Swindon is located near the small River Ray, in the county of Wiltshire, approximately 80 miles west of London and 35 miles north of Salisbury.
The town has a population of around 182,000. Administratively it is within the Borough of Swindon which covers an area of approximately 210 sq kms.
It is the largest industrial and commercial centre in the county and owes its initial development to the establishment of the Great Western Railway works in the 19th-century. There has been much development in recent years and the town can boast excellent shopping, leisure and entertainment facilities. There are some notable historic sites, including Barbury Castle, an ancient hill fort at nearby Chiseldon, and many visitor attractions in and around the town.
The town's history dates back to Saxon times. Swindon has seen many changes from the agricultural beginnings of its original settlement to its development into a market town on a main woollen route. The arrival of the Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal, and Brunel's Great Western Railway, rapidly transformed the rural community into a large industrial town during the 19th century.
Historically the town's economy was based upon the huge Swindon Railway Works, but there was also quarrying, building, engineering and clothing firms. Today the major employers include Honda, Intel, BMW car factories, Motorola and Ubinetics. Pharmaceutical companies including Patheon and Cardinal Health are based here, as are W H Smith's distribution centre and headquarters. Insurance and financial services such as the Nationwide Building Society and Zurich Fnancial Services are also in the town.
Swindon is referred to in the Domesday Book as Suindune, a name believed to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon word swine and British word dun meaning literally pig hill, or possibly Sweyn's hill where Sweyn would be the local landlord.
Liddington Castle is the highest point in the county of Wiltshire. It is south of Swindon, and is clearly visible on Google Maps Satellite view, east ....