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What to Do in Swindon

Whether you’re wisely planning on making an initial scouting trip, or have already moved into your Swindon home and are looking to get to know your new surroundings by getting up close and personal, it can be difficult to figure out exactly where you should be spending your time without any local knowledge.

Whether it was the Great Western Railway’s cradle to grave health care fund pioneering the early blueprints for the NHS or opening Britain’s first lending library, Swindon has been at the forefront of huge paradigm shifts throughout history. From the quiet courtyards of Old Town, the original Anglo-Saxon settlement, to the Railway village, the history of Swindon is embedded in the landscape of the town, even now.

Taking a walk from Old Town through the city centre is a great place to start to get a feel for your new home, but if you really want to start off living like a local, we’ve put together a list of some of the best attractions in Swindon.

Go Wildcats!

Swindon Wildcats

The Swindon Wildcats are Swindon’s professional Ice Hockey team. The red and white cats have called Swindon’s link centre home since their founding in 1986, shortly after its opening, and have consistently been one of Swindon’s most exciting attractions since.

Ice hockey isn’t just for Canadians, and the UK has a thriving competitive ice hockey scene, so you can catch a glimpse of one of the most exciting and fast paced sports on Earth right on your doorstep.

Playing in South Division 1 of the National Ice Hockey League, you can catch the Wildcats facing off against the best of the country from September onwards when the 2017-2018 season kicks off. Outside of competitive hockey, the Wildcats are involved in a number of community outreach programmes, including teaching children to play in the off season.

The Great Western Railway, STEAM Museum

The Great Western Railway, STEAM Museum

Swindon has a long and storied history with the establishment of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Great Western Railway, one of the most advanced railway systems in the world.

Operating between 1843 to 1986, in its heydey, the railway covered more than 300 acres (120 ha) and could turn out three locomotives per week.

As well as exhibits concerning the construction of the locomotives, railway equipment and railways, the STEAM museum tells the story of the women and men who travelled on, operated and built the GWR - including the life of pioneering Victorian engineer, and mastermind of the GWR, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Using recorded personal accounts, film archives, lifelike exhibits and even volunteer ex-railway workers, the STEAM museum tells the social history of one of the largest railways in the world, so it’s not all cogs and gears.

Situated opposite one of Swindon’s most popular places to go, the Swindon Designer Outlet, the STEAM museum is housed in a beautiful Grade II railway building and is worth a visit, even if you’re not a regular trainspotter.

Lydiard Country Park

Lydiard Country Park

Take a whole day to wander around the manor house, church and walled gardens of this beautiful historic estate located on the Western edge of Swindon. With over 260 acres of land to cycle, walk and picnic on, including a stunning ornamental fruit and flower garden, Lydiard Country Park is a popular destination, especially in the warmer weather when you can hire out BBQ’s on the grounds.

Once owned by the St. John family, the stunningly restored house still boasts its original furnishings and plasterwork, and family portraits can be seen dating back to Elizabethan times. Next door, St. Mary’s Church holds even more beautiful features, including the unique Polyptych and Golden Cavalier statue.

Keep an eye out for the calendar of events the park hosts year round, including open air theatres and festivals.

Swindon Art Gallery & Museum

Swindon Art Gallery & Museum

Apsley House, where the Gallery is situated, was adapted from a family house to a gallery in 1930, which is why you can still see the decorative plaster work and stained glass details which make this gallery, unlike your usual white cube spaces.

Through a significant donation of artworks, the collection was established in 1944 by local benefactor, H.J.P. Bomford, and is now well regarded as one of the best collections of British 20th Century art outside of London.

Housing the many of the major movements and artists of British 20th and 21st Century art, the gallery presents works on behalf of the Art Fund and Contemporary Art Society, alongside a select few Swindon based artists.

Located in the Old Town area of Swindon, the Gallery is joined with the Swindon museum, which displays a number of exhibits dedicated to unearthing the local history, archaeology and geology of the town. Tracing forward through time from the Jurassic Era, the Roman Empire and even the more recent history of the town, the museum can tell you everything you need to know about your new home.

Open Tuesday to Saturday, 9-5, the museum is a great place to spend a day with the family, especially for younger children, with specific museum trails, quizzes and fact sheets to keep them engaged and learning.

If you’re considering moving to Swindon, and have any questions about the logistics of your move, or the place itself, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team on 01793 619094.

Or, read our other blogs on Swindon here: