Swindon is the shining pearl of Wiltshire. There are around 180,000 people living within the limits of our town, which has been a settlement since Anglo Saxon times. There is a perception that the town offers little in terms of entertainment compared to some of our regional rivals. That could not be further from the truth. With that in mind, here is a list of just seven of the great things locals can do to stay entertained.
Steam Museum of the Great Western Railway
The Steam Museum in Swindon is fantastic for railway enthusiasts as well as for the totally uninitiated. It exhibits examples of some of Wiltshire’s past glory and is housed in the premises of the old railway works. The fact that this is a Grade II listed building, is enough draw in itself.
There are some great examples of restored engines, but the museum also tells the social story of how the railway impacted the lives of people in the region. There are a number of interactive videos, life-sized models a mock station which looks like the real thing
A great night out in Swindon
There are a number of places to visit for a great night out including restaurants, bars and cinemas. It is a fantastic place to enjoy a fun evening with friends and there is even an extremely popular bingo hall that stays open until 4 am seven days a week.
The bingo hall has some pretty good offers to help you get started such no fees on Thursday which may entice you in for a night of fun. Unfortunately, the town does not have a casino, which has often been seen as a drawback. If you want to enjoy casino gaming you can console yourself by playing online where there is, at least, a huge variety of options and the opportunity to save money. Bonuses can include £50 welcome offers or free spins which will help you get started.
Although there is no casino, Swindon has some great food joints. While you are out and about make sure you sample some of the top restaurants available such as the Greek Olive or Carluccio’s which cater for most tastes.
Coate water is a serene area in Swindon’s suburbs that is the site of a reservoir created when the River Coate was diverted in 1822. The original idea of the diversion was to replenish the area’s canals but it is now used as a place of leisure and wildlife sanctuary. Many different species of breeding birds can be seen whilst visiting the reservoir and the surrounding woodland is a great place to get away from it all and have a relaxing walk.
Museum of Computing
This is a wonderful place for technology enthusiasts to pass some time. Swindon’s museum of computing exhibits ‘all aspects’ of the history of computing and contains a huge array of past technology. The place has clearly been put together by people who have a love and knowledge of the industry and there are some great examples of old tech that will have older people looking back wistfully or youngsters scratching their heads wondering how it all connected to wifi.
If you think it will only demonstrate old PCs then think again as the exhibits include games consoles, handheld devices such as Gameboys and Game Gears from the 1990s. The collection is ever-growing and they accept donations should you ever wish to find a new home for some of that ancient tech that is, no doubt, gathering dust in your attic.
Stanton Park nature reserve
Just to the north of the town is the 75-hectare Stanton Park. It is a nature reserve that features a large woodland area and a vast lake. This is a great family location which contains a visitor information centre and a number of unique habitats to help the local wildlife thrive.
Amongst the attractions are remnants of ancient woodland, a lake as well as a number of recently restored ponds, hedgerows, wildflower meadows and wetlands. This has helped birds of prey, wildfowl, amphibians, invertebrates, deer, bats, owls and many more species thrive.
Swindon designer outlet
Swindon shopping by Adrian Pingstone (copyright free)
There is nothing like a bit of retail therapy to help people relax and Swindon has the perfect place. The McArthurGlen designer outlet, housed on the same site as the steam museum, has a number of well-known brands available at discount prices up to 60%.
There are more than 85 different stores on location and they will have something for everyone. There are also a number of eateries on-site that means you can make a day of it. Restaurant options include fast food joints, sandwich shops and bigger chains such as Wagamama’s.
Richard Jefferies museum
Richard Jefferies was an influential English writer who specialised in rural life in England. He grew up on a Wiltshire farm and this early exposure has a lasting effect on his writing. He had 19 published works during his lifetime and another half-dozen after his death.
His first book was published in 1874 considering he died of tuberculosis when still only 38-years-old he did well to publish and write such a high number of books. The museum is an excellent window into his early life and contains personal items and gives a history of his family existence in the area. The site, based off Marlborough Road in Coate, has a number of activities to help children enjoy nature as well as a gift shop selling Jeffries novels and works.
Swindon and the surrounding area have plenty to offer visitors but these seven should give you a good place to start, at least.