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The catering and hospitality sector in Swindon

  • Head chef salary (September 2019) in Swindon: £30,000 a year / £14.69 per hour
  • Sous chef salary (September 2019) in Swindon: £24,900 a year / £11.98 per hour
  • Chef de partie salary (September 2019) in Swindon £21,500 a year / £10.37 per hour

Sandwiched halfway between Bristol and Reading, the Wiltshire town of Swindon is not somewhere that’s widely celebrated for being exceptional.

Once dubbed “the most average town in Britain” because its demographic makeup mirrors that of the country, Swindon has unfairly been dealt a bad reputation in the past. Things are changing, however. Surrounded by some of England’s finest countryside and containing a host of Victorian parks and gardens, museums and galleries, there’s more to Swindon than high-rise apartments.

Of the town’s museums, the Museum of Computing and the Swindon Museum & Art Gallery are the cream of the crop; the latter of which is home to one of the finest 20th-century British art collections outside of London. Other iconic buildings in Swindon include the Link Centre, the Spectrum building and the David Murray John Tower. The Spectrum building, designed by world-renowned architect Norman Foster, is now a listed building.

Swindon also has an unlikely connection with everyone’s favourite fictional spy, James Bond. In Ian Fleming’s famous books, Swindon was Bond’s favourite town. Fleming was a notable Swindon resident and is buried in the town, while the futuristic Motorola factory at Groundwell had a cameo in The World is Not Enough.

If that’s not all, Swindon also had an indirect hand in the creation of Britpop kings, Oasis, who named themselves after the town’s Oasis Leisure Centre. As the story goes, Liam Gallagher saw the venue advertised on a tour poster and had an epiphany. The rest, some might say, is history.

The food and drink scene in the town is growing, too, with a thriving and affordable casual dining culture attracting diners from all over the region.

According to the latest Blue Arrow data, the average head chef in Swindon can expect to take home up to £30,000 a year, while a sous chef earns around £24,900.

And for chefs looking to upskill, Swindon has many opportunities for training and development. New College Swindon, for example, offers courses in hospitality management and food safety in catering. If you find work with a Blue Arrow employer, you can also upskill with one of our Blue Arrow Apprenticeships.

Find out how much you can earn inSwindon

Hospitality and Catering Jobs in Swindon

Cost of living in Swindon

  • Average monthly rent in Swindon: £500-£1,100
  • Monthly travel pass: £55 (all forms of public transport)
  • Meal for two in a mid-range restaurant: £49

An average 1-bedroom apartment outside of Swindon town centre will set you back roughly £575 per month, while a high-end 3-bedroom city centre apartment costs around £1,050.

As the largest town in Wiltshire, Swindon is easy to get around. The local bus network connects the town centre with the suburbs and surrounding villages, as well as to other nearby towns such as Cricklade and Faringdon. More information on fares and tickets can be found here.

The town is located on the M4 corridor, making it easy to get London, the South West of England and South Wales by car. By train, Swindon railway station is located on the Great Western Main Line, and frequent trains to London and Bristol have contributed to a large number of commuters moving to the town.

Supermarkets in Swindon sell food and drink at the same prices you’d expect anywhere else in the country while dining out at a restaurant also represents decent value for money. A meal for one at an inexpensive eatery costs around £12.50, while a three-course meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant will set you back around £49.

The amount you’ll pay for council tax in Swindon depends on a number of variables, including the parish and value of the property. More information about council tax bands can be found here.

Bars, kitchens and restaurants in Swindon

As a large town of over 180,000 people, Swindon has a wide range of restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes to please every taste.

Located in Shaw Leisure Park, The Ridge is a popular American BBQ grill joint that offers generous portions at reasonable prices. Similarly, the lounge bar and kitchen Kenzo 72 combines traditional grill with the flavours of the Orient; it’s extensive menu including dishes as varied as contemporary fusion tapas to heritage ribeye. The first Caribbean bar and grill restaurant in Swindon, Moshan Island Grill offers lunch, dinner and a takeaway menu.

Arguably the town’s best Indian restaurant, Biplob uses authentic methods and spices to create traditional favourites as well as innovative modern dishes. The Greek Olive is a stripped-back, friendly taverna where enthusiastic staff serve up delicious fare from the Aegean. In the Old Town, Spanish stalwart Los Gatos serves various tapas dishes and daily specials all prepared in-house using locally sourced fresh produce.

Swindon also has plenty of fantastic watering holes, many of which provide top-notch food. The Hop Inn has cask ales from hundreds of small UK breweries, as well as craft beers and an extensive selection of wines and spirits. At The Tuppenny, punters can enjoy fantastic craft drinks and organic food in a cosy atmosphere. Vegetarian diners will love The Bell Inn, a charming gastropub in Purton Stoke that provides a number of gluten-free and vegan options. As for the eclectic collection of bars, local favourites include Rudi’s Bar, Longs Bar, Mackenzies, The Brass Monkey and The Bank.

Aside from independent restaurants and gastropubs, Swindon town centre is home to several national and international chain restaurants, including ASK Italian, Chiquito, Carluccio’s, Wagamama, Nando’s and Pizza Express. For a more laid-back environment, there are also plenty of cafes, bakeries and tea rooms dotted around town. Dotty’s Old Town Cafe is the ideal spot for brunch, Darkroom Espresso serves the finest blends in town and The Olive Tree Cafe serve breakfasts, snacks and light lunches in a warm, artistic setting.

A host of other establishments also provide plenty of permanent and temporary job opportunities for catering and hospitality professionals in Swindon. These include academic institutions (Oxford Brookes University’s Swindon campus; Swindon College), sports venues (including The County Ground, home of Swindon Town Football Club), and hotels (including independent businesses as well as major chains such as Village Hotel, Hotel Ibis and Premier Inn). A range of roles can also be found in the town’s primary schools, secondary schools and special schools, as well as in its hospitals and care homes.

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Where to find Blue Arrow in Swindon

Blue Arrow Swindon
Ground & 1st Floor
6 Commercial Road

Tel: 01793 642 000

Branch Opening Times
Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 5:30pm

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