No. It’s not swings, it’s roundabouts. To be precise, a selection of some of online dealership Carspring’s own favourites. These aren’t just your average, run of mill roundabouts, they’re bonafide examples of roundabout greatness. We know what you’re thinking, roundabouts… not too interesting. Well, we urge you not to take the first available exit, but to give roundabouts a chance.
As President of the UK Roundabouts Appreciation Society (the Lord of the Rings), Kevin Beresford, himself once said, ‘there’s nothing more exciting than a roundabout, you can put anything on it like signs and statues.’ Indeed, the lack of acknowledgement of the sheer versatility of the roundabout is a true shame upon our nation. So here, in a roundabout way, we talk through those destined for the hall of fame.
1. The Magic Roundabouts
There are many examples of ‘magic’ roundabouts in the UK. Those on display in Hemel Hempstead, High Wycombe and Colchester are all, obviously, great. But, there’s one that stands head and shoulders above the rest. The original and best. The Swindon Magic Roundabout.
Designed by Frank Blackmore and finished in 1972, this roundabout’s magic has been baffling motorists for nearly half a century. Its five clockwise mini roundabouts feed into one central anti-clockwise ‘big daddy’ roundabout. Yes, maybe it doesn’t have that picture-postcard pretence of some of the other roundabouts on the list but it gets full-marks for originality and, well pure magic.
2.Black Cat Roundabout
When it comes it roundabouts, the Black Cat Roundabout is one of the biggest names out there. It’s certainly managed to achieve a cult status as one of the symbols of the ‘Great North Road’. While it may drive many a trucker round the bend, there’s no doubting this iconic circle encapsulates the very essence British of roundabout heritage.
Named after an old garage that opened in the 1920s on it’s hallowed periphery, today it’s minimalist approach nods to an eminent past. A simple black cat. Loved by hitchhikers in days past, its future may not be secure for too long as successive governments have set about pillaging the rich plethora of A1 roundabouts. Enjoy its glory while it lasts.
An example of one of the very finest hours in UK roundabout design, Spitfire Island truly represents the best of British. Situated just a stone’s throw away from the birthplace of the Submarine Spitfire and Jaguar cars, never in the field of roundabout history has so much been owed by so many to so few.
Well, just Tim Toilken actually, the designer of the aluminium spitfires trailing off in different directions. They’ve really come to dominate the sky above the A47. The majestic composition of the roundabout, the Spitfires and the electricity pylons in middle distance make this a truly enticing roundabout proposition. Be warned, there are rumours of the anti-roundabout brigade at the Department of Transport planning to move the ‘Sentinel’ sculpture to a different site. There’s going to be some sleepless nights ahead for all the roundabout fans out there.
Heralded by the Lord of the Rings as the number one roundabout in the UK for 2013, this one has an idyllic British composition that drives any genuine ‘roudabouty’ crazy. Weeping willow tree – check, duck pond – check, chocolate-box cottages – check. Unlike many roundabouts, this is one that you don’t have to just enjoy from behind the wheel, but could actually imagine yourself relaxing there on hot summer’s day. Crack out the ales, take a copy of the paper or a good book and while away the day. If there’s any roundabout that underlines their unsung wonder, it’s this one.
5.The City Milton Keynes
Forget New York, Paris or London, for any roundabout lover, it’s all about Milton Keynes. Nowhere in the UK has such a high concentration of roundabouts. Depending on your own view of what’s worthy of the definition ’roundabout’, this roundabout Mecca has between 300-1300 of them. While some people may view Milton Keynes as somewhere there isn’t much going on, for any self-respecting roundabout enthusiast, it can provide hours, days, if not weeks of fun. Surely, the Milton Keynes’ Tourist Board has missed a trick by not publicising this haven of circular sensations.