Swindon – Your Holiday Destination

It’s holiday time again and here’s DriveWrite’s suggestion for a different sort of vacation. The once great metropolis of Swindon, nestling like a latter day Kings Landing within the rural delights of darkest Wiltshire, has fallen upon hard times of late. Even mighty Honda has had to cut back. Let’s hope forthcoming models will revive their fortunes. Travellers moving west and heading for the far distant lands of Cornwall and Devon now pass by on the new-fangled M4 with scarcely a glance at the once mighty town.

What’s to be done to return Swindon to its former glory? Well, the first step is for all of you to buy more Civics obviously – including the choice Type R – but there are also ways by which the town can be enhanced through tourism. Nearby Oxford may have its dreaming spires but it also has some the ugliest buildings in the land. Swindon has much more to offer the passing motorist than you may have first thought. Intrigued? You bet you are.

Not for nothing is it known as the town of traffic lights and roundabouts. Attention all driving enthusiasts who hanker for the joys of utilising your car’s stop/start facility to the max – this is the ideal vacation destination, rivalled only by Milton Keynes. Swindon was also the first town in the land to switch off the notorious speed cameras and make traffic wardens more forgiving, thanks to a super-hero councillor and there was nothing that the hapless minions of the Department for Transport could do about it. Unfortunately the cameras have been replaced by irritating electronic warnings that, in the way of state sponsored non-human signage, still manage to exude a superior holier-than-thou aura.

The best, however, is yet to come because Swindon has a secret attraction known only to locals. Washington DC has its Lincoln Memorial, Agra its Taj Mahal, but they pale into insignificance against – the Magic Roundabout! This is a convoluted system of mini-roundabouts connecting five incoming roads and configured in such a way that whatever you try to do you will always be launched down entirely the wrong exit road. Alton Towers has nothing to touch it. Stephen Hawking visited once but couldn’t work it out and went home in a huff.

Night-time ghost hunters will have a ball trying to spot the spirits of ancient motorists who never got off and were doomed forever to remain, turning and turning as they tried to make it to the hallowed halls of Halfords. Set up your picnic apparatus on a handy verge and chuckle as red-faced shoppers desperate to reach the malls of Greenbridge are thwarted at the last minute and find themselves halfway to Cirencester. How you’ll laugh when it happens to you.

The answer of course is to hire a native guide. For a surprisingly modest fee I am prepared to help to you negotiate the maze. I know the secret routes and hidden byways; I know which direction to take and which mini-lane to get in, thus avoiding the pitfalls of penalty earning bus lanes. It’s a small price to pay to escape the melee on the Magic Roundabout.

So pack your bags and your kids and get yourself down to Swindon. Visit the Orbital Centre and gaze at the ancient ruins of an early Comet and a long forgotten Blockbuster encampment. See recently felled trees! Watch small herds of browsing locals grazing on pizza or texting whilst trying to park amongst the redevelopment and building work. Hours of fun and, of course, it’s all free. Don’t be a stranger! Forget Slough (so last year) – have a happy holiday in Swindon. Gateway To The West. Just one word of caution though; when it is time to go always make sure you check for stowaways.

Geoff Maxted