Reading and its Abbey - a Local History

Reading and its Abbey: interactive session exploring local history

This session gives children the opportunity to explore the history of Reading through activities, discussion and an exciting visit of the newly conserved Abbey Ruins. They will discover how our town developed through the influence of the Great Abbey and the kings and Queens who shaped its history: Henry l, who built the Abbey; Henry Vlll who dissolved it and Elizabeth l who enjoyed it as a Royal Palace. Geography, history, Religion and Literacy are just some of the themes we will cover in the session. For 1 hour and 45 minutes children will have the chance to work with and handle real medieval abbey artifacts, dress up in replica costumes, take part in role play activities and even learn a Tudor dance!

Reading and its Abbey is perfect as support to Local History modules or in combination with our Bayeux Tapestry session to explore Medieval History.


The children enjoyed discussing artefacts and handling them.

(On entering the ruins) - Wow

- Redlands Primary School A6841C61-ACD8-4C22-BA6A-1DA1EACB60AA

Notes for teachers

  • Key Stage 2 and 3
  • Explores Reading’s unique Abbey Ruins
  • Opportunities to handle real objects, including medieval pottery and tiles from Reading Abbey
  • Children can wear replica costume and take part in role play


  • To understand how Reading was formed, over time, through the influence of the Abbey and significant figures like Henry I, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.
  • Learn how significant changes such as the dissolution of the monasteries affected the development of the local area.
Enquire about the session