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Institute of Tourists Guiding

MR 04676

Reading Abbey and King Henry I Tours

900th anniversary of Reading Abbey tours

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Visit Reading's Abbey Quarter and hear the full story of the abbey

Meet the people, the place and hear the stories of Reading's Abbey Quarter

King Henry I founded Reading Abbey in 1121.  He was buried at the high altar of the abbey church in 1136.

After 400 years at the forefront of royal patronage and events the abbey was dissolved by King Henry VIII in 1539.

Many years of destruction and neglect followed.  But after sympathetic restoration of the ruins the whole story can still be traced.

We are offering Henry I Reading Abbey walking tours to give you an opportunity to learn about this historic Abbey through the ages.

Customise your Reading tour

Create your ideal day by selecting any of the options from the table below for your bespoke walking tour of the town of Reading, it’s famous Abbey and King Henry I. Choose your distance, time or type of activity. At any point, feel free to get in touch and we will help you build the perfect tour for you and your group.

Type of activityApproximate lengthAbility
The Abbey Quarter, history and architecture
75 minutes (1 mile, 1.5 kilometres)
Gentle - for all abilities and ages
The Abbey Quarter plus Reading Museum and the Bayeux Tapestry
3 hours (2 miles, 3 kilometres)
Gentle - for all abilities and ages
The Abbey and best of the rest of Reading
Half day, up to 4 hours (3 to 4 miles, 5 to 7 kilometres)
Medium - average level of fitness

Discuss your unique needs for your trip?

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Learn about Reading Abbey's famous past

A 75- minute walking tour of the historic Reading Abbey Quarter will introduce us to various Kings (Henry I, Edward IV, Henry VIII), such is the former importance of the place.

This can be combined with a visit to Reading Museum where the whole abbey story is completed.  The museum also contains the world’s only full-sized replica of the Bayeux Tapestry, telling the story of Henry I’s father, William the Conqueror, and the birth of Norman England.

This tour could be combined with some of Reading’s other hidden gems.  See our Reading page for more options.

Here is just a glimpse of what the Abbey Quarter has to offer:

A site that is visited during our tours in Reading

Qualifications and accreditations

  • Member of the Institute of Tourist Guiding
  • Member of the British Guild of Tourist Guides
  • Blue Badge Guide for South and South East England 2011
  • Blue Badge Guide for South West England 2014
  • Ambassador for the Great West Way
  • Member of Friends of Reading Abbey
  • Guiding endorsement for Windsor and Eton
  • Member of Reading CIC

Sam Evans

Humphreys of Henley

Graham is one of our clients’ favourite guides! They tell us that he is not only informative, but fun and entertaining, bringing the stunning destinations across southern England to life. We love to introduce Graham to our clients because he finds out about them and makes the whole experience truly personal

British visitor


Thank you so much for all the work you put into a most interesting day in Reading yesterday. You were a wonderful guide.

Lin Wilson

Solent Events & Leisure

Thanks Graham and thank you for a superb tour yesterday. It was both interesting and amusing which we love! Everyone really enjoyed the whole day and are now eager to book my next one, which is great.

HF Holidays guest

Don’t think he could improve! Excellent in all respects.

Discuss your unique needs for your trip?

Contact us

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If you have any questions about a tour, or if you're interested in booking, then don't hesitate to get in touch.