15 Best Things To Do In Swindon, England

15 Best Things To Do In Swindon, England

By will

Swindon, England is a hidden gem that offers a plethora of exciting activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. From exploring its historical landmarks to immersing oneself in the beauty of its Victorian architecture, there is something for everyone in this charming town.

In this article, I will take you on a journey through the 15 best things to do in Swindon, ensuring that you make the most of your time in this vibrant destination.

One of the highlights of Swindon is its rich historical heritage, which can be experienced through its fascinating landmarks. From the iconic Swindon Museum and Art Gallery to the Steam Museum that showcases the town’s industrial past, there is no shortage of opportunities to delve into the history of this remarkable place.

Additionally, Swindon boasts an impressive collection of Victorian architecture, with stunning buildings like the Town Hall and the Mechanics’ Institute that will transport you back in time. Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of the past, Swindon will captivate your imagination.

So, put on your walking shoes and get ready to explore all that Swindon has to offer!

Exploring Swindon’s Historical Landmarks

Two of the centre's landmarks
Photo by Neil Owen

Discovering Swindon’s rich history will leave you in awe of its remarkable landmarks. From the moment you set foot in this charming town, you’ll be transported back in time as you explore its historical landmarks.

One of the must-visit sites is the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, where you can immerse yourself in the town’s past through its extensive collection of art, artifacts, and exhibitions. As you wander through the galleries, you’ll learn about Swindon’s industrial heritage and the impact it had on shaping the town into what it is today.

Another landmark that shouldn’t be missed is the Swindon Railway Village. This iconic area is a testament to Swindon’s history as a railway town. As you stroll through the streets lined with Victorian houses, you can’t help but imagine what life was like during the golden age of the railways. The railway museum, located in the heart of the village, offers a fascinating insight into the town’s connection with the railway industry. You’ll discover the stories of the people who lived and worked here and gain a deeper appreciation for the role Swindon played in the development of the railway network.

Exploring Swindon’s historical landmarks is not only a journey through time but also an opportunity to appreciate the town’s heritage. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about the past, these landmarks will captivate your imagination and leave you with a newfound appreciation for Swindon’s rich history.

So, don’t miss the chance to uncover the secrets of this remarkable town and immerse yourself in its fascinating past.

Admiring Victorian Architecture in Swindon

Swindon Railway Village
Photo by Marathon

Explore the charming streets of Swindon and take in the breathtaking Victorian architecture that transports you back in time.

As I wandered through the city, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the grandeur and beauty of the buildings that lined the streets. The intricate details, ornate facades, and towering structures all showcase the remarkable craftsmanship of the Victorian era.

One of the must-see architectural gems in Swindon is the Mechanics’ Institute, a stunning example of Victorian Gothic architecture. Its pointed arches, lancet windows, and decorative carvings make it a true masterpiece.

As I stood in front of this magnificent building, I couldn’t help but imagine what life was like during the Victorian era, when the institute served as a center for education and cultural activities.

Another notable Victorian landmark in Swindon is the Railway Village. Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, this residential area was built to accommodate workers of the Great Western Railway. The rows of terraced houses, with their uniform facades and charming gardens, are a testament to the vision of Brunel and the importance of the railway in the town’s history.

Exploring Swindon’s Victorian architecture is like stepping into a different time period. The attention to detail and the grandeur of these buildings are truly awe-inspiring.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply appreciate beautiful architecture, Swindon’s Victorian landmarks are a must-see when visiting this charming town.

Discovering Swindon’s Museum and Art Gallery

Swindon Museum
Photo by Gordon Hatton

As you step inside Swindon’s Museum and Art Gallery, you’ll be transported into a world of artistic wonders and historical artifacts. The museum is a treasure trove of culture, showcasing a diverse collection that spans centuries. From ancient relics to contemporary masterpieces, there is something to captivate every visitor.

The first thing that strikes you is the stunning architecture of the building itself. The grand entrance, with its intricate detailing and elegant columns, sets the stage for what awaits inside.

As you make your way through the galleries, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a rich tapestry of paintings, sculptures, and installations. Each piece is thoughtfully curated, providing insight into different periods and styles of art. From classical portraits to abstract works, the collection offers a comprehensive exploration of human creativity.

Beyond the visual arts, the museum also houses a fascinating array of historical artifacts. From ancient artifacts to modern technological marvels, there is something to pique the curiosity of every history enthusiast. Whether it’s exploring the archaeological finds from the local area or delving into the industrial heritage of Swindon, there are endless stories waiting to be discovered.

The Swindon Museum and Art Gallery is not just a place to admire beautiful works of art and historical artifacts, but a space to learn, be inspired, and connect with the rich cultural heritage of the town. Whether you’re a seasoned art lover or simply curious about history, a visit to this museum is sure to be a rewarding experience.

So, step inside and let the wonders of Swindon’s past and present unfold before your eyes.

Learning About Swindon’s Industrial Heritage at the Steam Museum

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of Swindon’s industrial heritage at the Steam Museum.

As you enter the museum, you are transported to a bygone era, where the sound of steam engines fills the air and the smell of coal lingers.

The museum showcases the rich history of Swindon as a railway town and the integral role it played in the development of the Great Western Railway.

One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of beautifully restored steam locomotives. These magnificent machines, with their gleaming brass and polished steel, are a testament to the engineering prowess of the past.

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You can even climb aboard some of the locomotives and experience what it was like to be a railway worker in the heyday of steam.

The museum also houses a wide range of exhibits that provide an insight into the daily lives of the railway workers, from the tools they used to the uniforms they wore.

It’s a fascinating glimpse into a world that has long been forgotten.

In addition to the exhibits, the Steam Museum also offers a variety of interactive experiences for visitors.

You can try your hand at operating a signal box or even take a ride on a steam train.

The museum also hosts regular events and workshops, where you can learn more about the history of the railways and even get hands-on with some of the artifacts.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about Swindon’s past, a visit to the Steam Museum is a must-do when in the area.

It’s a chance to step back in time and gain a deeper appreciation for the industrial heritage that shaped this vibrant town.

Enjoying Nature in Swindon’s Parks and Gardens

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Swindon’s parks and gardens, where nature flourishes and tranquility abounds.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a wildlife lover, or simply looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, Swindon offers a variety of green spaces that are sure to captivate your senses.

One of the most popular parks in Swindon is Lydiard Park. It’s a stunning 260-acre estate with picturesque lakes, woodlands, and formal gardens. As you wander through the park, you’ll be greeted by vibrant flowers in full bloom, lush green lawns perfect for picnicking, and a serene lake where you can spot ducks and swans gliding gracefully across the water.

The park also boasts a walled garden filled with fragrant roses, a sensory garden designed to engage all your senses, and even a children’s play area to keep the little ones entertained. With its peaceful atmosphere and breathtaking scenery, Lydiard Park is a true oasis in the heart of Swindon.

Another gem in Swindon’s collection of parks is Coate Water Country Park. It’s a 70-acre park that offers a tranquil escape with its expansive lake, meadows, and woodlands. Take a leisurely stroll along the water’s edge and you might spot a variety of water birds, such as herons and kingfishers, or even catch a glimpse of a playful otter.

Coate Water also offers activities such as fishing, boating, and even a miniature railway for the young and young at heart. With its diverse wildlife, scenic trails, and peaceful ambiance, Coate Water Country Park is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and unwind in Swindon.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Swindon’s parks and gardens, where nature’s wonders await at every turn. From the vibrant blooms of Lydiard Park to the tranquil shores of Coate Water, these green spaces offer a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

So, grab a picnic blanket, breathe in the fresh air, and let Swindon’s parks and gardens enchant you with their natural beauty.

Shopping and Dining in Swindon’s Town Center

Indulge in the delightful shopping and dining experiences that await you in the heart of Swindon’s town center.

As you stroll through the bustling streets, you’ll be greeted by an array of shops and boutiques offering everything from high-end fashion to unique local crafts.

Treat yourself to a shopping spree and discover the latest trends at the designer stores or browse through the quaint independent shops for one-of-a-kind treasures.

Whether you’re in search of a new outfit, home decor, or a special gift, Swindon’s town center has something for everyone.

After working up an appetite from all that shopping, you’ll find a plethora of dining options to satisfy your cravings.

From cozy cafes serving up delicious homemade treats to trendy restaurants offering international cuisines, there is no shortage of choices.

Indulge in a hearty English breakfast to start your day, savor a traditional afternoon tea, or enjoy a leisurely dinner with friends.

With a vibrant food scene that caters to all tastes, you’re sure to find a culinary delight that will tantalize your taste buds.

Swindon’s town center truly offers a shopping and dining experience like no other.

Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast, a food lover, or simply enjoy exploring new places, this vibrant hub has it all.

So, come and immerse yourself in the charm and excitement of Swindon’s town center, where shopping and dining become a delightful adventure.

Experiencing Swindon’s Vibrant Arts and Culture Scene

Discovering Swindon’s vibrant arts and culture scene will transport you to a world of creativity and inspiration. From the moment you step foot in this charming town, you’ll be greeted by a plethora of galleries, theaters, and museums that showcase the rich artistic heritage of the area.

One of the must-visit spots is the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, which houses an impressive collection of contemporary and traditional art. As you wander through its halls, you’ll be captivated by the diverse range of artwork on display, from paintings and sculptures to photography and installations. The gallery also hosts regular exhibitions and events, allowing you to immerse yourself in the ever-evolving art scene of Swindon.

If you’re a fan of performing arts, the Wyvern Theatre is a must-see. This modern venue offers a wide variety of shows, including musicals, plays, comedy acts, and concerts. The state-of-the-art facilities and talented performers ensure that every visit to the Wyvern Theatre is an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a fan of classical theater or contemporary performances, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Additionally, Swindon is home to a thriving music scene, with numerous live music venues scattered throughout the town. From intimate gigs in cozy pubs to larger concerts at the Oasis Leisure Centre, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to discover new bands and enjoy live performances.

Swindon’s arts and culture scene truly has something for everyone, making it a destination that shouldn’t be missed.

Visiting Swindon’s Local Markets and Shops

When you stroll through the streets of Swindon, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a vibrant tapestry of local markets and charming shops, each offering its own unique treasures and delights.

From the bustling stalls of the Swindon Farmers’ Market to the quaint boutiques tucked away in the town center, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

One of my favorite places to visit is the Swindon Designer Outlet, a shopper’s paradise filled with discounted high-end brands. As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by rows and rows of shops offering everything from designer clothing and accessories to homeware and beauty products. The atmosphere is lively, and the excitement of finding a great deal is palpable. Whether you’re on the hunt for a new outfit or simply looking to browse, the Swindon Designer Outlet is a must-visit destination.

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In addition to the Designer Outlet, Swindon is also home to a variety of local markets, each with its own unique charm.

The Swindon Farmers’ Market, held on the first Sunday of every month, is a food lover’s delight. Here, you’ll find an abundance of fresh produce, delicious baked goods, and artisanal treats. It’s the perfect place to stock up on locally sourced ingredients or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll, sampling the many delights on offer.

Another market worth exploring is the Swindon Indoor Market, located in the town center. This bustling market is home to a wide range of stalls selling everything from clothing and accessories to books and crafts. It’s a treasure trove of hidden gems, and you never know what you might find as you wander through the aisles. The friendly vendors are always happy to chat and share their stories, adding an extra layer of warmth to the market experience.

Swindon’s local markets and shops offer a delightful and diverse shopping experience. Whether you’re searching for high-end brands at discounted prices or looking to support local artisans and producers, you’ll find it all in Swindon.

So, take a leisurely stroll through the streets and immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of markets and shops that this charming town has to offer.

Trying Traditional British Cuisine in Swindon

Immerse yourself in Swindon’s culinary scene by trying traditional British cuisine at local restaurants and pubs.

From hearty Sunday roasts to classic fish and chips, there are plenty of delicious options to satisfy your taste buds.

Start your culinary adventure by indulging in a traditional English breakfast, complete with crispy bacon, eggs, sausage, baked beans, and grilled tomatoes. This hearty meal is the perfect way to kickstart your day and fuel your exploration of Swindon.

For lunch or dinner, don’t miss the opportunity to savor a traditional Sunday roast. Succulent roasted meats, like beef, lamb, or chicken, are accompanied by crispy roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, and a medley of seasonal vegetables. The rich flavors and comforting textures of this meal will transport you to the heart of British cuisine.

If you’re in the mood for something lighter, try a traditional Cornish pasty. These delicious handheld pies are filled with a delectable combination of meat, vegetables, and gravy, encased in a flaky pastry shell.

To truly experience the flavors of Swindon, head to a local pub and sample some classic British pub food. Indulge in a plate of fish and chips, featuring tender cod fillets coated in a crispy batter, served with golden fries and mushy peas. Pair your meal with a pint of local ale or cider for the ultimate British pub experience.

Don’t forget to save room for dessert! Treat yourself to a traditional sticky toffee pudding or a creamy bread and butter pudding, both served warm and drizzled with a rich caramel sauce.

Swindon’s culinary scene offers a delightful array of traditional British dishes that will leave you craving more. Whether you’re a fan of hearty roasts, classic pub fare, or delectable desserts, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

So, venture out and discover the flavors of Swindon as you satisfy your appetite for authentic British cuisine.

Participating in Outdoor Activities in Swindon

To fully embrace the vibrant energy of Swindon, you’ll want to lace up your hiking boots and venture into the breathtaking outdoor landscapes that surround the town. With its rolling hills, picturesque countryside, and charming trails, Swindon offers a myriad of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts of all levels.

One of the best ways to appreciate the natural beauty of Swindon is by exploring the expansive and stunning Cotswold Water Park. This vast network of lakes and wetlands provides the perfect setting for a range of activities, from leisurely walks and birdwatching to water sports and fishing. As you stroll along the tranquil paths, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the glistening lakes and vibrant flora and fauna that call this area home.

For a more adrenaline-filled adventure, you can try your hand at kayaking or paddleboarding on the crystal-clear waters. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned outdoor enthusiast, the Cotswold Water Park offers something for everyone to enjoy.

Another must-visit outdoor destination in Swindon is the sprawling Lydiard Park. This historic estate boasts 260 acres of parkland, woodlands, and lakes, making it an idyllic spot for a leisurely stroll or a picnic with loved ones. As you wander through the park’s enchanting gardens, you’ll discover a variety of exotic plants and vibrant flower beds that create a truly magical atmosphere.

The park also features several well-maintained walking trails that lead you through ancient woodlands, where you can immerse yourself in nature and spot native wildlife. Whether you’re seeking tranquility or adventure, Lydiard Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and a true gem in Swindon’s outdoor offerings.

Attending Events and Festivals in Swindon

If you’re looking for a memorable experience in Swindon, don’t miss out on the vibrant events and festivals that bring the town to life.

Swindon boasts a diverse range of events throughout the year, catering to all interests and tastes. One of the highlights is the Swindon Festival of Literature, a week-long celebration of words and ideas. With renowned authors, poets, and speakers taking the stage, this festival offers a unique opportunity to engage with literature in an intimate and inspiring setting. From book signings to panel discussions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Another must-attend event is the Swindon Summer Festival, which takes place in the picturesque Lydiard Park. This family-friendly festival offers a wide range of activities, including live music performances, food stalls, and funfair rides. Whether you’re looking to relax on a picnic blanket while listening to local bands or indulge in delicious street food, this festival has it all. The vibrant atmosphere and beautiful surroundings make it a perfect day out for people of all ages.

Make sure to check the event calendar before your visit to Swindon, as there’s always something exciting happening in this lively town.

Exploring Swindon’s Surrounding Countryside

Discovering the idyllic countryside surrounding Swindon is a delightful way to escape the bustling town and immerse yourself in nature’s beauty. As I ventured out into the outskirts of Swindon, I was immediately captivated by the picturesque landscapes that unfolded before me. Rolling hills, lush green fields, and charming little villages dotted the countryside, creating a serene and peaceful atmosphere.

It was a refreshing change of pace from the busy streets of the town, and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of tranquility wash over me.

One of the highlights of exploring Swindon’s surrounding countryside is the abundance of walking and hiking trails. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or simply looking for a leisurely stroll, there are trails to suit all levels of fitness and interest. The Ridgeway, a National Trail that stretches for 87 miles, offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and is perfect for those seeking a challenging hike. For a more relaxed experience, the Marlborough Downs offer gentle slopes and panoramic vistas, making it an ideal choice for a leisurely walk. Whichever trail you choose, you’re bound to encounter an array of wildlife, including rabbits, deer, and a variety of bird species.

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In addition to the scenic beauty, exploring Swindon’s surrounding countryside also gives you the opportunity to visit charming villages and historical sites. The village of Castle Combe, often referred to as the ‘prettiest village in England,’ is just a short drive away from Swindon. With its quaint cottages, medieval church, and picturesque streets, it feels like stepping back in time. Another must-visit destination is Avebury, home to one of the largest and best-preserved Neolithic stone circles in Europe. As you wander through the ancient site, you can’t help but marvel at the sheer magnitude and mystery of the stones.

Overall, exploring Swindon’s surrounding countryside is a truly enchanting experience. From the tranquil beauty of the landscapes to the charming villages and historical sites, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So, pack your walking shoes, grab a picnic basket, and embark on a journey of discovery in the idyllic countryside of Swindon.

Taking a Trip to Swindon’s Nearby Attractions

As I venture out of Swindon, I’m prepared to be amazed by the nearby attractions that’ll transport me to a world of wonder and excitement.

One of the must-visit places is the Cotswold Wildlife Park, located just a short drive away. This expansive park is home to a variety of animals from around the world, including giraffes, rhinos, lions, and lemurs. As I wander through the park, I’m captivated by the beauty of these creatures in their natural habitats. I can even get up close and personal with some of them, like feeding the penguins or taking a stroll through the lemur walk-through.

Another nearby attraction that I simply can’t miss is the STEAM Museum of the Great Western Railway. As a history enthusiast, I’m fascinated by the rich heritage of the railway and its impact on the Industrial Revolution. Stepping inside the museum, I’m immediately transported back in time to the age of steam. The museum houses a vast collection of locomotives and carriages, allowing me to explore the evolution of rail travel. I can even climb aboard some of the iconic trains and imagine what it was like to journey through the countryside in a bygone era. The interactive exhibits and knowledgeable staff make the experience both educational and enjoyable.

Swindon’s nearby attractions truly offer a world of discovery and excitement, making it an ideal destination for those seeking adventure and exploration.

Enjoying Nightlife and Entertainment in Swindon

After exploring the nearby attractions of Swindon, it’s time to indulge in the vibrant nightlife and entertainment options that this town has to offer.

As the sun sets and the city lights up, Swindon comes alive with a plethora of options to suit every taste and preference. From trendy bars and pubs to lively clubs and theaters, there is something for everyone to enjoy and make the most of their time in this bustling town.

When it comes to nightlife, Swindon offers a diverse range of options that cater to all tastes. If you’re a fan of live music, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the numerous venues that host local bands and talented musicians. Whether you prefer the energetic vibe of a rock concert or the soulful melodies of a jazz performance, you can find it all in Swindon.

Additionally, the town boasts a vibrant pub scene, with cozy establishments serving up a variety of beers, wines, and spirits. It’s the perfect place to unwind with friends, enjoy a drink, and soak in the lively atmosphere.

For those looking for a more upbeat and energetic experience, Swindon’s clubs offer an exciting night out on the town. Dance the night away to the latest hits, as talented DJs keep the music pumping and the crowd moving. With a mix of genres and styles, there’s a club for every taste – whether you’re into electronic beats or classic chart-toppers.

And if you’re in the mood for some cultural entertainment, Swindon’s theaters showcase a variety of performances, including plays, musicals, and comedy shows. Immerse yourself in the world of the arts and let the talented performers transport you to another realm.

In Swindon, the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. With its vibrant nightlife and diverse entertainment options, you’re guaranteed a memorable night out on the town. So, get ready to let loose, have a great time, and make lasting memories in this lively and dynamic town.

Finding Accommodation and Planning Your Stay in Swindon

When staying in Swindon, it’s important to carefully consider your accommodation options and plan your stay accordingly.

Swindon offers a variety of accommodation choices to suit every budget and preference. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious hotel or a cozy bed and breakfast, you’ll find plenty of options to choose from.

The town has a wide range of hotels, ranging from well-known chains to boutique establishments. Many of these hotels offer modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi, on-site restaurants, and fitness centers.

If you prefer a more personalized experience, you can opt for a bed and breakfast or guesthouse. These charming establishments often provide a more intimate and cozy atmosphere, making you feel right at home during your stay in Swindon.

Planning your stay in Swindon is also important to make the most of your time in this vibrant town. Swindon is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, so be sure to visit the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery to learn more about the town’s past.

If you’re a nature lover, a visit to the beautiful Lydiard Park is a must. This sprawling park offers picturesque gardens, woodlands, and lakes, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic.

For a taste of Swindon’s buzzing food scene, head to the Old Town area, where you’ll find a wide range of restaurants serving everything from traditional British dishes to international cuisines. Don’t forget to explore the local markets, where you can sample fresh produce and unique crafts.

By planning your stay in Swindon, you’ll be able to make the most of your time and create unforgettable memories in this charming town.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Swindon offers a wide range of activities and attractions that cater to all interests. From exploring historical landmarks and admiring Victorian architecture to learning about the city’s industrial heritage at the Steam Museum, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Nature lovers can take delight in the numerous parks and gardens that offer serene and picturesque surroundings. For those who prefer a more adventurous experience, exploring Swindon’s surrounding countryside will not disappoint.

Furthermore, Swindon’s proximity to nearby attractions makes it an ideal base for day trips and excursions. Whether it’s visiting the stunning Cotswolds or exploring the charming town of Bath, there is plenty to see and do just a short distance away. Additionally, the city offers a vibrant nightlife scene with a variety of entertainment options, ensuring that visitors can make the most of their evenings.

When planning your stay in Swindon, you’ll find a range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Whether you prefer a cozy bed and breakfast or a luxury hotel, there’s something for everyone. With its rich history, beautiful architecture, and diverse range of attractions, Swindon is a destination that shouldn’t be missed. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this charming English town.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.