Attractions in Swindon – Railway Heritage

You have probably heard about Swindon’s notorious Magic Roundabout, and if you are visiting our Escape Rooms you have also managed to find out about us. But what else is there to do in Swindon? Quite a lot, actually! One of our favourite attractions in Swindon is the old railway works, right around the corner from us. You can either drive there or venture out on foot, which will take about 10-15 minutes. If you’re choosing the second option, make sure to stop by a quirky little shop called Goofy Goat Gifts and browse their collection of industrial lamps and funky upcycled jewellery. 

Attractions in Swindon - walking crane at the Designer Outlet
Attractions in Swindon - mechanical display above shops at Designer Outlet

Shopping in Style

The Swindon Designer Outlet is housed inside a beautifully renovated part of the historic railway buildings. Wherever you look, there are cleverly integrated mechanical displays that add to the atmosphere and showcase the town’s engineering heritage. And if you feel like a spot of shopping in style, this is the place. There is a great mix of high street and designer shops, usually offering attractive discounts on fashion, accessories, outdoor wear, home décor and more. If you need to take a break and rest your weary feet, you can do so in a café or patisserie. What’s more, every Sunday there is a lovely little Farmer’s Market just in front of the outlet, which is just restarting again after Covid. Here you can grab – among other goodies – some delicious cakes, chilli products and cheeses. 

Attractions in Swindon - outside the Steam Museum

Full STEAM ahead

While you are in Swindon you should definitely spend some time at STEAM, The Museum of the Great Western Railway. This gem is located at the site of the original railway workshops, which in their heyday were among the largest in the world. Here you can admire gleaming steam locomotives that were actually built in this very place and daydream about going on a vintage scenic ride. A range of displays takes you through the history of the railways and the local community, while various interactive exhibits – including a working signal box and a simulator – offer some hands-on fun (now with plenty of hand sanitiser!). Just make sure to book your ticket in advance as the museum has limited visitor numbers at the moment. 

More to discover

If the weather is nice, you could also take a stroll around the old railway village. It’s easy to get there via the original GWR workers’ tunnel, right behind the English Heritage office. The neat rows of stone cottages were built in the 1840s to accommodate the families of the newly-arrived railway workers. One of them has been turned into a quaint little ‘Living Museum’, which is worth a visit and will hopefully reopen soon. And as it happens, one of Swindon’s best coffee places, Darkroom Espresso, is just across the road. So if at this point you fancy a good brew – or a hot chocolate or tea – get yourself a cup from here. If you are feeling peckish, we recommend you treat yourself to a delicious meal at the Greek Olive restaurant, which is nearby and a firm local favourite. 

There is of course much more to Swindon than the railways. In our next two posts we will be introducing you to more top attractions in Swindon: our vibrant Old Town and idyllic Coate Water. So stay tuned – and feel free to browse our selection of escape games in the meantime.