The Magic Roundabout

Monday, 18th June 2007 by

Last week I started working in the nearby town of Swindon, where I asked my colleagues about the local sights. The unanimous answer to the best Swindon has to offer was “The Magic Roundabout“.

It may be saying something negative about the town if its most notable feature is a traffic junction, but the Magic Roundabout is truly a wonder of the world. And by “wonder” I don’t mean “wow” I mean “I wonder why they built such a stupidly complex junction”.

You see, the Magic Roundabout is in fact 5 small roundabouts surrounding one large centre roundabout. For the benefit of our non-British visitors I shall do my very best to explain…

In the U.K. we drive on the left hand side of the road, so on approach to a roundabout you give way to traffic coming from the right hand side. You then go clockwise around the roundabout, exiting where you see fit.

The Magic Roundabout complicates matters in that the moment you leave one roundabout you are at the junction of another. So, by aiming right on each roundabout you would actually traverse the central roundabout in an anti-clockwise manner. At least that’s the idea.

The roundabout was officially renamed from “County Islands” in the 90s because no-one used it official name, and roundabout fans Swindonweb even sell “I survived The Magic Roundabout” T-shirts.


Thanks: Sfac, Russ, Jonathan Rawle, Arno Beckmann, Luke Sleeman, Stephen, The Red Max, Hans, John DeRoo, AndrewAnorak and my workmates.