Welcome to My Perfect Reading Weekend. It’s the first in our new regular series where Explore Reading shines a spotlight on what Reading residents love to do at the weekend and how they make the most of their free time in our lovely town.
This month, Zsuzsi Lindsay, organiser of Reading Fringe Festival, shares her ideal way to spend a weekend in Reading. Here, Zsuzsi tells us about her favourite family parks, where she goes out for dinner and the cultural spots to explore, as well as the events she’s going to be making a beeline for at The Fringe Festival this week.
Food and drink
If I’m going out for dinner at the weekend, I absolutely love Sapana Home, the Nepalese Restaurant on Queen Victoria Street. It has a really welcoming atmosphere and such a fantastic feel, celebrating Reading’s heritage and connection with Nepal. On top of that they have delicious dumplings!!
I also really, really love my local Indian, The Red Rose in Woodley, one of the best!
Things to do
My favourite thing to do on a Saturday is to go for a walk down by the Thames with my family. We often go to the playground and the paddling pool at Christchurch Meadows and then stop off at the Whittington’s Tea Barge for tea and cake!
If it’s just a weekend with me and my partner, I love going to Blue Collar’s Feastival Food Market in Forbury Gardens. We generally spend the day there, eating wonderful street food, drinking local brews and listening to music!
I also absolutely love going to the Woodford Park paddling pool in Woodley with my kids. We are so lucky to have such a great park in our neighbourhood.
Heritage and culture
I have to say that I really love Reading’s Abbey Quarter. I can see that after its renovation, this is going to become a national heritage site, tying in feminism with the early history of our town. Reading Between the Lines’s Production of ‘Henry I’ brought this story to life for me, and whenever I see the ruins I can’t help but conjure up these fantastic images from their production.
My Fringe Festival highlights
If I not busy organising the Fringe, I will be front row for Futures World Festival (Saturday 22 July from midday, at The Dome at Station Hill). It’s a great music festival that has been curated locally in support of the Reading Refugee Support Group. The line up includes Talvin Singh, Dele Sosimi and Reggae Reggae Show.
Its tagline is Music Beyond Borders, so it is apt for everything that has happened in 2017 and I’m really proud that it is part of the Fringe this year. We hope that it will grow to fill the place that WOMAD left behind in Reading.
‘Skin Deep‘ (Friday 21 Jul,8.30pm/ Saturday 21 July, 5.30pm at Penta Hotel) is also one that I am excited about. Again, they are homegrown talent. They started out in Reading at our first ever Fringe, went away, gained some experience and then came back to show off their goods last year with ‘Frogs’. I can honestly say that it was fab, so I am really looking forward to seeing what they bring this year! And it’s about a Hungarian serial killer, what more could you want!?
Lastly, I think I would have to select ‘Finding Mr Paramour‘ (Sunday 23 July, 3.30pm at Penta Hotel), where former primary school deputy head Tim Paramour asks if our schools are becoming joyless exam factories. I have two young boys going through school and I am not always happy with how they are pushed. So I am really interested to see what Mr Paramour and the Kinoteater production group have to say about our education system.
Reading Fringe Festival runs Tuesday 18 July – Sunday 23 July at locations around Reading.
Have Zsuzsi’s highlights got you excited for the Fringe? If so, find out more with our guide to the Reading Fringe Festival.
Hello! I'm Claire, the founding editor of Explore Reading. I'm a Reading native and former digital director of Time Out Shanghai. I founded Explore Reading so no one can say, ‘there’s nothing to do in Reading’, again. When not editing Explore Reading, I'm probably drinking a Manhattan.