If you've heard of Swindon recently, it's probably because Radio 1's Big Weekend was hosted there.
I grew up in Manchester and Nottingham, and have been all over the country for day trips, holidays, short breaks and otherwise.
And I would be hard-pushed to find anywhere worse in the UK to stay longer than a day than in Swindon.
Firstly, I should point out here that I don't have a car, and if you do have a car you will have a slightly different perspective (and will also be able to make your getaway quicker, a definite advantage). You might be thinking my opinion is partly based on a city girl's experiences, but not really. I like the countryside, I like cities, what I hate is sprawling surburbia with nothing to see or do.
It has all the disadvantages of living in the city (grey, concrete, dismal) with all the disadvantages of living in the countryside (difficult to get anywhere, nothing to do).
Swindon's public transport system is the worst I've seen of any country I've visited, including some in North Africa. Where I live, I'm incredibly lucky if I can get a bus anywhere after 6pm. And the journey to town which takes 10 minutes by car is half an hour on the bus as it goes via every. single. road. possible. I wouldn't mind if people actually got on or off on these obscure roads, but they don't. The best bus in Swindon, the Groundwell Park and Ride, gets from north Swindon to the town centre (2.5 miles south) in 10-15 mins, but they clearly decided that was too efficient and are scrapping it at the end of this month. There are also buses which go to Cheltenham, Oxford and similar areas. Again these are very restricted and take at least double the time of trains or driving.
The train station is reasonably good, but again trains don't go very late. It's good if you are travelling east (London, Reading etc.), or west (Bath, Bristol etc.), but anywhere else and the journeys are more restricted and complicated. The trains are, however, efficient. You can get from Bristol Parkway to Swindon station (approx. 40 miles) in about half an hour. If you're keeping track, that's the same amount of time it takes a Swindon bus to drive 2 miles. As a place to live, Swindon is good for day trips to these cities, and also (if you're driving), you can get to the countryside. But then you could live in Cheltenham or somewhere with more advantages.
I do like shopping, and Swindon town centre is a mediocre place. You won't find anything but chain stores here, other than the occasional fancy dress shop. And there aren't even many chains. Even Burger King couldn't handle the pressure and closed down. There is a Spoons, Yates and Walkabout if you hate visiting places with people in. There is a House of Fraser discount store, which can be really good for makeup bargains, and nothing else worth mentioning other than the Sue Ryder, which is massive and has a good stock of stuff.
The Outlet Centre further up is, in my opinion, a much better place for shopping even though a lot of the discounts (for example the Cadbury shop) aren't particularly good, or even any cheaper than the supermarkets. The food court is pretty good though. Also, outside on Sundays there is a mini farmer's market selling fruit, veg and homemade things like doughnuts.
Handily, if you're into trains, the railway museum is also just outside. I've never been so I can't comment - it's not my thing at all.
Old Town is the place to go for food and drink, and there are some quite nice restaurants and bars. Few chains (other than pubs) - if you're looking for something like Nando's, the nearest one is 25 miles away in Oxford. However, I rarely get the chance to go to Old Town anyway as there are no buses! Great planning there.
Taxis are hideously expensive. To compare, a black cab in Nottingham costs me £5 to go 2 miles (including initial charge). In Manchester, to go 2.6 miles costs me £10. In Swindon, the non-city, poor man's south, it costs £15+ to go the same distance. So that's why I'm rarely in Old Town, or in fact the cinema. Sorry to harp on about public transport so much, but it's actually more convenient to go to the cinema in Reading than it is Swindon.
People in Swindon seem to get excited about the Oasis, which is a swimming pool with slides and stuff. It's almost impossible for me to get to, so I can't comment on that.
The one thing (other than endless pubs, which I'll cover in a second) I can get to is the Orbital Retail Park. It has a giant Asda, bigger than any I've ever seen anywhere, a Borders with a Starbucks, a new M&S, a couple of electrical goods shops, Blockbusters, a library and a few other things. The Asda is 24 hours except Sunday, which is useful. It's a good place to just wander round in general. Borders is your average Borders. Nothing really too exciting, just a bit of a change and convenient for lugging shopping home.
There are about 5 pubs in my local area. If you go to anywhere in Swindon like a pub, restaurant, bar, etc., you can expect to be stared at. It's quite unnerving in my experience, especially in smallish pubs, because people stare at you for a good few minutes. I'm not sure why, I'm assuming it's because they have nothing better to do. However, it is weird and annoying. The pubs are quite good, and have very cheap food as they are all competing. Hence you can get a full English breakfast for £2.75, or an all you can eat Toby carvery (excluding meat) for £5. The takeaways are quite expensive though, I've seen a single sausage at the local chippy for about £3.
In general, I really hate Swindon. Unless you're passing through to get to somewhere else or you're going to a specific event like Big Weekend, there is absolutely nothing you won't get somewhere else in the UK. And that somewhere else will be one or more of the following: cheaper, nicer, friendlier or prettier.
Swindon has a bad reputation. It's known to be a miserable place that has little to offer. Well, I'm here to tell you that that is just not true. Now, Swindon is certainly not as exciting as London, it's not as beautiful as Swansea and admittedly there are probably places around Swindon that I would recommend visiting before Swindon. However, Swindon does have a lot to offer and if you do find yourself in Swindon, for whatever reason, hopefully this guide will be useful to you.
This guide is written based purely on my experiences of Swindon (I lived there for a long time and still visit at least once a month) so it may not include absolutely everything that there is to do in Swindon.
As always for my long reviews I have written a contents:
-Travelling Around Swindon
-Where to stay
-Tourist Attractions (yes, Swindon does have some!)
You can get to Swindon in all of the usual ways, car, coach or train.
The bus station and the train station are both in the town centre, both within five minutes walk of each other so in terms of location there isn't much difference. As always I would recommend getting the train over a coach simply because it's more comfortable and the journey time is shorter. Another reason why I prefer to get the train is that I don't like the bus station much. In my experience there tend to be a lot of drunks around there and it doesn't feel as safe as the train station. In the train station you also have the bonus of being able to sit in a café while you wait for your train, at the bus station all you get is a cold bench.
Getting from both the train station and the bus station is easy. There are always taxi's at the train station (and sometimes at the bus station too) and of course always buses going from the bus station. They are both close enough that whichever you choose you can walk to the other station for either buses or taxis.
Travelling to Swindon by car is easy as there is access from the M4.
-Travelling Around Swindon-
My preferred method of travel is walking. In fact I think one of the bonuses of being in Swindon is that you can walk to most places, even though it may take an hour or more and the routes aren't always scenic. My reason for preferring to walk isn't just because of my love of walking but also because public transport in Swindon is awful and so is the traffic which makes other forms of transport less appealing.
Buses in Swindon are pretty expensive and bus drivers do not give out change. I find this very frustrating because it means that if you're travelling by bus you always have to ensure that you have the correct change before you get to the bus stop. I also find the bus drivers to be really rude and unhelpful. A couple of weeks ago I was using the bus to travel and I asked the bus driver if his bus went to a certain destination. You would think that would be a reasonable question to ask but he reacted as though I had asked the most stupid question possible and actually laughed at me before answering that yes it did go there. To make matters worse the bus didn't go to that destination and the bus driver had been confused.
This isn't a unique experience for me, bus drivers are often rude, and is one of the reasons why I avoid using the buses wherever possible.
Driving in Swindon is slightly better and in my experience although you sometimes have to spend a lot of time looking for a parking space you can usually find one eventually. Plus a lot of places, like the outlet village, have their own parking. However, there tends to be a lot of traffic in Swindon and it's always best to avoid driving during the rush hour and at the weekend.
-Where to Stay-
I don't tend to stay in hotels in Swindon very often because my family live there but I have stayed at the Swindon Marriott a number of times for various special occasions and I highly recommend it.
The Swindon Marriott is located in old town, which is a really good location, but it feels like you're in the middle of the countryside. I think the grounds are beautiful.
The bedrooms, like all Marriott rooms, are very comfortable and clean. The restaurant serves great food and if you're there at the weekend you should do their Sunday lunch-excellent value for money and the food is delicious.
They have a very comfortable bar area, although the service is not always great in the bar. I find that the bar is often left unattended for long periods but when you do get service it is very friendly.
They also have a leisure club with a swimming pool.
I've written a review of the Swindon Marriott: members.dooyoo.co.uk /hotels-national/hotels-in-swindon-in-general/1155324
There are so many places to shop in Swindon.
The Swindon Designer Outlet Village seems to be the most popular with tourists and people actually travel from outside of Swindon just to go there.
I really like the outlet village because there is a great range of shops, although perhaps a bit lacking for teenagers and a great range of food outlets. The best part of a shopping trip for me is lunch and getting coffee (which I do as often as whoever I'm with will let me) and you can't beat the outlet village for choice of food and drink venues.
For those who have children it's a great family day out. I've been taking my sister there since she was about three and she loves it. The best thing for me is that Starbucks has tables in the outdoor playground so I can have coffee while she plays. It seems that the outlet was made with the intention of attracting families because their outdoor play area really is fantastic plus they have a crèche and you can hire little cars to push children around in. I think these things make a big difference when you're shopping with children.
I have written a review of the outlet village so I won't repeat everything I've said in it. members.dooyoo.co.uk/ offline-shopping-misc/ great-western-outlet-mall/1153737
Then there's the Brunel Shopping centre, located in Swindon's town centre. This is the place to go if you want to buy the latest fashions in the big named high street shops. In terms of shops I think it's better than the outlet village because the shops that you get here are the more popular ones and whereas at the outlet village you're somewhat limited as to what you can buy, at the Brunel Shopping centre you can buy pretty much anything.
For more information please read my review on the Brunel Shopping Centre members.dooyoo.co.uk/ shopping-national/ brunel-shopping-centre/1198003/
Many people go to the Greenbridge Retail Park to shop but I honestly can't recommend this as a good place for shopping in general. I guess the attraction is to the specific shops that are there, like mother care and boots but unless you want to buy something specific to those shops you're much better off going to one of the other shopping centres. What Greenbridge does offer is a great cinema and some restaurants (like Pizza Hut and Frankie and Benny's). I think one of the things that would put me off shopping here the most is that it's basically one big car park that you have to walk across to get to shops and sometimes from shop to shop. I just don't think it's the safest way to shop. It's also not the most convenient or comfortable. I much prefer having everything under one roof.
One of my favourite days out in Swindon is to Orbital Shopping Park, or more specifically the Borders they have there! Those of you who have read my reviews know how much I love books and you will not get a better selection of books than in the Borders at the Orbital Shopping Park. Plus they have a starbucks, so that's my two favourite things- coffee and books. If books aren't your thing they have a number of other shops, like Boots, Walmart and Next.
Like with Greenbridge Retail Park it's not all under one roof so if it wasn't for the borders I would probably have the same complaints with this as I do with Greenbridge...it's the books that sway it for me.
I do think though that it has a much safer feel because you can get to all of the shops without having to keep going across the car park.
In the summer it makes a great day out with the family. There's an outdoor play area that I love taking the children in my family to and there are a few places to get lunch, my favourite being pizza hut.
There are two cinema's in Swindon but one is far superior to the other! Cineworld have a cinema in West Swindon and Empire have a cinema at Greenbridge. I wouldn't bother with the one in West Swindon unless you can't tickets at Greenbridge.
The Empire Cinema is big and shows all of the latest films. It has stadium style seating so you don't have to hurt your neck every time you watch a film. Although I find that sometimes the service there can be really slow the staff are friendly and helpful. In the past whenever I've had complaints, usually about things that were beyond their control, they've refunded me the cost of the cinema ticket. I think that good customer service is really important and you will certainly receive that here (and if you don't just talk to the manager who is usually really good at sorting these things out).
I don't even bother going to cineworld anymore because I can't stand going to cinema's where the seats are all on one level. Plus it's smaller and older (not always a bad thing but in this case it means that everything feels a little bit more run down).
Swindon also has a theatre called the Wyvern Theatre that is located in the town centre. This isn't of course up to the standards of cities like London or Bristol but I think considering that Swindon is just a town (admittedly a big town) it is pretty good. It was recently refurbished, although I personally don't think it's much different to how it was before. I find it to be quite comfortable but think that they could stock a much better range of food.
In December I went to see a 3D pantomime at the Wyvern and I really enjoyed it. Like most pantomimes it was aimed more at children and I actually began to find the whole thing of putting the glasses on and taking them off again a little bit tedious but over all it was a very enjoyable experience and if they do the same thing next year I would recommend taking children (that is your own children or those of people you know...not just random children who you find on the street).
There are plenty of places to swim in Swindon but none of them beat the Oasis. The Oasis has slides and a wave machine which in my opinion makes it much more fun than the boring swimming pools you get in other places in Swindon. The only complaint I have is that the pool tends to be quite crowded and it is expensive for such a short period of time that you get to swim.
There is an ice skating ring in the link centre in West Swindon. I don't ice skate so I can't comment on this.
Also in West Swindon is a bowling alley. I really enjoy bowling and think that this is one of the better bowling alleys that I've been to. It's big so you don't usually have to wait very long to get a lane. Like in most bowling alleys there is also an arcade and a burger bar which are both pretty average.
I'm afraid that at the old age of 25 I am no longer as enamoured of going out clubbing as I once was. However, I still get out often enough to form an opinion on Swindon's night life.
There are two area's of Swindon that I would recommend if you want a night out pubbing and clubbing. The first would be Swindon Town Centre. At the bottom of town there are loads of pubs, most of them chains like Yates and O'Neils.
I think that some of the pubs in this area are quite nice to drink in, as long as you don't mind crowds. I've always quite liked The Grove, a wetherspoons pub. I find it to be quite comfortable, the drinks are of course very cheap and if you go there during the week it's quiet enough to hold conversations. I like that there isn't any music because it means that you don't have to shout to be heard.
If you want to dance then I would recommend going to walkabout. The music always seems to be quite eclectic to me which I think is a good thing when you're going out with such a diverse crowd as I tend to do when I go out in Swindon. I particularly like that they play some really cheesy songs that you can just have fun with. My only real complaint would be that it gets too crowded in here but that is probably the same everywhere.
The downside to going out in the town centre is that it can get quite rowdy when all of the pubs kick out. Seems to be that it's young people (I would guess some of them under age) who hang around in these pubs and I have witnessed a number of fights outside of these pubs. The door staff are fairly useless and just stand around watching. I don't really feel very safe when I go out in this area.
My second recommendation for a night out would be old town. To me it has a much more mature feel to it, although you do still have some of the problems of the town centre when it comes to closing time. I actually haven't been to a club in old town in almost a year. The last time I went clubbing in old town I went to suju. I would not recommend it. I couldn't identify what kind of music they were playing but it just sounded like noise to me (see what I mean about being old?) There was plenty of seating but I didn't find it particularly comfortable. I'm not saying that this is a bad club, it just wasn't to my tastes.
Longs is always a pleasant place to drink and if I was going to recommend anywhere to drink in Old Town it would be longs. I think one of the bonuses for me is that the clientele are not all under the age of 20.
I'm obviously not going to review every single restaurant that I've ever eaten at in Swindon. Instead I will just make recommendations.
There are a lot of Italian restaurants in Swindon but I think the one that stands out for me is Capricorno's. Every time I go in there the waiting staff greet me in a very warm and friendly manner. Service is always efficient, although as the food is fresh it's not really speedy but it's worth waiting for the food. The food is consistently of excellent standard. It's also a very comfortable restaurant that has a really authentic feel to it. It is Italian run and most of the staff are Italian too.
It seems that in recent years there has been a sharp increase in the number of Chinese Restaurants but the Swindon Rendezvous maintains its top spot. I love going in there for their all you can eat menu. It is expensive (around £20) but for your money you get to order as much as you want to eat from the menu (not all dishes are included but most of them are). I much prefer this to going to a buffet where the food is on display because it feels like the food is less likely to be contaminated.
I think that the service could be improved significantly. Service can be very slow and the staff aren't very helpful at all. You occasionally get a friendly member of staff but most of the time they seem very stressed and it often feels like they don't have time to answer any questions that you have.
However, the quality of the food more than makes up for this.
I don't often eat Indian food in Swindon but when I do I always go for the Jewel in the Crown. I can't say that this is the best in Swindon because I don't have anywhere to compare it to but I certainly find it to be very satisfying. The food tastes good and the restaurant looks quite impressive. I know it's probably shallow but that's the thing that always attracts me to this restaurant. When I was a child I loved that it had chandeliers and it felt really fancy to me...and that still manages to impress me now, even if I think in some ways it does look a bit tacky.
I know that it's a chain but I have to recommend harvester. The food isn't anything special, although it is very cheap but the service is excellent. I would go in there just for the fact that the waiting staff are very friendly, very helpful and without a doubt the best waiting staff in any of the restaurants in Swindon that I've ever been to.
I do like that you get to go to the salad bar for free but then there's the problem that I eat so much bread that I'm not hungry when my food arrives.
Frankie and Benny's. I feel that I should warn people about this Frankie and Benny's because my dining experience there is consistently bad. So bad that I have stopped going there (even though it's right next to the cinema and the most convenient place to eat when I'm going to see a film). The restaurant is always cold, no matter what time of year it is. The food isn't very good either. It always either comes out burnt or just tasting very bland.
I bet most of you don't think that Swindon has any tourist attractions. Well, you're wrong.
First of all we have the very exciting Railway Museums. That's right, a whole museum about the railway! It's actually not as boring as it seems. I often take my younger sister there (she's eight) and have been doing so for a number of years and she loves it. The first time I took her there I thought she would be bored but there are just so many interactive activities for children to do that it would be impossible for her not to enjoy. I particularly like that you can go onto old fashioned trains. I can't say that I've really learned much about trains or railways, even though the museum contains a lot of information, but I do have a good time every time I go there.
http://members.dooyoo.co.uk /sightseeing-national/ steam-museum-of-the-great- western-railway /1153832/
Then there's Lydiard House which is surrounded by Lydiard Park. Lydiard house is a restored stately home and for a fee you can walk around it. It's really not a very big house but I personally do like going there. You can't go into every single room but I really feel that the rooms that have been restored give you a real feel for the history. I love looking around old houses and I love history so I'm a little bit biased.
I think that Lydiard house and park is a great place to take the family. There is plenty of space for picnics and barbeques and there is possibly the biggest playground in all of Swindon. I used to love (I say used to but even now I still love) the Tarzan trail. It basically takes you from one section of the children's play area to another.
http:// www.lydiardpark.org.uk/lydiard/ lyd-houseandgrounds-2.htm
There are also plenty of places just outside of Swindon for you to visit.
I would personally recommend Cotswold Wildlife Park, especially for families. It's a place that's very much aimed at children with play area's and plenty of space to run around but even as an adult I've enjoyed visiting Cotswold Wildlife Park. I don't know much about animals and I haven't visited any other wildlife parks or zoos that I can remember (I'm sure I did when I was a young child) so I really have nothing to compare it with but the animals seem to be in good conditions.
If you do find yourself in Swindon I hope that you enjoy your stay and get to see the brighter side of the town.
After the abundance of roundabouts, I'd say the most notable thing about Swindon is the leisure facilities. I live a 10 minute walk from the Link Centre which has, to name a few; Ice skating, indoor & outdoor football (x4), swimming, badminton, squash, trampolining, rock climbing and a snooker room. The only thing I really think it lacks is Tennis courts, which can be found 3 minutes up the road at the Delta Tennis Centre.
On the North side of Swindon, theres the Oasis (apparently the inspiration for the name of the band), which has pretty similar facilities to the link, geared at a slightly younger group. Plenty of other centres are dotted around, though I'm less fmailiar with them.
Areas of Swindon vary greatly in terms of house price and how nice they are to live in... as they saying goes, don't move to anywhere beginning with a P, there's a reason the houses are half the price of the rest of the town. In general though, the neighbours are friendly, the scenery is good, and there (used to be) a lot of parks for the kids.
As a cyclist, I benifit hugely from the great cycle network in and around Swindon. I can get to any point in the town without cycling on a road or crossing a main road without lights. The routes extend out to pretty much all surrounding towns and villages, making cycling a truly pleasant experience.
On the subject of transport, I should mention the busses. Though personally I can't stand them, I can't deny the sheer quantity of them. For example, I live right on the very edge of the town, and a bus goes to the town centre from outside my house every 10 minutes, all day. Reliability leaves a little to be desires, but if its a 10 minute wiat for the next one, you'll never be too late anywhere.
Swindon is also of course directly on the M4 corridor, making transport by car/ lorry excellent.
Contrary to many of the other reviews, I'd say the nighlife/ clubs are pretty good, though I'm not one to go out too often, when I do, the town centre and all of the countless clubs are packed.
Having just left college (gap year), I was amazed to find how easy it was to get a well paid job as a programmer, it took me less than a week.
The education is good, the schools and College I've attended have all been very highly ranked in the national tables.
Overall, Swindon is an excellent place to live, and it's improving phenominaly all the time, with a large renovation project of the whole town in progress. Only avoid if you don't like roundabouts!
I've lived here for 15 years, not by choice as my parents moved here. There are certainly far worse places to live. Today the population of Swindon is 180,000. Swindon is now one of the fastest growing towns in Europe apparently. History:-Most people think of the railway connection...but Swindon's earliest settlers were a stone age community living on Swindon Hill. The location afforded an excellent defensive position against attack, with the added advantage of a water supply. Interesting or what? The Romans came next and then the Saxons. They gave Swindon its title. The town's name derives from the Saxon's reference to its burgeoning livestock trade ? 'swin dun' or *swine town.* William the Conqueror gave Swindon to his half-brother, Bishop Odo of Bayeux, as a gift in 1066. So Swindon can't be THAT bad if it was a present for someone...unless William disliked Odo.... Isambard Kingdom Brunel chose Swindon to be the site of the GWR (Great Western Railway) works. By 1846 Swindon had built the first locomotive. Over the years Swindon even enjoyed global recognition, they built the famous train Number 6000, King George V. However by 1960 the last steam locomotive had been built, and the workforce had fallen from 14,000 to 5,000. Ok hisory lesson over! There is a huge museam-'STEAM ? Museum of the Great Western Railway'.' It's rather good and its set in a restored works building. Location-Swindon is located between Bristol and London, it takes 55 minutes to get to London on the train and of course Swindon has motorways all around it ensuring good transport links. 80 miles from London and 40 miles from Bristol. The town has several areas. Old Town is just that-the orginal old town. It has nice, massive Victorian houses up here and a small shopping street. The Town Gardens are also here. West Swindon has lots and lots of houses and the West Swindon Centre which includes the Link Centre
-including a pool and ice-rink, Pizza hut, a couple of 4 star hotels and a Holiday Inn and a Travel Lodge. The motorway junctions are all over here too. There is also a bowling alley and an Asda and other small shops. The new ish Orbital Shopping Park is in North Swindon, It has a huge great Asda Walmart, a Boots, a sports shop, library, Border's books and dvd/cd/video shop with a Paperchase conecession, a huge Next, a Homebase and a Curry's. The town centre has lots and lots of typical high street stores and 2 department stores a House of Fraser and a Debenhams. There used to be a lovely old McIlroys department store before it was closed down. The Great Western Designer Village isn't that great, it has hardly any actual designer shops but lots of high street stores that are cheaper. There are 2 cinemas one in West Swindon at Shaw Ridge, and a HUGE Cineworld at the other side of town, I prefer Shaw Ridge, its much less crowded and nearer home. There are lots of restaurants including about 5 Macdonalds. And lots of clubs although the only one not infested with townies is the Furnace-the alternative club. Education isn't that bad, there are a couple of decent secondry schools and New College is meant to be quite good but Swindon College and North Start are pretty dire. Quite a few students go to Cirencester College instead. It seems from reading the above that Swindon should be a pleasant place to live. We even have a brand new hospital the Great Western, the old one PMH was old and horrible. Swindon has even been mentioned in BBC sitcom 'The Office.' It's also a diverse town as their are lots of nationalities here. And Swindon is famous for the Magic Roundabout. The principle is that the five small white circles function as independent roundabouts, while the short sections between them act as tiny pieces of dual carriageway. It may look confusing, but it is in fact very easy to use. An
d the band Oasis may or may not have taken their name off our Oasis Leisure Centre. The train station has had a re-vamp recently. Swindon has a least 2 famous people-the 1950's film actress Diana Dors and the er 'famous' singer Billie Piper. So what's wrong with Swindon? The town centre is grim and unpleasant, buses are often late or don't turn up, the town centre is not nice at night time, lots of grimy, tacky people and huge housing estates everywhere-some of them rather um dodgy places. Teenagers hang around at bus stops and subways in huge gangs due to lack of anything to do and can look quite intimidating. And the highest teen pregnancy rate in Europe. Even the tv show 'Casualty' made reference to Swindon girls been 'slappers.' It's just the general image of Swindon, despite there being very nice areas to live and a lot of decent, lovely people. All in all, I can't wait to go away to university!
As a life long Swindonian, I would like to think that I know the Town pretty well. Unfortunatly I do not share the point of view that Swindon should be given City status. I'm not saying that Swindon is a bad pace, because it is not. I'm sure there are far worse places to live in the UK than Swindon. Although I do not think that this ever growing Town should be given City status. To start with you only have to compare Swindon with our main rivals we are fighting for City status with, Reading. My wife comes from Reading, and I have visited the town on several occasions, and for me, Reading has far more attractions than Swindon. Swindon may be one of the fastest growing Towns in Europe ( It is far bigger than when I was young ), but it has many annoying aspects to it, that quite frankily really do set the Town back. Roadworks: I'm sure every major toen and City in the UK has major roadworks happening all the time, but I have never seen so many roads dug up as there are in Swindon. You cannot go a week without one major road being dug up for one reason or another. If Swindon really want to earn City status then I think that they need to sort out all major road problems first. Traffic in and around the town during the rush hours are ridiculous. With no traffic, you can drive from the outskirts of west Swindon ( Wooton Bassett ), to the outskirts of East Swindon ( The M4 motorway bridge ) in about 15 minutes. If you try to do this during the rush hour, then it would take you over an hour. Many of you who live in larger towns and cities will say this is normal, but when you take into account that most of the delays are down to road works or poorly planned road systems, then you may be able to see my point. This leads me to the terrible road system that I think Swindon has. Swindon council's solution for any minor problem is to do one of three things A) Put in a round
about B) Put in a traffic light C) Put humps in the road. I guarentee that you cannot drive more than about 100 yards in Swindon ( Not including the outskirts ), when you dont come across one of these 3 things. Everybody I know who lives in and around the town are constantly complaining about the Swindon road system, and this is the main cause of traffic chaos in and around the town, more so than the actual amount of traffic. Swindon is famous for having more roundabouts than any other town/city in Europe. And although the magic roundabout is a nice feature of the town. It can be a terrible annoyance during the rush hours. Basically because there are so many who just dont know how to use it. Swindon's main asset, apart from the many houses that are proping up all the time, is the fact that there is so much work here. Anybody who lives in Swindon and isn't working, quite frankily doesn't want to work. I left school 12 years ago and have never been unemployed for more than 6 weeks at one time ( and even that was through choice ). What does let the town down is that unit and shop prices around the town are so expensive, that the chance to work self employed from a shop or unit is very unappealing. There are a lot of buildings around the town that are empty ( although not as many as there were a couple of years ago ). If prices were dropped and these buildings were filled, then I'm sure Swindon would boom even more so than it is currently doing. When you take into account that Swindon is less than an hours drive from London, the town should be booming more than it actually is. Away from work prospects, there are a lot of things to do around the town. Enough pubs to keep you satisfied for years ( I have over 30 pubs within 10 minutes walk from my house alone ), 2 very big cinemas, a megabowl complex, several sports centres and clubs around the town. But i
s this enough for an ever growing town? You cannot go to a nightclub, sports centre or complex without it being packed to the afters on most nights. I am forever having to book up things in advance. Cinema, Bowling, Sports, etc Which leads me to believe that Swindon needs even more to do around the town. To start with, I think Swindon needs a much bigger nightclub somewhere in the town to accomodate the many clubbers who live here. You cannot go to a nightclub in Swindon without it being packed to the rafters. More so than I have seen in many other towns. I think the town also needs another sports complex, maybe hosting bowling or ice skating, or better still something else for young and old people to do. Swindon certainly isn't a horrible place to live. I have enjoyed living here for 28 years. But I do not think that the town is quite ready to be given City status just yet. Maybe in a few years time, when the Swindon Council can solve a lot of problems that exist around the town then maybe I will feel more confident about it. But until then I dont think it is the right time.
Swindon's one of what those in the know call 'boom towns' - it's growing at an extremely rapid rate, and this growth has been reflected in its town centre which has been given a near-total makeover in the last few years. The focal point in Swindon's town centre is the revitalised Brunel Centre, an indoor shopping centre, with House of Fraser, Virgin and M&S been the anchor stores. It's clean and spacious - a little too spacious in fact, the second floor of the complex is still half-empty since the complex opened a couple of years ago. The rest of the shopping area is open-air, but light, spacious, clean and pedestrianised. All the usual High Street names are around: HMV, WHSmith, H&M, Woolies and such. It's not too difficult to get lost either. ...Which is more than can be said for the rest of Swindon. The place is a maze, although a number of bypasses/relief roads in the last few years have helped. The old saying is true: Swindon is famous for three things - Melinda Messenger, Billie Piper and roundabouts. The place is full of massive roundabouts, and drivers all seem to take the rules of the road into their own hands. Stay cool, don't panic...you'll find your way around eventually. The huge number of housing estates which are cropping up virtually overnight do make for added confusion though. Swindon's other current main asset is its retail outlet, one of these designer discount efforts, located about 10mins from the town centre (if you can find your way there!), which has factory outlets from Gap, Timberland, Next, Nike and about 20 others, selling past-season stock at reduced prices. It's great for picking up designer bargains, though a lot of the stock sold is absolute rubbish, but stay away if you hate shopping. Adjacent to this complex is Swindon's new Railway Museum, paying tribute to the town's legendary railway history. It's not just something for trainspotters to v
isit, it's excellently put together and suprisingly fascinating, if a bit TOO big. Still worth a visit though. Ignore the dreadful road planning, and the haphazard urban sprawl which seems to be taking place to a worrying degree, and you may be pleasantly surprised by Swindon. It's not all as bad as many people pre-concieve it to be.
This is a great place to shop! It`s got the town which is getting loads better lately by bringing a lot of great new shops to Swindon such as H&M, we`re getting a Gap shop there and loads of modern shops. There is three really good place to shop there the town centre, an outlet village which has got a lot of good shops some of which are expensive and green bridge which is just shops like Currys and Powerhose etc...
Swindon is the fastest growing town in Europe. It has more job vacancies than people to fill them. Admittedly the football team isnt doing too well at the moment but they will improve! (no comments on that one please!!) The town centre is modern and has a very good shopping arcade or Mall as people now call them. It is called the Brunel Centre and is under cover. Parking is good and as yet not charged the earth. The shops outside the centre are situated in one long, no cars allowed street so not too far to walk. Shops are friendly and very helpful to Mums with babies and todlers with many baby changing areas.