The town of Swindon, sitting about 81 miles east of London, has its own unique little history. The town’s roots are that of a small trading post, used mainly for bartering goods. The barter trade lasted centuries and kept the town small yet vital and vibrant. But the town couldn’t stay small forever. The arrival of the Great Western Railroad changed Swindon forever.
A whole new town popped up around the old barter trade post. This town had to house travellers and offer modern amenities. With the new influx of travellers with the railroad, the entirety of the new town was pedestrianized. The people of Swindon built streets and offered travellers goods for purchase. Gone were the days of bartering for goods.
The transformation continued to take place through the mid-1900’s. The Bath and West Agricultural Show was held in Swindon in 1957. The attraction brought thousands of visitors on the railcars and the town had to move quickly to accommodate them. The town got a new makeover, new shops and pubs popped up, and the locals even opened their homes as bed and breakfast inns.
You can still see the remnants of the agricultural show when you visit town. Some of the bed and breakfast inns were bought by more recognizable hotel chains, but the charm remains the same. This gives the Swindon visitor modern amenities and old-world charm when visiting town, especially those getting a room at an historic hotel in Swindon.
The layers of history and the jolt provided by the agricultural show gives Swindon a unique feel. The original barter town still exists, but with a few new buildings, restaurants and shops. This part of the town is called Old Town. But the rest of the town was built for the modern traveller. Swindon’s streets are vibrant with visitors enjoying the boutique shops, authentic pubs and modern-day restaurants. And those modernized inns are waiting to rest the weary traveller’s head.