There’s a clue in the name, Old Town is the original area of Swindon sitting up on the hill and has an ambience all of its own with great shopping, stylish wine and cocktail bars, traditional pubs, and restaurants ranging from Thai to Spanish to Nepalese. There’s also a buzzing night time scene and the 212-seater theatre, The Arts Centre. Well worth a visit!
Old Town is full of independent and interesting retailers. Deacon & Son was founded as a jewellers, watch and clock makers by George Deacon in 1848 and remains a family run business now in its sixth generation. Whether it’s a Rolex, Longines, Tag Heuer or Tudor, or a piece of pre-owned vintage jewellery, Deacons attracts customers from Wiltshire and beyond to its luxury showroom in Wood Street.
Just along from Deacons, Young’s of Wood Street sells gorgeous home accessories and gifts for every occasion, and just around the corner in Devizes Road, Kapada Vintage offers an ever-changing collection of vintage clothing and independent gifts. Bert’s Books is an independent bookseller in Godwin Court that also offers coffee, cakes, and a social space.
OINK is an art gallery and design space in the heart of Old Town. The gallery space offers a varied mix of contemporary art in the form of paintings, prints, sculpture and ceramics. The gallery space is accompanied by an exciting collection of design led crafted and commercial furniture, lighting and gifts by independent British & international designers.
Wood Street Foodhall hosts a delightful butcher, fishmonger and a delicatessen selling only the finest products in an environment that has an elegant twist on a traditional Farm Shop. The Foodhall sells a wide range of organic, gluten free and artisan produce including locally grown seasonal fruit and vegetables. They also do home made sandwiches and salads to eat at a table.
Old Town is very much the dining and entertainment hub of Swindon. During the day, there is a wide range of cafes and delis to hang out in and eat and drink, among them Mabel’s, Food Magpie, Gustoso, The Core, Balula’s and Ray’s Ice Cream, not to mention the Town Gardens Café in the Town Gardens, a beautiful Victorian Park and green oasis in the heart of Old Town.
If it’s fine dining you’re after then Old Town is also the place to go. Popular restaurants include Los Gatos (Spanish), Kenzo 72 (Asian Fusion), Siam Thai (Thai), Moshan Island Grill (Jamaican), The Pick Up Point (gourmet burgers), Fabio Restaurant (Italian), Jack’s (contemporary varied), Biplob (Indian), Fez Bar (Moroccan), Goddard Arms (contemporary British), Mario’s (Italian) and Yak The Himalayan Kitchen (Nepalese).
As night falls, Old Town really comes to life as the place to go for young and not so young party animals. If cocktails are your thing check out The Vault, The Eternal Optimist or Kioki, if real ales rock your boat head for Hop Kettle, Wheatsheaf Ale House, The Little Hop or The Tuppenny and if it’s a lively bar with music to dance to there’s a wide choice including The Bank, Longs Bar, Mackenzies, The Kings Arms and the plush Tree Nightclub.
Old Town is also the scene of regular events throughout the year, including The Sausage & Ale Trail and the Old Town Christmas Lights Switch on (see our What’s On section for details).