By / 11th September, 2018 / Accommodation, Entertainment / Off

Reading is a town with a lot of history. We thought it would be interesting to share a list of famous people that are from Reading, so when you stay with us at Hillingdon Prince Hotel you know more about our town and the people who have lived here. We have also looked at the things that Reading is most famous for (some interesting stuff!). As well as the the notable alumni that studied at Reading University which is close to the Reading Hotel.

Jeremy Kyle

The most unlikely person that was a surprise to us too, is Jeremy Kyle! Yes, the man himself was born and raised in Reading. He went to the Blue Coat School which is an independent school. For those that don’t know Jeremy Kyle, he has his own British tabloid talk show, called the ‘The Jeremy Kyle Show’, some people take his show seriously! Others watch it for amusement, its aim is to help guests to resolve issues they have with other people. If you have seen his show you will know the emotions that come out on the show through when people are dealing with issues in their lives. They use DNA tests, lie tests and security guards to show whether people are lying to their loved ones, on live TV. You see people storming off the stage and you can imagine the rest!

Jane Austen

Jane Austen was an English novelist known for her famous novels. The most famous being Pride and Prejudice. She attended boarding school in 1785 at the Abbey Schoolhouse in Reading, which is just around the corner from Hillingdon Prince Hotel.

Justin Fletcher aka Mr Tumble

If you have watched CBEEBIES then you will know who Mr Tumble is! Justin was born in Reading and is popular amongst the younger generation. He is now in his 40’s and still has bags of energy!

Michael Bond

Thomas Michael bond wrote the famous book Paddington Bear. He was born in Newbury which is a town that is close to Reading, he was however raised in Reading. Many of us grew up with Paddington Bear either in book form or on our screens.

Ricky Gervais

Stand-up comedian, actor, writer, producer, director, and singer. He has won various awards including seven BAFTA Awards, two Emmy Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards. He has been named the third most influential person in British culture.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

The Royal County of Berkshire has close links to the Royals. Kate Middleton was born in Reading at Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Chris Tarrant

Another famous person to be born in Reading, Chris Tarrant who hosts the popular TV game show, ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’. He didn’t start his career off as a TV presenter, he was a schoolteacher, then he co-hosted a children’s TV programme Tiswas and that is how he got into the industry.

University of Reading Notable Alumni

The University of Reading is close to Hillingdon Prince Hotel. We often have students that are visiting Reading stay with us. Or parents that are visiting their children who are studying at the University. We also have the pleasure of having graduates and their families stay with us when they come back to Reading for their graduation ceremony.

There have been notable alumni that have studied at the University. We have selected a few to share with you.

  • Polly Vacher MBE was the first woman to fly solo around the world and land on all seven continents.
  • James Cracknell, rower, and Olympic gold medalist
  • Bernard Yeoh, Michelin starred restaurateur
  • Coralie Bickford-Smith, acclaimed illustrator for Penguin Books
  • Cath Bishop, rower and Olympic silver medalist

Meet more famous people that have studied at the University

What is Reading famous for?

Reading is famous for the 3 B’s: Beers, bulbs, and biscuits amongst other things.


William B Simonds founded the Simonds Brewery in Broad Street in 1785. By 1805, Simonds owned 10 pubs, even supplying beer to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. His son Blackall, eventually took over the brewery and he opened up more pubs and went into partnership with his two younger brothers Henry and George. Their father retired in 1834, the brewery became known as H & G Simonds. The brewery was taken over by Courage in 1960, and in 1973 it announced it would move away from the centre of town, to Worton Grange next to Junction 11 of the M4. The Bridge Street site shut its doors in 1980 when Worton Grange was finally finished.


John Sutton founded Sutton Seeds in 1806. Initially, it was called the ‘House of Sutton’ and supplied corn. His sons Martin and Alfred joined him in 1832. The business then moved to the Market Place in Reading where they launched the flower and vegetable seed business. In 1873 the company continued to expand with new offices and warehouses replaced the premises in the Marketplace. They even had their own fire station along with cottages for the fireman, and stables. In 1976 they had to relocate to Torquay because Reading couldn’t provide enough staff!


Reading was known as ‘Biscuit Town’ until the 70’s because of the fame of Huntley Palmer Biscuits. Joseph Huntley opened his bakery around the corner from Hillingdon Prince Hotel, on London Street. Which was a busy London to Bath Road. He sold his biscuits to coach drivers. Reading has always had good transport links because of its location. When the railways developed, Readings position on the main line from London to the West Country meant that Huntley and Palmers biscuits could be easily transported around the country. In 1846 the factory moved to Kings Road, 5,000 people were employed in the next 50 years. In 1911, 88,000 people worked there. By the 70’s the factory was too small for modernisation unfortunately in 1972 the closure of the factory was announced. Reading lost the factory in 1976. You can see the Huntley and Palmer exhibit at the Reading Museum in the town centre.

You can explore Reading.