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Coordinates: 51°27′15″N 0°58′23″W / 51.4541°N 0.9730°W / 51.4541; -0.9730
Reading (pronounced /ˈrɛdɪŋ/ ( listen) (RED-ing)) is a large town in England, located at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, midway between London and Swindon off the M4 motorway. It is one of the contenders for the title of the largest town in England, and is the largest settlement in the home counties in terms of population. For ceremonial purposes it is in the Royal County of Berkshire and has served as the county town since 1867. It is also home to one of England's biggest music festivals.
Reading was an important national centre in the medieval period, as the site of an important monastery with strong royal connections, but suffered economic damage during the 17th century from which it took a long time to recover. Today it is again an important commercial centre, with strong links to information technology and insurance. It is also a university town, with two universities and a large student population.