Swindon's Magic Roundabout

Swindon's Magic, an Insane 6-Circle Roundabout

Swindon's Magic Roundabout is one of the most complex rotaries in the world. Located in Swindon, a large town within the Borough of Swindon and ceremonial county of Wiltshire, in South West England, it has five smaller roundabouts direct traffic clockwise while cars travel counterclockwise around the inner circle.

Located near the County Ground, home of Swindon Town F.C, it consists of five mini-roundabouts arranged around a sixth central, anticlockwise roundabout. It was originally called County Islands Ring Junction, but later was officially named The Magic Roundabout, a reference to a 1960s-era European television show for children.

Built at the crossroads of five large roadways, this juggernaut of a junction opened in September 1972 designed by engineer Frank Blackmore of the British Transport and Road Research Laboratory. It’s perhaps one of the only places in UK where such a structure will be found. It’s a baffling and intimidating experience for newcomers. In 2009 it was voted the fourth scariest junction in Britain.

Though there have been 14 serious accidents and just over a hundred lesser ones recorded in 25 years, that rate is less than one would expect for such a busy junction. Most accidents have involved cyclists and motorcyclists and now a cycle lane running right round the outside of the roundabout, with pelican crossings, should ensure that the Magic Roundabout becomes as safe as it is efficient.