A Taxi Driver’s Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Swindon

Locally based drivers can often recommend attractions, eateries, parks and venues that help visitors and tourists make the most of their time and ensure travellers arriving in a certain area know the secret spots that are well worth a visit.

Following the expansion of Swoop independent taxi service app to taxis in Swindon, the locally managed firm asked one of their knowledgeable drivers to share tips and advice for the best things to see, do, and experience in the town.

Top Visitor Attractions in Swindon 

Lydiard Park is a fabulous day out, with a playground for kids, rolling green lawns and a graceful lake that attracts ducks and other birds. The Walled Garden features stunning floral displays, a topiary and fruit trees. Visitors can also tour Lydiard House, with historic staterooms, original furnishings and plasterwork.

Check the dates of your visit, as there are often theatre performances on summer evenings, the Auto and Retro Festival and demonstrations with birds of prey. Lydiard Park is about 12 minutes by car from central Swindon.

Next on your list, book a Swindon taxi service to Steam, the Great Western Railway museum, with hands-on exhibits, displays and imaginative displays. You can try driving a train on the simulator and even shunt wagons. The museum is on Fire Fly Avenue, about six minutes by car from the centre.

If you are in Swindon on a Friday or Saturday, another popular museum is The Museum of Computing, with tons of nostalgic exhibits, from vintage video games to modern-day robotics and antique typewriters.

You can find the museum in Theatre Square, just around the corner from Commercial Road.

Interested in some entertainment and culture? Book a seat at the Wyvern Theatre, also within Theatre Square, a beautiful venue opened by the late Queen in 1971 and home to a varied programme of shows, comedies, dance performances, dramas and amateur productions.

Discovering Swindon’s Hidden Gems 

The major visitor attractions in Swindon are great. However, a Swindon taxi cabbie can share some of the most interesting and unusual places to visit in and around Swindon, whether you’re interested in culture, local history, or an adventure with the kids. 

Coleshill House is just outside Swindon, a National Trust estate that is around 20 minutes by taxi. Although the estate itself is a beautiful place to visit, it also has a replica of one of the secret World War II bases hidden throughout the forests and woodlands in the UK.

Guards built these underground bunkers from 1940 onward, and although many have collapsed, their camouflage nature means they are often forgotten and lie unused for decades.

Another hidden gem is the Hackpen White Horse, a unique attraction that overlooks Swindon, a huge 90-square-foot chalk horse that is the only one of its kind in the country. Built to celebrate the coronation of Queen Victoria, Hackpen Hill is just 18 minutes from central Swindon. 

Best Places to Eat Out in Swindon

If you’re feeling peckish, there are hundreds of amazing restaurants, cafes, bars and traditional pubs in Swindon. Some of the best include:

  • Mario’s – the oldest traditional Italian trattoria in Swindon. The restaurant opened its doors in 1972 and can still be found on Wood Street in the Old Town.
  • The Runner – famous for its giant burgers, the pub is next to the River Rey on Wootton Bassett Road.
  • The Core – great for vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free dining, this café serves breakfast and lunch and is based on Devizes Road in the Old Town.
  • The Khyber – an Indian restaurant on Victoria Road, serving late-night diners until 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Popular Spots in Swindon for Shopping

Retail therapy is easy to come by in Swindon, with a range of options from department stores to high street brands, boutique shops and outlets.

Swindon Designer Outlet is based on Kemble Drive and situated in a renovated Grade II property, with a mixture of well-known high street brands and designer shops offering reduced prices. The outlet is off Junction 16 of the M4, around four minutes by car from the town centre.

Another option is The Brunel Shopping Centre, split into five areas called Canal Walk, Regent Street, The Arcade, The Plaza and Havelock Square. There is a large food court, independent shops and fashion brands, all available right in the centre of Swindon.

Parade Shopping Centre, between Fleming Way and Islington Street, is based over several floors in an old hospital building that has since been given a makeover. It has shops on the lower two storeys, a coffee shop and a bakery.

Where to Stay in Swindon

If you’re planning a weekend away or need to stay in Swindon overnight, there are many options, from Airbnb’s to hotels, budget accommodations and bed and breakfasts.

Options include:

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Swindon: the hotel is three miles from central Swindon, rated four stars, and has a 24-hour gym, business centre and complimentary breakfasts.
  • Holiday Inn Swindon: found just off Junction 15 of the M4, the modern hotel has a leisure centre, garden terrace and restaurant.
  • Alexandra House: a four-star hotel set in 20 acres of manicured grounds, around 18 minutes from Swindon Train Station and with a range of leisure and relaxation facilities.
  • Stanton House Hotel: a stone house overlooking a park and lake, with two restaurants, impressive countryside views, elegant decor and comfortable rooms.
  • The Goddard Arms: in the middle of the Old Town, with an on-site restaurant and bar and free parking for guests with modern facilities and a cosy, friendly feel.

The Old Town is a great location to stay if you’re keen on walking and provides easy access to plenty of pubs and restaurants, as well as shops, art galleries and other local attractions.

If you’re travelling for business, you’ll also find a larger variety of the well-known hotel chains in and around the town, many based on the M4, which is a short drive away from Swindon – but, if in any doubt, simply ask your cabbie and they’ll be sure to share their tips and recommendations!

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Mark Meets
Mark Meets
MarkMeets Media is British-based online news magazine covering showbiz, music, tv and movies
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