A SUBSTANTIAL restoration project to maintain one of the town's iconic landmarks will move one step closer with an unveiling ceremony.

More than £3m is being spent on Reading's Abbey Ruins and the Gateway will be revealed next week.

The project, which is due to finish in June, has been made possible with the help of Heritage Lottery Funding and the Gateway will be open for historical tours following the reopening.

A private ceremony will be led by Mayor Rose Williams on April 12 and feature the unveiling of a commemorative panel detailing the site's bountiful history.

Councillor Tony Page, deputy leader of the council, said: “I am delighted to finally see the newly restored Abbey Gateway open to the public.

"The building has a rich and varied history, including its claim to fame as the former classroom of the writer Jane Austen. It will make a fitting space for the museum’s popular Victorian classroom experience.

“This of course, would not be possible without money raised by National Lottery players, and the Heritage Lottery Fund’s recognition the importance of the Reading Abbey Revealed project.

"I would also like to say a big thank you to all those involved in the restoration of this beautiful building, in particular CRL Restoration for all their expert conservation work and a special thank you to the Friends of Reading Abbey for supporting our launch event."

'Abbey Ruins Revealed' will take place on June 16 as part of this year’s Water Fest, thanks to a £3.15m conservation scheme.

The 900-year-old site was founded by William the Conqueror's son Henry I.

The Abbey played a key role in the country's history until Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries in the mid Sixteenth Century.