Reading Abbey Ruins Official Opening Date Revealed

Abbey Gallery launch

THE MUCH anticipated reopening date of Reading’s oldest gem, the Abbey Ruins, was revealed this week.

The ‘Abbey Ruins Revealed’ celebration will take place on Saturday 16th June 2018, following a three year, £3.15 million conservation project.

The re-opening ceremony will be a focal point of this year’s Water Fest, Reading’s annual celebration of the town’s waterways.

The date was announced today at 10 am, Monday 12th February by Reading’s Mayor, Cllr Rose Williams, at a launch event for Reading Museum’s new Reading Abbey gallery.

The fascinating new permanent display begins with objects highlighting the town’s history before the Abbey was established. It then focuses on the history of the Abbey leading up to its closure in 1539.

There are Abbey themed activities every day this week as part of the museum’s half term programme.

Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: “I’m delighted the Council’s long-standing ambition to re-open the Abbey Ruins to the public is finally becoming a reality.

“In the Abbey Quarter, Reading boasts a site of national significance. It is fantastic this important heritage has been preserved for future generations to appreciate and I am very much looking forward to the reopening date.”

Cllr Sarah Hacker, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, said: “I am absolutely thrilled we finally have a date for the diary and the Abbey Ruin’s reopening, coinciding with Reading’s popular Water Fest, will be the must attend event of the year! I’m sure, like me, many local people cannot wait to explore and enjoy the ruins again.”

“Don’t forget, although the ruins aren’t open until June, there is a fun packed week to look forward to celebrating the new Abbey gallery at the museum – with abbey themed activities for the whole family to enjoy. Make sure you come along and join in!”

The Abbey gallery launch is the first in a series of major openings as part of the Reading Abbey Revealed project, with the Abbey Gateway complete in April and the Abbey Ruins open in June.

The ruins closed in 2009 as they were no longer safe to be open to the public. After 9 years and thanks to £1.77 million funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and match funding of £1.38million from the Council, the ambitious project to reinvigorate Reading’s pre-eminent and nationally important heritage site will be complete.

Both the display and Reading Museum are free to visit. For more information, visit  and



To find out more about the activities on offer at Reading Museum during half term, visit

Reading Abbey Revealed

The Abbey Quarter in central Reading brings together nationally important heritage within the former grounds of Reading Abbey, once one of Europe’s largest royal monasteries.  The conservation of the Grade I listed, scheduled Abbey Ruins and Abbey Gateway are central to Reading Council’s vision to transform the Abbey Quarter into a unique historical destination.

Reading Abbey Revealed is a major project, made possible through £1.77 million funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and match funding of £1.38million from Reading Borough Council.

Reading Council appointed CRL Restoration as the main contractor responsible for implementing the conservation side of the Reading Abbey Revealed project in January 2017.

The ambitious scope of the project has conserved the remains of Reading Abbey and the Abbey Gateway, and has provided opportunities through events, volunteering and education. Site-wide interpretation of the Abbey Quarter has included the opening of the new Abbey gallery at Reading Museum and will include installing new information points across the town. The accompanying activity programme will continue beyond the Abbey opening until the end of 2020.

The Abbey Gateway will be complete in April 2018 with Reading Museum’s popular Victorian Schoolroom experience moving into the space in September 2018, and the Abbey ruins will re-open to the public on 16th June 2018.

People can keep up to date with the project by visiting the Abbey Quarter’s website  Facebook Page  or by following them on twitter @RdgAbbey

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife.

Victoria Nickless

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