Historical Sites In Swindon - Avebury Stone Circle

Top 5 Historical Sites to Visit in Swindon

Swindon is a town located in the county of Wiltshire, England. If you are visiting for a day, weekend or longer there are many local attractions to explore during your stay. Swindon has a rich history dating back to Roman times, and there are several historical sites in and around the town worth visiting. 

Here are some notable Historical sites you can visit in Swindon:

 5 Historical Places to Visit in Swindon

  1. STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway
  2. Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
  3. Barbury Castle
  4. The Richard Jefferies Museum
  5. Avebury Stone Circle

1. STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway

A museum dedicated to the history of the Great Western Railway and its impact on the town and the country. The STEAM museum is housed in a beautifully restored Grade II listed railway building. You can explore the exhibits, learn about the railway’s engineering achievements, and even ride on a steam train, whilst discovering the historical events that took place for the men and women that worked on the Great Western Railway. 

Here’s some more information about the railway and why it is worth visiting:

Great Western Railway Heritage

The museum focuses on the heritage of the Great Western Railway, which played a significant role in the development of railways in the United Kingdom. It explores the history, engineering achievements, and cultural impact of the GWR, which was one of the most influential railway companies in the country.

Iconic Locomotives and Rolling Stock

The museum displays a remarkable collection of locomotives, carriages, and wagons from different periods of the GWR’s history. Visitors can marvel at iconic steam locomotives, such as the legendary “King George V” and “Caerphilly Castle,” and learn about the technology and design behind them.

Interactive exhibits

The Steam Museum offers a hands-on and interactive experience for visitors. You can climb aboard certain locomotives, explore the carriages, and experience what it was like to travel on the GWR. There are interactive displays that bring the history and workings of the railway to life, appealing to both adults and children. 

Historical Exhibitions 

The museum showcases a range of historical exhibitions that delve into various aspects of the GWR’s history. From the impact of the railway on Swindon’s development to the role of the GWR during World War II, these exhibitions provide a comprehensive look into the railway’s significance.

Events and Activities

The museum hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including steam train rides, themed exhibitions, family-friendly activities, and special events like “Steam Days” and “Railway Ale Trail.” These events create a lively and immersive experience for visitors, adding an extra dimension to the museum’s offerings.

Location and Accessibility 

The Steam Museum is conveniently located near Swindon’s town centre, making it easily accessible for both locals and tourists. It is situated in a historic railway building, which adds to the ambience and atmosphere of the museum.

Visiting the Steam Museum of the Great Western Railway allows you to step back in time and discover the fascinating history of the GWR. Whether you have an interest in railways, engineering, or social history, the museum offers a captivating and educational experience that showcases the achievements and legacy of one of Britain’s most renowned railway companies.

2. Swindon Museum and Art Gallery 

Located in Old Town, the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery houses a diverse collection of artefacts and artworks, including local history displays. It provides insights into the town’s heritage and showcases exhibitions that delve into various aspects of Swindon’s past, including exhibits on the local prehistory, geology, and archaeology. 

Here’s some information about Swindon Museum and Art Gallery and why it’s worth visiting:


Swindon Museum and Art Gallery houses a wide-ranging collection that spans different periods and artistic genres. The collection includes fine art, decorative art, archaeology, local history exhibits, and more. Visitors can explore various art movements, styles, and historical artefacts.

Local History

The museum offers insights into the local history of Swindon and the surrounding area. Exhibitions highlight the development of the town, its industrial heritage, and the impact of the Great Western Railway on the region. It provides a deeper understanding of Swindon’s past and its significance in the wider historical context.

Temporary Exhibitions

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery regularly host temporary exhibitions that focus on different themes, artists, or artistic disciplines. These exhibitions provide an opportunity to engage with contemporary art, and emerging artists, or explore specific topics of interest.

Community engagement 

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery actively engages with the local community through events, workshops, and outreach programs. It serves as a cultural hub, hosting talks, lectures, and performances that promote artistic and cultural appreciation within the community.

Free admission 

Entry to Swindon Museum and Art Gallery is free, making it accessible to a wide range of visitors. This allows people to explore and enjoy the collections without any financial barrier.

Central Location

The museum is located in Swindon’s Old Town, making it easily accessible for residents and visitors alike. It is situated within a charming area with historic buildings, independent shops, and cafes, providing an opportunity to explore and enjoy the surroundings. Staying in Swindon for longer than a day and needing overnight accommodation? Visit Alexandra House Hotel, a welcoming hotel in Swindon set within a scenic country park and only a 10-minute drive from the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery. 

Visiting Swindon Museum and Art Gallery offers a chance to engage with art, history, and culture in a welcoming and accessible setting. Whether you have an interest in local history, want to appreciate artwork from different periods, or seek educational opportunities, the museum provides a rich and diverse experience for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. So when you are visiting Swindon why not Immerse yourself in the town’s culture with a trip to the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery? 

3. Barbury Castle 

Situated on the Marlborough Downs, just outside Swindon, Barbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort that offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and is a popular spot for walking and picnicking. You can explore the earthworks and imagine what life was like in ancient times. 

Here’s some more information about Barbury Castle and why it’s worth visiting:

Historical significance 

Barbury Castle is one of the most impressive hillforts in the region and provides insights into the Iron Age period and the people who inhabited the area. It is believed to have served as a defensive settlement, offering protection to the community living within its walls.

Impressive Earthworms 

The hillfort is characterized by its massive earthworks, including a circular rampart and ditch that enclose the fortification. The rampart is still clearly visible today and stands at an impressive height, showcasing the engineering skills of its ancient builders.

Panoramic Views

Situated atop Barbury Hill, the hillfort offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Visitors can enjoy sweeping vistas of the Wiltshire Downs, which adds to the appeal of the site.

Walking and Nature

Barbury Castle is situated within a country park, which provides opportunities for outdoor activities and exploration. The surrounding landscape is ideal for walking, hiking, and nature appreciation. There are well-marked trails that allow visitors to explore the hillfort and its surroundings while enjoying the natural beauty of the area.

Cultural and Recreational Events

Barbury Castle hosts various cultural and recreational events throughout the year, including historical reenactments, outdoor concerts, and equestrian competitions. These events attract visitors and create a vibrant atmosphere at the site.

Local Folklore and Legends

The hillfort has its fair share of local folklore and legends. Stories of buried treasure, hidden tunnels, and ancient rituals add a touch of mystery and intrigue to the site, making it even more fascinating to explore.

Visiting Barbury Castle provides a chance to step back in time and experience the ancient history of the region. Its impressive earthworks, stunning views, and the opportunity for outdoor activities make it an appealing destination for history enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those seeking a peaceful and scenic escape. It offers a glimpse into the lives of people who lived in the area thousands of years ago and allows visitors to connect with the rich heritage of the region.

4. The Richard Jefferies Museum 

Dedicated to the Victorian Richard Jefferies (1848-1887) an influential English writer known for his works on nature and the countryside, the Richard Jefferies Museum is located in the author’s birthplace. It offers a glimpse into his life and works, as well as the opportunity to explore the beautiful surrounding countryside.

Jefferies was born in Coate, a small village near Swindon, and he developed a deep love and appreciation for the natural world from an early age. His writings often depicted the beauty of the Wiltshire countryside and the rural way of life.

He gained recognition for his descriptive and evocative writing style, capturing the intricate details of nature and landscapes. His works were seen as a celebration of the English countryside and the connection between humans and the natural environment.

Richard Jefferies’ works had a significant impact on the literary world and continue to be appreciated for their vivid descriptions and ecological insights. He is considered a pioneer of modern nature writing and has left a lasting legacy, particularly in Swindon and the surrounding area, where his connection to the local landscape is celebrated through the Richard Jefferies Museum and various events dedicated to his life and writings.

5. Avebury Stone Circle

The Avebury Stone Circle is a prehistoric monument located in the village of Avebury, in Wiltshire, England and just a 20-minute drive southwest of Swindon. It is one of the largest and most impressive stone circles in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Here’s some information about Avebury Stone Circle and why it is worth visiting:

Historical Significance

Avebury Stone Circle dates back to around 2600 BC, making it older than the more famous Stonehenge. It was constructed during the Neolithic period and remains an important archaeological site. It is believed to have served as a ceremonial and ritualistic site for the surrounding community.

Magnificent Stone Circle

The stone circle at Avebury is composed of a large outer circle with two smaller inner circles. Originally, it consisted of around 100 standing stones, but over time, many have been destroyed or removed. Nonetheless, the remaining stones are still impressive, with some standing over 7 meters (23 feet) tall.

Visiting Avebury Stone Circle offers a chance to connect with ancient history, marvel at the colossal stones, and experience the mysteries of the Neolithic era. It’s accessibility and interactive nature make it a memorable and engaging destination for those interested in archaeology, ancient monuments, and the spiritual significance of such sites.

Historical Sites in Swindon Conclusion

There you have it, our top five must-see historical sites to visit in Swindon. These are just a few examples of the many historical sites in and around Swindon. There are many more to discover, including churches, museums, and other landmarks that reflect the town’s rich history. Exploring these places will provide you with a deeper understanding of the town’s cultural heritage and its connection to the past.

Where to stay in Swindon?

If you decide to visit any of the historical sites during your time in Swindon, experience a comfortable stay at Alexandra House Hotel, where our priority is your utmost comfort. Our friendly staff is dedicated to providing excellent service, ensuring your needs are met throughout your visit. Indulge in culinary delights at our stylish restaurants and bars, where our talented chefs create delicious dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. Set in a serene environment with idyllic views, our hotel is located within a picturesque country park. Relax and unwind while immersing yourself in the tranquillity of the surroundings.

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