Reading Abbey Ruins

(Chestnut Walk Entrance)


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Reading Abbey Ruins is a large, beautifully conserved, ruined abbey in the centre of Reading. Founded by Henry I in 1121 and celebrated in RABBLE Theatre’s award-winning production of Henry I in 2016, in its heyday the abbey was one of Europe’s largest royal monasteries.


How to get there

Reading Abbey Ruins, is in the centre of Reading. The entrance and exit to the performance is via the Box Office off Chestnut Walk ONLY. Access to the venue is NOT available via Forbury Gardens. Our Stewards and Front of House team will be on hand to help direct you.

You may have to queue for admission to the venue and then the auditorium. Social distancing signage and designated queueing routes will be in place. You will be asked for the name the tickets were booked under and please be prepared to show your printed or electronic admission ticket at the Box Office if requested.



Be sure to set aside more than enough time for your journey to the venue; if possible, walk or cycle at least part of the way. Check your route if travelling by public transport as this may have recently changed and please follow the government’s current Coronavirus safer travel guidance for passengers.

  • Walk/Cycle: theatre entrance and exit is off Chestnut Walk. Bikes can be brought into and secured within the venue.
  • Bus: Plan your journey with Reading Buses
  • Rail: Reading train station is a 10 min / 0.5 mile walk away, according to Google.
  • Car: There is no parking at all at the venue. The nearest blue-badge parking is available on The Forbury.


Opening times: Box Office and Doors

Reading Abbey Ruins will be closed to the general public before each performance.
The venue will open to theatre ticket holders 45mins before the performance starts:
1.45pm for a matinee performance and 6.15pm for an evening performance.


Your Ticket

Every ticket must be purchased in advance. For socially distanced audiences, tickets are available in fixed groups, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 tickets are seated together and each group is distanced from the other groups.


Face Coverings

We will be following the current Government guidelines regarding mask-wearing at the time of the performance. Even when it is not mandatory, you will be very welcome to wear your mask. You will also notice that our Front of House staff and volunteers will be wearing masks. We recommend the wearing of face coverings when moving around the auditorium and using our toilet facilities.


What should I bring?

Please keep your belongings to an absolute minimum and with you at all times. The Abbey Ruins does not have any cloakroom facilities and we will not be able to look after any bags or luggage while you attend the performance.



Please note that we are a cashless venue so all payments for programmes, refreshments and merchandise must be paid using a debit or credit card only.


Pre-show and interval refreshments

The RABBLE Bar will be open before the show and during the interval; offering a selection of cold soft drinks, snacks and some wonderful organic wines and beers. Drinks can be taken into the auditorium.

Please do not bring your own food and drinks to the theatre, supporting the RABBLE Bar is another way you can directly support our theatre company. Transactions will be cashless and paperless, and there will be a one way system in place to help maintain social distancing while you are waiting at the bar.


Seating and social distancing rules

We ask all our audience members to maintain a safe social distance where possible when queuing at the entrance, to take your seats, ordering at the bar or using toilet facilities. Whilst the capacity in the auditorium has been greatly reduced, you may need to pass someone to take your seat. Please mitigate any risk by keeping your mask on and turning away as you pass.

Seating is provided at The Abbey Ruins and will be allocated as you enter the auditorium. Groups of up to 6 max can be seated together, however we cannot guarantee this. Please respect the instructions that our staff and volunteers give you regarding the seating allocation.



The Abbey Ruins have no permanent toilet facilities. RABBLE Theatre will provide portable toilets for audiences to use, including accessible facilities.


What happens if I fall ill or I have to self-isolate and can’t use my ticket?

If someone in your party is unwell we will ensure that you have maximum flexibility by allowing tickets to be exchanged up to 24 hours prior to the performance subject to availability – so if someone in your party feels ill, there’s no need to worry simply contact the Box Office straight away to give us the best opportunity to find you an alternative option.

Please do not attend the venue if you

  • believe you may be infected with COVID-19;
  • have experienced symptoms in the last 14 days;
  • have been in close proximity to anyone who has experienced symptoms in the last 14 days;
  • have arrived in England in the last 14 days and are not covered by the exemption rules relating to self-isolation; or
  • have been instructed to self-isolate.

Any individual who considers themselves to be clinically extremely vulnerable or who is in the same household or support bubble as someone who considers themselves to be clinically extremely vulnerable is advised not to attend.


What should I do if I become unwell after my theatre visit?

RABBLE Theatre is working with the government to ‘Track And Trace’. If you display COVID-19 symptoms, within 14 days of attending a performance please contact the Box Office immediately.


Covid Safe Measures

We are following government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, have Risk Assessments in place and a process to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing. We will take all reasonable measures to ensure your safety and to promote social distancing throughout the venue. These include:

  • Social distancing and regular hand washing will be encouraged throughout the venue.
  • Roped and/or socially distanced queueing systems will be in place where necessary.
  • Hand sanitiser will be provided for at the entrance, bar and toilets.
  • Toilets will be cleaned regularly.
  • Narrow paths will be designated one way and signage provided to help visitors move around the site safely.
  • Handrails throughout the theatre will be cleaned before and after every performance.
  • Staff and volunteers will be provided with necessary levels of protective clothing for their task.
  • All equipment and work surfaces will be regularly cleaned.


Pre-theatre Offers exclusive to RABBLE audiences

We’ve partnered with a number of local restaurants, cafes and bars to offer special deals for RABBLE audiences to complement your Theatre visit. To see current offers, CLICK HERE.


Special Notes

Please note that Reading Abbey ruins is an outdoor venue so come prepared for the weather.
In the event of heavy rain the show may be relocated; in light to medium rain, the show is expected to continue.

A decision will be made at least 2 hrs before the performance is due to start and alternative venue information will be shared via email and social media.

We do allow umbrellas but ask that they are not used in the auditorium as they may block the view for other audience members.


Photography & Video

Photography and video recording is not permitted in any of our venues, and please can we remind you to turn all phones and mobile devices off (not just silent) for the duration of all performances.



The Abbey ruins is accessible for wheelchair users and those with mobility issues via a sloping footpath from Chestnut Walk. If you require access for a wheelchair or mobility scooter please do contact us so that we can reserve a designated wheelchair space for you and seats for your party.


Lost property

For lost property enquiries please CONTACT US.