Swindon Area Guide
Swindon began life as a small Saxon village established around a quarry. It wasn´t until 1840, when Isambard Kingdom Brunel brought the Great Western Railway to the town, that the town exploded to house the railway workers. The railway has since been a central pillar of Swindon´s growth. The town experienced another population increase at the end of the Second World War when new houses were constructed across the town to solve the growing housing crisis in London caused by the blitz. The town´s quiet courtyards and alleyways boast a varied selection of traditional shops and pubs with modern chain establishments, which have long been a draw to London commuters.
Swindon´s Old Town offers widely sought after Victorian and Edwardian terraces, attracting a diversity of professionals and young families to the area. Further afield, the area surrounding the Croate Water Park is also hugely popular. The detached houses were constructed in the thirties with large gardens More recently several new build sites have been added to the area, offering reasonably priced modern dwellings. For a mix of Georgian regency and rural style farmhouses, the region around Broome Manor delivers a rustic, country atmosphere.
Swindon has a selection of Outstanding primary schools. Moredon Primary on the Moredon road is one of the most popular choices. Their last OFSTED inspection in 2008 returned an Outstanding rating. In 2010, Catherine Wayte Primary School also achieved an Outsanding rating and is another highly sought after school. St Francis CofE is a voluntary aided primary school with 382 pupils, their last OFSTED inspection also saw them awarded an Outstanding rating.
The three best secondary schools in Swindon all have Academy status. Royal Wootton Basset Academy is a mixed, converted mainstream academy. It is an excellent option, achieving 68% of GCSE grades A*-C and an OFSTED rating of Outstanding. The Ridgeway School and Sixth Form College on Inverary road, Wroughton, is another great choice. Their 2016 OFSTED report awarded them a good rating. The Commonweal School was also awarded a Good rating in 2014. St Joseph´s Catholic College is the local catholic option, along with Maranatha Christian School, which is also independent.
Forward Swindon has been entrusted to bring Swindon councils ambitious regeneration projects to reality. The group has several projects underway, including the Carriage Works development in the town centre. The plan aims to turn the area into a central hub for technology companies and small creative industries. The group also aim to deliver Kimmerfields business district, developing a central 20-acre plot into 450 homes, cafes, shops and restaurants. There are also plans to develop a new station approach and a £23 million renovation of the Queens Road.
Swindon is served locally by Gloucester airport which provides local and international flights and is conveniently located 41 miles from Swindon town centre. Bristol airport is also just 49 miles away and Heathrow can be accessed in just over an hour by the M4.
Swindon train station provides access to locations across the south of England, including Portsmouth, Cheltenham, Bristol and Swansea. Many commuters to the capital opt to buy in Swindon, due to its strong London connections. The train station provides regular services to Paddington station, which takes around an hour. National Express coaches operate out of the bus terminal. Stagecoach and Thamesdown also provide local connections to neighbouring towns and villages.
Eating and Drinking
Swindon has a multitude of gastronomic options, featuring local and international cuisine. Los Gatos, an independent tapas restaurant on Devizes road is a great lunch or dinner option. Helen Browning´s Chop House on Wood Street offers local organic meat with a wide selection of bourbon and gins to wash it all down with. For Indian cuisine, the Jewel in the Crown on Victoria Road is popular with locals and Egg-e-licious is a fantastic light bite destination for sandwiches and wraps.
Things to Do
Rail enthusiasts flock to Swindon´s Great Western Railway museum. Located in a restored railway works, the museum offers a glimpse into the local history of the town and features several interactive exhibits for children. Just outside the town, at the old Wroughton Airfield, is the Wroughton Science Museum which provides an educational afternoon for all the family. Also, check out Jungle Parc for a fun-filled afternoon of climbing and ziplining through the forest canopy west of Swindon.