Swansea

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Billed as the ‘City by the Sea’, Swansea was once described as an ‘ugly, lovely town’ by Dylan Thomas but since then it has changed beyond recognition. Just as lively and energetic as its sister city of Cardiff, Swansea is somehow more traditionally Welsh. The entire waterfront area of the city has been redeveloped and there are some truly wonderful cultural attractions and incredible museums in the area for you to visit. Just outside of the city there is beautiful Swansea Bay which offers beautiful beaches and incredible surfing.

The Vale of Neath is locally known as waterfall country and is filled with beautiful scenery to enjoy and as you explore the sights and beaches of the Gower Peninsula you will come across pretty little resort towns like Oystermouth and Mumbles which make the perfect places to spend a lazy afternoon. Swansea is about so much more than just the city centre so make sure you get out and about to see everything that the place has to offer its visitors.

 

Photo by Tim J Keegan
Photo by Tim J Keegan

Enjoy the Beaches

Swansea is very much a place where the beaches take centre stage; take Three Cliffs one of the regions prettiest beaches, this is probably one of the most photographed areas in the whole of Wales. Here the wide and sweeping beach is bordered by rolling sand dunes, watched over by the ruined remains of Pennard Castle. For all of its natural beauty the beach is generally quiet, though you will see riders with their horses having the occasional gallop along the shoreline, and the occasional brave surfer attempting to ride the waves back to the beach. If you love nothing more than a walk along a secluded beach, Swansea is perfect for you, there are a number of beaches just outside the city that offer peace and solitude amid outstanding beauty.

Explore the Area

Oxwich Castle attracts many visitors, though the remains that are here now are those of a fabulous Tudor mansion rather than a castle; there was once a fortified building on the site which gave the place its name. The current ruins date from the sixteenth century and can only be described as remnants of a truly sumptuous Tudor dwelling place. The remains of the mansion are on the headland overlooking the sweeping expanse of Oxwich Bay.

The bay itself was once a smugglers haven but these days the Bay attracts families looking to enjoy a beach that offers sheltered bathing and safe waters. The beach here is also popular with those who enjoy water sports such as water skiing and windsurfing. This is a blue flag beach so all of those that come here can be assured of the cleanliness of the sand and the water. There are plenty of walking trails around the bay that not only take you through some beautiful scenery themselves, but also offer you spectacular views across the bay.

Relax at the Seaside

Mumbles is every inch the traditional Victorian seaside resort, the original Victorian Pier has been restored and it is home to a traditional lighthouse. Mumbles is popular with those who enjoy sailing and being out on the water as the waters here are quite calm. This pretty little resort town has a reputation when it comes to serving good food, and you will find an excellent selection of restaurants in which to indulge your taste buds as well as plenty of good bars and shops. From a hilltop that overlooks the resort stands Oystermouth Castle, originally a Norman Watchtower it was built to stand strong against any invaders that would dare to attack. There are beautiful gardens around the ruins which offer a banqueting hall and state rooms to explore. From the park lands you can enjoy some incredible views out across the bay.

Swansea City Centre

The city centre also has its own attractions but when you are surrounded by some many other beautiful sights it is easy to forget about those on your doorstep. Plantasia is an amazing futuristic style indoor garden, encased within a huge glass pyramid, in there you will find climatic regions from around the world from rainforest to desert as well as indoor waterfalls and cheeky Tamarin Monkeys, as well as reptiles and fish. It’s a great place to spend a couple of hours if the weather is not in your favour.

The city is also home to the Dylan Thomas Centre and the National Heritage Centre where you can learn just about everything you could ever need to know about the country of Wales. Swansea is a city that caters for all tastes, whether you want to spend your time here out on the water in Swansea Bay or relaxing on the beautiful beaches, or exploring the attractions of the city, there really is something for everyone no matter your tastes or your budget.

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