Swansea is a city on the South Wales coast with a population of 250,000. This makes it the second largest city in Wales. It is located on the beautiful Gower Peninsula – the United Kingdom’s first designated “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”. The city lives all year round so you can visit it at any time. The summers perhaps are better because of the lovely Swansea Bay. The famous Oscar winning actress Catherine Zeta Jones was born and raised here.
How to reach there
If you are going there by car take the M4 motorway which links the city to Cardiff and London, with connections to the M6, M5, M32, M42 and M50. You can take a bus from National Express that runs frequent bus services from Cardiff, London, the Midlands, and Heathrow Airport. All buses depart and arrive at the city’s Bus Station. Heathrow Airport has daily arrivals from all around the world to the UK. By Coach, National Express provide a coach service from Heathrow Central Bus station to Swansea. If you decide going to Swansea by train, take the RailAir coach service from Heathrow Central Bus station and change at Reading Railway Station for trains direct to Swansea. First Great Western Trains offer a very frequent express service from London Paddington Station to Swansea Station, stopping at Reading, Swindon, Bristol Parkway, Newport, Cardiff Central, Bridgend, Port Talbot Parkway and Neath.
Nearby places to see
Swansea Castle or the ruins of this 13th century castle are located in the city center. The Guildhall is an elegant building of white Portland stone located in the city center’s western approach since 1934. Here you can see Sir Frank Brangwyn’s murals (originally intended for the House of Lords, but considered too frivolous) that grace the interior of the Brangwyn Hall are definitely worth viewing.
See Arthur’s Stone, which is a neolithic burial chamber or cromlech dating from 2500BCE.
Dylan Thomas’ Childhood Home is restored to reflect the environment of Dylan’s youth, Number Five Cwmdonkin Drive is open as a self catering guest house – suitable for budding writers.
Oystermouth Castle, Mumbles was founded in the early 12th century by William de Londres of Ogmore and was constructed of ringwork and bailey. In the 13th century, the castle was the principle residence of the de Braoses, the lords of Gower and most of the structure remaining today originates from this period.
You can also visit the National Waterfront Museum, open daily 10AM-5PM, it represents an exciting and innovative way to explore the development of the industrial revolution – through the eyes of the people whose lives it touched and transformed.
The Glyn Vivian Art Gallery is the gallery housed in a baroque revival Edwardian building. Here you can see permanent exhibits of paintings by local artists and a good collection of Swansea china.
Singleton Park is Swansea’s largest park. The park leads to botanical gardens located near the Sketty end of the park, and Swansea University is located at the lower end, near the sea front. The main entrance to the park is on Mumbles Road, just past the St. Helen’s Stadium.
Swansea Bay Summer Festival is the umbrella term for a number of events occurring in the Swansea Bay area from May to September. Take a walk to the Park, Singleton Park. Don’t miss the Swansea Festival of Transport held in the City Centre. That is a display of classic and modern vehicles. It’s open 10:30AM-4PM. Admission free.
The Mumbles Raft Race is held on the Mumbles sea-front. Rafts of all shapes and sizes compete in the this annual race across Swansea Bay. Another cool even is the Summer Roller which as the name says is a skating event with side attractions. Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts is an annual (held in October) is a three week bash of culture at various locations in Swansea, and the second largest such festival in the UK.
Swansea offers great B&Bs on the sea-facing Oystermouth Road and also many in the spacious suburb of Uplands. Both locations are near the city center, though lodgings in the Uplands area tend to be of better quality. You can check Leonardo’s Guest House, Glenview House, Devon View which are known to be good B&B, or if you are more adventurous you can accommodate in Riverside Caravan Park, which is a very convenient caravan park located just off the M4 Motorway Junction 45. It is set in a very green location surrounded by trees and is the nearest caravan park to Swansea city centre.