City travel to the Madejski Stadium for our penultimate away trip of 2017, taking on Reading under the Monday night floodlights.
Located in the home county of Berkshire, the journey from Cardiff City Stadium will take visiting Bluebirds roughly just under two hours via the M4, exiting at junction 11. The recommended Car Park for away fans is at Foster Wheeler on Shinfeld Park (RG2 9FW). Parking is free, and the ground can be reached via the Park and Ride bus service. There are limited spaces available at the stadium for those with children under the age of eight, or supporters with a Blue Badge.
The nearest train station is the main Reading Station in the town centre, roughly three miles from the stadium. There is a direct service from Cardiff Central, with a journey time of approximately 1 hour and 35 minutes. From the train station, supporters should take the F1 Shuttle Bus service, with return fares of £2 for adults and £1 for children.
Due to our 8pm kick-off, the Millennium Madejski Hotel, which is connected to the stadium, has a special matchday offer in place for Bluebirds attending the match. They are offering City fans 25% off all standard, twin or double rooms with online code RFC1871. The Hotel offers free car parking and a range of other facilities, including a fine dining restaurant, swimming pool, Jacuzzi and spa.
Built in 1999, the Madejski Stadium has a capacity of 24,161, making it the seventh smallest stadium in the League. As well as hosting Reading home games, the stadium is also the home of London Irish RFC, and serves as the finishing line for the Reading Half Marathon.
City fans will be located in the South Stand, which has an overall capacity of 4,350. Half of the overall seating is allocated to visiting supporters. Away fans should enter via gate nine. There is a cash machine located to the right of the club’s Megastore, although contactless payment is accepted in the ground. The official matchday programme, The Royal, is available outside the stand and inside the concourse for £3.
Pies and Pints
Traditional matchday options are available outside of the stand in external catering units, such as burgers and hotdogs, as well as some more unique choices including hog roast and fish & chips. A range of alcoholic, hot and soft drinks are also available. Visiting Bluebirds are welcome to make use of the Fan Zone next to the East Stand. Heineken and ‘Good Ol’ Boy’ – an award winning local ale – are available to purchase, as fans soak up the pre-match atmosphere and entertainment.
Whilst there is not an official away pub allocated to City fans in the centre of Reading, there are a number of locations closer to the stadiums that welcome visiting fans. The Holiday Inn Hotel on Basingstoke Road is a popular venue, as is the ‘World Turned Upside Down’ bar on the same road.
Food for Thought
A number of fast food options are available at the adjacent Reading Gate Retail Park, including McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut.
However, there are also a number of restaurants and other food outlets in the city centre, particularly useful for those fans travelling back to Cardiff via train. Recommendations include the fantastic 7Bone Burger Co, Monroe’s Rib House and Coconut Bar and Kitchen. These local eateries are all located on St. Mary’s Butts, which is home to plenty of other exciting and unique food options.
Due to our 8pm kick-off and the location of the Stadium, those City fans travelling via the town centre should make sure to visit the Riverside area of the Oracle Shopping Outlet. Complete with a Christmas village, this idyllic location is the perfect place for some pre-match preparations, especially at night.
For those travelling Bluebirds with a bit more time on their hands, make sure to check out the Huntley and Palmer Gallery at Reading Museum. Some of you may know that the club used to be known as The Biscuitmen due to the city’s association with the company, with an extensive display available to view for free. There are also a number of images in the museum chronicling Reading FC’s history and most famous moments.