St James' Way for Camino Pilgrims

The St James' Way is a walking route which forms part of the ancient pilgrimage route of 'Camino de Santiago'. Start your journey from Reading Museum.

The Camino runs from Reading to Southampton for its English leg, and then from there follows a network of ancient pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela in North-West Spain.  

Reading Abbey was an important site for ancient pilgrims, and at its height in the Middle Ages the abbey saw pilgrims in their hundreds or even thousands attending Holy Mass in order to qualify for two days free lodging at the Hospitium.  These medieval pilgrims had come to venerate holy relics including most notably the Hand of St James. You can find out about more about Reading Abbey in the Museum's Story of Reading Gallery. Now new waves of pilgrims are visiting Reading and its abbey to start out on the way-marked St James’ Way.

The English and Spanish legs may be walked in stages, or continuously, over any period of time.  Certificates of completion may be claimed in both Southampton and Santiago by pilgrims provided they have stamps recorded in a pilgrim passport at cafes, pubs, museums, and churches to evidence their journey.  The Reading Museum shop stocks passports and other items that will assist with your walking and enjoyment of this Camino, you can buy online or in-person.

The Museum shops stocks St James Way passports, guides, maps and other products

A journey of this nature requires a personal resolve and commitment, and it can be made with family members, in a group or with others met along the Way. In the process of undertaking such an endeavour, individuals will discover the holistic benefits to body, mind, and soul.  It is this aspect, along with the Camino’s accessible infrastructure, that attracts people from all backgrounds, not only religious, to take time out to tread its paths.

This carving of medieval pilgrim is on the medieval Reading Abbey Gateway. He wears the scallop shell of St James on his hat.

Pilgrim Registration

We ask pilgrims who start the St James’ Way to register their details with us by visiting our Reception Desk.  If you are unable to visit in person, please contact us by calling 0118 937 3400 or by completing the General enquiry form with details of your country (overseas)/county (UK), age and gender along with why you are walking the route.  Please type “(Camino Pilgrim)” beside your name.

For pilgrims who visit us, please take the opportunity to explore our museum and learn about Reading’s prominent place in English history and to discover the historic Abbey Quarter.  Also ask for the Reading for Modern Pilgrims map guide.

Buen Camino!

January – March 2024

Pilgrims Registered 78

April – June 2024

Pilgrims Registered 102