Wiltshire is well known for being one of the most naturally beautiful parts of the country, combining rolling hills with picturesque villages. It's not only the county's extraordinary natural beauty that lures in so many visitors each year, however. Holidaymakers are also drawn to Wiltshire by its history, much of which is still alive in attractions across the county. The Museum of the Great Western Railway is a hub of historical interest. Surrounded by exquisite hotels in Swindon, the museum couldn't be easier to visit.
The Heart of Swindon
From its opening in 1843 to its eventual closure in 1986, the Swindon Railway Works was central to the fortunes of this Wiltshire town. At its heady heights, the Works was capable of putting out as many as three full-sized locomotives a week. What better place, then, to open a museum dedicated to telling the history of the Great Western Railway, widely considered to be among the most advanced in the world for decades.
The Great Western Railway was conceived largely by the engineering pioneer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Originally started as a route between Bristol and London, the network quickly expanded across the west of England.
The Story of the GWR
In 2000, the Museum of the Great Western Railway opened in the restored Grade II listed building of the Swindon Railway Works. Exhibitions throughout the original building take visitors through the foundry, body shop and boiler shop, detailing the scale and nature of the building's industrial past.
The museum features good disabled facilities throughout, as well as easy parking and a cafe. It also has the capacity to serve as a venue for weddings and conferences.
Hotels in Wiltshire
One of the county's biggest towns, Swindon is home to some excellent hotels and guest houses. Them museum is located right in the centre, meaning visitors are spoiled for choice. The Jurys Inn and Holiday Inn Express offer close proximity to the museum, as well as to all the town's amenities. Alternatively, Madison Hotel offers a quieter location on the edge of town. Madison Hotel also houses a number of meeting rooms and a laundry service.