taking place about 3.45pm. Land side, there will be more family activities, charity stalls and food options.

Tap Social

Meet the Brewer: Tap Social

Thursday 23 August, 6pm, BrewDog, free entry

Oxford’s Tap Social Movement brewery train people serving prison sentences, in brewing and the craft beer business, providing them with skills and rehab opportunities. They also make pretty damn good beer. Hear all about their brewery and try eight of their beers on draft at this evening talk at BrewDog.

Reading Festival

Friday 24 – Sunday 26 August, Richfield Avenue, £70 day tickets, buy tickets

This one doesn’t really need much introduction, does it? The legendary Reading Festival is synonymous with our town and is always a fun and riotous weekend. Headliners this year include Kendrick Lamar and Kings of Leon and there’s still day tickets available. There’s also sets from Reading bands Valeras and Saltwater Sun (pictured) which are well worth catching. See our picks of the ten acts to catch at Reading Festival.

Siren Rainbow Project 2018 Launch

Saturday 25 August, 1.30-7.30pm, £13, buy tickets

Siren Craft Brew launch their final set of special collaboration beers for the International Rainbow Project. Rainbow was started in 2013 by a former head brewer at Siren and sees seven UK breweries partner with seven from around the world to brew a beer together. Breweries include Siren, Partizan, New Belgium, Burning Sky and Hawkshead and each pairing is given a colour of the rainbow to inspire their brew. This batch of seven were all brewed in 2017 and have been barrel-aged over the year in between.

There’ll be a bus from Wokingham station to get you to the brewery. Your ticket includes a souvenir glass for the day and drinks tokens to the value of £10. There’s also street food stalls and a chance to take home a mix case of all the beers.

Launchpad Reading

The Big Sleep Out

Friday 31 August – Saturday 1 September, 7pm – 7am, Queen Anne’s School, Caversham.

Join Launchpad’s for their annual fundraising sleep out to raise money for the homeless charity. Experience what it’s like to spend a night exposed to the elements and get sponsorship for the night. Throughout the evening there’s music, guest speakers and a cardboard shelter building competition where you’ll create your own shelter for the night. Last year, 120 ‘Big Sleepers ‘raised over £40,000 to support some of Reading’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people. Why not join them this year?

Not enough for you?

See more Things to Do in Reading

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