Things to do in the School Holidays

The school holiday lasts from Saturday 24 October until Sunday 1 November and includes Halloween on Saturday 31 October . You may already have decided to use the Waterloo Meadows Holiday Playclub or the Apollo Play Club, but you may also be interested in  some of the less well known events and activities in the area.

Please see the What’s On page for a calendar view of the following events.  You are advised to check dates, times, prices and conditions yourself as The Whitley Pump cannot be held responsible for loss or inconvenience in case of error, change or cancellation.


RFTReading has a number of giant multiplex cinemas such as the Vue cinema at the Oracle and the Showcase at Loddon Bridge. In addition, Reading University hosts the Reading Film Theatre which is showing Slow West on Tuesday 27 October and Marshland on Thursday 29 October. Both start at 8pm and are certified 15. RISC on London Street is also showing a number of films as part of the Reading International Festival that runs until 13 November.


South Street Arts Centre logoThe South Street Arts Centre is hosting  Elves & The Shoemaker performed by the Theatre of Widdershins  (for children of 3  upwards) on Tuesday 27 & Wednesday 28 October, 11.30am and 2pm, and Kala Utsavam on Saturday 31 October.

The Hexagon, in Reading town centre, is hosting Sherlock Holmes and the Ripper Murders on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 October at 7.30pm.


Rising Sun Arts Centre logoThe Rising Sun Arts Centre on Silver Street holds a number of regular dance events and classes, including Festina Latina on Saturday 24 October at 9pm. On Monday 26 October they hold classes for Bachata and Kizomba at 7.30pm,  and for Jazz and Charleston and Balboa at 8.30pm. On Thursday 29 October the centre hosts an Argentine Tango class at 7.30pm.

RISC on London Street is holding a Circle Dancing event on Saturday 24 October at 11am.


Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra logoThe Aldworth Philharmonic will be playing classical orchestral music composed by Humperdinck, Mahler and Grieg at Reading University Great Hall on Saturday 24 October at 7.30pm

RISC  has a Guest Singer Night on Sunday 25 October starting at 8pm. The South Street Arts centre hosts Caddy Cooper on Wednesday 28 October, an African Night on Thursday 29 October, Everhazel on Friday 30 October and Darklands on Saturday 31 October.

The Rising Sun Arts Centre hold an African Drumming with Abdoul class on Wednesday 28 October at 7.30pm.


Art lovers can visit the Reading Charity Art Fair at St Josephs College on Upper Redlands Road on Saturday 31 October and Sunday 1 November, opening at 10am each day.

The Rising Sun Arts Centre  hosts an Open Art Studio at 1pm on Sunday 1 November and its regular  B.Alive.Art Life Drawing class on Tuesday 27 October at 7.30pm.


There are a number of open spaces in and around Katesgrove including Cintra Park, Waterloo Meadows and Whiteknights Park, which is the main campus of Reading University.  The Harris Garden, at the southernmost extent of Whiteknights, is a more formal garden than the rest of the park.

For those of a more energetic nature, the Kennet and Avon Canal, the Thames Path, the Ridgeway and the Chilterns are always available.

Kennet and Avon Canal

The Kennet and Avon Canal is a good choice for walkers or cyclists who want a back-up plan in case the weather or terrain gets too much; there are several railway stations nearby that connect back to Reading.

The Ridgeway west of the Thames runs along the top of the Chilterns and can be very exposed to the weather; it’s one of the few places in this corner of England with a touch of wilderness about it. There is a small car park for ramblers and cyclists near the end of Rectory Road in Streatley. The pretty town of Dorchester-on-Thames with its massive Abbey is nearby, as are the eccentric Sinodun hills with their Wittenham Clumps.

The Ridgeway also goes eastward along the base of the Chilterns, near the village of Ewelme with its historic church and almshouses as well as the grave of the author Jerome K Jerome.

The Chilterns contain some beautiful villages, such as Turville, which has appeared in  several films and TV serials,  as well as epic views from Watlington Hill. The hills and valleys are peppered with beech woodlands, many of which are accessible to the public (albeit privately owned), such as those around Stoke Row, Nettlebed and the Hambleden Valley.

The National Trust have a number of Autumn gems in the Thames Valley that might be worth a visit.


The UK Wolf Conservation Trust is based at Beenham, near Aldermaston, and they will be holding a Howl and Hoot event from 11am on Wednesday 28 October. There are guided tours of the wolf sanctuary and wolf feeding time is 2pm. The trust is also holding a creative writing workshop for children on Friday 30  October from 11am until 2pm.

Beale Wildlife Park and Gardens, near Pangbourne, is hosting a number of child-centred events such as Crate Climbing on Monday 26 October and Meet the Bug Sessions on Wednesday 28 October. The Wildlife Park and Garden is open seven days a week, from 10am until 4pm.

The Living Rainforest, in Hampstead Norreys, will be holding a Scare Yourself Silly Halloween from Friday 23 October until Monday 2 November starting at 10am each day.


Walls of Calleva Atrebatum

The abandoned Roman city of Calleva Atrebatum, near Silchester, still has some impressive walls and is under near constant investigation by the University of Reading. There is a car park on Wall Lane. Many of the finds from this site are held in Reading Museum.

Basildon Park, a Georgian mansion near Pangbourne, is open throughout the holidays, as is Grey’s Court near Henley.


  1. Waterloo Meadows Holiday Playclub
  2. Apollo Play Club
  3. Reading Arts and Venues
  4. UK Wolf Conservation Trust
  5. Kennet and Avon Canal
  6. Reading Charity Art Fair
  7. Rising Sun Arts Centre
  8. Reading Museum
  9. Basildon Park
  10. Grey’s Court
  11. Living Rainforest
  12. Beale Wildlife Park and Gardens