Swindon may not grab much attention in the national press as somewhere out of the ordinary – that’s usually reserved for nearby Bristol. However, with a history stretching back over millennia and a rich artistic and cultural heritage that puts larger towns and cities to shame, there are plenty of surprises in store for the dedicated explorer. If you know where to look, you’ll be able to uncover the fascinating eccentricities of this truly unique town. Here are the top four most unusual sights in Swindon.
The Magic Roundabout
There'd be nowhere better to start than with the legendary magic roundabout. This unfortunate piece of infrastructure is so mystifying that it even found its way into that Atlas Obscura, which has even gone as far to call the overcomplicated intersection "an automotive whirlpool". You can read their coverage here: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/swindon-magic-roundabout.
Swindon is certainly not known for ornate civic art. The beauty of Swindon is to be found in the unconventional rather than the traditional, as the town’s many strange statues and monuments show. The modernist statue of the fictional giant ape King Kong which graces Queen’s Park has divided opinion over the years but is definitely one of the most unique artworks around. The popularity of the statue may be down to the fact that people love the story of King Kong, which still lives on today in film remakes, video games, clothing, and even a hugely popular online scratch card, which you can check out here: https://casino.paddypower.com/c/scratch
Diana Dors Statue
Few people outside of Swindon may remember Diana Dors, but the locals always will. This Swindon-born blonde bombshell was once billed as Britain’s answer to Marilyn Monroe and was the darling of the post-war British film industry, starring in close to 100 films with titles such as Good Time Girl, The Love Specialist, and Lady Godiva Rides Again, in case you were wondering what her typecast was. Nonetheless, her local roots have earned her a special place in the heart of locals, which is why we decided to erect a 20ft colossal statue of her in a car park by the bus station. Definitely worth a look.
David Murray John Tower
While everyone in Swindon will be aware of this towering skyscraper simply because you can’t escape it, it nonetheless deserves an honourable mention here. The tower was completed back in 1976 and still completely dominates the skyline of Swindon to this day, with no other building in town even coming close to matching this 21-story colossus. Again, this is one landmark that has proven to be highly divisive, but everyone can probably agree that the views from the top floor are unbeatable. You can even live in the tower should you desire, with properties available to rent here: https://www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices/SN1/David-Murray-John-Tower.html
Not enough is made of Swindon’s originality, but as these landmarks show, this town has no shortage of quirks.