Swindon Stadium Guide

Sometimes referred to as the Abbey Greyhound Stadium, the building of Swindon Stadium began in 1947 and it opened officially in 1949. Nowadays, it hosts speedway racing, as well as the greyhounds. It is the home of the Swindon Robins – an Elite League speedway team. We say ‘nowadays’ but, in actual fact, the Robins have used Swindon Stadium ever since the team’s inception, which occurred the same year that the ground opened.

It would be unfair to refer to the Swindon Stadium as a multi-purpose venue, but as well as the racing and the speedway, it is also used to host an indoor market and car boot sale three times a week. There’s a restaurant and a bar within the grounds, the latter is based by the finishing line and offers a great view of the entire track. It’s also available for private parties, should you be looking for something like that. In short, you’re in for a fun night if you head to Swindon Stadium.

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Race Days & Times

The stadium is open for the business of greyhound racing four times a week. You can head there on Monday and Friday mornings, as well as on Wednesday and Saturday evenings.

On Mondays, the doors open at 10.30am and the first race is at 11.11am, whilst on Fridays, it’s doors at 10am and the first race is 10.30am. Wednesday evenings begin at 6.28pm, so you’ll be able to get into the venue from 5.30pm. On Saturdays, it’s a 7.25pm kick-off, meaning the doors open at 6.30pm.

Visiting

  • Ticket Prices: Should you wish to head to Swindon Stadium on a Wednesday night then you’ll be asked to pay £5. On Saturdays, that goes up to £6, what with it being the weekend and all. Kids under-16 who are accompanied by an adult will be charged £1. If you’re unsure what the dogs are like and want to get a taste of it then head along on one of the afternoons where entry is free then. All prices include admission and a Race Card.
  • Getting There: The venue is about fifteen minutes drive from Swindon Train Station. It’s just off the A419, the Blunsdon Bypass, so that’s the road you’ll be looking out for if you’re driving. Buses 4, 11 and 12 all stop within walking distance of the stadium, if you’d rather get public transport.
  • Parking There’s an impressively large car park attached to the stadium, for those of you heading there in your own vehicle.

History

Despite the building work for Swindon Stadium beginning in 1947, it didn’t open to the public until the 23rd of July, 1949. Back then, it was exclusively for the use of the Swindon Robins speedway team and greyhound racing wouldn’t be introduced for another three years. The town of Swindon had actually had two greyhound stadiums previously, but the sport had failed to catch on and they’d both closed down by the middle of the 1930s so the time was right for it to return.

On the 1st of November in 1952 more than two thousand people made their way into the Abbey Stadium to watch the first ever meeting of greyhounds there. They witnessed a dog called Don’t Care win the first race, coming home at odds of 6/1 in just under twenty seconds. To begin with it was an independent track, but not long after racing began there it was purchased by the Bristol Greyhound Racing Association. Given that they already owned tracks in Bristol and Oxford, it seemed inevitable that they would want it to come under the jurisdiction of the National Greyhound Racing Club.

It joined the auspices of the NGRC in 1968 and a new competition, named the Silver Plume, arrived in the same year. Things remained much the same for the track, with the opening of a rival stadium in Commons Platt having little to no effect on business. ADT (British Car Auctions) bought the stadium in 1983, intending to use the huge car park attached to the venue as the location for their sales team. They kept hold of it until 1997 when BS Group bought it from them.

BS Group had owned the stadium in Bristol and sold it in order to fund the purchase of Swindon. As a result, the entire setup of Bristol was moved to Swindon instead, including the bookmakers, trainers and even the Bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Service contract. BS Group would later become Stadia UK and then Gaming International. In 2014, it was announced that Swindon Stadium would be demolished to make way for some new houses and the money from selling the site would be put towards building a new greyhound track. As things currently stand that plan has been hit by delays.

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