In the English county of Wiltshire, approximately 80 miles west of the centre of London and 65 miles west of London's Heathrow Airport, Swindon is an industrial city that includes automobile manufacturers Honda and BMW/Mini. Some Swindon MICE venues reflect its previous history, while the pubs reflect brewing traditions.
Swindon is served by two airports. Fifty miles to the southwest is Bristol Airport (BRS), which has flights only to other parts of Europe, but not to London; while 65 miles to the east is London Heathrow Airport (LHR), one of the busiest airports in the world. Trains from Paddington Station in London to Swindon take one hour and only stop at two stations before they reach it.
Swindon does not have a true conference or convention center of any notable size, but one gorgeous place to meet – and it has 37 guest rooms – is Lydiard House, the very stately, regal home of Viscount Bollingbroke and his ancestors that sits in Lydiard Park at the western edge of Swindon; today, there is also a 12-room conference centre for up to 150 persons.
MICE hotels in Swindon include the 229-room Jurys Inn Swindon, which has seven meeting rooms for up to 120 persons; the 156-room Swindon Marriott, which has nine meeting rooms for up to 280 persons, and 134-room Holiday Inn Express Swindon City Centre, which has seven meeting rooms, the largest able to host up to 50 persons; while at the junction of the M4 motorway from London and the road leading to the center of Swindon is the 171-room Hilton Swindon, which has 15 meeting rooms for up to 300 persons. Quite close to Lydiard Park is the De Vere Village Urban Resort Swindon, which has five meeting and function spaces, the largest, called Inspiration, able to cater to up to 300 persons.
Unique MICE venues in Swindon include the Monsignor Richard Twomey Training & Conference Centre, which has a conference room and a fully computerized training room that both have space for up to 14 persons each; the wonderful STEAM-Museum of the Great Western Railway, which chronicles the history of rail in this area of England, has several old steam trains on display and has space for banquets and conferences of up to 750 persons; Swindon Arts Centre, which has 212 seats, workshop areas, a seated courtyard and conference space for 45 persons; Music Entertainment Cultural Arena, which is locally called the M.E.C.A. and has 1,000 seats, reception space for 1,425 persons and banquet space for 600; and, in the suburb of Purton slightly to the northwest, Purton House, which is a Grade II listed building, has banquet and meeting space for up to 24 persons and 52 acres of space that includes a lake, 12-acre events field, clay-pigeon shooting and a paintball course.
Excellent restaurants that can look after groups include the Weighbridge Brewhouse, which occupies a Victorian industrial building (now a fabulous space), has its own beer and contains a downstairs area for 120 persons and an upstairs private room for 30; The Old Bank, which once was just that but today has a wide-ranging menu and numerous group options; well-respected Italian restaurant Da Vinci's; The Runner, a neat English pub refurbished in 2013 and formerly called The Running Horses; and Los Gatos, a Spanish tapas restaurant that sits next to a sibling, a French bistro called Les Chats.