The County Ground: Swindon Town

The County Ground, Swindon, Wiltshire, England, SN1 2ED
Rob / Flickr.com

The County Ground has been Swindon Town Football Club’s home since 1896, the year it opened. It shares its’ name with the home of Swindon Cricket Club, though they are separate places. To add even more confusion to the mix, Swindon Town FC did actually play their home games at the cricket ground from 1893 until 1896. The ground’s history isn’t only based around cricket, however, with the stadium being used to house prisoners of war from 1940 until the end of the Second World War. Not many stadiums can say that!

In 1951 the club spent £350 installing floodlights, becoming the first football club to have dedicated lights for the accommodation of night matches. They were first used on the second of April 1951 when the club hosted Bristol City, a rival team. They weren’t used for a league match until 1956, when Millwall were the visitors.

Stats

The County Ground Stats
Year Opened1896
Capacity15,728
Average Attendance6,553
Record Attendance32,000 (Swindon Town v Arsenal (1972))
Pitch Size100 x 64 (6400)
Former NameWiltshire County Ground
OwnerSwindon Borough Council
Clubs HostedSwindon Town F.C.
Swindon Town Stats
Year Founded1879
NicknameThe Robins
Club MascotRockin' Robin
RivalsBristol City, Bristol Rovers, Reading, Oxford
Previous StadiumsThe Croft
KitRed & White (Home) / Green Cheque (Away)
Training GroundKing Edwards Place
Shirt SponsorImagine Cruising
Team OwnerLee Power
Record GoalscorerHarry Morris (229)
Record AppearancesJohn Trollope (889)

The County Ground Photos

The County Ground Seating Plan & Where to Sit

View From The Town End - By Berswin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Arkell’s Stand dates back to 1971 and is a single-tier structure that runs along the side of the pitch. It is considered to be the main stand at the ground as it houses the changing rooms and the tunnel. The Stratton Bank is technically a single-tier that is split into two. There is no roof, with the scoreboard standing proudly at the back of the stand. The Don Rodgers Stand is opposite The Arkell’s Stand and was named after the club’s former inside left player. Finally, The Town End is home to Swindon’s most vocal fans.

Swindon Town Ticket Prices

Swindon have streamlined their pricing system, and so the amount of money you’ll pay if you want to see The Robins live will only depend on where in the ground you’d like to sit and how old you are. There are also offers for family tickets and so on.

Here are the cheapest and priciest tickets for adults and concessions in each of the match categories, not including family deals:

  • Adults: £19 - £23
  • Concessions: £15 - £17

How To Get Swindon Town Tickets

Tickets can be bought online, over the phone or in person from the club’s ticket office. Just be warned that it will cost you an extra £2.00 per ticket for the privilege of buying over the phone.

Where to Buy

Getting To The County Ground

Swindon is something of a London commuter town, so it’s reasonably easy to get to. Here are some of the ways you might want to consider:

Train - Swindon Railway Station is about ten minutes walk from the stadium, so it won’t take you long to get there if you arrive in the town by train.

Bus - Buses 1, 1A, 13, 14, 16, 16X and 18 all call reasonably close to the stadium from the town centre.

Car - From the East & the West leave the M4 at Junction 15 and get onto the A4259 then Queens Drive before getting onto the County Road that will take you to the ground. From the Midlands use the M40 to Junction 9 then use the A43, the A34 and the A420 into Swindon. From there follow the signs to The County Ground.

By Air - Bristol Airport is about forty miles away, Heathrow is just under sixty miles and Southampton Airport comes in at roughly fifty miles, so your choices are numerous.

Taxi - From Swindon Railway Station to The County Ground will take you about five minutes and cost the same number of pounds.

Parking Near The County Ground

You can park at the stadium for £10 or at nearby St. Joseph’s School for £5.

Useful Resources

The County Ground Hotels

With Bristol and London both being reasonably close to Swindon you might get pulled in by the bright lights of the big city. If not there are plenty of great places to stay in the town itself, with our favourites listed here:

The White Hart - £55+

Oxford Road, Stratton St Margaret, Swindon, SN3 4JD
This charming B&B offers a terrace, a garden, a meeting room, free Wi-Fi and free parking. More details.

Village Hotel Swindon - £70+

Shaw Ridge Leisure Park, Whitehall Way, Swindon, SN5 7DW
This member of The Village chain of hotels has a full-service spa and health club with an indoor pool, a business centre, a terrace and a garden. There’s also a restaurant, a bar, free Wi-Fi and free parking. More details.

The Sun Inn - £80+

Coate, Swindon, SN3 6AA
This pleasant Inn has just ten rooms, a restaurant, a garden, free parking and free Wi-Fi. You’ll also get a free breakfast included in the price of your room. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near The County Ground

Swindon isn’t one of the most popular destinations for those that love a drink, but there are still a couple of interesting watering holes knocking about the place. Here are some of our recommendations:

The Tap & Barrel

115 Manchester Road, Swindon, SN1 2AJ (01793 432587)
This Irish pub is one of the closet drinking establishments to the ground and so is used to football fans rocking up from time to time. It serves food, has a good drinks menu and offers plenty of TV screens for live sport.

The County Ground Hotel

115 County Road, Swindon, SN1 2EB (01793 423343)
As the name suggests, this hotel with a bar isn’t far from the ground, but it is mostly welcoming of home fans. It’s a traditional pub that serves local ales and has a pleasant beer garden.

The Merlin

Drove Road, Swindon, SN1 3AF (01793 431496)
The Merlin is, essentially, a sports bar without the name in the title. It’s friendly to away supporters and serves food, drink and has a myriad of TVs for the sport and that.

Facilities

This stadium is starting to show its age now, and although there are places to buy a bite to eat or a quick drink there aren’t many of them and they’re normally quite busy.

Prices

  • Programme: 3.00
  • Pie: 3.40
  • Cup of tea: 2.00

Hospitality

There are a number of hospitality packages available for Swindon Town matches. The Imagine Cruising Suite promises a three-course meal, refreshments at half-time and after the final whistle, and occasional visits from club legends as well as a Man of the match visit. Alternatively, the Robins Suite will see you receive a two-course meal, refreshments during and after the match, a private pay bar and a match day host.

Private Hire

The array of suites and lounges at The County Ground mean that you’re able to host a number of functions at the home of The Robins. Exhibitions, business meetings, conferences, product launches, training courses and awards ceremonies have all been hosted at the stadium in the past. The various options available can play host to from as few as 10 people up to 180 depending on the kind of event you are holding.

Stadium Tours & Museum

The club doesn’t run regular tours, but they are available if you contact the necessary member of staff in advance. You’ll see the changing rooms, the gym, the match officials’ room and the tunnel and dugouts. The tour costs £8 for adults and £4 for concessions. There is no museum.

About Swindon Town

Ben Sutherland / Flickr.com

The Robins actually had three attempts at forming as a football club, starting life in 1879 as Swindon AFC before becoming The Spartans in 1880, and not being named Swindon Town until 1883. They became a professional outfit in 1894 but weren’t elected to the Football League until 1920. The team was formed by the Reverend William Pitt of Liddington, just in case you’re ever asked.

Despite only spending one season in the Football League’s top-flight - the 1992-1993 Premier League season, if you’re wondering - Swindon Town are ranked as the 47th most successful English club in domestic terms. This might have something to do with their reaching the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1910 and 1912 or the fact that they beat Arsenal to win the League Cup in 1969. That victory should have seen them play in the equivalent of the UEFA Cup but it didn’t, owing to the fact that they were in the third-tier of English football and therefore ineligible.

The County Ground History

The County Ground’s first ever stand was built thanks to a £300 donation from nearby Arkell Brewery, with the club naming a standing after the owner, Thomas Arkell, ever since. The stadium was built on land owned by Swindon Borough Council and the club pays rent to them every year rather than buying the ground for themselves. Money has often been an issue for the football club, with improvements to the stadium being done on an incremental basis rather than in one big development.

Following the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough Disaster, all stadiums had to become all-seater structures. The County Ground followed this ruling, adding the Don Rogers Stand in 1994 and converting the terraced stand at the Shrivenham Road end of the stadium to seating shortly after.

Future Developments

Stratton Bank stand - By Richard Corbin (based on copyright claims). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Plans to relocate to a new stadium were suggested as far back as the year 2000, but since then they have been shelved in favour of the redevelopment of The County Ground. The likelihood is that the capacity will increase to 19,000 with the possibility of it increasing further to 25,000 should the demand necessitate such a move in the future. As of yet though, work has still not begun.

User comments

There are no user comments for this listing.