About Us

Managed by South Swindon Parish Council, the Town Gardens is a traditional Victorian style park that remains at the very heart of the local community of Old Town and has a rich combination of historical and cultural heritage along with traditional landscape features.

Town Gardens is open daily throughout the year although all the gates are locked at dusk; details of the park closing times can be found here: Town Gardens Opening Times.

South Swindon Parish Council host a number of events in our 3 heritage parks, Town Gardens, Queen’s Park and GWR Park, ranging from theatre and family events to music festivals and community gatherings.

If you are interested in hosting your own event please get in touch with our Events Manager on events@southswindon-pc.gov.uk

A little bit of history

The Town Gardens were laid out on the site of a former Purbeck limestone quarry. The quality of the Purbeck stone quarried here gave Swindon an important industry for several hundred years prior to the arrival of the Great Western Railway.

In May 1894, the Town Gardens were officially opened to the public with further developments being carried out in 1902 and 1918. By the 1920s, the remainder of the gardens had been carefully and artistically laid out and planted, including a rose garden and bowling green adding to the attractions on offer.

Since taking on responsibility for Town Gardens, South Swindon Parish Council have completed a number of projects including the refurbishment of the main Quarry Road gates, the PC Webb Memorial Sundial, the VE Day Memorial and the installation of a historic 1930’s road sign.

Town Gardens Bowl

The art-deco style Bowl opened in 1936 and is one of only a handful of this type in the country. It is an amazing architectural feature and was restored in 1994 to celebrate the Gardens centenary year. The Bowl originally included in the design a small rockery / water cascade with an ornamental pond at the front (now concreted over). At the entrance to the Bowl arena is an entrance porch with iron turnstiles and brick pillars. It is known locally as the “Hollywood Bowl” and is now the venue for regular summer concerts and events. There are exciting plans to sympathetically renovate the building and the area around it to protect it for future generations.

Town Gardens Bandstand

This is thought to be an original Victorian feature of the Gardens, though it has been refurbished on a number of occasions, the last time being in 2006. The octagonal late-nineteenth century bandstand with cast-iron columns and square clock tower, which is now a Listed Building, originally had a weathervane instead of the clock. At one time the bandstand had gas lights suspended from the roof on each side and more recently seasonal hanging baskets decorated the structure. In 1912 the Gardens were the venue for a benefit concert for the victims’ families of the Titanic.

The Band Stand is still used regularly throughout the summer months for traditional and contemporary band concerts and other community-based events and activities.

Town Gardens Café

The refreshment kiosk was built in 1915 as a trade stand for the Great Western Railway, and once travelled the country visiting large shows and exhibitions. It was placed in the Town Gardens around 1942 and is also a Grade II Listed Building.

The café was renovated by the Parish Council in the spring of 2021 as part of its investment programme.

The Café team runs their own events throughout the year. More information about the café and their activities can be found on their Instagram page.

Aviary and Pond

The present aviary was built in 1994 as part of the Town Gardens Centenary Celebrations, replacing an earlier timber / metal aviary that had stood near to this site since 1928. The birds have always been a very popular attraction for children, and this area was known as ‘Children’s Corner’ when the Gardens first opened.

The pond, dating from 1894, was originally an oval shape with a small island and fountain in the middle. In the 1930s the pond was changed to the shape that is seen today.

In 2023 the aviary received a full makeover and now boasts 2 sections which can hold over 100 birds in total.

What others say about the Town Gardens…

Absolutely beautiful gardens and cafe, it’s a great place to meet friends for a picnic or just go for a wander.

Good walk round with the dog. We did the art on trees which made the walk more interesting. Good local place. Free parking for 2 hours.

We love promenading round Town Gardens, inspecting the trees and today the autumn sunlight was slanting across the ecinacias – beautiful.

This place is a gem in the heart of Swindon. Always well looked after, the roses garden is stunning!

Brilliant park, absolutely beautiful flower displays. There’s a cafe, pond, bird aivery, and a play park nearby. Visit the blossom trees late April, they’re amazing.

Lovely place for a walk. There are toilets and adorable coffe shop ? you can admire squirrels and peek into the parrots’ house.

Privacy Preferences

When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in the form of cookies. Here you can change your Privacy preferences. It is worth noting that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we are able to offer.

For performance and security reasons we use Cloudflare
Our website uses cookies, mainly from 3rd party services. Define your Privacy Preferences and/or agree to our use of cookies.