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How to have a damn and blast whilst in Swindon

Swindon often struggles to be represented in a good light – but I had to laugh at the article yesterday from Swindons premier free paper SwindonLink.

The article entitled: How to have a blast whilst in Swindon (SwindonLink 1/2/2017 is a veritable rollercoaster ride through things that aren’t in Swindon, aren’t open or strange irrelevancies.

I’d assumed it was written by a volunteer contributor or student but we have the creator of the Ocelot and ex-Daily Mail, ex-Evening Advertiser reporter Jamie Hill to thank for this gem. I assume Jamie is paid by the word and also that he was having an off day.

The opening paragraph promises that visitors to Swindon will be ‘in for a treat’ and that anyone in a travel party will feel happy and entertained. Sounds great – what follows is a handy guide to the area, as Jamie puts it ‘to have a good ol’ blast’.

First up Shopping – we are advised that there are shops, and are given the helpful tip that in order to fully enjoy shopping it may be worth visiting ‘after payday’.

Here, you can expect to find almost every well-known national and international retailer so it may be worth visiting after payday to fully enjoy spending your days here!

Next up – we are into the section on Casinos. Swindon doesn’t have any casinos, but this doesn’t deter SwindonLink from making it number two on the handy Swindon visitors guide. We are told that the ‘Casino Lover’ amongst us, during the visit to Swindon may like to drive a further 50 minutes to Reading.

If you’re not inclined to drive a quarter of the way across the country to feed your gambling habit, we’re advised that we can gamble online and a link is provided to online casinos. Strangely the only link provided in the entire article.

 If you’re a casino lover looking for a little gambling action while visiting Swindon, then maybe pop in on your drive up here or alternatively curb your cravings by visiting the numerous UK online casinos ( available.

We’re then on to safer ground – with the famous Great Western Railway Museum. That’s a fantastic place and should arguably have come above gambling in Reading or the existence of shops in Swindon – it may also have benefited from a web link.

Next up we seem to be needing the use of a car again. This time Jamie advises us to go visit ‘Go Ape’ in Swindon forest. Now the closest ‘Go Ape‘ facility to Swindon I could find is certainly in a forest – but its the Forest of Dean over 50 miles away in Gloucestershire. Sadly in the opposite direction from the casino.

With the next item I thought for a second that Jamie had got us back on track with advice to visit the Maize Maze.

The Maize Maze is a great day out for all the family as it allows you to take the time to become one with nature and walk around the amazing maze! There is a picnic area and a shop that offers great cakes and snacks too.

That sounds great…… unfortunately… as the ‘Maize Maze’ website explains (he didn’t include a link), the maize this year only managed to grow to a height of 6 inches in places. Far from ‘becoming one with nature and walking around the amazing maze’ – it seems you would be able to step over it, which is why it is closed apparently until next year.

Finally the handy guide, closes as it began with another vague title. This time simply Parks. It doesn’t bother to list any, other than to say that they are on the land, and that Swindon is full of them (they certainly outnumber casinos).

One of the great things about Swindon is that it is a land enriched with Victorian parks and gardens. Swindon is full or areas that offer extended woodland and centres of cultural heritage so you will never be short of things to do

Swindon is a fantastic place with lots to see and do – and I can only assume that SwindonLink were having an off day but as a Wiltshireman might say ‘ It did make I chuckle’.