Situated in the Royal County of Berkshire, Reading and its surrounds offer students a wonderfully diverse and vibrant place to live with easy access to London and the stunning southern counties of England. The town, which has a population of 235,000, has a proud history of welcoming people from across the globe and international students often comment on its friendly multicultural vibe and homely feel. Although only 25 minutes non-stop to London Paddington by train, Reading sits within one of the most beautiful parts of the UK, the Thames Valley. Areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the Chiltern hills and the Hampshire hills are just waiting to be explored. Students can enjoy leisurely walks beside the River Thames in Reading and nearby picturesque towns such as Sonning and Henley, famous for its annual Royal Regatta. Windsor castle, the Queen's residence, is just a few more miles downstream and while a punt on the Thames in the historic town of Oxford is half an hour's train or car journey.