Recognising its remarkable progress in attracting major business investors, improving its living and working environment and updating its technology, Reading – around 30km to the west of London – has been named ‘City of the Year’ in the annual Thames Valley Property Awards.

Although not technically a city, the town of Reading has almost all of the attributes of a modern UK city, from its thriving retail centre to multi-million-pound property developments, new leisure and cultural facilities and large corporations relocating.

“In recent years, the quality of Reading’s lifestyle and working environment offer has improved dramatically and we now have an ambitious vision to ensure Reading will be a leading smart city of the future,” said Nigel Horton Baker, executive director at promotion agency Reading UK. “This award, along with a number of others in the last 12 months, is recognition that Reading is carving out a significant reputation as an important cultural place, a competitive business base and quality living space – in other words, an all-round great city location.”

Consultancy giant KPMG signed a 15-year lease on a 45,000 square foot office space in central Reading in 2018, the largest real estate deal in the town since 2015. The new space “will give our employees an enviable and well-connected work environment and we will be ideally located to interact with our major clients in the Thames Valley as well as those from overseas,” said Andrew Morgan at KPMG. Reading is conveniently situated for both the M4 motorway and Heathrow Airport.

Reading has gained international prominence as the Silicon Valley of Europe, having attracted IT giants such as Microsoft, Cisco, HP and Intel.