Swindon: A Visitor’s Guide To Wiltshire

Home to one of Britain’s scariest junctions and several household names, Swindon has many claims to fame.

Having become a bustling hub of fashion and entertainment since its humble beginnings as a market town, Swindon has a vast history and was mentioned in the Domesday Book.

The Largest Town In Wiltshire Located 45 Minutes (25 Miles) From The King’s Arms

If you want to make your trip extra special, we recommend stopping in at The King’s Arms to sample some of our delicious food or our refreshing Butcombe beer before resting your head in one of our boutique bedrooms.

History Of Swindon

Built in close proximity to what is now known as Swindon Hill, the origin of Swindon can be traced back to pre-historic times (though it first became populated during Saxon times).

Originally known as Swine Dun or “Pig Hill”, Swindon remained as a small settlement until it started to expand at the beginning of the 19th century.

When the Great Western Railway reached Royal Wootton Bassett in December 1840, a new “town” was built to accommodate the workers who had moved from other areas of the country. Swindon’s population had increased from just over 1,000 in 1801, to more than 15,000 by 1881.

As the admiration for the market town grew, so did its population. Further industrial investment in the area followed, and in the 2011 census, Swindon’s population was recorded at more than 200,000.

What To See In Swindon

With an ever-increasing population comes an ever-increasing need to entertain people.

Swindon is arguably most famous nowadays for being home to Swindon Designer Outlet, though it does have plenty of options for the whole family.

The Steam Museum Of The Great Western Railway allows visitors to learn about the impact that the GWR has had on Swindon, while the Richard Jefferies Museum celebrates the work of the great writer and the Museum of Computing displays a wonderful collection of early technology.

If it is fun for all the family that you are looking for, head straight for Roves Farm or Butterfly World & Farm Park. Nature walks, goat brushing and tractor rides are all on offer at Roves Park, while butterflies (obviously!), fish ponds and tropical flowers are all waiting to be discovered at Butterfly World & Farm Park.

If it is music, comedy, dance or drama that you are after, Wyvern Theatre has you covered. With a host of domestic and touring productions, all tastes are catered for at this 635 seat arena.

Swindon Designer Outlet

Since it opened in 1997, Swindon Designer Outlet has become one of the most popular destinations in Swindon and the surrounding areas.

Located within close proximity to the M4 motorway, Swindon Designer Outlet boasts more than 100 retail stores and numerous food, drink and entertainment establishments.

Attracting more than a million visitors every year, Swindon Designer Outlet is housed in Grade II listed buildings that were once home to the Great Western Railway works and is one of the largest covered designer outlets in the whole of Europe.

Coate Water Country Park

Coate Water Country Park is a nature reserve and area of scientific interest, offering activities for the whole family.

The model railway, pitch & putt, endless walks and fishing should keep everyone entertained, and there is an on-site cafe for those that feel thirsty or peckish.

Having first opened in 1822, Coate Park has been entertaining generations of “Swindonians” for 200 years.

Swindon On The Big Screen

With creator Ian Fleming hailing from nearby Sevenhampton, it seems only right that Swindon has featured in the movies of James Bond.

Its first appearance came in the 1985 blockbuster, A View To A Kill, where Roger Moore was filmed alongside Sir Godfrey Tibbett in the Renault building.

Some years passed before 007 visited Wiltshire again, this time it was Pierce Brosnan who was shooting scenes at the Motorola factory in Swindon.

Markets In And Around Swindon

The residents of Swindon are spoilt for choice when it comes to markets, with several daily, weekly and monthly fairs being held in and around the town.

Lotmead Farm Store leads the way for availability, opening 7 days a week to sell their meat, dairy and vegetable produce, while Swindon Farmers Market (Sunday), Swindon Country Market (Friday) and Highworth Market (Saturday) all congregate weekly.

Wanborough Farmers Market and Royal Wootton Bassett Farmers Market operate on the 3rd Saturday and 4th Saturday of the month respectively to offer cut flowers, freshly baked bread and cakes and other local produce.

Directions To The King's Arms From Swindon

The King’s Arms is an 18th century pub and inn, located in the heart of Melksham.

To reach The King’s Arms from Brunel North Car Park in Swindon town centre, you must head north-east on Villett Street towards Catherine Street, before turning left onto Faringdon Road. You will then encounter 3 roundabouts in quick succession:

At the first roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Westcott Place (B4289)
At the second roundabout, take take the 3rd exit onto Wootton Bassett Road (A3102)
At the third roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Great Western Way (A3102)

Continue on Great Western Way for approximately 1.5 miles, then at Blagrove, take the 2nd exit and stay on Great Western Way (A3102). At Spittleborough Roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto the M4 slip road to South Wales/Bristol.

Continue on the M4 for approximately 12 miles before exiting at junction 17 towards Chippenham/Cirencester. At Stanton St Quintin, take the 2nd exit onto A350, where you will encounter 7 roundabouts in quick succession:

At the first roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto West Cepen Way (A350)
At the second roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on West Cepen Way (A350)
At the third roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on West Cepen Way (A350)
At the fourth roundabout, take the 3rd exit and stay on West Cepen Way (A350)
At the fifth roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on West Cepen Way (A350)
At the sixth roundabout, take the 3rd exit and stay on West Cepen Way (A350)
At the seventh roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto the A350.

Turn left onto Cantax Hill and continue onto West Street and then, at the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Hither Way and continue onto The Wharf. Turn right onto Forest Lane and continue onto Lower Woodrow and then Woodrow Road.

At the roundabout, continue straight onto Forest Road and then take the 2nd exit at the next roundabout. At the next 2 roundabouts, take the 1st exits and continue onto Market Place where you will find The King’s Arms on your left.