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Swindon's Largest Festival of Heritage and Culture - Heritage Open Days

Swindon HODs:
England’s largest heritage festival – in Swindon and at thousands of locations across the country – celebrates history and culture through this year’s theme “Creativity Unwrapped”.

Swindon has even more to offer this year’s festival, with over 20 venues open for events, tours, talks and family activities. Grab yourself a map, from one of the venues or online, and plan your festival – it’s all FREE TO DISCOVER!

Swindon Railway Village:
Most of the activities and events are taking place between 11am and 3pm on Saturday 9th September where there will be fun for the whole family, including Live Music, Art, Crafts, Workshops and Exhibitions.

Be sure to check each individual listing, as many events are open on alternative days and times. You can plan your visit, and see more details online by visiting and searching for Swindon.

Visit the Carriage Works for a self-guided tour of the Workshed and see the “Stitch your Story” exhibition by Create Studios. View Historic England’s creative archive in the Engine House before making your way to GWR Park, where you can help the Cultural Heritage Institute carry out an Archaeological Dig!

Step back in time with a visit to the Railway Village Museum; discover how a Victorian Railway Worker and their family would have lived. Check out the new art Murals that surround the Mechanics’ Institute and take a sneak peak inside the Cricketers Arms as it undergoes its restoration work.

Take a trip to the Emlyn Square for art and craft workshops, stalls, exhibitions, poetry and live music. The Bakers Cafe will offer refreshments, and the Gluepot Inn will be serving local Ales and other drinks. Why not join the landlord for a short talk about the history of the pub?

Further Details:

Central Community Centre

In the heart of Swindon’s Railway Village you can find the old Great Western Hospital which helped inspire our National Health Service – which celebrates its 75th year this year.

Be immersed in a buzzing atmosphere filled with live music, workshops, local art, Poetry, crafts, and exhibitions.

Join Artsite, who will be helping visitors of all ages create their own fabric name badges, inspired by heritage platform station signs.

Unwrap your creativity and get colouring with Local author and illustrator, Hannah Dosanjh.

Browse the stalls and network with the Friends of the Health Hydro, Wiltshire Family History Society and Wilts and Berks Canal Trust to find out about local heritage and culture.

Bakers Cafe: Coffee, Cake, Crafts and Exhibitions

Unleash your creativity with Swindon Museum & Art Gallery and the Mechanics’ Institution Trust at Heritage Open Days 2023!

Enjoy a slice of homemade cake and browse the Creativity exhibitions within this historic former bakery and public house.

As part of the Heritage Open Day celebrations in Swindon, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery are joining forces with the Mechanics’ Institution Trust to provide free drop-in art activities at The Bakers Café in the Railway Village.

Join us to make weird and wonderful paper sculptures! Let your imagination run wild! We’ll be taking our inspiration from artworks in the Swindon Museum & Gallery collection.

Suitable for all ages. Free to drop-in. No need to book in advance. Children must be accompanied at all times. The Café will be open for refreshments.

Look out for our ‘Roving Heritage Community Poet’, Tony Hillier, who will create and perform Spoken Word Poems on the spot as well as having some ‘he prepared earlier’!

Participants will also be encouraged to juggle their own words as memorabilia of the day.

The Bakers Arms was Built in 1846, this building was originally owned by the GWR as one of four pubs in the Railway Village. Later it became a bakery. The Bakes has been restored by the Mechanics Institution Trust with funding & support from Power to Change, RE:FRESH Swindon Borough Council and South Swindon Parish Council. It now offers space for the local community to meet.

Free self-guided trails of Swindon Railway Village

Discover ‘New Swindon’: A jaunty walk will help you to explore the Railway Village with a special virtual trail created by young people – covering themes like graffiti, buildings and local history.

Available from Friday 8th September.