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Swindon has developed into a modern town of over 200,000 people, following rapid expansion during the Industrial Revolution and the commercial boom of the 1980s. Located in the county of Wiltshire, the town offers many regional facilities and attractions - such as heritage buildings, museums and parkland.


This town began its existence as a Saxon village, and derived its name from the Saxon words swine dun meaning pig hill. It grew when quarrying was begun nearby and canals increased trade, but it was the introduction of the railway in the mid 19th century that transformed Swindon from a village into a town.

In 1952 it was designated a "London overflow city" and the town became a sprawl. In the 1960s several council estates and shopping precincts were added, which quickly dated and are now run down. During the 1990s a revamping of the shopping precinct was only half-successful and some areas are still in need of regeneration.

Get in


Swindon is located north of the M4 motorway, and has two motorway exits; Junction 15 (Swindon East) and Junction 16 (Swindon West). As such, it is easily accessible by car from most locations in the southern United Kingdom. In addition, the town has the A419 trunk road along its eastern edge, which provides access to and from the Cotswolds and West Midlands.

For the town centre

From Junction 15 of the M4, travel north on the A419, taking the first exit onto Marlborough Road (you will see the Great Western Hospital on your left). Continue along Marlborough Road until you reach Coate Roundabout, at which point you should follow signs to the town centre. This will take you along Queen's Drive and, via the Magic Roundabout, into the central area.

From Junction 16 of the M4, head north-east along Great Western Way. At the Blagrove roundabout, continue straight on - following the sign to the town centre. At the next roundabout (Mannington), take the third exit which will take you onto Wootton Bassett Road. You will pass under the Great Western Mainline Railway and a recreation ground will be on your left. Upon reaching a small roundabout, take the first exit and continue along this road to reach the town centre.

See also

National Park and Ride Directory.


Several trains an hour arrive in Swindon from various directions because Swindon is on the main London Paddington to Bristol/Swansea line.


National Express Coaches from all major airports.

Get around


The town centre is small enough to walk through on foot.


Local services are primarily provided by two bus operating companies - Thamsedown Transport and Stagecoach West.

The majority of services travel along radial roads. As such, travel across the urban area usually involves a change in the town centre.


  • Swindon Museum. Interesting displays on local history, geology and archaeology. Admission is free, Open: Mon-Sat: 10AM-5PM; Sun: 2PM-5PM.
  • Swindon Art Gallery. Very important collection of 20th century British Art and includes work by Henry Moore and L.S. Lowry. Admission is free, Open: Mon-Sat: 10AM-5PM; Sun: 2PM-5PM.
  • Steam: The Great Western Railway Museum Kemble Drive, SN2 2TA. This museum is located in a restored railway works building. The building is a treat in itself. As well as having a wealth of information about the railways, it also is an invaluable source of social history. There are plenty of events for children, and it is right next to the 'Shopping Village' outlet centre, and the National Trust Headquarters, so anyone in the family who doesn't want to visit the museum has plenty of other options. Both the Steam Museum and the National Trust centre have excellent shops and cafes. Telephone 01793 466646 (By car, follow brown tourist signs for the Outlet Centre "Great Western Heritage Area" or "M for STEAM Museum"), 01793 466646 [12]. 10AM until 5PM. Adults £5.95, Concessions(+Students): £3.95
  • BCS Crows. [13] The legendary football team that are Swindon's equivalent to the Harlem Globetrotters play regular exhibition matches at local venues to inspire the town's youth development scheme. Most games are a sell out and tickets are hard to come by, particularly for the annual Andy Powell Tribute Trophy, a 5 a-side competition that attracts around 400 entries and has been won by BCS Crows for the past 25 years.
  • Museum of Computing @ Swindon. Educational museum with excellent collections, guided tours and admission is free.
  • Stately Homes. There are many private and public stately homes and gardens to see in the area, such as Avebury Manor and Garden. [14]


  • Swindon Mela [15]. An annual festival celebrating Indian culture. Held in August in the Swindon Town Gardens.
  • Coate Water [16]. was originally built to supply water to the Wilts & Berks Canal but is now a popular country park.
  • Wilts & Berks Canal (See Main Article [17]. Built between 1795 and 1810 very little of this canal now remains. Its course can be traced by following Canal Street from Kingshill into the town centre but the section between Kingshill Road and the M4 was partially restored a few years ago and is popular with Dog walkers and cyclists.


  • McArthur Glen Designer Outlet [18]. Europe's largest indoor designer outlet in the unique setting of restored Victorian railway engineering buildings.
  • Brunel Centre [19]. A two-story indoor shopping centre featuring shops such as Waterstone's and Marks and Spencer. The Brunel Centre is near the town centre and the bus station, and has dedicated car parking (£2 for 4 hours).
  • The Parade [20]. A shopping area near the town centre and bus and train stations. The Parade's shops include Debenhams and Monsoon.
  • Swindon Tented Market [21]. A permanent indoor market with a unique tent design.


  • Cineworld [22]. near the Link Centre
  • Empire Cinemas [23]. Greenbridge Retail Park


There are plenty different types of places to choose from, including traditional English and Irish pubs, Chinese and Indian restaurants, and cafes and bars.

  • Poms Thai Cuisine, 24 High Street (Old Town), 01793 480046. Authentic Thai cuisine in a light, airy setting. Certainly the oldest and best Thai restaurant in Swindon.
  • Cosmo, Linden Ct, Holbrook Way (opposite Holiday Inn Express), 01793 495666, [1]. Chinese and pan-asian buffet. The restaurant boasts 5 live cooking stations, incorporating a teppanyaki hotplate, barbecue grill, dim sum bar, fresh noodle bar and freshly prepared sushi counter. These are in addition to the popular and sumptuous Cosmo buffet choices.
  • Los Gatos, Wood Street, [2]. A real, spanish-owned tapas bar which uses fresh ingredients
  • Jewel in the Crown, 14-16 Victoria Road, 01793 522687, [3]. Indian restaurant in Old Town.


For really good pubs it is advised you head out of town into the countryside a bit, however several of the more popular pubs are:

  • Big Fish, 20 Fleet Street. An independent, quirky pub with friendly staff - good food too. They recently had a makeover, but it's still a bit dirty. Known locally as 'The Sweaty Fish'.
  • The Glue Pot, 5 Emlyn Square, 01793 523935, [4]. Probably one of the better places to find good real ale in Swindon, although that's not saying much.
  • Groves Company Inn, 22/23 Fleet Street, [5]. The ubiquitous Wetherspoons: Cheap beer, no atmosphere.
  • The Victoria Pub, Victoria Hill, [6]. Great food, a brilliant laugh free pub quiz on Wednesdays which involves snakes and ladders and cheating is encouraged! They are also a great music venue for all types of music encouraging unsigned bands. They also show films and have a great atmosphere.
  • The Old Bank, 18 Wood Street, Swindon, [7]. The Old Bank comprises a bar and brasserie on the ground floor and on the upper floors, bar areas. On a Friday and Saturday night, this is one of the most popular and fashionable establishments in Swindon and the party goes on throughout the night. Best Mojito in Swindon.
  • McKenzies Bar, Wood Street, [8]. Reasonable bar; food served.
  • Longs Bar, [9]. Reasonable bar with good drinks selection, conservatory and outdoor areas.


Swindon has many hotels and B&Bs to choose from

  • Express by Holiday Inn
  • Hilton Hotel
  • De Vere Hotel
  • Mercure South Marston Hotel, Old Vicarage Lane, South Marston (from Exit M4 (J15) and follow A419 to Cirencester, straight over roundabout, then take exit on left signposted Oxford (A420), turn right at next two roundabouts, stay on A420, cross the roundabout, pass the police station on left, pass the Esso garage on left, hotel is next turning on left, signposted to South Marston), +44 1793 833700, [10]. Hotel just outside Swindon with fully equipped gym and 23 metre indoor swimming pool, as well as health and beauty spa. Special Spa Break from £75.00 per person for one night including three course dinner, full English breakfast and choice of beauty treatment. From £55.
  • Stanton House Hotel, The Avenue, Stanton Fitzwarren, Swindon SN6 7SD, +44 0870 084 1388, [11]. Cotswold stone house overlooking Stanton Lake and park just outside Swindon. Mt. Fuji Yakiniku-style Japanese restaurant is on the grounds of the hotel, and the hotel also hosts a Japanese market from time to time.

Get out

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