Planning your visit

After seven years at Caversham Court Gardens, Reading Open Air returned to Reading Abbey Ruins in 2018. In 2019,  we will be back performing King Lear by William Shakespeare.

On this page you can find useful information for your visit.

Reading Abbey Ruins


Venue opens at 6.45pm. 
The performance begins at 7.30pm, finishing in darkness at a time to be confirmed, after 10.00pm.
There is an interval of twenty minutes.


  • A licensed bar will be open before the show and during the interval.
  • Toilets are available on site.
  • In the case of rain, a shortened version may be presented.
  • The Abbey Ruins will have theatre-style allocated seating; it is not necessary to bring anything to sit on.

View Larger Map or View on Google Maps

Reading Abbey Ruins, Abbey St, Reading RG1 3BA
Access is from Chestnut Walk, over the footbridge and across the street if coming from Queens Road Car Park. If coming from the station, cross the Forbury Gardens, walk under the arch of the Abbey Gateway and turn left at the boittom of Abbey St. There will be no access from Forbury Gardens or Abbots Walk. 

What to Bring

An Open Air production is always a wonderful way to experience theatre - here are some tips to help you to have the best time possible:

  • Warm clothing – Because the production is in the open air, it can become quite cool by the end of the performance, even on hot July days. Just in case it gets a bit too chilly, bring a jumper or a blanket so you can wrap up warm if you need to...
  • Waterproofs – There's no roof, so there's just a chance there's a passing shower - not that that would ever happen in England of all places! - make sure you check the weather forecast and ensure you've got something to keep yourself dry if needed. Except in the back row, umbrellas are only allowed on your lap during the performances, so something with a hood would be perfect!

Don't bring

  • Folding chairs or anything to sit on - seating is included.
  • Alcohol - there is a licenced bar on site.
  • Bulky items that won't fit on your lap or under your seat.

Please leave the venue quietly

so as not to disturb nearby residents.


Disabled access

There is no parking in the area, so disabled patrons can be dropped off/collected in Abbey Street to gain access to Chestnut Walk, where the main entrance gate is situated. 

The Abbey Ruins are accessible for wheelchair users and those with mobility issue via a footpath. Please note there is step free access but no hand rail.

There are parking bays for blue badge holders in the town centre, including two on Blagrave Street directly outside the Reading Museum and four on the Forbury Road (please be aware that these are often in use).  


By car

Follow signs to Reading Town Centre or Reading Station.


On-street parking close to the Abbey Quarters is metered and very limited, so we recommend using the public carparks at Queens Road (the closest), The Oracle or Garrard Street (near the station). It will then be a short walk to Reading Abbey Ruins.

By train

Take any train to Reading. Exit the station on the town side, not the Caversham side. Turn right along Forbury Road as you exit the station. The Abbey Ruins is a five-minute walk from the station, accessed via The Forbury Gardens.

By bus

Take any bus to the town centre - the nearest stops are Reading Library on Kings Road, Blagrave Street, Market Place and Reading Station on Forbury Road. For more information, please visit the Reading Buses website. 

Pre-show Dinner
 Not available Thursday 12
 or Monday 16 July


When you book tickets you can book a pre-show dinner with Forbury's Restaurant.

2 Course £17.95 (£5.50 extra for dessert) / 3 course £21.95 (including dessert), excluding booking fee and service charge.Download menu. 
Not available Thursday 12 or Monday 16 July

Forbury's, One Forbury Square, Reading, RG1 3BB

Forbury’s Square is within a few minutes walking distance from Reading train station and The Oracle shopping centre. Tel:  0118 957 4044

By Car to Forbury's

Approach from Kings Road and take the turning opposite Zizzi’s Restaurant into Abbey Street. Follow the road around to the left until you see Soane Point, then turn right. Forbury’s car park is under Davidson House.

Car parking free for pre-booked dinner/theatre tickets

Sat Nav: navigate to RG1 3BJ