August 2018

Swindon stuff to do on the cheap

National Cycle Network 45 sign - Swindon stuff to do on the cheap

National Cycle Network 45 sign
The sign shows a person and bicycle icon, with the letters “45” underneath. The direction shown reads:
Swindon Station 3
Chiseldon 8
Avebury 18

A couple of years ago I published a post –  Some of what follows is repeated from the old post – but not all so take a look. But some of it is new stuff.

The best way to see a town is on foot. Indeed it’s astonishing what you see and a learn about a place if you get of the car. So do exactly that and try some of these things out:

  1. The West Swindon Sculpture trail: on the face of it looking at sculptures doesn’t sound much of a family activity. Yet following the West Sculpture trail takes you across acres of West Swindon’s green spaces. It traverses play parks and outdoor gyms. It’s a 5-mile walk that can be cycled and is push chair friendly.

how the mighty fall

Download a map of the trail here. And explore blog posts about the sculptures here:

2. Explore the River Ray Parkway walk. I’ve thus far only done half of this week. We started at Moulden Hill and walked across to Mannington. Fabulously green, this walk follows the Route 45 cycle track. If you’re short enough and the water is low – which it was and my companion and myself are – you can walk right under the Great Western Way.  The map is downloadable here and is courtesy of Swindon Local Studies.

Kissing gate

Old kissing gate along the River Ray Parkway

3. Pack up a picnic and visit one of Swindon’s parks and open spaces.  The above two are perfect for a picnic. As too are the following parks. These are only a few of astonishing number of parks, green spaces, walks and cycle paths that Swindon offers. Google is your friend here.

A. Queen’s Park

B. The Lawn – or Lawn if we’re going to be really proper. And I’m not sure I was in the post I link to. Must edit.

C. Town Gardens

D. The GWR Park – or Faringdon Park

E. Coate Water – where you can find quite the best miniature railway I’ve come across.

See also this post about the Coate Water Diving platform

Mention of the Coate Water railway leads to:

4. The Richard Jefferies Museum:

Free to enter, this museum and its gardens are simply a delight. The museum has its own halt for the Coate Water railway. In the summer there’s cream teas in the garden, sometimes with music of some sort, and they put on all sorts of children’s activities. Visit their website (link in heading above) to find out what’s going on.

So you can find out about this particular writer’s life in the museum. You can also see locations where he lived and worked and went to school by following the

5. Richard Jeffereries Old Town Trail. Here’s a downloadable text file of the trail with a map.

Read about the trial here:

Part 1: 

Part 2:

6. For further urban exploration walk around the town in search of the blue plaques in Swindon. Find a map of them all by following the link to my post about them.

Health Hydro plaque - one of the blue plaques in swindon

Milton Road Baths

7. Try the Explorer’s Guide to New Swindon – get the map produced by Swindon Civic Voice (£2 from the central library) and explore ‘New Swindon.’

8. Go to the Museum and Art gallery in Old Town: they have lots of activities for children in school holidays. Get your #crocselfie taken with the gharial. It’s tradition! Lots of cafe/pub/eating opportunities in Old Town. Combine with a visit to Ton Gardens, Lawn, Richard Jefferies Old Town trial – there’s options!

swindon museum and art gallery