Many people now need to travel for business as a matter of course and one of the places in the UK they may find themselves heading to is Thames Valley Park on the outskirts of East Reading.
This relatively new development is now a prime location for some of the world’s biggest brands to have regional headquarters, with names including Fujitsu and Microsoft among those to have built a presence there.
However, it is more than just a business park, as it has a unique vision as being a place where business and environmental development are managed side by side. That means that not only can corporate high fliers enjoy some downtime after they have attended meetings, but also that leisure seekers can head to it as a place to relax on their days off or at weekends.
Let’s take a closer look at this forward-thinking place.
What is Thames Valley Park and where is it?
Thames Valley Park is situated on the River Thames and was formerly a waste site used for the deposition of coal ash from the now-defunct Reading power station. That might sound a little unsavoury, but extensive redevelopment work has been ongoing since 1988 and the area is now completely unrecognisable from those industrial days.
It has been landscaped to provide beautiful views up and down the river, and the office buildings are tastefully designed to blend in with the natural environment.
And it is the natural environment here that is perhaps most surprising. The developers haven’t just planted some grass and added a lake or two as is the case in many other business parks – they have created a real nature reserve (called Ali’s Pond) within its boundaries that has become a natural habitat for birds and animals.
This has the benefit of protecting the buildings from future flooding, as well as creating new places for Britain’s flora and fauna to live at a time when so many green areas are being lost.
For its human visitors, Thames Valley Park is pleasant to visit for business, but it can also be enjoyed by everyone from keen walkers and birdwatchers to picnickers seeking somewhere nice to eat with their families.
If the grass happens to be wet on the day you visit, there are plenty of indoor eateries servicing the park too, with Benugo Cafe a recent addition. This was inspired by a New York deli and offers fantastic sandwiches, handmade cakes, soups and award-winning coffee to perk up your lunchtime.
And don’t forget to check the Thames Valley Park website for events during the time you’re visiting, as a range of activities happen throughout the year. Perhaps the most popular is the Thames Valley Regatta, which is ideal for sports buffs and takes place each summer.
The park continues to attract internationally recognised brands and individuals thanks to its facilities and its unique offerings.
Although it is outside the centre of London, Thames Valley Park is really easy to get to whether you’re travelling by road or rail. If you’re in a car, you’ll find the park at the Northern terminus of the A3290 from the M4, M25 and A4.
By train, there are excellent connections for London Paddington Station and London Heathrow Airport and a free shuttle bus runs between the park and Reading railway station every ten minutes during peak times and thirty minutes off peak.
The shuttle buses aren’t your average vehicles either – they’re high-tech, contemporary Euro 5 standard buses with leather-trimmed seats and free Wi-Fi.
Where to stay
There are obviously plenty of hotels situated close to the park in Reading, but if you want to enjoy a really luxurious corporate or leisure experience, it might be worth venturing back to London at the end of the day and resting your head at the Park Grand London Paddington.
This is still easy to get to thanks to those excellent rail links and it offers both style and comfort. You’ll find state-of-the-art amenities including complimentary broadband and Wi-Fi, as well as beautifully designed rooms that really are a home away from home.
If you’re meeting corporate clients at Thames Valley Park and then providing them with accommodation afterwards, they’re sure to be impressed by this boutique property – and you might just find your meeting goes even better than expected!
And if you’ve headed to the park as a birdwatcher or walker, you may be glad of the opportunity to put your feet up in luxury at the end of a potentially soggy day.