Located on the southern fringes of the Cotswolds and surrounded by the charming Wiltshire countryside, Swindon was a quiet provincial town until the Great Western Railway arrived here in 1840. And evidence of those early days can still be seen in the Old Town.
With improved transport links, the town soon began to expand, and in recent years that growth has accelerated, resulting in the thriving commercial centre that is Swindon today.
Swindon has no shortage of great places to eat – from chic fine-dining restaurants to family-friendly diners, plus a whole host of cafes, bars and bistros.
The independent eateries in the Old Town are a favourite haunt of local foodies, while the many gastro pubs in surrounding villages draw diners from miles around. And just a short drive away, the towns of Marlborough and Cirencester boast several superb restaurants offering locally-sourced produce.
Swindon is now a serious shopping destination, featuring an impressive pedestrianized plaza in the town centre, plus a growing number of retail parks.
Swindon’s Old Town offers a diverse range of chic boutiques and galleries, independent jewellers and designer gift shops, all within a unique setting that exudes olde worlde charm. While the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet draws savvy shoppers seeking savings of up to 60% on high-end brands like Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.
Swindon – a global commercial hub
Swindon’s success as a thriving commercial centre owes a great deal to its location, with easy access to the M4 plus frequent trains to London, which take just an hour to reach Paddington Station.
The town’s location has also provided room to grow – and Swindon has certainly done that, attracting the headquarters of blue chip organisations like Nationwide Building Society and Zurich Insurance. Swindon also plays host to Alcatel Lucent, BMW/Mini, Honda, Intel, Nokia and W H Smith, and is home to the head office of the National Trust.
Swindon is a very well connected, boasting direct rail links to Bristol, Cardiff, Cheltenham and Reading, as well as the main line into London. For drivers, the M4 proves easy access to Reading and the capital to the east, and Bristol and Cardiff to the west.
For anyone leaving the car at home, the local bus services are a great way to explore Swindon’s sprawling metropolis plus the many interesting villages that lie beyond the town’s boundary.
One of Swindon’s main leisure attractions is Lydiard Park – an historic country estate set in 260 acres of parkland. Featuring an ancient manor house, medieval church, wildlife-rich parkland woods and lakes, Jungle Parc aerial adventure, plus café, tea room and children’s play area, it’s a great day out for the whole family to enjoy.
And if you still have spare time on your hands, here’s a few of our favourite places to explore…
> Out and about links
- What’s on in Swindon
- Brunel Shopping
- Swindon Designer Outlet
- Regents Circus
- Wyvern Theatre & Arts Centre
> Must-see attractions