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STEAM Museum of the Great Western Railway
Open today: 10:00 - 17:00
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How Steam trains were made

First to say when you go in please keep your ticket as when you then go to the designer outlet you... read more

Reviewed yesterday
swift-simba
,
Camberley, United Kingdom
Interesting look into our shared past.

Visited here today, and it's an interesting look at one of the key centres of rail history of... read more

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
EvilSpud
,
Amesbury, United Kingdom
via mobile
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All reviews signal box steam museum caerphilly castle interactive displays swindon works king george v all ages rolling stock on display next door outlet village couple of hours children and adults great for kids car park great place to visit whole family
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Reviewed 4 weeks ago

After getting over the sharp intake of breath at having to pay quite so much to get in (the NRM and Locomotion are both bigger and free after all), we have to say we really enjoyed this railway museum. It’s not just about locomotives and rolling stock, there’s a lot of very engaging exhibits covering the whole breadth of railway industry, social community and public services - obviously concerned almost exclusively with the GWR. Some of the installations illustrating the conditions and life in workshops and offices was quite moving for yours truly at least, I remember starting my railway career a very long time ago in places exactly like those. The whole museum is very well laid out, you get a printed guide on entry that takes you along a coherent and fairly well signed route through the entire exhibition. There’s some things that are a bit odd though, the guide indicates a stairway to the “wall of names”. We ascended, in the expectation of finding a display of loco or even station nameplates. Er – no, it as just a room with a big wall full of plates containing the names of various individuals and organisations supporting the museum. Hm, very worthy but it would be better in the entrance hall, and you couldn’t actually read the names anyway. Bit of a waste of space really. There’s also minor niggles like the seemingly daft rules concerning visitors rucksacks and whether you can or cannot take photos….and the loos and café are actually outside the ticket desk – inside is the blindingly obvious place to locate such things. It’s a council run place, maybe that’s the reason.
The big niggle though is that the whole place is difficult to find, poorly and inadequately signed. If you come by car it must be a total nightmare at busy times as the only parking is really provided for the McArthur Glen shopping palace and the other commercial businesses on the site. We travelled into Swindon by bus, the museum website directions are rather woolly in terms of arriving by public transport. Google Maps directions from train and bus stations are misleading and will not give the shortest pedestrian route.
Big Tip:- do this. From the bus station exit near stand 10 and cross the square with the octagonal café thingy in the middle and locate Gloucester Road. Walk along this to the junction with Station Road and turn left along that road. Continuing along the road, it becomes first Sheppard Street, then London Street and finally Bristol Street. Shortly after the junction with Emlyn Square and opposite the church-like building of the mechanics institute, turn right into the Works Tunnel. Emerge from this into the area of former works buildings housing various businesses. Steam is towards the left of the general area, adjacent to (currently) Wagamama and Pizza Express and the entrance to McArthur Glen. As a landmark, there’s a bit of the old works traverser machine with a solitary railway wagon perched on it in front of the museum. There are signs along this whole route but they aren’t consistent and run out at the last moment. It took us pensioners 20 minutes to toddle from the bus station, at a brisker pace it could be done easily in 15 or less, which is probably faster than getting a bus and then having to walk the last bit anyway.

Date of experience: January 2019
Thank Wheresmebus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

I think I most certainly visited on the wrong day as the museum was awash with school children, their teachers and helpers.
Not cheap to enter so would have thought that you would be able to access all the exhibits, but no. A large number of items were coned or taped off with signs stating that they were being used for educational purposes yet they were deserted! Surely the items should be made available for viewing when not being used as educational exhibits.
I have no objection to opening the museum in order to teach children about the GWR and all its interesting facets, but when you pay good money to view these things they really need to be viewable by the general visitor.
Under normal circumstances I think that you would need three or four hours to see everything, but on this occasion due to the exhibit closures we were finished within an hour or so. As so much was kept 'out of reach' it was a very disappointing day overall.
However, I would highly recommend the Cafe/Restaurant, the food/drink was excellent and sensibly priced.

Date of experience: November 2018
Thank Robarke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

As part of a year 5 topic on Isambard Kingdom Brunel, we visited the STEAM museum today. The museum provided an educational and engaging hands on experience for the children with very accommodating and knowledgeable staff.
A fantastic day out for families and an enriching place for school visits.

Date of experience: January 2019
Thank Horkana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

in the late 50's i was a train spotter so a visit Took !e back to the time of steam.
my granddaughter had a great time climbing trains.and looking at living history.
Well worth.a.visit.

Date of experience: August 2018
Thank Tony B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Lovely day out for young and old. So interesting and amazing looking at the Engines and reading about the history of GWR

Date of experience: January 2019
Thank daveym69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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