ONE year ago, we learned how Swindon unexpectedly became a small part of The Grand Tour's lockdown special.

Former Top Gear trio Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May made a fleeting visit to Shaw Ridge while filming the final moments for the (at the time) newest episode of their smash-hit Amazon series.

The West Swindon leisure park had been dressed up by the film crew as an American-themed commune which was made to appear as though it had been set up on the Isle of Skye in a new town called ‘Hammondsburg’ that, in the show, had been cobbled together by producer Andy Wilman.

As Clarkson drove through, he remarked on the ten-pin bowling, multiplex cinema and sports bar before parking right in front of The Ridge and heading inside.


The rest of the scene was filmed indoors at a different location and broadcast last summer in The Grand Tour: Lochdown, which followed the car fanatics as they tested American cars from the 1970s around Scotland during the pandemic.

After ther special aired, the Adver spoke to The Ridge manager Luke Jacobs.

He had first received a call from Amazon in September 2020 and the filming crew had popped down to Swindon in November – but he was then sworn to secrecy about the TV stars’ time in the town ever since.

He said: “It was really cool but it was a very hard-kept secret! It’s quite exciting for us and great for the area, it’s put Swindon on the map.

“The show’s crew arrived at around 7am to set everything in the leisure park up and they were a good group of people. 

“The boys arrived in the afternoon in their expensive cars, which was great, and they spoke to us briefly, they seemed like nice guys.

“They were all done by 3pm, it all happened quite quickly. We ticked all the boxes for them and I think someone had recommended us to them so this might snowball into other things, who knows.

“We’ve had so many messages from people who saw the special over the weekend, it’s been mad.

“It’s a massive show so it was really surreal seeing The Ridge in it, I rewound it a few times and felt very proud."

The Grand Tour is watched by millions of people around the world as one of Amazon Prime Video’s flagship original series.