Forbury gardens is an ornamental park in the centre of Reading. It was running into decay a few years back but they suddenly decided to throw money at it and it has made a huge difference. Note it is a retro-style formal park, it does not have swings and slides. It features: lots of benches to sit on (but could do with a lot more as it is VERY popular during the summer months) , it has very pretty flower beds , lots of grass areas to relax on , an ornamental pond, a giant plinth with a lion statue on top and a small hill at one edge with a spiral path leading to some more seats at the top. It also has lots of very large mature trees that make the park a bit special. There is also a bandstand and on some Weekends in the summer there is a program of events. Some of these are very pleasant for example the Reading scots pipers were playing there one day which was rather nice, but on another day I went there was the local samba band playing; well I guess as they say "each to their own" but I'd never heard a racket like it (with no prior experience of samba!) basically 30+ people stuffed into the bandstand with extremely noisy drums and whistles, you could not hear yourself speak in the park! In addition there are other larger organized events, I think there is a green transport one every year where there are displays of mainly cycling related things but there is usually some fool with a sofa-bicycle which is quite amusing to watch. The park is also served by a small cafe but in my opinion it's not that great, it has a few tables and the toasties are quite nice and the tea is OK but it's one of these places that advertises 'cappuccinos' where what you get is instant coffee with a lot of milk fluffed up a bit! Also be aware that it suffers from the same problem all town centre parks suffer from - in the early evening, dodgy people tend to gather there, large groups of teenagers smoking dope, beggars and the like, so I'd say go for a visit morning to about 4pm.
It's also next to Reading Abbey ruins and you used to be able to walk over and look around there as well, but I think they have blocked it off for some renovation work.
As said its right in the town centre so you are a stone's throw from cafes like Carluccios or Costa, Starbucks etc.
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