A real museum hub, Swindon can boast museums spanning historic railways, noted Victorian writers and the fascinating history of computing.
The Swindon Museum and Art Gallery delves into the town’s rich, local history, archaeology and geology. It’s a fascinating story that begins in the Jurassic period, taking you through the times of the Roman Empire, and ends with the present day.
The museum is also a great place for railway enthusiasts, as it explores the region’s strong transport history, covering the arrival of steam engines with several amazing engines on display. The museum also has one of the best collection of British 20th-century art in the UK, making it a great all-rounder and well worth a visit.
The STEAM Museum of the Great Western Railway is the town’s most popular cultural centre. It tells the story of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Great Western Railway, which connected London with the west of the country, the Midlands, Wales, and Swindon of course.
It’s situated in the heart of what used to be the town’s railway works. They’ve been lovingly restored to give visitors the chance to learn about the role the Great Western Railway played in not just Swindon’s history, but the wider country. Pay a visit and take a look around the informative exhibits, train simulators and famous locomotives.
Part of the fabled Science Museum in London, the Science Museum at Wroughton branch is where they store a lot of their items – over half a million in fact!
Sadly, the museum isn’t regularly open to the public, but you can make an appointment on Fridays to view specific items.
We’ll round things off with a couple of niche options. The Museum of Computing in Theatre Square showcases 70 years of technological history. It has everything from early calculators to desktop computers, laptops and a huge selection of old-fashioned computer games, including a very rare 1989 Nintendo Power Glove.
You can also pay a visit to the Richard Jefferies Museum, which documents the life and works of the famous 17th-century Victorian writer and Swindon’s most noted literary son. The museum is spread out over three floors and includes family memorabilia, selected works and a selection of his books for sale.
Located several miles to the east of Swindon, the Wootton Bassett Museum is open every Wednesday and Saturday morning from 10am-midday. It takes visitors back in time to when the railways sprang to life and Wootton Bassett was born.
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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