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Photograph of Polaris House, as seen from the top of the footbridge from the train station

Polaris House

Polaris House is located in Swindon, Wiltshire and is home to the RCUK joint units, alongside BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, NERC and STFC. Swindon is in the south of the UK on the 'M4 corridor' between Bristol and London.

Getting to Polaris House by Rail

Visiting Polaris House is best done by rail, as car parking on-site is extremely limited. Furthermore, the site is conveniently situated directly behind Swindon's train station.

Swindon is served by First Great Western services from:

  • London Paddington (1 hour);
  • Reading (30 minutes);
  • Didcot Parkway (15 minutes);
  • Chippenham (15 minutes);
  • Bath (30 minutes);
  • Bristol (45 minutes);
  • Cardiff (1 hour).

Road coach connections at Reading serve Heathrow airport.

Other train operators run services to Swindon from Oxford (taking around 50 minutes) and Gloucester (about 45 minutes). Please check travel times on the National Rail Enquiries website.

Polaris House is directly behind Swindon train station, therefore you should leave the station via the footbridge rather than the main entrance. If you arrive on platforms 1, 2 or 3, you should be able to easily find the footbridge as it is located between WHSmith and the underpass to the main entrance (you will not need to go down any stairs to reach it). If you arrive on platform 4, you will need to follow the signs to platforms 1,2 and 3 and look out for WHSmith, you will see the access to the footbridge immediately to the right of here. Once you have crossed the footbridge you will see Polaris House (see the picture at the top of this page for reference).

Getting to Polaris House by road

Parking at Polaris House is extremely limited, the Research Councils urge visitors to use alternative methods of transport where available. If you will be driving, please be aware that a limited number of visitors spaces are available on a "first come, first served" basis. However, disabled badge holders can reserve a space by prior arrangement - you will need to inform your host at the Research Councils to make arrangements for this. If you do not make prior arrangements for parking, or if you prefer, there is a pay and display car park available immediately off site.

If you are travelling by road, we recommend you use a route planning service such as RAC's Route Planner or The AA's Route Planner. One of the postcodes you can use for Polaris House is SN2 1ET.

Polaris House is situated in an area called 'North Star' - this is also home to Swindon College's North Star campus and the Oasis leisure centre. The road you will approach North Star on is a dual carriageway called 'Great Western Way' (A3102). We advise you to enter Swindon by J16 of the M4, you will almost immediately join Great Western Way, simply look out for signs that say North Star and Oasis leisure centre. If you arrive by other routes it is not so simple, and you are advised to look for signs to 'town centre' first, and then 'North Star'. See the table below for further information.

Once you arrive at the roundabout on Great Western Way for North Star, head in and take the road between the Oasis and Swindon College - at the end of this road you should be able to see the train station and the pay and display car park in front of you, Polaris House is to your left.

From Distance Route
London 81 miles M4 to J15, then A419, A4259 into Swindon (or continue to J16, see Bristol)
Reading 40 miles See London
Bristol 42 miles M4 to J16, then A3102 into Swindon (A3102 is Great Western Way)
Bath 38 miles See Bristol
Cardiff 77 miles See Bristol
Gloucester 35 miles A417/A419, then A4311 into Swindon.
Salisbury 41 miles A345 (to M4 J15), then A419, A4259 into Swindon.

Getting to Polaris House by air

The best airports to use when visiting us would be either London Heathrow or Bristol International.

From London Heathrow, you can take a Railair coach to Reading and then a train to Swindon. Alternatively, you could use the Heathrow Express, a train which takes you from Heathrow to Paddington, where you can then take a train direct to Swindon.

From Bristol International, you can use the Bristol International Flyer express coach service to take you to Bristol Temple Meads train station; from here you will be able to take a direct train to Swindon.

North Star House

North Star House is home to the Shared Services Centre (SSC Ltd) and is situated opposite Polaris House.

Getting to North Star House by rail

To get to North Star House by rail, follow the instructions for Polaris House. Once you have descended the steps from the footbridge, turn immediately around and walk through the pay and display car park towards the roundabout on your right. North Star House is situated just off this roundabout to your left.

Getting to North Star House by road

Again follow the instructions for Polaris House, only turn right instead of left at the end of the road between the Oasis and Swindon College.

Getting to North Star House by air

Please follow the instructions for Polaris House.

MRC London Office

MRC's London Office is located on Kemble Street in London.

For directions, please see the MRC website.

Other sites

For directions to the various laboratories and facilities maintained by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, please refer to the STFC website.

Directions to Polaris House via Google Maps can be found below:

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