Best Places to Visit in Swindon
Situated in North Wiltshire, between the Cotswolds and the North Wessex Downs, Swindon is a large, growing town in the rolling countryside. It remained a small traditional market town until the mid-19th century, when the construction of the Great Western Railway transformed Swindon into a transport hub.
Legendary engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel built the sprawling Swindon Works to protect the line and its wagons, and after the facility closed in the 1980s, it was slowly converted into a museum and a McArthurGlen design store, first class in GWR history. Wiltshire is rich in Bronze and Iron Age history; with hill forts, wheelbarrows and the World Heritage Stone Circle within ten miles. Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Swindon and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Swindon
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Swindon:
1. Museum of Computing
The Swindon Computer Museum’s exhibit is a 75-year timeline of computer technology. The museum is located in a converted shop next to the Regent Circus Central Library, and it’s clear that there is a great interest in its collection of old Apple Macs, desktops, laptops, arcade games and consoles.
Some rare exhibits are the 1977 Cambridge Science MK14 and 1989 Nintendo Powerglove. The nice thing about the Computer Museum is that almost everything is operational and can be played here, so parents can introduce their kids to the fun of Gameboys, Pong or Space Invaders.
2. Lydiard Park
On the west end of Swindon, in a 260-acre park, is a Grade I listed Palladian cottage. You can taste the main hall, dining room, morning room, living room, guest room and dressing room decorated with ornate plaster, gilded furniture, marble fireplace, silk wallpapers and family portraits at the house, which is open for tours during the summer months.
Open year-round, its crowning glory is the now-restored 1740s walled garden planted with the same types of fruit trees and flowering plants as it was nearly 300 years ago. The wider park is a patchwork of interesting remnants of Georgian properties such as lakes, woodlands, pastures, lawns and igloos, and cafes in the woods.
3. Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
The side-by-side Swindon Museum and Art Gallery in Old Swindon is essentially a shared attraction. Housed in a listed Georgian mansion, the museum has some valuable local archaeological finds such as Roman pottery and coins from the Wanborough settlement. You can also examine Jurassic fossils and ancient Egyptian mummified hands.
Housed in a modern building, the gallery features Henry Moore, Lucian Freud, L.S. He is famous for the work of 20th-century British art greats such as Lowry and Graham Sutherland. There are usually four or five simultaneous temporary exhibitions, and in the summer of 2018, these exhibits featured displays of interwar British art, modern ceramics and Swindon’s transport history.
4. Coate Water
The Swindon suburb of Coate has a park surrounding a large reservoir that was built when the Cole River was diverted in 1822. The aim was to complete the Wilts and Berks Canal, but the waterway was abandoned in the early 20th century. Before long, the reservoir became the center of the playground. Swimming in the reservoir has been banned since 1958, but the winding Art Deco dive platform has remained since 1935 and gained listed status.
The lake is also a nature preserve, home to breeding birds and migratory species during the transitional seasons, and bird skins to make you look better. The woodlands have mature birch, ash, and oak trees, and you can spot deer and foxes in the wildflower meadows. When the weather warms up, there’s a new water park for kids, and you can rent barbecues and horse farms.
5. Swindon and Cricklade Railway
First opened in the 1880s, the Midland and South West Junction Railway swept west and served from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire to Andover in Hampshire. The line was closed to passengers in 1961 and closed completely a few years later. In 1978, a Conservation Society was formed and a short line opened between Brenston Station and Hayes Knoll.
In 2014, the line was finally extended to Taw Valley Halt in the northern suburbs of Swindon. Considering that the line is run by volunteers, this is an impressive feat. The line, with both steam and diesel locomotives, usually runs on weekends and hosts regular murder nights, children’s treasure hunts, steam cider and sausage events, and “Santa specials” at Christmas.
6. STEAM Museum of the Great Western Railway
In 1986 the Great Western Railway’s Swindon facility had been in operation for over 140 years and was at one point one of the largest rail facilities in the world. In 2000, some of these listed buildings became museums commemorating the history of the Great Western Railroad. One figure you will recognize is Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Victorian engineer who almost single-handedly designed the railroad and its infrastructure.
In the spacious old wagon is a collection of exquisite steam locomotives, such as a replica of the GWR Star Class train from 1838 and a replica of the GWR 2301 class train from 1897. There are displays by the staff of the museum, former railroad workers and platform scenes that provide a privileged perspective on the exhibit, revealing ancient skills such as loading ballast wagons and making wagons.
7. Mouldon Country Park
Swindon’s North West is a country park where the town blends into the open countryside. The park is named after a 100-metre hill on the Thunder River, and you can hike along the river or the old Swindon Canal, which is being restored. Hidden among the leaves is a lake popular with anglers for its populations of dicks, cockroaches, perch, snapper, carp and gudgeon. Mouldon Hill was also proposed as the future southern terminus of the Swindon and Cricklade Railway, not far from its current terminus, Taw Valley Halt.
8. Richard Jefferies Museum
It’s hard not to fall in love with the Wiltshire countryside, and Victorian Richard Jeffries was a self-proclaimed writer who was delighted with the landscapes. He was born in Cote in 1848 and his birthplace and childhood home was a museum. This fascinating 19th-century farmhouse gallery explores Jefferies’ relationship with nature and agriculture and how this is expressed in such well-known works as “Field Life” and “Bevis.”
9. Swindon Designer Outlet
People travel long distances to shop for up to 60% off retail prices at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in Swindon. Sharing land with the STEAM Museum, one of Europe’s largest indoor design stores features a beautiful home in a converted brick industrial building from the Great Western Railway project in Swindon.
There are more than 90 stores, including international brands such as Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein Jeans, Boss, Levi’s and Vans, as well as brands more familiar to UK shoppers such as Ted Baker, Next and M&S. Shopping for bargains is a hungry job, and you can choose from fast, casual and more formal restaurants, from Subway to Wagamama to Carluccio’s.
10. Roves Farm
Tickets for families with children under 10, Roves Farm is a major agricultural attraction that combines playgrounds and animal encounters with smart educational experiences. Kids can ride themed tractors, meet and feed pets at the pet corner, see larger animals such as donkeys, sheep, cows and alpacas in their paddock, watch animal races and take craft lessons.
There’s an adventure playground, bouncy castle, rain-heated play barn and sandbox, while kids can build their own den in the two-acre willow grove or go on a family walk and fill out an activity form as you go.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Swindon. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Swindon, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.