Visit Swindon is asking people to take great photos relating to Swindon’s history as part of its ‘Heritage Photo Challenge’, but with so many options to choose from, the big question is where to start?!

It’s by no means a comprehensive list but here are some of the big hitters when it comes to photo opportunities to get you started.

Lydiard Park is a beautiful historic estate on the western edge of Swindon. A Palladian house, church and walled garden are set in 260 acres of parkland which surrounds a wonderful lake. Also in the grounds, St Mary’s is one of the UK’s most important parish churches and a treasure trove of beautiful fittings and artefacts.

Visit Swindon Lydiard Park

A five minute drive from Lydiard, a warehouse that featured in a James Bond film enjoys Grade II* listed status. Not just any warehouse, though. The Spectrum building, Renault's former distribution centre, was designed by Lord Foster and opened in 1982. Featuring yellow steel ‘umbrella masts’, the futuristic single-storey glass-walled building was also used as a backdrop in the 007 movie A View To A Kill in 1984.

Moving on towards the centre of town, Swindon’s Heritage Quarter on the site of the fabled Great Western Railway (GWR) works is home to STEAM Museum, the Designer Outlet, English Heritage and National Trust. The first three are all housed in lovingly restored GWR workshops whilst Heelis, National Trust’s UK HQ, was only built in 2005 but blends in perfectly with its surroundings. Heelis, by the way, was the married name of Beatrix Potter.

A couple of minutes’ walk from the old GWR buildings will take you to Swindon’s Grade II listed Railway Village, a remarkably preserved grid of streets located next to the town’s railway station and a unique example of a Victorian development for an industrial workforce.

The original conception and plan for the village belonged to Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the now legendary Victorian engineer selected by the GWR to oversee the construction of the London to Bristol railway. Each road was named after the destinations of trains that passed nearby - Bristol, Bath, Taunton, London, Oxford and Reading - and was built in two blocks of four parallel streets, not dissimilar in appearance to passing trains.

The now fading Mechanics' Institution, which contained the UK’s first lending library, and a Medical Fund Hospital were also built in the heart of the new village. Milton Road Health Hydro is housed in another impressive Victorian building. Opened in 1891 and paid for by the workers of the GWR through their Medical Friendly Society, this Victorian health centre boasts the original, beautifully decorated Turkish Baths, still in use today.

The Victorian streets of Old Town provide plenty of photo opportunities, not least at the picture-postcard Old Town Gardens with its beautiful bandstand or Lawn Woods. Radnor Street Cemetery with its ornate railings, sloping pathways and status as an official Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, is another popular spot for photographers. Or if fading grandeur is your thing, the crumbling Locarno (Corn Exchange) building in the High Street definitely evokes better days, especially for the older generation who danced in its ballroom in their youth.

Visit Swindon Christ Church

From Old Town, it’s another 5-minute drive to Coate Water Country Park. This huge park with its stunning Art Deco diving board on the lake provides a perfect setting for an enjoyable family day out and loads of great photos. A Nature Reserve and a Site of Specific Scientific Interest means that the park is bursting with interesting bird and wildlife species.

Right next to Coate Water and a fitting spot to finish the Heriatge Trail is Richard Jefferies Museum. There is always something happening at this museum dedicated to the esteemed writer of the same name. Set in the grounds of a 17th-century thatched cottage, the house and maintained gardens reflect the nature writing that Jefferies created and are great fun to explore…and photo.

And we haven’t even mentioned Christchurch, the GWR hooter, Faringdon Road Park, the workers’ tunnel, the County Ground, Queen’s Park, Barbury Castle, White Horse Hill, and a long etcetera. Time to grab your camera or mobile phone!

Taking part in Visit Swindon’s ‘Heritage Photo Challenge’ couldn’t be easier! All you have to do is:

  1. ‘follow’ Visit Swindon on Instagram
  2. upload your photos to Instagram using the hashtag #SwindonHeritage2020

Terms and Conditions
  • Competition begins August 29, 2020 and closes on October 16, 2020.
  • To enter the competition, you must be following Visit Swindon on Instagram and must upload photos using the hashtag #SwindonHeritage
  • Entrants can be all ages. Under 16s must seek permission from a parent or guardian.
  • Entrants can submit as many photos as they like during the competition period.
  • Photographs must show a scene in Swindon or its surrounding area.
  • The winner will be selected by the judging panel from Visit Swindon. The judges’ decision is final.
  • Prize winner will be announced via social media on Saturday 24th October 2020.
  • The prize is a £100 gift voucher for T4 Cameras, Swindon and an A3 print of the winning image. There is no cash equivalent.
  • The organiser reserves the right to change or cancel the competition at any time.
  • By entering you agree by the rules and are happy for your imagery to be used for marketing purposes by Visit Swindon and their associated companies.
  • Members of Visit Swindon staff plus staff of associated companies are not permitted to enter this competition.
Clarification of Terms & Conditions  for the Visit Swindon “Heritage Photo Challenge”.
Queries have been raised regarding the reference in the competition rules to the imagery being used “for marketing purposes by Visit Swindon and their associated companies”. We would like to clarify what we propose.

To be clear, the copyright in any photograph you submit (which must of course be your own original work) will remain with you. All we will have is a licence to use the photograph for marketing purposes in literature, on promotional materials  and on websites, to promote Swindon and its surrounding area to potential visitors. This use would be by Swindon Borough Council and organisations in which the council has an interest.

Can we also take this opportunity to mention that if your photograph includes a person, you must obtain that person’s consent to be included in the photograph and for you to submit that photograph as a competition entry.