What’s not to love about the town’s array of castles, historic houses, tree-lined parks and sports stadiums? Check out our guide to discover the best Swindon tourist attractions and all the must-see sights.
Starting with the town centre buildings, St. Mark’s Church is a Grade-II listed Anglican church that dates back to 1845. The impressive Gothic-style church holds regular services, as well as hosting several choirs and bell-ringing session. The church is located a few minutes’ east from the Brunel Shopping Centre and near Farringdon Road Park.
Home to not one, but two castles dating back to the Iron Age, Bincknoll Castle is probably the best preserved. A hill fort with stunning views across Wiltshire, Roman pottery has been found on the site, while the earthwork ruins indicate the castle would have have been 52 metres wide and 3 metres high – an impressive building even all those centuries ago.
Perhaps even older is Liddington Castle. Built on the highest point in Swindon at 277 metres high, the castle offers commanding views over Wiltshire. A Bronze and Iron Age fort that dates back to the seventh century BC, you’ll need to hike along The Ridgeway – thought to be the oldest road in Britain – to get there but it’s well worth the effort.
Just off The Ridgeway is Wayland’s Smithy, a historic tomb that dates back to the fourth century BC. The burial site, said to have been laid for Wayland, the Saxon god of metalworking, is open to the public. To get there, park at the White Horse Hill car park and follow the signposts for a mile or so.
Closing out the historic buildings section is Lydiard House and Park. Spread over 260 green acres of woodland and rolling parkland, the Palladian House, Church and Walled Garden form its centre. There’s a kids’ play area and regular events, including outdoor cinema, as well as a cake and tea room. The house itself dates back to Elizabethan times, with guided tours running Wednesday to Sunday, and the park itself open daily. If you’re staying in our Swindon West (M4, J16) hotel, you’ll be conveniently placed at less than a 10-minute drive away.
The main town-centre park in Swindon, Queen’s Park is a gentle 12 acres of lake and relaxed gardens, featuring an impressive range of shrubs, trees and glades. With plenty of cafés nearby, it’s the perfect place to grab a coffee and head for a relaxed town-centre stroll.
A little further out of town is Lawns Park. A mix of woodland, wetland and several small lakes, the 50-acre park dates back to the 15th century and is regularly used for big-town events, including the Old Town Festival, the May Day dawn chorus and more. With plenty of open fields, it’s perfect for joggers, picnics and dog walks, with dozens of bars, cafés, pubs and restaurants a short walk away in Old Town.
With a water park for sunnier days, a small train for kids, crazy golf and more, Coate Water Country Park is an excellent family-friendly park. You can hire canoes to explore the main lake – which takes around 40 minutes to walk around – while there are miles of cycle-friendly paths around the park and plenty of picnic benches too. There’s lots of wildlife as well, including a diverse range of birds, with an on-site coffee shop selling drinks, snacks and ice creams.
For woodland and water, head to Stanton Park. It’s a 74-hectare country park and nature reserve, just a five-minute drive from our Swindon North hotel. The park is equipped with toilets, baby changing facilities, a car park and cycle racks. If you’re lucky, you might come across a buzzard or roe deer while you’re there, so remember to tread lightly if you head off the main paths.
To the west of the town centre on Mead Way, Shaw Forest Park is a simple park perfect for dog walkers or those looking to get their nature fix. There are several paths around the park, or you can head out across the grassland. Beware though, it can get quite boggy when it rains, so bring wellies. There’s no facilities on-site apart from benches, but there’s a pub and several cafés nearby.
Home to Swindon Town Football Club since 1896, the County Ground is a 15,728 all-seater stadium in the heart of Swindon. The new Don Rodgers stand was updated in 1994, providing several two-tiered stands. There are plenty of bars and food outlets in the ground, including Bar 71, while there’s parking available on the nearby cricket ground.
Our Swindon Central hotel is around one kilometre away from the stadium, with several pubs en route including The Swiss Chalet club.
The season runs from August until May, with tickets available for most home games. And keep an eye out for games against Oxford and the two Bristol teams, where the atmosphere is ramped up to reflect the local derby status. The ground has also held several notable pop concerts in recent time, including gigs by Bryan Adams and Elton John.
A popular greyhound and speedway track, Swindon Stadium is located to the north of the town centre in Blundson. Greyhound racing takes place every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with tickets needed for the Saturday events. The Swindon Robins speedway season runs from March to August, with races largely held during the week starting from 7.30pm. The greyhound track is 463 metres long, making it one of the longest in the country, while the speedway track comes in at 363 metres. There’s a popular restaurant and bar at the start and finish line, with regular events held alongside the races to help create a party spirit.
There are three hotels in Swindon to choose from if you're planning to visit this historic town, which boasts a wide range of shopping opportunities and traditional pubs as well as some stunning stately homes within easy reaching distance.
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