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2021 / 22 No matter what your interests, you’re sure to discover something amazing in Swindon.

Visitor Guide

PAGE 6 Things to do in Swindon

PAGE 26 Top 10 places to stay in Swindon

visitswindon.org.uk

PAGE 38 Explore Swindon’s green spaces

PAGE 40 Photo opportunities in Swindon.


Swindon is a modern and diverse town steeped in heritage In 1843 Isambard Kingdom Brunel spotted the potential of Swindon’s location between London and the South West to build the GWR railway works, which eventually became one of the largest manufacturing sites in the world. Modern Swindon offers visitors a staggering variety of experiences to explore, often with a tantalizing hint of the past, whether it’s a swanky shopping trip to the Designer Outlet in the old GWR Works or a bracing walk along the Ridgeway, Britain’s oldest road.

Past and present are also on display in Old Town, where Swindon Museum and Art Gallery’s much-heralded collection of UK modern art, and a range of funky restaurants, bars and artisan shops make for a great place to hang out. If it’s the great outdoors you love, all the family will enjoy Lydiard Park, Coate Water Country Park or the meadows at Richard Jefferies Museum. Whether it’s history or high jinks, muddy boots or designer shoes, Swindon really does have something for everybody!

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Contents

05

A town built on heritage

Swindon is a town steeped in heritage but that doesn’t mean it’s stuck in the past.

06 Things to do in Swindon

24 Top ten guides From attractions to restaurants we give you our top ten tips to make a trip to Swindon memorable.

36 Swindon’s Hinterland

From museums to entertainment your guide to the very best things to do in and around Swindon.

Be dazzled by picture postcard villages, forests, lakes and ancient monuments.

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40 Photo opportunities

Swindon Designer Outlet

Shop ‘til you drop and grab designer brands at bargain prices.

visitswindon.org.uk

Swindon is packed full of hidden gems which make for the perfect photo opportunity.

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HERITAGE

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Swindon is a town built on its industrial heritage Swindon is a town steeped in heritage but that doesn’t mean it’s stuck in the past. At its peak early in the 20th century, Swindon’s Great Western Railway (GWR) works occupied an area of 326 acres and employed some 14,000 staff, making it one of the largest industrial sites in the world. The full story of that revered age can be seen at the award-winning STEAM Museum. World War II was to prove a watershed both for the GWR and Swindon. The former lost its separate identity with the nationalization of the railways in 1948, while the latter was designated an overspill town for London under the provisions of the 1951 Town Development Act. The railway works would eventually close in 1986, but the legacy of GWR engineers like Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Daniel Gooch is still evident in the fabric of the town, not least at the South West’s most popular shopping village, the Designer Outlet, housed in atmospheric GWR buildings.

town’s Grade II listed Railway Village, a lovingly preserved grid of streets located next to the town’s railway station and a unique example of a Victorian development for an industrial workforce. Swindon absorbed its working class Londoners in the 1950s and 1960s and has continued to welcome newcomers from far and wide. It now boasts a population of 220,000 speaking more than 100 languages. That cosmopolitan flavor is there for all to see in a huge array of international eateries – Indian, Greek, Himalayan, Chinese, Thai, Italian, Spanish, Portugese and Brazilian, just for starters. Meanwhile, the town is home to a huge range of renowned names - Nationwide Building Society, National Trust, English Heritage, Zurich Insurance, Intel, NPower and WH Smith among them. And in a move that Brunel himself would have approved of, the old GWR Carriage Works is now a thriving tech hub for the latest generation of forward thinking Swindonians.

For connoisseurs of superb architecture and heritage buffs the best place to start a visit to Swindon is the

visitswindon.org.uk

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THINGS TO DO

Things to do in Swindon From museums to entertainment your essential guide to the very best things to do in and around Swindon. visitswindon.org.uk

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THINGS TO DO

A Green Day Out Swindon and its surrounding area has a stunning array of beautiful green spaces to rival any town in the UK, from beautiful Victorian parks in and around the town to the Ridgeway, Britain’s oldest road. Add to that our stately home gardens, wildlife reserves and areas of outstanding natural beauty – this really is a place to explore.

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Heritage Day Out

Leisure & Activities

The town boasts an extremely rich history but it was the Great Western Railway which put Swindon firmly on the map in 1841. Scratch beneath the surface and Swindon is one of the South West’s most stimulating destinations for culture vultures.

Whatever your favourite pursuit, Swindon has something for you. Whether you want to participate or simply observe, there’s plenty to occupy the hours. And children will never get bored with so many leisure centres and play facilities.


THINGS TO DO

Shopping Day Out Swindon in Wiltshire has long been a go-to destination for dedicated shoppers hailing not just from the South West but further afield, with regular coaches arriving from as far away as the Midlands and South Wales Whether you’re looking for brands and bargains in impressive shopping malls and outlets, or something out of the ordinary in quirky boutique shops, Swindon is the perfect destination for a spot of retail therapy.

An Evening Out

Arts & Culture Day Out

Swindon is a modern, diverse easy-going town which makes for a great evening out. Mix good wines and excellent dining in one of the many stylish restaurants with a trip to the theatre or cinema. Whether you’re looking for Italian or Indian, Thai or Japanese or maybe just a drink or two in one of the many buzzing pubs, bars and cafés, Swindon has it all.

Swindon is rich in both arts and culture. From theatrical events and award-winning museums to independent galleries and exhibitions, Swindon always has something to offer. Check out the Arts Centre for a funky line-up of musicians and comedians.

visitswindon.org.uk

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THINGS TO DO

The following services are available from the Designer Outlet’s Guest Services located at the North Entrance:

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Free parking when you spend over £100. Show your receipts to validate your ticket.

Mobility Hire - Electric scooters and wheelchairs, free of charge. To make a reservation, please contact us using the details on the opposite page.

Loan of Radar Key for access to the Disabled Toilets

Baby changing and feeding rooms - the South Mall and Longshop (next to Clarks) have the easiest access for double buggies

• • • • • • •

Loan of Ear Defenders Play Area Kids’ Cabs Children’s train Gift Cards - Sales and collection Lost property Taxi calling/booking

General information and tourist information


THINGS TO DO

Swindon Designer Outlet Shop ‘til you drop and grab designer brands at bargain prices. Housed within the beautifully restored Grade II listed buildings of the Great Western Railway, the South West’s most popular Outlet Village boasts a huge variety of shops and brands, not to mention an array of restaurants and coffee shops, many of which stay open until late. The 90 stores at the Designer Outlet include the brightest and best in fashion, including Boss, Calvin Klein, Fatface, Jack Wills, Lacoste, Levi’s, M&S, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Superdry, Ted Baker, Timberland and Vans. But it’s not just fashion, there’s also Cadbury’s (choccies), Hamleys (toys and games), Holland & Barrett (health and well-being), Hornby Hobbies (model railways), John Lewis (furniture), Le Creuset (cookware), Lindt (more choccies), Paperchase (stationery), Tefal (kitchen appliances), Tempur (mattresses), The Body Shop (body care), The Works (books) and Thornton’s (yet more choccies). When you get tired and hungry from all that dashing around the shops, there is a large Food Court with plenty to choose from including Wagamama, Pizza Express,

visitswindon.org.uk

Five Guys, SOHO Coffee Co and Giraffe World Kitchen. Next to the Food Court an impeccably renovated grand old steam train is a reminder of the Designer Outlet’s industrial past and STEAM Museum of the GWR is literally next door. There is also a large covered children’s play area where the little ones can run, jump and swing to their heart’s content. All in all, the Designer Outlet is a great location for shoppers and an enjoyable day out for visitors.

Please note that dogs, except for assistance dogs, are not permitted inside the centre. Reservations and enquiries can be made by calling the team: +44 (0) 1793 507603 or email us at enquiries@ swindondesigneroutlet.com www.mcarthurglen.com/outlets/en/uk/designer-outletswindon

Location SN2 2DY

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THINGS TO DO

Things to do at Coate Water Country Park: • • • • • • • • • •

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Crazy Golf Richard Jefferies Museum Fishing Coate Cafe Pitch & Putt Golf Course Rowing Club Splash Park Bird Watching Play Park BBQ’s

Car Parking • Car Parking £1 2 hrs • Car parking £2 24 hrs BBQ Hire • Large BBQ £52.50 • Corporate Hire £157.50 • Bring your own £15.65


THINGS TO DO

Coate Water Country Park There are many reasons why Coate Water remains one of Swindon’s most popular sites of interest. It is a serene place, perfect for walking the dogs or introducing the children to the geese. A 56-acre reservoir, originally built in the 1820s as a waterhead tank for the Wiltshire and West Berkshire canal, takes centre stage, ringed by a charming woodland walk lying adjacent to protected meadows of grasses and wildflowers. It’s a fine day out, a peaceful refuge for visitors and locals alike, but there are also plenty of opportunities to get active at Coate Water, especially if you’re a fan of swinging a golf iron for an afternoon. For the young ‘uns and the adult children amongst you, the Pitch & Putt and Crazy Golf courses are sure to put a smile on your face, whilst during the summer months the park opens a Splash Park, helping the family to stretch their legs and cool off under vibrant hoses and fountains. There is also a sandy play area for climbing, sliding, swinging, and, of course, playing tag. Coate Water is a fantastic place to put one foot in front of the other in the name of burning calories. The path surrounding the reservoir serves as an excellent running

visitswindon.org.uk

route, and local groups such as the Swindon Shin Splints often use it as the base for their weekly meet. Coate’s natural bounty is a particular draw, attracting birdwatchers, ramblers and enthusiasts of all stripes. The area is marked as a place of biological scientific interest and a nature reserve due to its distinctive biome of flora and fauna. Everyone can have a joyous time feeding the ducks and the swans, and for the ornithologists out there you may be able to catch tits, warblers, herons and grebes soaring over the waters or plying the banks for nesting sites. Coate’s skyline is dominated by the recognizable, muchloved, Grade 2-listed Art Deco diving platform, and whilst it is not in active use, it is certainly a distinctive element of the aesthetics of the park. Without even mentioning the café, the leisurely model railway track, and the intriguing history that surrounds the park, it is no secret that Coate Water is one of the most cherished places in Swindon. It is a reputation well-deserved, indeed.

Location SN3 6AA

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THINGS TO DO

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THINGS TO DO

Richard Jefferies Museum Jefferies was a Victorian nature writer with a passion for the English countryside - he even gave us a name for it all: wild life. He was born at the house which is now the museum, in Coate, Swindon, on the 6th November 1848, and died at the tragically early age of 38 on 14th August 1887. Noted for his depiction of English rural life in essays, books of natural history, and novels, his childhood at Coate had a great influence on him and provides the background to all his major works of fiction.

Furthermore, much of the house has been restored to create the atmosphere of a mid to late 19th Century farmhouse and even includes a cheese room.

The museum consists of a seventeenth century thatched cottage bought by the Jefferies family in 1800, a later, nineteenth century three-storied farmhouse, plus outbuildings, gardens, a copse, orchard and vegetable gardens. The site is run by the Richard Jefferies Museum Trust and is fully accredited by Arts Council England.

There are also strong opportunities to link to the rich tapestry of archaeological evidence in and around the Coate area, particularly the prehistoric monuments and landscape. For example, there are Bronze Age barrows in the field next to the Old House at Coate, and Jefferies himself discovered evidence of a Neolithic stone circle near Coate Water.

Inside, there is an extensive collection of items relating to Jefferies, mostly on loan from the Richard Jefferies Society. For example, there are first editions of many of Richard Jefferies’ writings, the manuscript of Wood Magic and photographs, paintings and memorabilia.

visitswindon.org.uk

Many of the exhibits give fascinating insights into bygone times. Occasionally, they bridge different layers of Swindon’s rich history. For example, a plaque placed on Liddington Hill in 1938 (with the support of the then Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain) was later reputedly shot at by US troops in advance of their push into Nazioccupied France during World War II.

www.richardjefferies.org

Location SN3 6AA

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THINGS TO DO

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THINGS TO DO

Lydiard Park Lydiard Park was purchased by the Swindon Corporation in 1943 and today it continues to be owned and managed by Swindon Borough Council. Lydiard Park is a beautiful historic estate on the western edge of Swindon, with the Palladian House, Church and Walled Garden, set in 260 acres of parkland. The children’s Jungle Parc play area, Cafe & Tea Rooms, events and education programmes make Lydiard Park a great destination for a family day out. There’s a wealth of history waiting to be discovered as you tour round the State Rooms of Lydiard House, celebrated for its ornate plasterwork, original furnishings and family portraits dating back to Elizabethan times. The Georgian ornamental fruit and flower Walled Garden has been faithfully restored with stunning displays of flowers, fruit trees and topiary. In the park, there is more evidence of this once-great country estate, including the castellated dam wall, Ice House and grand avenues. Dogs are allowed in the grounds and the park is a lovely destination for a walk, run or bike ride. There are BBQs available to hire in the summer and lots of picnic spots.

visitswindon.org.uk

An onsite venue, The Lydiard House and Annexe, is a stunning and unique location for civil ceremonies and wedding receptions, as well as birthdays, anniversaries and other celebratory parties or dinners. Facilities also include 36 en-suite bedrooms. Just behind the house, you will find the parish church of St. Mary’s, Lydiard Tregoze. Visitors to Lydiard House can sign out the key to the church at the ticket desk, during house opening hours, Wednesday to Sunday 11am to 4pm when the church is not in use for services. St Mary’s is one of England’s finest small churches and dates back to the 12th century. It is packed with fascinating monuments to the St. John family including St John Polyptych, erected by John St John in 1615 and the Golden Cavalier, a full-size effigy of Edward St John, who died of injuries sustained in the Battle of Newbury, in the English Civil War. www.lydiardpark.org.uk

Location SN5 3PA

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THINGS TO DO

Expect to hear train whistles, doors slamming and station announcements as you are truly transported back in time. 18


THINGS TO DO

STEAM - Museum of the Great Western Railway The iconic museum celebrated its 20th anniversary in June 2020. STEAM is housed in a beautifully restored Grade II railway building in the heart of the former Swindon railway works. Situated right next to the Swindon Designer Outlet, the museum tells the story of the men and women who built, operated and travelled on the Great Western Railway, often referred to by historians and railway fans as ‘God’s Wonderful Railway’. The pioneering vision and engineering genius of Isambard Kingdom Brunel led to the Great Western Railway network becoming regarded as the most advanced in the world. This story is brought to life with famous GWR locomotives, imaginative story-telling displays, videos - mixing rare archive film footage with the stories of exrailway workers - hands-on exhibits, interactive displays and a large number of rare GWR objects memorabilia. The museum is peopled by character figures lifecast from Swindon people - many of them former railway workers. Passing through the Carriage Body Shop – with its

visitswindon.org.uk

evocative smell of wood – the sights and sounds of the Machine Shop are evoked. To celebrate the skill and achievement of the Swindon workforce, the final part of this display is the GWR express passenger locomotive, ‘Caerphilly Castle’. This famous locomotive stands on its own, displayed in ‘ex-works’ condition - all gleaming paint and brass - illustrating the magnificent end product of many thousands of hours of labour. Highlights of this section include the 1925 replica of the 1837 broad gauge locomotive, ‘North Star’, and a simulator - where you can feel what it was like to drive a steam engine. The next stop for your journey is STEAM’s 1930s Station Platform, evoking the vitality, excitement and glamour of travelling on the Great Western Railway. Here you’ll find iconic locomotives, King George V and City of Truro as well as the very splendid Ditcheat Manor. To add to the glamour and further illustrate the opulence and elegance of GWR travel, a Royal Carriage and 1934 Buffet Car await.

Location SN2 2EY

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THINGS TO DO

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THINGS TO DO

Swindon Museum & Art Gallery Discover one of Britain’s finest modern art collections in Swindon’s Old Town. Often praised for being the best modern art collection outside of London, Swindon’s collection spans the late 1800s right through to today. Paintings, drawings, prints, ceramics and sculptures represent some of the country’s most important art movements; from Walter Sickert and the Camden Town Group to recent works from contemporary British painting. It includes important work by some of the biggest and most celebrated names in British art including Lucian Freud, Henry Moore, L.S. Lowry and Howard Hodgkin, as well as significant artists with a local connection such as Desmond Morris, whose vibrant painting Girl Selling Flowers, was inspired by a young Diana Dors. The seeds of the art collection were sewn in the 1940s, with generous donations from local businessmen HJP “Jimmy” Bomford and Frederick Charles Phelps. Since then it has grown thanks to more donations, as well as grants from organisations including the Art Fund, the Contemporary Arts Society and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

visitswindon.org.uk

For several years, the development of the collection was also supported by the advice of the Tate Gallery’s Richard Morphet. Recent years have bought exciting acquisitions such as an early Grayson Perry ceramic, talks from prominent artists including The Great Pottery Throw Down’s Kate Malone, and profile-raising exhibitions. Perhaps most notable was a retrospective of drawings by Eileen Cooper, the first female Keeper of the Royal Academy in London since it opened in 1768. Aside from the art collection, there are collections of archaeology, social history, geology and Egyptology. The charming and quirky venue is a converted late Georgian house, complete with original stained glass features and warmly tiled entrance hall. A brutalist 1960s extension forms a spacious art gallery, where regularly changing exhibitions are held. www.swindonmuseumandartgallery.org.uk

Location SN1 4BA

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STAY .... DINE.... EXPLORE S H O P

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WINDON A GREAT BASE TO START YOUR ADVENTURES The DoubleTree by Hilton Swindon view all packages www.dtswindon.doubletreebyhilton.com


Watch the coolest sport in town! SWINDON WILDCATS ICE HOCKEY CLUB

swindonwildcats.com (01793) 886857


ATTRACTIONS

Top ten things to do in Swindon 1

STEAM Museum of the GWR A must see for railway enthusiasts and non-railway enthusiasts alike, STEAM is housed in a lovingly restored Grade II listed building located on the site of the world famous railway works. The museum houses a fantastic collection of some of the greatest steam locomotives ever built and tells the story of the men and women who built, operated and travelled on the Great Western Railway. See famous locomotives, ‘drive’ the train simulator and even work the signals in an interactive GWR signal box. The kids will love it! steam-museum.org.uk

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Coate Water Country Park This beautiful country park surrounding a vast lake has been a Swindon favourite for generations. With a children’s playground, summer splash pool, all year café and space to run around, it makes for an enjoyable family day out. A nature reserve and a site of specific scientific interest means that the park is bursting with interesting bird and wildlife species and offers both fishing and birdwatching.

visitswindon.org.uk

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Wyvern Theatre

Lydiard Park

Swindon’s landmark theatre has entertained generations of theatregoers with a showstopping variety of live entertainment and in 2017 it won an award as the Best Theatre in the South.

Lydiard Park is a beautiful historic estate on the western edge of Swindon, with the Palladian House, Church and Walled Garden, set in 260 acres of parkland.

If you are going for the full theatre experience, the Wyvern Theatre offers incredible hassle-free dining in its own brand-new restaurant.

The children’s Jungle Parc play area, Cafe & Tea Rooms, events and education programmes make Lydiard Park a great destination for a family day out.

swindontheatres.co.uk

lydiardpark.org.uk

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Swindon Designer Outlet There is a reason why coachloads of shoppers from as far afield as the Midlands and South Wales regularly descend upon Swindon’s Designer Outlet; it’s because it has more brands that you can shake a well-dressed stick at, and all at amazing discount prices. There are more than 100 stores, as well as a huge food court.

mcarthurglen.com

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Museum of Computing

Roves Farm

Based in the centre of Swindon at Theatre Square, the museum is not simply a repository of artefacts, but has active displays as well as providing a forum for the provision of lectures.

Mention the name Roves Farm to any child in Swindon and it will invariably bring a smile to their face – this really is an incredibly popular place to go to enjoy all the fun of the farm.

The Museum is family-friendly and welcomes people of all ages, technophobes included! You will find many hands-on exhibits, allowing you to experience computers and related items as they were in the past.

Roves Farm is a local working farm that covers 166 hectares just 3 miles east of Swindon, on the Wiltshire and Oxfordshire border.

museumofcomputing.org.uk

rovesfarm.co.uk

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Richard Jefferies Museum The museum consists of a seventeenth century thatched cottage bought by the Jefferies family in 1800, a later, nineteenth century three-storied farmhouse, plus outbuildings, gardens, a copse, orchard and vegetable gardens. The site is run by the Richard Jefferies Museum Trust and is fully accredited by Arts Council England.

richardjefferies.org

visitswindon.org.uk

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MECA

Butterfly World

An entertainment venue since 1929, the magnificent former Regent Theatre now hosts all types of evening events from music to comedy to tribute acts. It’s even a wedding venue.

Butterfly World is part of Studley Grange Garden and Leisure Park, a couple of minutes off the M4, junction 16.

In any given month MECA might host comedy legends like Johnny Vegas, classic ‘60s soul nights, or a DJ set by Spandau Ballet legend Martin Kemp. And if MECA is renowned for one thing, it’s the regular Family Roller Discos.

mecaswindon.co.uk

You can walk among some of the most beautiful butterflies in the world, flying freely against a backdrop of tropical plants and skimming over fish-filled ponds. See the amazing Danaus Plexipuss which looks like an art deco lamp, or the almost transparent Greta Oto.

studleygrange.co.uk

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ACCOMMODATION

Top ten places to stay in Swindon 1

Jurys Inn Swindon Whether you’re visiting Swindon on business or using our hotel as a base to explore nearby towns, cities and picturesque countryside, it’s important to feel at home during your stay in the town. The Jurys Inn Swindon, feels comfortable and relaxed from the moment you walk through the door, with their stylish and spacious rooms, in-house bar and restaurant, and free hotel-wide WiFi. So whatever you’re doing in Swindon, you can rest assured your stay is nothing short of perfect.

jurysinns.com/hotels/swindon

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Blunsdon House Hotel

Thistle Express

Stanton House Hotel

Blunsdon House Hotel in Swindon is a unique four star family owned hotel in Wiltshire situated on the edge of the Cotswolds, close to the M4, M5 and easily accessible by rail from London and Bristol.

Thistle Express Swindon is a comfortable, modern and central hotel in Swindon town centre, located just opposite the planned new commercial quarter. Free wifi is available throughout the hotel and rooms come with a 40 inch flatscreen TV.

Surrounded by beautiful gardens designed by Gertrude Jekyll in the 19th century and overlooking Stanton Lake and Park, we offer a peace and tranquillity that is craved for in today’s world, whilst offering all of the comforts that you would expect in a AA 3* hotel.

There are 108 comfortable bedrooms, 1 restaurant, 3 bars, 7 meeting rooms and Leisure Club with gym, and indoor pool making Blunsdon House Hotel a go-to destination.

thistle.com/en/thistle-express/hotels/ swindon

blunsdonhouse.co.uk

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stantonhousehotel.co.uk

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Marriott Hotel

Chiseldon House

The Churchill

Discover modern style, 4-star service and a convenient setting near the city centre at Swindon Marriott Hotel.

An award-winning country house hotel set in the stunning Marlborough Downs in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside.

The Churchill, situated just off the M4, is within easy access of Swindon and its surrounding areas.

Located on the outskirts of historic Old Town, Swindon, near the M4 motorway and the Cotswolds, our hotel positions you to explore the city with ease.

marriott.com/hotels/travel/swidtswindon-marriott-hotel

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Expect a great deal, friendly staff, tasty reasonably priced food and drink, and a really handy location. Free on-site parking and free wifi is available at this hotel.

Situated just minutes from Swindon and the M4, it ensures easy access from London and the West. Whether you’re joining us for your dream wedding, a discrete business meeting or simply a special family meal, you’ll be perfectly cared for from start to finish.

greenekinginns.co.uk/hotels/thechurchill-wootton-bassett/

chiseldonhouse.com

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Alexandra House

DoubleTree by Hilton

Central Travelodge

A modern, stylish conference and event venue set in acres of green far-reaching grounds, Alexandra House is home to a range of contemporary event suites and an abundance of outside space.

DoubleTree by Hilton Swindon is set in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside, near Junction 16 of the M4 motorway and just 3 miles from Swindon town centre.

Located in the heart of Swindon, the Swindon Central Travelodge is in the perfect location to explore the town and the surrounding area.

With its collection of 152 contemporary guest bedrooms, it’s the ideal hotel in Swindon for leisure guests and business travellers alike and is also a dog friendly venue, so feel free to bring along your waggy-tailed friends.

Enjoy proximity to Windmill Hill and key businesses, the Swindon Designer Outlet, STEAM Museum and the Cotswolds parks – all minutes from our Swindon hotel.

swindonalexandrahouse.co.uk

visitswindon.org.uk

hilton.com/en/hotels/swihndi-doubletreeswindon/

The hotel features a new Business Floor Room option and all rooms come with a comfy king size bed, television and ensuite bathroom.

travelodge.co.uk/hotels/335/ Swindon-Central-hotel

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EATING OUT

Top ten places to eat out in Swindon 1

Helen Browning’s Royal Oak Helen Browning’s run the Royal Oak, a boutique hotel and dining pub in Bishopstone, just outside Swindon. They also offer workshops and courses as part of Eastbrook Experiences and are proud to announce their wildlife photography and workshop business.

helenbrownings.co.uk

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Los Gatos

Moshan Island Grill

The Jewel in the Crown

Los Gatos’ tapas menu changes regularly with the seasons and new ideas from the owners’ travels in Spain.

The small restaurant welcomes a wide range of customers from families, couples, friends, travellers wishing to relive past experiences from the Caribbean or simply those yet to discover Caribbean cuisine

The Jewel In The Crown is a family-run business now celebrating its 30 Year Anniversary. Award-Winning chefs create refined fresh-to-order Indian food from diverse regions, displayed with verve and style.

Its aim is to provide an exceptional and memorable service to all. Moshan Box Dinner opened its doors in 2013 and became very popular in the town with its modern takeaway box meals.

The Jewel In The Crown has four suites each catering for 50 covers, making it an ideal venue for business meetings, family get-togethers, Christmas meals and all other occasions.

moshanislandgrill.co.uk

jewelinthecrown.co.uk

The menu includes nibbles, hot and cold fish, meat, egg and vegetable dishes and some dishes suitable for vegetarians and vegans. There is also a range of Spanish cheeses and some tasty desserts, including the naughty but nice Pudin de Chocolate!

losgatos.co.uk

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Greek Olive

Siam Thai

Gaetano’s Italian

Head chef Michael Kalotinis boasts over 20 years’ experience running his own restaurant in Kos. He takes great pride in the meals served from his kitchen, serving only authentic, traditional Greek cuisine.

Swindon’s only authentic Thai Restaurant, this exquisite venue is waiting to take you on a journey of fine dining and exciting dishes, freshly prepared by its speciality Thai chefs.

Gaetano’s is where you can enjoy the full Italian experience of superb cuisine, vino and atmosphere.

A large amount of his ingredients will be direct from Greece to ensure you experience the real Hellenic taste of the Mediterranean.

Siam Thai’s motto is to deliver each customer an exceptional fine dining experience every time by providing delicious authentic Thai dishes prepared and cooked in a modern Thai style.

It’s proud to continue the tradition of cooking the best quality food - freshly prepared to unique recipes including freshly-made bread every day. Here you will enjoy wonderful food cooked with Italian passion and served with Italian hospitality.

thegreekolive.co.uk

siamthaiswindon.com

gaetanos.co.uk

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Hall & Woodhouse

The Bank

Harper’s Steakhouse & Bar

The winner of CAMRA’s best new build pub in Britain 2020 award, this striking venue is split into sections and the design is a mixture of industrial, canalthemed and family memorabilia.

The Bank provides the perfect backdrop to a great day or evening. Catch up over coffee or a leisurely lunch, enjoy afternoon tea with the children, wind down after work with a well-deserved drink or relax with an early supper. Your perfect day begins and ends in a chic, informal, continental style brasserie. It’s something different!

Harper’s new steakhouse menu will create an experience that is worthy of the fabulous ambience that this unique building (formerly The Weighbridge) creates.

thebank.bar

harpers-weighbridge.co.uk

At the heart of the house you’ll find the Bar, you’ll also find the Pantry with long bench style seating for a more relaxed experience and a Dining Room which is perfect if you’re looking for a more formal dining experience.

hall-woodhousewichelstowe.co.uk

visitswindon.org.uk

At the heart of the new menu is a focus on melt in the mouth premium steaks, with a supporting menu of dishes brimming with flavours and big on portion generosity. Alongside this, the new bar highlights fabulous new cocktails.

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SHOPPING

Shopping in Swindon 1

Designer Outlet Village Swindon Housed within the beautifully restored Grade II listed buildings of the Great Western Railway, the South West’s most popular Outlet Village boasts a huge variety of shops and brands, not to mention restaurants and coffee shops, many of which stay open till late.

www.mcarthurglen.com

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The Brunel Shopping Centre The town-centre Brunel boasts a great selection of shops – both big names and independent retailers- as well as the recently opened The Crossing Food Court. Among the big names are Boots, M&S, Claire’s, Holland & Barrett, House of Fraser, Lush, O2, Pandora, Timpson, The Entertainer, Vision Express and Waterstones. There’s also John Anthony, the longest running designer menswear shop in Swindon at nearly 40 years old.

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Old Town Swindon

Greenbridge Retail Park

There’s a clue in the name, Old Town is the original town sitting up on the hill and has an ambience all of its own with stylish wine and cocktail bars, traditional pubs, restaurants ranging from Thai and Nepalese to Spanish and Indian.

Just outside the town centre sits Greenbridge Retail and Leisure Park, home to Swindon’s only Imax cinema. There’s also a wide variety of restaurants, several shops and plenty of free parking.

There are also independent retailers, galleries, buzzing night clubs and the 212-seater theatre, The Arts Centre.

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West Swindon Shopping Centre The West Swindon Shopping Centre is best known for its massive ASDA but it’s also home to a host of independent stalls with appealing gifts for all the family, from movie memorabilia to bespoke jewellery. The shopping centre is also adjacent to the Link Centre, Swindon’s largest recreation facility which offers an enormous array of sports and leisure activities suitable for all ages, abilities and interests.

visitswindon.org.uk/business

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Orbital Shopping Park

Mannington Retail Park

Shopping until you drop is always on the agenda at the Orbital Shopping Park, a popular destination for residents of North Swindon and the nearby Cotswolds. The Orbital includes a large M&S, Outfit, Boots, New Look and Argos. There is also a state-of-theart Everlast Fitness Club, or for those who prefer more sedate pursuits, a large library and a Costa.

Located barely ten minutes from M4 junction 16 and only five minutes from Swindon town centre by car, Mannington Retail Park is an easily accessible site with a variety of shops, notably Next Home and that favourite of Middle England shoppers, M&S Simply Food.

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Wigwam

®

Wigwam is a property and lifestyle platform that brings you property news from across Swindon and the surrounding areas. wigwampropertynews.co.uk


A speakeasy located in the heart of Swindon’s Old Town. Serving fine spirits and cocktails in an intimate, friendly environment. thevaultbarlounge.co.uk


EXPLORE

Swindon – the perfect base for explorers and holidaymakers Consider this: Swindon is just 13 miles from Cirencester, 30 miles from Oxford, 34 miles from Bath, 39 miles from Bristol and 42 miles from Salisbury. As a base camp for visiting some of England’s most beloved destinations it could hardly be better placed.

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Swindon’s privileged location make it the ideal gateway to the South West, the Cotswolds, and the Thames Valley. It also makes economic sense to stay in Swindon with hotels in the town more affordable than in neighbouring locations.

Float over historic landmarks in a beautiful balloon, seek out world-class street art and follow the sound of live music flowing into cobbled streets.

Some people know Cirencester as the Capital of the Cotswolds, but in Roman times the town had a much loftier status. At that time Corinium Dobunnorum was the second largest settlement in the whole country with a large forum and basilica and an amphitheatre that could seat 8,000.

In walking boots or hot air balloon, on a bike or a boat, even stand-up paddleboard or kayak, plan your visit to lively yet laid-back, green-at-heart Bristol and find a city bursting with character ready to inspire you.

The Perpendicular Church of St John the Baptist crowns Cirencester’s silhouette, and you can mix sightseeing with shopping at the New Brewery Arts studios, cosy little lanes and the famous weekly antiques market at the Corn Hall. Built for pleasure and relaxation, Bath has been a wellbeing destination since Roman times. The waters are still a big draw, both at the ancient Roman Baths and the thoroughly modern Thermae Bath Spa, which houses the only natural thermal hot springs in Britain that you can bathe in. Bath’s compact, visitor-friendly centre is overflowing with places to eat and drink while its stunning honey-coloured Georgian architecture is straight from a Jane Austen novel – highlights include the iconic Royal Crescent and the majestic Circus.

Oxford, The City of Dreaming Spires, is famous the world over for its university and place in history. For over 800 years, it has been a home to royalty and scholars, and since the 9th century an established town. With its mix of ancient and modern, there is plenty for the visitor to do, whether it’s visiting one of the many historic buildings, colleges or museums, going out for a drink or a meal, taking in a show or shopping till you drop at the huge Westgate centre. Salisbury is a medieval cathedral city on the southern tip of Wiltshire. It’s 9 miles south of the iconic prehistoric stone circle at Stonehenge, which stands on the grassland of Salisbury Plain. The city’s ornate 13thcentury cathedral has a 123m spire, a working 14thcentury clock and an original copy of the Magna Carta (the Great Charter), a key document from 1215 A.D. So there you have it, some of England’s must-visit destinations and all in striking distance of Swindon.

Discover things to do in Bristol born out of the city’s centuries-old heritage and irrepressible creative spirit.

visitswindon.org.uk

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HINTERLAND

Be dazzled by Swindon’s hinterland Picture postcard villages, forests, lakes and ancient monuments are all a short hop away. It is no exaggeration to say that you can drive ten minutes out of Swindon in any direction and find yourself in beautiful countryside, thriving market towns, chocolate box villages and bucolic landscapes.

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To the north lie the Cotswolds where you can explore quintessentially English villages of honey-coloured stone like Bourton-on-the-Water and take in splendid market towns like Cirencester - Corinium Dobunnorum in Roman times when it was the second largest town in Britain after London. Cirencester is just 13 miles from Swindon and roughly half way there is the Cotswold Water Park, an area of over 40 square miles and 170 lakes with a host of leisure activities and an ideal destination for watching wildlife all year round. There’s even a beach at the Cotswold Country Park! Halfway between Swindon and Cirencester lies Cricklade, a small historic 9th century Saxon town, lying just outside the Cotswolds ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. Another small market town that is definitely worth a visit is Malmesbury, just 16 miles to the west of Swindon. The town is famous for its association with King Alfred the Great, for its wonderful medieval Malmesbury Abbey and its beautiful market cross. A little further to the west is Castle Combe, a filmmaker’s paradise! This picturesque village has starred on the big screen in films like War Horse and Stardust. Look out for the cottages selling homemade cake outside their doors and the nearby hamlet of Tiddleywink too! To the north west of Swindon you will find pretty little villages like Lechlade-on-Thames and the National Trust estates of Buscot and Coleshill. These two very English villages and their surrounding patchwork quilt of fields, woodland spinney, water meadow and parkland, are just perfect for relaxing and exploring.

visitswindon.org.uk

Almost touching distance from Swindon to the east are the pretty villages of Liddington, Wanborough, Aldbourne and Bishopstone, the latter home to Helen Browning’s organic operations and foodie favourite the Royal Oak pub. From there, it’s a short hop to White Horse Hill, ancient rolling downland and home to an enigmatic chalk hill figure. To the south west of Swindon are the first stretches of Britain’s oldest road, the Ridgeway. For at least 5,000 years people, including drovers, traders and invaders, have walked or ridden this road which passes through ancient landscapes, secluded valleys and woodland. Adjoining the Ridgeway is the stately market town of Marlborough. There’s countryside within 10 minutes’ walk of the High Street in almost any direction, and downland, stone circles and ancient Savernake Forest are literally on the doorstep. The River Kennet chalk stream flows through the town centre. Six miles from Marlborough is the Avebury World Heritage Site with its ancient stone circle, a marvel to behold - yet more proof that Swindon’s hinterland is almost unequalled for history and beauty anywhere in the UK.

It is no surprise that Swindon’s quintessentially English surroundings have been used as film locations so many times.

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EXPLORE

Swindon has a range of beautiful green spaces to rival any town in the UK Not to mention stately home gardens, wildlife reserves and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

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Lydiard Park is a beautiful historic estate on the western edge of Swindon. A Palladian House, church and walled garden are set in 260 acres of parkland which surrounds a wonderful lake. Broadcaster and gardener Alan Titchmarsh is on the record as one of its celebrity fans. Coate Water Country Park is a fantastic community resource providing a perfect setting and with a children’s playground, summer splash pool, all year café and space to run around, it makes for an enjoyable family day out. A Nature Reserve and a Site of Specific Scientific Interest means that the park is bursting with interesting bird and wildlife species and offers both fishing and birdwatching. Stanton Country Park is a hidden gem and the holder of a Green Flag award. It has 36 hectares of parkland that includes the lake, woodland and grassland. Home to an exceptionally wide range of habitats, such as hedgerows, wildflower meadows, wetlands, and over 900 species of fungi. The park is also home to a large variety of life including: birds of prey, wildfowl, amphibians, invertebrates and even bats. Barbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort, one of several such forts found along the ancient Ridgeway route. The Ridgeway has been in use since prehistoric times and its 87 mile long route passes through ancient landscapes, secluded valleys and woodland and is reputed to be Europe’s oldest road.

events in the summer months from brass bands and local art to festivals and live music. Close to the centre of town, Queen’s Park features a lake of around 2 acres. It is home to many species of wildfowl and contains a diverse range of ornamental trees and shrubs. The park has a Garden of Remembrance, officially opened by Princess Elizabeth on 15 November 1950 and commemorates those who died in WWII. It also has the Mesothelioma Memorial Garden opened in 2003, designed as a place for quiet contemplation. GWR/Faringdon Road Park is a simple large expanse of green close to the centre of the town, with ornamental gardens and a children’s play park. The park dates from the 1840s when it was a popular venue for the railway workers’ community and sporting events and later, holding fetes and rallies. The Lawns is an expanse of parkland with woods, meadows and lakes and features the remains of an Italian sunken garden and the site of Swindon’s original parish church – Holy Rood. This was once the estate of the Goddards, a prominent Swindon family. The beautiful walks offer fantastic views across the town and the park also hosts many summer events including the Old Town Festival.

Town Gardens is one of Swindon’s most popular green spaces. These beautiful Victorian gardens with a café, aviary and rose garden, even has its own Grade II listed bandstand and an Art Deco Concert Bowl, both hosting

visitswindon.org.uk

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Photo opportunities in Swindon Swindon is packed full of hidden gems, public art and heritage buildings which make for the perfect photo opportunity for you to share on Instagram.

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What’s Swindon got to offer for professional photographers, amateur snappers and instagrammers alike? Answer: more photo opps than the red carpet at the Oscars! Have we got beautiful green spaces? Tick. Gritty urban landscapes? Tick. Heritage buildings and architecture? Tick. Funky street art? Tick. Original sculptures? Tick. Just some of things we love taking photos of (as pictured above) are Hall & Woodhouse’s canal side building, the rainbow bridge by the Wyvern Theatre, the futuristic Spectrum/Renault building as featured in the James Bond movie A View To A Kill, the Incredible Hulk looking angry, the Town Gardens in bloom, the whimsical sculpture dedicated to the Blondinis acrobatic troupe, the Palladian house at Lydiard Park and the Victorian Baths on Milton Road, part of the celebrated GWR Railway Village. Keep an eye on the visitswindon.org.uk website and social media for regular photo competitions with great prizes. instagram.com/visit ­­_ swindon

visitswindon.org.uk

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EVENTS

Events in Swindon For your comprehensive guide to events and what’s on in Swindon, check out the Visit Swindon what’s on guide on our website. visitswindon.org.uk/events

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visitswindon.org.uk

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VISIT SWINDON WITH GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY

Discover the town that was built on steam. Book your travel at GWR.com, on our App, or at a station.

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