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City and County of Swansea
Dinas a Sir Abertawe
—  Principal area & City  —
A view of Swansea from Kilvey Hill

Coat of arms
Motto: Floreat Swansea
Location of the City and County of Swansea (Light Green) within Wales (Dark Green)
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country Wales
Ceremonial county Swansea
Historic county Glamorganshire
Admin HQ Swansea Guildhall
Town charter 1158-1184
City status 1969
Government
 - Type Principal area, City
 - Leader of
Swansea Council
Christopher Holley
 - Welsh Assembly and UK Parliament Consituencies Swansea East,
Swansea West,
Gower
 - European Parliament Wales
 - MPs Martin Caton (Lab),
Sian James (Lab),
Alan John Williams (Lab)
Area
 - Total 145.9 sq mi (378 km2)
Population
 - Total Unitary Authority area: 228,100, Ranked 3rd (2,007 est.)
Urban area within Unitary Authority: 169,880 (2,001)
Wider Urban Area: 270,506 (2,001)
 Density 1,556.6/sq mi (601/km2)
 - Ethnicity 97.8% White
1.2% S. Asian
0.3% Afro-Caribbean
0.3% Chinese
Time zone GMT (UTC0)
 - Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
Post codes SA1-SA7
Area code(s) 01792
ISO 3166-2 GB-SWA
ONS code 00NX
OS grid reference SS6593
NUTS 3 UKL18
Website http://www.swansea.gov.uk/

Swansea (pronounced /ˈswɒnzi/ SWONZ-ee, Welsh: Abertawe, "mouth of the Tawe") is a coastal city and county in Wales. Swansea is in the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands. Swansea is the second most populous city in Wales after Cardiff and the third most populous county in Wales after Cardiff and Rhondda Cynon Taf. During its 19th century industrial heyday, Swansea was one of the key centres of the world copper industry,[1] earning the nickname 'Copperopolis'.[2]

Contents

History

Archaeological finds are mostly confined to the Gower Peninsula, and include items from the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age. The Romans visited the area, as did the Vikings.

Swansea originally developed as a Viking trading post, and the name Swansea is derived from Sveinn's island (Old Norse: Sveinsey) - the reference to an island may refer to a bank at the mouth of the river Tawe, or perhaps an area of raised ground in marshes.[3] The name is pronounced Swans-y /ˈswɒnzi/), not Swan-sea.[4] The Welsh name first appears in Welsh poems at the beginning of the 13th century, as "Aber Tawy".[5]

The earliest known form of the modern name is Sweynesse, which was used in the first charter granted sometime between 1158–1184 by William de Newburgh, 3rd Earl of Warwick. The charter gave Swansea the status of a borough, granting the townsmen, called burgesses certain rights to develop the area. A second charter was granted in 1215 by King John. In this charter, the name appears as Sweyneshe. The town seal which is believed to date from this period names the town as Sweyse.[5][6]

Following the Norman Conquest, a marcher lordship was created under the title of Gower. It included land around Swansea Bay as far as the River Tawe, the manor of Kilvey beyond the Tawe, and the peninsula itself. Swansea was designated chief town of the lordship and received a borough charter some time between 1158 and 1184 (and a more elaborate one in 1304).[7]

The port of Swansea initially traded in wine, hides, wool, cloth and later in coal.[7] As the Industrial Revolution reached Wales, the combination of port, local coal, and trading links with the West Country, Cornwall and Devon, meant that Swansea was the logical place to site copper smelting works. Smelters were operating by 1720 and proliferated. Following this, more coal mines (everywhere from north-east Gower to Clyne and Llangyfelach) were opened and smelters (mostly along the Tawe valley) were opened and flourished. Over the next century and a half, works were established to process arsenic, zinc and tin and to create tinplate and pottery. The city expanded rapidly in the 18th and 19th centuries, and was termed "Copperopolis".[7]

From the late 17th century to 1801, Swansea's population grew by 500% — the first official census (in 1841) indicated that, with 6,099 inhabitants, Swansea had become significantly larger than Glamorgan's county town, Cardiff, and was the second most populous town in Wales behind Merthyr Tydfil (which had a population of 7,705). However, the census understated Swansea's true size, as much of the built-up area lay outside the contemporary boundaries of the borough; the total population was actually 10,117. Swansea's population was later overtaken by Merthyr in 1821 and by Cardiff in 1881, although in the latter year Swansea once again surpassed Merthyr.[7] Much of Swansea's growth was due to migration from within and beyond Wales — in 1881, more than a third of the borough's population had been born outside Swansea and Glamorgan, and just under a quarter outside Wales.[8]

High Street in 1915

Through the 20th century, heavy industries in the town declined, leaving the Lower Swansea Valley filled with derelict works and mounds of waste products from them. The Lower Swansea Valley Scheme (which still continues) reclaimed much of the land. The present Enterprise Zone was the result and, of the many original docks, only those outside the city continue to work as docks; North Dock is now Parc Tawe and South Dock became the Marina.

Little city-centre evidence, beyond parts of the road layout, remains from medieval Swansea; its industrial importance made it the target of bombing, known as the Blitz in World War II, and the centre was flattened completely. The city has three Grade One listed buildings, these being the Guildhall, Swansea Castle and the Morriston Tabernacle.[9]

Whilst the city itself has a long history, many of the city centre buildings are post-war as much of the original centre was destroyed by World War II bombing on the 19th, 20th and 21st of February 1941 (the 'Three Nights Blitz').[10] Within the city centre are the ruins of the castle, the Marina, the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea Museum, the Dylan Thomas Centre, the Environmental Centre, and the Market, which is the largest covered market in Wales.[11] It backs onto the Quadrant shopping centre which opened in 1978 and the adjoining St David's Centre opened in 1982. Other notable modern buildings are the BT Tower (formerly the GPO tower) built around 1970, Alexandra House built in 1976, County Hall built in 1982. Swansea Leisure Centre opened in 1977; it has undergone extensive refurbishment which retained elements of the original structure and re-opened in March 2008. Behind it stands the National Waterfront Museum, opened in October 2005.

Swansea was granted city status in 1969,[12] to mark Prince Charles's investiture as the Prince of Wales. The announcement was made by the prince on 3 July 1969, during a tour of Wales.[13] It obtained the further right to have a lord mayor in 1982.[14]

Governance

The Guildhall

Local government

In 1887, Swansea was a township at the mouth of the river Tawe, covering 4,562 acres (1,846 ha) in the county of Glamorgan.[15] There were three major extensions to the boundaries of the borough, first in 1835, when Morriston, St Thomas, Landore, St John-juxta-Swansea, and part of Llansamlet parish were added, and again in 1889 when areas around Cwmbwrla and Trewyddfa were included, and in 1918 when the borough was enlarged to include the whole of the ancient parish of Swansea, the southern part of Llangyfelach parish, all of Llansamlet parish, Oystermouth Urban District and Brynau parish.[16][17]

In 1889, Swansea attained county borough status,[18] and it was granted city status in 1969, which was inherited by the Swansea district when it was formed by the merger of the borough and Gower Rural District in 1974.[19] In 1996, Swansea became one of 22 unitary authorities with the addition of part of the former Lliw Valley Borough. The new authority received the name 'City and County of Swansea' (Welsh: Dinas a Sir Abertawe).[20]

Swansea was once a staunch stronghold of the Labour Party which, until 2004, had overall control of the council for 24 years.[21] The Liberal Democrats are the largest group in the administration that took control of Swansea Council in the 2004 local elections. For 2009/2010, the Lord Mayor of Swansea is Councillor Alan Lloyd.

Position Current Representatives
Members of Parliament
Alan Williams, Labour, elected 1964 · Martin Caton, Labour, elected 1997 · Sian James, Labour, elected 2005
City & County Council Members
Viv Abbott, Liberal Democrats · Veronyca Bates Hughes, Liberal Democrats · Peter Black, Liberal Democrats · Nicholas Bradley, Labour · June Burtonshaw, Labour · Mark Child, Labour · Audrey Clement, Independent · Anthony Colburn, Conservative · John Davies, Labour · Mike Day, Liberal Democrats · Ryland Doyle, Labour · June Evans, Independent · William Evans, Labour · Wendy Fitzgerald, Independent · Robert Francis-Davies, Labour · Mair Gibbs, Labour · John Hague, Independent · Michael Hedges, Labour · Chris Holley, Liberal Democrats · Nichola Holley, Liberal Democrats · Paxton Hood-Williams, Conservative · David Hopkins, Labour · Dai Howells, Independent · Barbara Hynes, Labour · Dennis James, Labour · Billy Jones, Labour · David I.E. Jones, Labour · Jeffrey Jones, Liberal Democrats · Mary Jones, Liberal Democrats · Mervyn Jones, Independent · Susan Jones, Independent · Alan Jopling, Independent · Jim Kelleher, Liberal Democrats · René Kinzett, Conservative · Erika Kirchner, Labour · Richard Lewis, Liberal Democrats · Alan Lloyd, Labour · Bob Lloyd, Labour · Keith Marsh, Independent · Penny Matthews, Labour · Peter May, Liberal Democrats · Paul Meara, Liberal Democrats · John Miles, Labour · Keith Morgan, Liberal Democrats · Hazel Morris, Labour · John Newbury, Liberal Democrats · Byron Owen, Labour · David Phillips, Labour · Cheryl Philpott, Liberal Democrats · Darren Price, Plaid · Huw T Rees, Liberal Democrats · Stuart Rice, Liberal Democrats · Ioan Richard, People's Representative · Christine Richards, Labour · Alan Robinson, Independent · Gyln Seabourne, Labour · Margaret Smith, Conservative · Paulette Smith, Labour · Roger Ll. Smith, Labour · Rob Speht, Liberal Democrats · June Stanton, Liberal Democrats · Rob Stewart, Labour · Gareth Sullivan, Independent · Ceinwen Thomas, Labour · Des Thomas, Labour · Graham Thomas, Liberal Democrats · Janet Thomas, Liberal Democrats · Nick Tregoning, Liberal Democrats · Paul Tucker, Independent · Sue Waller Thomas, Liberal Democrats · Jayne Woodman, Liberal Democrats

Welsh politics

The National Assembly constituencies are:

The city is also part of the South Wales West regional constituency and is served by Peter Black AM, Alun Cairns AM, Dai Lloyd AM and Bethan Jenkins AM.

UK politics

The UK parliamentary constituencies in Swansea are:

Twinning

Swansea is twinned with[22]

Connections with:

Friendship link with:

Geography

Satellite photo of Swansea

Boundaries

The "City and County of Swansea" local authority area is bordered by unitary authorities of Carmarthenshire to the north, and Neath Port Talbot to the east. Swansea is bounded by Swansea Bay and the Bristol Channel to the south.

Physical description

The local government area is 378 km² (146 sq mi) in size, about 2% of the area of Wales. It includes a large amount of open countryside and a central urban and suburban belt.[24]

Swansea can be roughly divided into four physical areas. To the north are the Lliw uplands which are mainly open moorland, reaching the foothills of the Black Mountain. To the west is the Gower Peninsula with its rural landscape dotted with small villages. To the east is the coastal strip around Swansea Bay. Cutting though the middle from the south-east to the north-west is the urban and suburban zone stretching from the Swansea city centre to the towns of Gorseinon and Pontarddulais.[24]

The most populated areas of Swansea are Morriston, Sketty and the city centre. The chief urbanised area radiates from the city centre towards the north, south and west; along the coast of Swansea Bay to Mumbles; up the Swansea Valley past Landore and Morriston to Clydach; over Townhill to Cwmbwrla, Penlan, Treboeth and Fforestfach; through Uplands, Sketty, Killay to Dunvant; and east of the river from St. Thomas to Bonymaen, Llansamlet and Birchgrove. A second urbanised area is focused on a triangle defined by Gowerton, Gorseinon and Loughor along with the satellite communities of Penllergaer and Pontarddulais.[24]

Rhossili Beach as seen from headland, Gower Peninsula

About three quarters of Swansea is bordered by the sea—the Loughor Estuary, Swansea Bay and the Bristol Channel. The two largest rivers in the region are the Tawe which passes the city centre and the Loughor which flows on the northern border with Carmarthenshire.[24]

In the local authority area, the geology is complex, providing diverse scenery. The Gower Peninsula was the first area in the United Kingdom to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Excluding the urbanised area in the south-eastern corner of the county, the whole of the Gower Peninsula is part of an AONB.[25] Swansea has numerous urban and country parklands.[26] The region has featured regularly in the Wales in Bloom awards.[27]

The geology of the Gower Peninsula ranges from carboniferous limestone cliffs along its southern edge from Mumbles to Worm's Head and the salt-marshes and dune systems of the Loughor estuary to the north. The eastern, southern and western coasts of the peninsula are lined with numerous sandy beaches both wide and small, separated by steep cliffs. The South Wales Coalfield reaches the coast in the Swansea area. This had a great bearing on the development of the city of Swansea and other towns in the county like Morriston. The inland area is covered by large swathes of grassland common overlooked by sandstone heath ridges including the prominent Cefn Bryn. The traditional agricultural landscape consists in a patchwork of fields characterised by walls, stone-faced banks and hedgerows. Valleys cut through the peninsula and contain rich deciduous woodland.[25]

Much of the county is hilly with the main area of upland being located in the council ward of Mawr. Areas of high land up to 185 metres (600 ft) range across the central section of the county and form the hills of Kilvey, Townhill and Llwynmawr, separating the centre of Swansea from its northern suburbs. Cefn Bryn, a ridge of high land, forms the backbone of the Gower Peninsula. Rhossili Down, Hardings Down and Llanmadoc Hill form land features over 600 ft high. The highest point of the county is located at Penlle'r Castell at 374 metres (1215 ft) on the northern border with Carmarthenshire.[24]

Bracelet Bay, Mumbles and Swansea Bay, seen from the Mumbles Lighthouse.

Climate

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Avg high °C 6 6 9 11 15 17 19 18 16 13 9 8
Mean °C 6 6 8 10 13 16 18 17 15 12 8 7
Avg low °C 4 4 7 8 12 14 16 16 13 11 8 6
Precipitation cm 7.07 5.19 4.51 4.91 3.63 4.22 5.07 5.03 5.53 8.08 7.09 7.11 67.44
Sources: uk.weather.com,[28] MSN News & Weather[29]
Swansea
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
71
 
4
6
 
 
52
 
4
6
 
 
45
 
7
9
 
 
49
 
8
11
 
 
36
 
12
15
 
 
42
 
14
17
 
 
51
 
16
19
 
 
50
 
16
18
 
 
55
 
13
16
 
 
81
 
11
13
 
 
71
 
8
9
 
 
71
 
6
8
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: uk.weather.com & MSN

Typical of the west of Britain, Swansea has a temperate climate. As part of a coastal region, it experiences a milder climate than the mountains and valleys inland. This same location, though, leaves Swansea exposed to rain-bearing winds from the Atlantic: figures from the Met Office make Swansea the wettest city in Britain.[30] In midsummer, Swansea's temperatures can reach into the high twenties Celsius, depending on the weather; the hottest recorded temperature in Swansea was 31.6°C, recorded in 1980.[31]

Demography

Population of Swansea
Year Population
1804 19,794
1811 21,338 7.8
1821 25,426 19.16
1831 32,064 26.11
1841 38,962 21.51
1851 47,260 21.30
1861 68,743 45.46
1871 90,226 31.25
1881 111,709 23.81
1891 132,956 19.02
1901 153,577 15.51
1911 177,411 15.52
1921 191,417 7.89
1931 206,558 7.91
1941 205,194 -0.66
1951 203,854 -0.65
1961 214,834 5.39
1971 226,406 5.39
1981 223,260 -1.39
1991 233,145 4.43
2001 223,293 -4.23
2006 227,100* 1.7
source: Vision of Britain except * ,
which is estimated by the
Office for National Statistics
Historical populations are calculated
with the modern boundaries

According to Census 2001 data, the population in the unitary authority was 225,000, and Swansea was the 34th largest settlement in the United Kingdom,[32] while the wider urban area was the 25th largest.[33] Around 82% of the population were born in Wales and 13% born in England;[34] 13.4% were Welsh speakers.[35]

From 1804 until the 1920s, Swansea experienced continuous population growth. The 1930s and 1940s was a period of slight decline. In the 1950s and 1960s the population grew and then fell in the 1970s. The population grew again in the 1980s only to fall again in the 1990s. In the 2000s, so far, Swansea is experiencing a small amount of population growth; the local authority area had an estimated population of 228,100 in 2007.[36]

The population of the Swansea urban area within the unitary authority boundaries in 2001 was about 169,880, and the council population was 223,301. The other urban area within the unitary authority, centred on Gorseinon, had a population of 19,273 in 2001. However, the wider urban area including most of Swansea Bay has a total population of 270,506 (making it the 25th largest urban area in England and Wales).[37] Over 218,000 individuals are white; 1,106 are of mixed race; 2,215 are Asian - mainly Bangladeshi (1,015); 300 are black; and 1,195 belong to other ethnic groups.[38]

Culture

The Royal Institution of South Wales was founded in 1835 as the Swansea Literary and Philosophical Society.

Performing arts

Brangwyn Hall main entrance

The Grand Theatre in the centre of the city is a Victorian theatre which celebrated its centenary in 1997 and which has a capacity of a little over a thousand people. It was opened by the celebrated opera singer Adelina Patti and was refurbished from 1983–1987. The annual programme ranges from pantomime and drama to opera and ballet. A new wing of the Grand, the Arts Wing, has a studio suitable for smaller shows, with a capacity of about 200. Fluellen Theatre Company is a professional theatre company based in Swansea performing regularly at the Grand Theatre. The company also presents Lunchtime Theatre on the last Saturday of every month. The Taliesin building on the university campus has a theatre, opened in 1984. Other theatres include the Dylan Thomas Theatre (formerly the Little Theatre) near the marina, and one in Penyrheol Leisure Centre near Gorseinon. In the summer, outdoor Shakespeare performances are a regular feature at Oystermouth Castle, and Singleton Park is the venue for a number of parties and concerts, from dance music to outdoor Proms. Outside the city, Pontardawe hosts an annual folk festival. Another folk festival is held on Gower.[39] Standing near Victoria Park on the coast road is the Patti Pavilion; this was the Winter Garden from Adelina Patti's Craig-y-Nos estate in the upper Swansea valley, which she donated to the town in 1918. It is used as a venue for music shows and fairs. The Brangwyn Hall is a multi-use venue with events such as the graduation ceremonies for Swansea University. Every autumn, Swansea hosts a Festival of Music and the Arts, when international orchestras and soloists visit the Brangwyn Hall. The Brangwyn Hall is praised for its acoustics for recitals, orchestral pieces and chamber music alike.[40]

Festivals

Swansea hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1863, 1891, 1907, 1926, 1964, 1982 and 2006. The 2006 event occupied the site of the former Felindre tinplate works to the north of the city and featured a strikingly pink main tent. The international BeyondTv film festival has been hosted in Swansea since 2000 by Swansea based media charity Undercurrents. In 2009 Swansea Council launched Wales only week long St David's Week festival in venues throughout the city.

Welsh language

There are many Welsh-language chapels and churches in the area. Welsh-medium education is a popular and growing choice for both English- and Welsh-speaking parents, leading to claims in the local press in autumn 2004 that, to accommodate demand, the council planned to close an English-medium school in favour of opening a new Welsh-medium school.[41] The Welsh-medium school is named Bryn Tawe, and is located in the buildings of the former Penlan boys' school, which itself was merged with the girls' school at Mynyddbach on that site to become Daniel James Community School. This arrangement was a subject of considerable controversy in the period leading up to Bryn Tawe's inauguration.

45% of the rural council ward Mawr speak Welsh, as do 38% of the ward of Pontarddulais. Clydach, Kingsbridge and Upper Loughor all have levels of more than 20%. By contrast, the urban St. Thomas has one of the lowest figures in Wales, at 6.4%, a figure only barely lower than Penderry and Townhill wards.[42]

Food

Local produce includes cockles and laverbread which are sourced from the Loughor estuary. Local Gower salt marsh lamb is produced from sheep which are raised in the salt marshes of the Loughor estuary.[43]

Notable people

People from Swansea are known locally as Swansea Jacks, or just Jacks. The source of this nickname is not clear. Some attribute it to Swansea Jack, the life-saving dog.[44][45]

On the literary stage, the poet Dylan Thomas is perhaps the best-known. He was born in the town and grew up at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands. There is a memorial to him in the nearby Cwmdonkin Park; his take on Swansea was that it was an "ugly lovely town". In the 1930s Thomas was a member of a group of local artists, writers and musicians known as The Kardomah Gang.[46]

Other notable (often former) residents include:

Sport

Strong local rivalries exist between Swansea and Cardiff in football, Swansea and Llanelli and the Ospreys and Scarlets in Rugby.

Swansea City A.F.C. moved from the Vetch Field to the new Liberty Stadium at the start of the 2005–2006 season, winning promotion to League One in their final year at their old home.

Swansea has four clubs that play in Welsh Football League: Garden Village, Morriston Town, South Gower and West End.

In 2003, Swansea RFC merged with Neath RFC to form the Neath-Swansea Ospreys rugby club. Swansea RFC remained at St Helen's in semi-professional form, but the Ospreys moved into the Liberty Stadium in Landore for the start of the 2005–2006 season. Neath-Swansea rugby games used to be hotly-contested matches, such that there was some debate about whether a team incorporating both areas was possible. The team came fifth in the Celtic League in their first year of existence and topping that league in their second year.

St Helens Rugby and Cricket Ground is the home of Swansea RFC and Glamorgan County Cricket Club have previously played matches there.[47] In this ground, Sir Garfield Sobers hit six sixes in one over; the first time this was achieved in a game of first-class cricket. The final ball landed on the ground past the Cricketers' pub just outside the ground.[48] It is also the home of the tallest floodlight stand in Europe.[49]

Swansea's rugby league side plays seven miles outside the county in the small town of Ystalyfera. They are known as the Swansea Valley Miners but were formed as the Swansea Bulls in 2002.

The Swansea Bowls Stadium opened in early 2008. The stadium hosted the World Indoor Singles and Mixed Pairs Championship in April 2008 and the Gravelles Welsh International Open Bowls Championships in 2009.

Religion

In 2001, 158,457 people in the local authority area (71 per cent) stated their religion as Christian, 44,286 (20 per cent) no religion, 16,800 (7.5 per cent) did not state a religion and 2,167 were Muslim.[50] There are small communities of other religions, each making up less than 1 per cent of the total population.[50]

Swansea is part of the Anglican Diocese of Swansea and Brecon and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Menevia. The Catholic see is based in Swansea at Cathedral Church of Saint Joseph in the Greenhill area. The city is home to 10 per cent of the total Welsh Muslim population;[51] Swansea's Muslim community is raising money to open a new central mosque and community centre in the former St Andrews United Reform Church. This would be in addition to the four other existing mosques (Swansea University Mosque, Hafod Mosque, Imam Khoei Mosque and the original Swansea City Mosque).[52] Dharmavajra Kadampa Buddhist Centre, Swansea Synagogue and Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall are all located in the Uplands area. The international Kagyu Buddhist group 'Pulpung Changchub Dargyeling' [2] also holds regular meetings in Swansea.

St. Mary's Church in St. Mary's Square

Swansea, like Wales in general, has seen many non-conformist religious revivals. In 1904, Evan Roberts, a miner from Loughor (Llwchwr), just outside Swansea, was the leader of what has been called one of the world's greatest Protestant religious revivals. Within a few months about 100,000 people were converted. This revival in particular had a profound effect on Welsh society. The "Welsh Revival" of 1904 is acknowledged as having been an instigator of, and a major influence on the twentieth century's Pentecostal movement. One of its first overseas influences was seen in the African American church: the Azusa Street Revival, beginning 9 April 1906 at Los Angeles, USA.

Future plans

Swansea City Centre is undergoing a £1 billion transformation scheme. A large area of the city is earmarked for redevelopment. A new city-centre retail precinct is planned involving demolition of the dilapidated St. David's Shopping Centre which has three or four traders, about 13% of the retail space in the centre and the Quadrant Shopping Centre. Including relocation of the Tesco Superstore near to the city's Sainsbury's store in Parc Tawe, the new retail precinct will be almost four times the size of the Quadrant Centre. The city centre is also being brightened up with street art and new walkways, along with the first phase of the David Evans - Castle Street development. New green spaces will be provided in conjunction with the proposed Quadrant Square and Grand Theatre Square. Redevelopment of the Oxford Street car park and Lower Oxford Street arcades are also planned.[53]

At the sea front, The Tower, Meridian Quay is now Wales's tallest building at a height of over 80 metres (260 ft); upon completion in 2009 it is planned to be 107 metres (351 ft) in height with a restaurant on the top (29th) floor. It is still under construction adjacent Swansea Marina.[54]

Economy

The Technium centre, one of the first of the new buildings built as part of the SA1 development scheme at Swansea Docks

Swansea originally developed as centre for metals and mining, especially the copper industry, from the beginning of the 18th century. The industry reached its apogee in the 1880s, when 60% of the copper ores imported to Britain were smelted in the Lower Swansea valley.[55] However, by the end of the Second World War these heavy industries were in decline, and over the post-war decades Swansea shared in the general trend towards a post-industrial, service sector economy.

Of the 105,900 people estimated to work within the City and County of Swansea, over 90% are employed in the service sectors, with relatively high shares (compared to the Welsh and UK averages) in public administration, education & health and banking, finance & insurance,[56] and correspondingly high proportions of employment in occupations associated with the service sector, including professional, administrative/secretarial and sales/customer service occupations. The local authority believes this pattern reflects Swansea's role as a service centre for South West Wales.[56]

Economic activity and employment rates in Swansea were slightly above the Welsh average in October 2008, but lower than the UK average.[56] In 2005, GVA per head in Swansea was £14,302 - nearly 4% above the Welsh average but 20% below the UK average.[56] Median full-time earnings in Swansea were £21,577 in 2007, almost identical to the Welsh average.[56]

Education

Swansea University has a campus in Singleton Park overlooking Swansea Bay. Its engineering department is recognised as a centre of excellence with pioneering work on computational techniques for solving engineering design problems.[57] The Department of Physics is renowned for its research achievements at the frontiers of Theoretical Physics, particularly in the areas of Elementary Particle Physics and String Theory. And many other departments such as History, Computer Science and German were awarded an "Excellent" in the last inspection. The university was awarded the Times Higher Education Supplement Award for the UK's "best student experience" in 2005.[58] Other establishments for further and higher education in the city include Swansea Metropolitan University and Swansea College, with Gorseinon College seven miles (11 km) outside the city. Swansea Metropolitan University (formerly Swansea Institute of Higher Education) is particularly well-known for its Architectural Glass department; stained glass being a long time speciality.

In the local authority area, there is one nursery school; six infant schools and five junior schools. There are 77 primary schools, nine of which are Welsh-Medium, and six of which are voluntary aided. There are 15 comprehensive schools under the remit of the local education authority, of which two are Welsh-medium. In addition, there are six special schools.[59]

The oldest school in Swansea is Bishop Gore School. The largest comprehensive school in Swansea is the Olchfa School. There is one Roman Catholic comprehensive school in the county - Bishop Vaughan Catholic Comprehensive School. The Welsh medium schools are Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Gŵyr and Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bryn Tawe.

Independent schools in Swansea include Ffynone House School, Oakleigh House School and Craig-y-Nos School.

Local media

Studios of The Wave and Swansea Sound located in Gowerton in 2009

The local newspaper is the Swansea edition of the South Wales Evening Post. The Swansea Herald of Wales is a free newspaper which is distributed every week to residential addresses.[60] The Cardiff edition of the free daily paper Metro is distributed throughout the city. The Council also produces a free monthly newspaper called the Swansea Leader. Swansea Life is a monthly lifestyle magazine published and distributed in Swansea.

Swansea is served by three local radio stations, The Wave on 96.4 FM and DAB, Swansea Sound on 1170 AM and DAB and lastly Bay Radio on 102.1 FM. Swansea University also runs its own radio station, Xtreme Radio, on 1431 AM. Providing the DAB service, the local multiplex called Swansea SW Wales is broadcast from Kilvey Hill. This transmitter also provides digital terrestrial television in the Swansea area. As well as Kilvey Hill the city is in the catchment areas of the Wenvoe transmitter (in the Vale of Glamorgan) and the Carmel transmitter in Carmarthenshire.

Since 1924, the BBC has maintained a studio in the city;[7] Dylan Thomas worked here in the interwar years, when the studio was used for the BBC Regional Programme.[61] Currently it has facilities to broadcast live radio and television and is listed as a BBC regional studio.[62].

In mid 2008, the BBC included Swansea in its "Big Screen" project, and a large live permanent television screen has been sited in Castle Square.[63]

Independent filmmakers Undercurrents and Studio8 are based in Swansea, and the city plays host to the BeyondTV Film Festival. BeyondTV is annual event organised by Undercurrents to showcase the best of activism filmmakers. Swansea has also hosted the annual Swansea Bay Film Festival, where past-winning directors have included Gareth Evans, Anthony James, Alun D Pughe and Andrew Jones (filmmaker).

Representation in the media

Swansea has been used as a filming location for the films Only Two Can Play[64] and Twin Town, the TV series Mine All Mine and in episodes of Doctor Who.[65]

Swansea was the first city in Wales to feature in its own version of the board game Monopoly. The Swansea edition of Monopoly features 33 local landmarks, including the Mumbles Pier and the National Waterfront Museum; the game has been produced in both English and Welsh.[66]

Swansea was also featured in a documentary titled Swansea Love Story as part of the Rule Britannia series on VBS.tv. The film is of a rather graphic nature and features heroin users as well as community members affected by the epidemic while trying to provide some explanation for the increase in use. [67]

Public services

Swansea is policed by the South Wales Police. The regional headquarters for the Swansea area is Cockett police station. Ambulance services are provided by the Wales Ambulance Service, and fire services by the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service. Swansea Airport is one of the country's three Wales Air Ambulance bases, the others being Welshpool and Caernarfon.[68] Local public healthcare services are operated by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board who operate two hospitals in Swansea with Accident and Emergency services: Singleton Hospital and Morriston Hospital. Waste management services are coordinated by the local council which deals with refuse collection and recycling, and operates five civic amenity sites. The electricity distribution network operator supplying Swansea is Western Power Distribution. Welsh Water provides drinking water supply and wastewater services to Swansea. There is a water treatment works at Crymlyn Burrows. Reservoirs which supply Swansea include the Cray reservoir and the Lliw Reservoirs, which are operated by Welsh Water. The Local Gas Distribution company is Wales and West Utilities.

Public order

View of Swansea Bay from the Townhill. The Mumbles can be seen in the distance. The Uplands suburb can be seen in the foreground.

There was a high rate of car crime during the 1990s. The BBC has described Swansea as a "black spot for car crime",[69] for example. However, over the past few years, there seems to have been a decline in car crime, possibly due to national media awareness or economic trends. Car crime is a central theme in the film Twin Town, which is set in and around Swansea.

The football violence that Swansea experienced during the 1970s-1990s has considerably reduced, the only major clashes occurring between Swansea City supporters and Cardiff City supporters. Many matches between these sides have ended in violence in both Swansea and Cardiff. These two clubs have a long history of intense rivalry,[70] being described in the media as tribal.

Transport

The M4 motorway crosses though Swansea (junctions 44 to 47 inclusive). The A48, formerly a trunk road, passes through the north of the city centre, through Llansamlet and past Morriston. The A48 and the M4 connect Swansea with other towns and cities including Port Talbot, Bridgend, Cardiff, Bristol and London to the east and Llanelli and Cross Hands to the west. The A483 passes though the city centre, providing a link to the Heads of Valleys Road to the west. On departing to the north, the A483 continues through mid Wales via towns like Ammanford, Builth Wells and Newtown and terminates at Chester. The A4067 (Swansea Valley Road) links Swansea with settlements in the Swansea Valley and continues towards Brecon. Park and Ride services are operated from car parks at Landore, Fabian Way and Fforestfach.[71] During busy periods of the year, additional Park and Ride services are operated from the Brynmill recreation ground.

Bus routes within Swansea are operated predominately by First Cymru and Veolia Transport Cymru, originating from Swansea bus station. First operates the Swansea Metro, a road-based FTR bus rapid transit route, introduced between Morriston Hospital and Singleton Hospital in 2009,[72] and a shuttle bus (Service 100) to Cardiff Central bus station calling at Bridgend Designer Outlet. Veolia operates the rural services around the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw Valley branded Gower Explorer and Lliw Link respectively. Swansea is on the X40 Cardiff to Aberystwyth TrawsCambria bus route connecting the west and south of Wales. National Express serves Swansea operating eastbound to Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, London, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol, and westbound to Llanelli, Carmarthen and Haverfordwest.

There are four dedicated cycle routes in the county area:

City cruiser pedal vehicles are being introduced to the city centre in a joint venture between the council and Swansea Business Improvement District.[73][74]

In November 2007 a new bridge was completed over the Fabian Way which provides a one way park and ride bus lane and a shared-use pedestrian and NCN route 4 cycle way. The leaf-shaped bridge was shortlisted for the 2008 Structural Steel Design Awards.[75]

Swansea railway station is located 10 minutes from Swansea bus station by foot. Services calling at Swansea operate to Llanelli, Carmarthen, Milford Haven and Haverfordwest to the west, Shrewsbury to the north, and Cardiff Central (for connections to England and beyond), Newport and London Paddington to the east. There are also suburban stations in Gowerton, Llansamlet and in Pontarddulais which are served by Arriva Trains Wales.

Swansea Airport is a minor aerodrome situated in the Gower providing recreational flights only. Further development of the airport is strongly resisted by the local communities and environmental groups.[76] Swansea is served by Cardiff Airport, 44 miles (71 km) east, in the Vale of Glamorgan, which provides scheduled domestic and international flights. It is approximately 40 minutes away by road or 70 minutes by rail. Pembrey Airport, 17 miles (27 km) to the west offers charter flights to a few European destinations.

Swansea Marina to the south of the city centre has berths for 410 leisure boats.[77] An addition 200 berths for leisure boats are located near the mouth of the River Tawe.[78] Further leisure boating berths are being constructed at the Prince of Wales Dock in the Swansea Docks complex. The Swansea Docks complex is owned and operated by Associated British Ports and is used to handle a range of cargo ranging from agribulks and coal to timber and steel.[79] Swansea Docks consists of three floating docks and a ferry terminal.

Passenger Ferries

Fastnet Line will operate the Swansea Cork Ferry roll-on/roll-off service beginning in 10 March 2010.[80] There will be three services in each direction from September to June and four services in each direction from July to August.[81]

A new catamaran-based passenger ferry service from Ilfracombe to Swansea is scheduled to begin in Easter 2010 with two return trips a day taking around 50 minutes each way, it would also have facilities to carry cycles.[82]

Mumbles railway and tram

The Swansea and Mumbles Railway was built in 1804 to move limestone from the quarries of Mumbles to Swansea and to the markets beyond. It carried the world's first fare-paying rail passengers on the day the British Parliament abolished the transportation of slaves from Africa. It later moved from horse power to steam locomotion, and finally converting to electric trams, before closing in January 1960, in favour of motor buses. [2]. At the time of the railway's decommissioning, it had been the world's longest serving railway and it still holds the record for the highest number of forms of traction of any railway in the world - horse-drawn, sail power, steam power, electric power, diesel and petrol.

Trams4Swansea is a group led by Councillor Rob Speht trying to bring trams back to Swansea.[83]

Leisure and tourism

Another shot of the marina from Trawler Road

The beaches at Langland, Caswell and Limeslade are used by swimmers and tourists with children, whereas Swansea Bay tends to attract water-sport enthusiasts. Coastal paths connect most of the Gower bays and Swansea Bay itself, and can attract hikers to the countryside views throughout the year. Although little known on the tourist map, areas north of Swansea offer various panoramas of mountain landscapes. The former fishing village of Mumbles (located on the western edge of Swansea Bay) has a Victorian pier and a number of restaurants, pubs and coffee shops. The promenade at Mumbles offers a panoramic view of Swansea Bay.

Attractions

On the Waterfront, Swansea Bay has a five mile (8 km) sweep of coastline[84] which features a beach, promenade, children's lido, leisure pool, marina and maritime quarter featuring the newest and oldest museums in Wales - the National Waterfront Museum and Swansea Museum. Also situated in the maritime quarter is the Dylan Thomas Centre which celebrates the life and work of the author with its permanent exhibition 'Dylan Thomas - Man and Myth'. The centre is also the focal point for the annual Dylan Thomas Festival (27 October - 9 November). The SA1 Waterfront area is the latest development for living, dining and leisure. Swansea Bay, Mumbles and Gower are home to various parks and gardens and almost 20 nature reserves. Clyne Gardens is home to a collection of plants set in parkland and host to 'Clyne in Bloom' in May. Singleton Park has acres of parkland, a botanical garden, a boating lake with pedal boats, and crazy golf. Plantasia is a tropical hothouse pyramid featuring three climatic zones, housing a variety of unusual plants, including several species which are extinct in the wild, and monkeys, reptiles, fish and a butterfly house. Other parks include Cwmdonkin Park, where Dylan Thomas played as a child, and Victoria Park which is close to the promenade on the seafront.

Activities

Swansea has a range of activities including sailing, water skiing, surfing, and other watersports,[85] walking[86] and cycling.[87] Part of the Celtic Trail and the National Cycle Network, Swansea Bay provides a range of traffic-free cycle routes including along the seafront and through Clyne Valley Country Park.[88] The Cycling Touring Club CTC has a local group in the area.[89] Swansea Bay, Mumbles and Gower have a selection of golf courses.[90]

Prior to closure in 2003, Swansea Leisure Centre was one of the top ten visitor attractions in the UK; it has been redeveloped as an indoor waterpark, rebranded the 'LC',[91] and was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 7 March 2008.[92] The Wales National Pool is based in Swansea.[93]

Nightlife

Swansea has a range of public houses, bars, clubs, restaurants and two casinos.[94][95] The majority of city centre bars are situated on Wind Street, with various chains represented including Revolution, Varsity, Yates's and Walkabout. Most clubs, including Oceana, are located on the Kingsway.[96] Some venues feature live music.[97] The Mumbles Mile, described by the BBC as "one of Wales' best-known pub crawls" has declined in recent years with a number of local pubs being converted into flats or restaurants.[98]

Beaches

Sunset over Swansea Bay.

Oxwich Bay on the Gower Peninsula was named the most beautiful beach in Britain by travel writers who visited more than 1,000 around the world in search of the perfect sands (2007). The Travel Magazine praised Oxwich for "magnificent and unspoilt" scenery and as a "great place for adults and children to explore".[99] It boasts over three miles (5 km) of soft, golden sands, making it the ideal family getaway. Not surprisingly, The Guardian named it one of Britain's blue-ribband top 10 category beaches (2007).[100] The Independent newspaper hailed Rhossili Bay as "the British supermodel of beaches" (2006) and the best beach in Britain for breathtaking cliffs (2007),[101] whilst The Sunday Times listed it as one of the 25 best beaches in the world (2006).[102] Thanks to its clear air and lovely golden sand, this romantic stretch of sand was voted the best place in the UK to watch the sun set (Country Living magazine 2005)[102] and one the top romantic spots in the country (The Guardian 2007).[103] Nearby Llangennith Beach, with its soft sands, consistent beach break and great facilities, was listed as the best place to learn how to surf in Britain by The Observer (2006)[104] and one of the 10 'classic surfing beaches by The Guardian (2007)[105] . Gower also claims Britain's Best Beach, Three Cliffs Bay. The Gower landmark topped the BBC Holiday Hit Squad nationwide competition (2006)[106] and was voted Britain's best camping beach by The Independent thanks to its superb setting and quiet location (2007).[107] Three Cliffs Bay also made the final of the ITV series Britain's Favourite View - the only nomination in Wales and backed by singer Katherine Jenkins.[108] Nearby Brandy Cove came sixth in an online poll to find the UK's top beach for the baby boomer generation (2006).[109] Beaches which won 2006 Blue Flag Beach Awards are: Bracelet Bay, Caswell Bay, Langland Bay, Port Eynon Bay and Swansea Marina (one of the few Blue Flag Marinas in Wales). All of these beaches also won a Seaside Award 2006. Limeslade was awarded the Rural Seaside Award and the Green Coast Award. Other Green Coast Awards went to Pwll Du, Rhossili Bay and Tor Bay.

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External links

City and County of Swansea:

History:

Coordinates: 51°37′N 3°57′W / 51.617°N 3.95°W / 51.617; -3.95


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see Swansea (disambiguation).

The Swansea article is divided into two districts containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing both of them.

modern, traditional, and ancient buildings in Swansea
modern, traditional, and ancient buildings in Swansea

Swansea (pronounced: Swan-zee; Welsh: Abertawe) is a city on the South Wales coast. With a population approaching 250,000, it is the second largest city in Wales, and located on the beautiful Gower Peninsula - the United Kingdom's first designated "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty".

  • Swansea Urban (this article) - from north to south covering areas from Morriston and Clydach to St.Thomas and Swansea Bay sea front and from east to west covering areas from Port Tennant to Caswell. Swansea Urban includes the city centre and the tourist areas of the Maritime Quarter, Mumbles, Limeslade, Langland and Caswell.
  • Swansea Rural - basically the Gower Peninsula, covering all points west of Bishopston, Pwll Du Bay, Fairwood Common and Upper Killay, and also including the highland areas of Pontardulais and Mawr.
Swansea Bay and Mumbles Head
Swansea Bay and Mumbles Head

History

During medieval times, Swansea was a prosperous market town, later gaining a certain prominence as a spa resort. It was during the industrial revolution, however, that the city flourished and its population grew. The city is home to the world's first passenger railway service known affectionately as the Mumbles Train, which bumped and bounced along five miles of Swansea foreshore, linking the city centre with the suburb of Mumbles. Much of the city centre's architectural heritage was lost through wartime bombing. However, the abundance of parks, stunning coastal scenery, lovely water-side suburbs, a magnificent bay-side maritime quarter, varied cultural events, medieval castles and golden sandy beaches have preserved Swansea's place as a major tourist destination. Furthermore, according to a survey conducted by an international health magazine that considered, among other factors, a city's crime rate, life-style, environment etc, Swansea was judged to be the most relaxed city in the UK. Citizens from Wales' second city are known as 'Swansea Jacks,' and the name 'Swansea' is derived from 'Sweyn's-ey,' the Scandinavian name for the original settlement.

Dylan Thomas was passionate about Swansea, and in his early days described it as an "ugly, lovely town, crawling, sprawling, slummed, unplanned, jerry-villa'd, and smug-suburbed by the side of a long and splendid curving shore." Later, he referred to it as "the most romantic town I know," and described it with great gusto as a "marble town, city of laughter, little Dublin" and screamed triumphantly "Never was there such a town!"

Incidentally, the Swansea seaside resort of Mumbles derives it's name from the French word mamelles, meaning "breasts" — take a look at the two islets off Mumbles Head from across the bay, and it's not too hard to see why.

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) 6 6 9 11 15 17 20 20 16 13 10 10
Nightly lows (°C) 4 4 7 8 12 14 17 17 13 11 8 8
Precipitation (cm) 11 7 6 6 7 6 9 10 10 11 12 11

Met office five day forecast for Swansea: [1]

Swansea has a wet and mild climate, with winter temperatures ranging from around 4 to 6°C, while the summer average high is about 20°C - though often reaching to 26 or 27°C. Sun lovers should visit Swansea from June to August, which is the period that records the most hours of sunshine and is the main tourist season. However, those who prefer long solitary walks along cliffs paths or contemplative strolls through wooded valleys should consider September and October. During these months the air is crisp and fresh and the area quiet, with most tourists having already departed. However, as Wales is one of the wettest areas in the UK, you should always prepare for rain when visiting the region. Even in the summer, pack some rain gear and an umbrella in your luggage.

Famous Faces

Swansea's rich and diverse history has created a city of character, which has proved to be very fertile ground for producing well known personalities. In the literary world, Dylan Thomas is Swansea's most famous son, and inscriptions of his verse can been seen throughout the city. The Oscar award winning actor Catherine Zeta Jones and TV actor Joanna Page were also born and raised here, with both maintaining close links with the city. The 70s and 80s rock sensation Bonnie Tyler is also from Swansea and still lives in the seaside suburb of Mumbles. Sir Harry Secombe, who entertained the country for decades, hails from Swansea's East Side, and also in the entertainment world, the TV playwright and producer Russell T. Davies (of recent Dr. Who fame) has his roots in the city, as does actor-turned singer Steve Balsamo. In the upper echelons of religion, economics and politics, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, Nobel Prize Winner Professor Clive Granger, former deputy-prime minister, Sir Michael Heseltine, and a former leader of the Conservative Party, Michael Howard, were all born in Swansea, while among the city's most famous contributions to the sporting world were the soccer legend, John Charles, England cricketer Simon Jones and former WBO world cruiser weight champion, Enzo Maccarinelli.

Within a few miles of Swansea is the birthplace of Hollywood legends Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins and Ray Milland, and opera stars Katherine Jenkins and Paul Potts.

The city's most loved character, however, is undoubtedly Jack the black retriever. During his seven years of life he rescued no less than twenty-seven people from drowning in the murky waters of Swansea docks, and there is a small memorial in honor of this little hero on the foreshore near the St. Helen's Stadium.

  • City centre: Plymouth Street (Opposite the Bus Station). Tel:+44 1792 468321 - Winter opening hours: Mon to Sat: 09:30-17:30. Summer opening hours (Easter - end of September): Mon to Sat: 09:30-17:30, Sun: 10:00-16:00. - offers free maps, information on tourist sites and hotel room reservation service.
  • Mumbles: The Methodist Church, Mumbles Road. Tel:+ 44 1792 361302 - Opening hours (year-round):Mon to Sat: 10AM-5PM, Sunday (+ school vacations): 12:00-17:00 - offers same services as the main city center office.
  • Official tourist website for Mumbles: [2]
  • Official tourist website for Swansea, Mumbles and Gower: [3]
  • Official website for Swansea City Centre: [4]
  • Official video of Swansea: [5]
  • The M4 motorway links the city to Cardiff and London, with connections to the M6, M5, M32, M42 and M50.
  • National Express [6] runs frequent bus services to Cardiff, London, the Midlands and Heathrow Airport. All buses depart and arrive at the city's Bus Station. Enquires: 0990 80 80 80. The National Express ticket office is located next to the bus station.
  • The First Cymru bus company run a very frequent Shuttle [7] service between Swansea (Quadrant Bus Station) and Cardiff (Central Station). Tickets are purchased on boarding the bus. No prior booking required. Discounts available when traveling outside peak times.
  • A convenient way to spend the day in Swansea city centre is to use one of the two Park and Ride systems National Park and Ride Directory [8]. One is based at Landore on the A4067 - leave M4 at junction 45. The other 'Park and Ride' operates off the A483 (Fabian Way), which is the main artery into Swansea when coming off the M4 (junction 42) from the east. Buses on this route follow an express bus lane into the city center. There is a £1.50 charge per car that includes all-day parking and return bus travel for up to 4 passengers, and the system operates from Monday to Saturday from 06:45 to 19:30.
  • Swansea is served by its own regional airport, light aircraft only [9] (IATA: SWS) (ICAO: EGFH), Tel:+ 44 1792 207550. However it is served by Cardiff International Airport [10] (IATA: CWL) (ICAO: EGFF), which is about a fifty minute drive from the city and offers scheduled domestic and international flights to Europe, Africa and North America. Inquires: 01446 711111. Pembrey Airport ICAO: EGFP, 17 miles to the west offers charter flights to destinations in UK and Europe. Enquiries: 01554 891534.
  • First Great Western Trains [11] offer a very frequent service from London Paddington Station to Swansea Station, stopping at Reading, Swindon, Bristol Parkway, Newport, Cardiff Central, Bridgend, Port Talbot Parkway and Neath. Inquires:08457 48 49 50
  • Travellers arriving from Heathrow have the option of taking the shuttle bus to Reading and boarding the west bound train there - this saves travelling into London - or taking the Heathrow Express [12] high speed rail link to London Paddington Station. This service runs every 15 minutes from terminals 1,2,3 or every 23 minutes from terminal 4 and takes 15 minutes: £13 (single); £25 (return).
  • Travellers arriving from Cardiff International Airport can take a train to Swansea, however this requires a change at Bridgend. Services are provided by Arriva Trains [13]
  • Arriva Trains runs routes west of Swansea. After leaving Swansea, the train follows of the contours of the coast. A left side seat will give you the best view. Inquires:08457 48 49 50
  • The famous Heart of Wales Line [14] runs between the medieval town of Shrewsbury and Swansea, passing through some of Wales' most spectacular scenery and picturesque towns during its three hour and forty minute journey. Trains depart Swansea at 04:36, 09:15, 13:17 and 18:21.
  • Swansea Marina [15] offers 750 berths for private boat mooring, and is a five gold anchor rated [16] marina with Blue Flag status offering comprehensive facilities for both short and long term stays.
  • Cork-Swansea ferry (Fastnet Line) [17] The ferry service between Swansea and County Cork in Ireland is set to resume on 1 March 2010. The route will be serviced by new operating company Fastnet Line [18]. In Swansea the ferry operates from the ferry terminal in Swansea Docks off the A483 Fabian Way, close to the city centre and SA1. In County Cork, the ferry sails from the port of Ringaskiddy about 7 miles southeast of the city of Cork.
  • Ilfracombe-Swansea ferry (Severn Link)[19] A new fast catamaran ferry service is due to be launched in Easter 2010 linking Swansea with Ilfracombe in North Devon. There will be two return trips a day with the crossing taking about 50 minutes.
  • National Cycle Route 4. Swansea is served by the NCR 4 which passes just south of the city centre. To the east, NCR 4 connects Swansea with Port Talbot, Newport and London. To the west, NCR 4 connects Swansea with Llanelli and St David's. From the east, NCR 4 follows the route of the A483 (Fabian Way), it then follows the route of the seafront promenade of Swansea Bay Beach and at Blackpill it continues up the Clyne Valley cycle track towards Gowerton.[20]
  • National Cycle Route 43. NCR 43 is still under development and will eventually connect Swansea with Builth Wells. Part of the route wholly within Swansea has been completed and signposted. The completed signposted section of NCR 43 begins at the Swansea Marina and follows the route of the River Tawe all the way to Ystalyfera, passing Pontardawe.[21]
  • National Cycle Route 47. NCR47 Connects Newport with Fishguard. Within Swansea, NCR47 follows the same route as NCR4. Whilst, NCR4 is a more coastal route, NCR47 is a mostly inland route. [22]

Get around

Buses

Note: Swansea Bus Station is closed for renovation until 2010. Information on temporary bus stops is available from the tourist office and on this pdf file map: [23].

Bus companies First Cymru and Veolia maintain frequent services connecting all suburbs of Swansea and the Gower Peninsula [24] [25]. All buses depart from the Bus Station, and there are connecting links to/from Swansea's railway station. Visitors travelling to the Mumbles have the option of taking buses heading to these final destinations: Oystermouth (synonymous with Mumbles and the final stop is in the village), Limeslade (includes stops at Mumbles Square, Verdi's Cafe and Mumbles Pier), Langland, Newton and Caswell. All buses on these routes also make stops at St. Helen's Stadium, Swansea University/Singleton Park and Blackpill Lido.

First Cymru offer a one day "FirstDay" bus pass for the Swansea urban area. It costs £4.00 per adult before 9:30AM and £3.50 after 9:30AM. [26]

Taxis

There are two main taxi ranks in the city centre - one outside the Railway Station and the other next to St.Mary's church.

Oystermouth Castle, Mumbles, Swansea
Oystermouth Castle, Mumbles, Swansea
  • Swansea Castle [27]. The ruins of this 13th century castle are located in the city center. While the remains are not substantial enough to warrant a special visit, the contrast of the battlements against the more contemporary architecture of its surroundings does provide an interesting backdrop for souvenir photographs of Swansea city centre - the building is flood lit at night.
  • The Guildhall. This elegant building of white Portland stone has graced the city center's western approach since 1934. The main building only houses administrative offices and is of no interest to the casual visitor. However, 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. The Brangwyn Hall is on the sea-facing side of the building and functions as the city's main concert and reception hall.
  • Arthur's Stone, Cefn Bryn, Gower. A neolithic burial chamber or cromlech dating from 2500BCE.
  • Dylan Thomas' Childhood Home, 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands [28]. 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. [29]. The original castle 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 (their other main residence was Swansea Castle), and most of the structure remaining today originates from this period. King Edward 1 is recorded to have visited the castle in December 1284. The present day remains are well preserved and the battlements offer commanding views over Swansea Bay. There is a small entry fee.
Swansea Guildhall
Swansea Guildhall
  • Historical buildings. Much of Swansea city centre was destroyed in war time bombing. Still, there are large pockets of the historic centre that did survive, and these have painstakingly been restored in recent times. Some of the best examples of Georgian and Victorian architecture can be found on Wind Street (pronounced Wined), with Salubrious Passage (linking Wind Street with Princess Way) being almost exclusively Georgian - though the accolade for oldest buildings in that area goes to Swansea Castle and the Cross Keys (inn), which are respectively relics of the 13th and 14th centuries. At the bottom end of Wind Street and across the main thoroughfare leading from the M4 into Swansea are several lovely Georgian terraces, with Somerset Place and Cambrian Place perhaps being the most stylish. The Dylan Thomas Centre on Somerset Place also represents a fine example of Doric style Georgian architecture, and the area (which leads onto the marina) also has an impressive mixture of Victorian and Edwardian buildings, such as the colonnaded neo-classical style Swansea Museum (1841) and Morgan's Hotel (1903). Across town, Alexandra Road offers some fine examples of baroque revival Edwardian architecture, with the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery acting as the focal point. British visitors may immediately recognize some of Swansea's historic streets as they have featured in the popular TV series Doctor Who.

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  • the National Waterfront Museum, Maritime Quarter. Tel:+44 1792 638950 [30]. Open daily 10AM-5PM. Housed in an iconic building clad in Welsh slate, the National Waterfront Museum 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 toil, the achievements, the defeats and the joys are revealed through the museum's creative exhibitions. Children will particularly enjoy the working machinery. There are also cafes and gift shops overlooking the marina. This is one of the UK's most imaginative exhibition spaces and must-see destinations. Admission is free.
Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea
Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea
  • the Dylan Thomas Centre, Somerset Place, Marina. Tel:+44 1792 463980 [31]. Tu-Su 9AM-10PM. This splendid example of early 19th century Doric style architecture served as Swansea Guildhall for over 100 years. It became the Dylan Thomas Center in 1995 when it was refurbished in commemoration of Swansea hosting the 1995 UK Year of Literature and Writing, and was opened by former US President Jimmy Carter. The center is dedicated to the works of Swansea's greatest literary son, and in addition to a theater, exhibition and events hall, the center also has a second hand book store and gift shop. The local cuisine served in the second floor restaurant is highly recommended. Admission free.
  • the Glyn Vivian Art Gallery, Alexandra Road. Tel:+44 1792 516900 [32]. The gallery housed in a baroque revival Edwardian building has permanent exhibits of paintings by local artists and a good collection of Swansea china. In addition, it frequently hosts exhibitions of national and international works of art. Open: Tues-Sun 9AM-5PM. Admission free.
  • Swansea Museum, Victoria Road, Maritime Quarter. Tel:+44 1792 653763 [33]. Tu-Su 9AM-5PM. This grade two, neo-classic building was Wales' first museum, and displays artifacts as diverse as Swansea china and an Egyptian mummy. The museum gift shop sells good quality souvenirs. Admission free.
  • Gower Heritage Centre, Parkmill, Gower. Tel:+44 1792 371-206 [34]. A rural life museum based around a working water mill - gift shop and cafe on site.
  • the Egypt Centre, Swansea University campus (near the Taliesin Art Centre), Tel:+44 1792 295-960, [35]. Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM. One of the UK's best collections of ancient Egyptian artifacts outside London. Free.
  • Attic Gallery, 140 Cambrian Place, Marina. Tel:+44 1792 653387 [36]. Open: F 10AM-5:30PM, Sa 10AM-4:30PM. Wales' oldest independent gallery - specializing in grass roots Welsh art. Admission free
  • Mission Gallery, Gloucester Place, Marina. Tel:+44 1792 652-016. A small independent gallery located in a converted sea-man's chapel. Open: Mo-Su 11AM-5PM. Entrance - free.
  • Exposure Art Gallery, 9 College Street. Tel:+44 1792 641313 [37]. M-Th 10AM–5PM, F,Sa 11AM–4PM. A city center gallery established by the Swansea Guild of Artists and sponsored by Air Wales. Admission free.
  • 1940s Swansea Bay, Elba Crescent, Crymlyn Burrows (off Fabian Way - the main road linking the city center and M4 motorway) Tel:+44 1792 458-864, e-mail: [mailto: mail@1940sswanseabay.co.uk mail@1940sswanseabay.co.uk] [38]. This small museum invites visitors to experience life in Swansea during the second world war and through the blitz that devastated the city center. NB: This is definitely a museum in the making, and at present the entrance fee is probably a bit steep. However, for those interested in war memorabilia, it is worth a visit and the owners are very friendly and helpful. Open: March–Oct: 10AM–5PM, Nov–Feb:10AM–4PM (Closed 24-26 December, 1st January and Mondays Oct-March). The museum offers free parking and has a gift shop and cafe.
  • Mellow Mango, Café Nissé, 11 Wind Street, [39]. A gallery in a cafe. Exhibits focus on the work of local artists.
  • Women in Jazz, Queen’s Buildings, Cambrian Place, Maritime Quarter. Tel:+44 1792 456-666. E-mail: enquiries@womeninjazzswansea.org.uk [40]. A collection of several thousand audio and visual records, photographs, periodicals, paintings, stained glass windows, stage gowns, a library and an oral history collection.
  • Mumbles Lifeboat Museum [41], located on the slip road running off Mumbles Road to Mumbles Pier (near Verdi's Cafe). This small museum is dedicated to the memory of the heroic and sometimes tragic events in the history of the Mumbles Lifeboat. Open Mon-Sat and Sun morning.
  • Oriel Ceri Richards Gallery, Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea Univeristy. Tel:+44 1792 295-526 [42]. Taliesin’s Oriel Ceri Richards Gallery not only hosts regular touring exhibitions, but also stocks an excellent range of greetings cards as well as jewellery, ceramics and other craft items. Open Monday to Saturday.
  • Elysium Art Space, 41 High Street. Te:44 1792 641-313. Th-Su 11AM-5PM. A volunteer run space promoting the work of emerging artists. Admission free.
  • Mumbles [43]. A former fishing village located at the western end of Swansea Bay - the quaint streets, a 12th century castle [44], fashionable boutiques and excellent restaurants make this suburb of Swansea a must-see destination. The promenade at Mumbles offers a spectacular panoramic view over Swansea Bay, and Village Lane (behind Patrick's restaurant) is a street of picture postcard fisherman's cottages.
Three Cliffs Bay, Swansea
Three Cliffs Bay, Swansea
  • The Gower Peninsula - the first area in Britain to be designated an "area of outstanding natural beauty" - stunning scenery that extends from sandy beaches, hidden coves and lush country-side. In addition, (including the ruins of Swansea castle) there are seven medieval castles to explore. Home to Oxwich Bay - named the most beautiful beach in the UK and one of the most beautiful in the world by The Travel Magazine in 2007 [45].
  • The Maritime Quarter. An international award winning bay-side development. The swinging masts and sails of the three marinas offer a great backdrop to the theaters, museums, hotels, cafes, bars and restaurants that jostle for positions in this tight little corner off the city center. The south-side faces the sea, where there are great views over Swansea Bay and the Mumbles Head.
  • Plantasia, Parc Tawe. Tel:+44 1792 474-555 [46]. A chisel shaped hot house in the city center, complete with three different climate zones and exotic animals. Open: Daily 10AM - 5PM. Admission:Adult £3.70, Children and Concessions £2.70, Passport to Leisure £2.00, Under 4's admitted free and Family £12.00.
  • Singleton Park. Swansea's largest park - meandering over several acres of gentle undulating hills and leads down to Swansea Bay - botanical gardens located near the Sketty end of the park, and Swansea University 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.
  • Clyne Gardens and Country Park. No doubt the gem in the crown of Swansea parks. Originally a private garden, Clyne is bursting with flora and fauna meticulously collected from across the world. It is has an internationally recognized collection of rhododendrons and azaleas which are at their spectacular best in May. The Japanese style pond, complete with willow trees and oriental bridge is a great place to relax and watch the clouds sail by. Entrance behind the Woodman pub on Mumbles Road at Blackpill.
  • Cwmdonkin Park, located in the Uplands. A classic Victorian park that was a favorite with Dylan Thomas, and several of his works were inspired here.
  • Brynmill Park. Swansea's oldest park, located in Dylan's Uplands - famous for its large swan lake.
  • Lake Fendrod, situated in the heart of the Swansea Enterprise Park. It has a large population of Swans and is stocked with a range of fishes like carp to 20 lbs, skimmers to bream of 8 lbs, tench to 6 lbs, roach to 2 lbs together with crucian carp, dace, orfe, perch & rudd. There are about 75 pegs, some of which are concreted. Lake Fendrod is surrounded by a public footpath.
  • Swansea Vale Nature Reserve, located at the far north eastern end of the Enterprise Park. It is one of the few remaining places of wetland in Swansea and features streams, ponds and woodland. The nature reserve is accessible by bike or on foot and features a board walk and bike paths.
  • Kilvey Community Woodland. Kilvey Hill. The south side of the woodland offers panoramic views of Swansea Bay right over to Mumbles Head and Port Talbot and also the city centre and docks, while the western face of the hill allows uninhibited views of the lower Swansea Valley, the northern part of the city centre, the Enterprise Zone and the Liberty Stadium. In addition, the hill itself has a sculpture trail, a number of footpaths and some dedicated white knuckle mountain biking trails.
  • View over the city and Swansea Bay. One of the best locations to gain a panoramic view of the city and the full sweep of Swansea Bay is from Pant-y-Celyn Road in Townhill (near the Townhill Campus of Swansea Metropolitan University). There are bay-facing parking areas along the road that allow the stunning views to be enjoyed from the comfort of your car. The scene is especially spectacular at dusk with the sun setting over Mumbles Head. For the adventurous and those possessing cars with strong brakes, return to the city center via the 1 in 3 incline of the cobbled street of Constitution Hill.
  • Swansea Indoor Bowls Stadium Beaufort Road, Plasmarl, Swansea, Tel: (+44 1792) 771-728. The Swansea Bowls stadium is an international standard indoor bowling stadium which hosts the Welsh International Open, part of the World Bowls Tour, annually. The stadium features 6 bowling rinks with a function room and a bar.
  • The Swansea Bay Rider. A colorful children's land train runs throughout the summer along the promenade from the St. Helen's Stadium to Southend Gardens, Mumbles.
  • Chocolate factory, The Kingsway, Swansea West Industrial Park. Tel:+44 1792 561-617, Fax:+44 1792 561-619, E-mail:sales@michton.com. [47]. Enter the world of Willy Wonka at Swansea's own chocolate manufactures. There are organized tours, during which the process of turning cocoa into everyone's favorite snack is explained, and samples are available to try. In addition, there is a cafe and a factory shop where souvenirs can be purchased. Reservations are necessary to guarantee admission.
  • Rowing and crazy golf. A boating lake and crazy golf course located between the junction of Sketty Lane and Mumbles Road and the entrance to Swansea University.
Swansea Marina
Swansea Marina
  • Discovery Centre, Brynmill Park. The center offers the opportunity for children to observe and and gain first hand knowledge about local wildlife and nature. Open: Mo-Fri 11AM-5PM, Sa&Su 11AM-4PM.
  • The LC. A state of the art leisure center. See 'Swimming' section for more details.
  • The historic ship MV Balmoral runs day trips to Ilfracombe in North Devon and cruises around the Gower coast - summer only. The paddle steamer Waverley runs similar trips, but less frequently. Certain journies continue on to Lundy Island. Starting point- Swansea Ferry Port. [48] Tel:+44 845 130-4647.
  • Euphoria Sailing Ltd, Tel:+44 1792 234-502. E-mail: info@euphoriasailing.com [49] - motor boat and yacht cruises around the Gower coast - starting points Swansea Marina or Oxwich Bay.
  • South Wales Cruising Company, Tel:44 7850681003. E-mail:Mike@SouthWalesCruising.com [50] - private cruises.
  • Gower Coast Adventures, Tel:+44 1792 540-386. [51] - offers trips around the Gower coast for up to twelve people on their ten meter sea serpent cruise boat.

Cycling

Swansea is connected to the National Celtic Cycling Trail, and there are four main routes in city.

  • The Jersey Marine and Fabian Way Trail traces the main road into the city center from the East - few special sites of interest, it passes the Jersey Marine Tower and offers views of the heavy industrial plants in Baglan Bay and Port Talbot.
  • The River Tawe Trail runs along the banks of the river Tawe - passing through a former industrial area that has been reforested, skirts the Liberty Stadium, a business district and finally heads out to the Swansea Valley.
  • The Promenade Trail runs along Swansea Bay foreshore to the sea-side suburb of Mumbles - it passes through the Marina and offers stunning views over Swansea Bay. On a sunny day, with the blue water lapping at the side of the promenade, cycling along this trail must be the nearest thing to poetry in motion.
  • The Clyne Valley Trail runs through Clyne Country Park to the North Gower coast, where it rejoins the National Celtic Cycle Trail - the first part of the trail passes through a forested area, then meanders through sprawling suburbs before reaching the Loughor Estuary near Loughor. This trail leads from the Promenade Trail at Blackpill (a child's paddling area marks the site)

Bikes can be rented at the following city center stores:

  • Cycle Centre, 10 Wyndham Street. Tel:+44 1792 410-710 (closed Sunday)
  • Action Bike, St. David's Square. Tel:+44 1792 464-640 (open seven days and will deliver bike to hotel free of charge)
  • Mountain biking. Kilvey Hill has a dedicated downhill run and several other trails for the mountain bike enthusiast.

Driving

There are some wonderfully picturesque drives in Swansea. Below are a couple of popular ones:

  • City centre - Mayals - Bishopston - Caswell Bay - Langland Bay - Bracelet Bay - Limeslade Bay- Mumbles - city centre.

To start this drive, take the A4067 Mumbles Road from the city center and turn right onto B4436 Mayals Road. Follow road over Fairwood Common and take a left at Bishopston Village. From there, follow signs for the above places.

This drive takes in some beautiful coastal scenery. Recommended stops: Verdis cafe (Mumbles, Swansea Bay sea front), Castellamare cafe (Bracelet Bay sea front), and Mumbles Village (see listing under 'See').

  • City centre - Uplands - Killay - Parkmill - Reynolston - Rhossili - Llangeneth - Oldwalls - Killay - Uplands - city centre.

To start this drive, take A4118 through the bed-sit suburb of Uplands and then Killay. Finally, after leaving Upper Killay, the road passes through the heart of the Gower Penisular. Follow signs for the above places.

This drive passes through some quintessential British countryside and culminates at stunning Rhossili Bay. Recommended stops: Parkmill is the location of the Gower Heritage Centre, with its working water wheel, and Shepards' village store and cafe is a good place to take refreshment. Near the village of Reynolston, you can take a short detour onto Cefn Bryn to see Arthur's Stone (see listing under 'See'). Also, in Reynolston is the beautifully renovated country inn, 'the King Arthur's Hotel', which is an excellent place for lunch. At Rhossili, there are tea houses, but the attraction here is definitely the stunning views.

As you drive along the beautiful country lanes with the smell of freshly cut grass pervading the air and the vista of a wide blue bay opening before you, the words of a famous Buddhist master - 'the journey is the goal' - will never ring truer!

Festivals

Spring/Summer

Swansea Bay Summer Festival is the umbrella term for a number of events occurring in the Swansea Bay area from May to September. Only the main festivals are listed below. For other events, check the official website: [52]

  • British Kite Surfing Championships [53], Swansea Bay. 15-17 May 2009.
  • Swansea Bay Film Festival, Dylan Thomas Centre. [54]. The UK's largest screening of indie films with Catherine Zeta Jones acting as patron - 8 May- 16 May 2010.
  • Shaolin Warriors, Grand Theatre. [55] 1 June 2009. Tel:+44 1792 475-715
  • Sea Swansea Festival, Waterfront Museum grounds. 20-21 June 2009 (11AM-5PM). A nautical inspired family festival with stage performances from sea shanty singers and jazz musicians, and also including maritime demonstrations, a craft marquee and street entertainers. Admission free.
  • Escape into the Park, Singleton Park. [56] and [57] 13 June 2009. (mid-day to midnight). An annual pop and dance extravaganza held late summer. Capacity 25,000. £41:50.
  • Gay Pride Festival, Singleton Park. 27 June (all day event).
  • Wales National Airshow, Swansea Bay. 11-12 July 2009. Spectacular aeronautical displays led by the world famous Red Arrows.
  • Proms in the Park, Singleton Park. 13 September 2009. Pre-show events start 5:45, main events from 7:30PM. [58]. The BBC links Swansea, Glasgow and London for the final evening of the proms - a very British event of stirring songs culminating in a fireworks display. Tickets: £8 in advance, £10.00 on the night - reservations national: 08700 131812, in Swansea: 475-715 or from the Grand Theatre.

Autumn/Winter

  • Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts, [59] - an annual (October) three week bash of culture at various locations in Swansea, and the second largest such festival in the UK. 3 Oct- 17 Oct 2009.
  • Dylan Thomas Festival The Dylan Thomas Centre, - held annually between 27 October and 10 November (the dates of the poet's birth and death). During these two weeks, the centre built to commemorate the works of Thomas reverberates to the sound of his poems and plays. This is a must see event for fans of the bard. In addition, the festival hosts the awards' ceremony for the winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize [60] - a biannual writing competition for most outstanding literary talent in English, aged under 30.
  • Dylan Thomas Fringe [61] - compliments the main events at the Dylan Thomas Festival and is held at various venues throughout the city. 26 Oct - 8 Nov 2009
  • Beyond TV International Film Festival, Dylan Thomas Centre [62] - an annual festival of social and environmental themed films. 22-23 Nov 2008
  • Winter Wonderland [63]. This event held next to the National Waterfront Museum includes stalls selling traditional Christmas goods, a big wheel offering views over Swansea Bay and an ice rink. 22 Nov - 4 Jan
  • See Swansea and the Gower Peninsular from the air. Flights from Swansea Airport. Tel:+44 1792 208-933. [64]

Golf

Swansea has a number of excellent golf courses, many with spectacular sea views:

  • Clyne Golf Club, 118-120 Owls Lodge Lane, Mayals [65]. Tel:+44 1792 401-989
  • Fairwood Park Golf Club, Blackhills Lane, Upper Killay [66]. Tel:+44 1792 297-849
  • INCO Golf Club, Clydach Tel:+44 1792841-257
  • Morriston Golf Club, 160 Clasemont Road, Morriston [67]. Tel:+44 1792 796-528
  • Langland Bay Golf Club, Mumbles. [68] Tel:+44 1792 361-721
  • Pennard Golf Club, 2 Southgate Road, Southgate. Tel:+44 1792 233-131

Live music

Bars and cafes that provide life music:

  • The Chattery, 59 Uplands Cresent. Tel:+44 1792 473-276 - blues, jazz, rock - attracts mostly student crowd.
  • Cafe Smooth, National Waterfront Museum. Tel:+44 1792 456-100 [69] - large Bohemian style cafe - great views over marina - huge selection of coffees and teas - jazz/poetry readings.
  • Monkey Cafe 13 Castle Street. Tel+44 1792 480-822 - cosmopolitan and eclectic venue - great views of Swansea Castle from plush leather sofas - live music upstairs.
  • No Sign Bar, 56 Wind Street. Tel:+44 1792 465-300 - a watering hole that dates back to the 18th century - relaxed atmosphere and good food - generally 40s+ crowd.
  • Swansea Jazzland, St. James Social Club, St. James Crescent, Uplands. Tel:+44 1792 466-535 [70] - jazz, jazz and more jazz
  • Uplands Tavern, 42 Uplands Crescent, Uplands. Tel:+44 1792 458-242 [71] - rock and folk - attracts student crowd.
  • Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University. Tel:+44 1792 602-060 [72] - music from across the globe, including high profile jazz artists and other musicians of international acclaim.
  • Milkwoodjam, 50 Plymouth Street. Tel:+44 1792 477-577 [73] - live music venue, cafe/bar and recording studio.

Swansea Grand Theatre, Singleton St. Tel +441792 475715. (http://www.swanseagrand.co.uk) - A variety of top acts in each season.

  • Dryad Brushcraft, 53 Woodcote, Killay. Tel:+44 1792 547-213. Email:Info@dryadbushcraft.co.uk [74] - offers unique wilderness survival courses at various locations on the Gower.
  • Multi-screen in Parc Tawe (Odeon [75]) and at Salubrious Place at the bottom end of Princess Way (VUE [76]).
  • Quality mainstream, independent and world film at Taliesin Art Centre, Swansea University campus. Tel:+44 1792 602-060. [77]
  • Teamforce UK Paintballing & Activity Centre, Llangyfelach Road, Swansea, SA5 7PE. Tel:+44 845 257 9381 [78]
  • Cricket: Swansea is one of the home locations of the Glamorgan County Cricket Club [79], one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English and Welsh domestic cricket league. Glamorgan play at the St. Helen's Stadium.
  • Football: Swansea is home to Swansea City AFC (also known as 'the Swans') [80], a professional team currently in the championship division of the English Football League. The Swans play at the Liberty Stadium.
  • Rugby: Swansea is home to two major rugby union teams: 1. the Ospreys [81] a profession team playing in the Celtic League and competing for the EDF Energy, Heineken and European Challenge Cups. The Ospreys play at the Liberty Stadium. 2. Swansea RFC (also known as the 'All Whites'), a semi-professional team playing in the Welsh Premier League. The All Whites play at the St. Helen's Stadium.
  • Swansea Bay Rally. [82] A major event in the UK rally calendar. Held annually in summer at locations near Swansea.
  • Many of the bays on the Gower Peninsular are great for swimming. However, the most popular are the sandy bays of Langland and Caswell. Both these beaches are under seasonal lifeguard supervision, offer changing and toilet facilities and are in easy reach of the city center.
  • Welsh National Pool, Sketty Lane (near the university). Tel:+44 1792 513-513. [83] - Serious swimmers will enjoy the waters of this Olympic size pool.
  • The LC, Maritime Quarter, [84]. A cutting edge leisure complex that includes a wave making machine, hydro-slide, artificial beach, children's paddling area, Europe's only indoor surfing center and the world's first uphill water slide. LC offers an excellent rainy-day alternative to a day at the beach. Open: Mo-Fri 6:30AM-10PM, Sa-Su 8AM-9PM.
  • Swansea Tenpin Bowling, Parc Tawe, The Strand, Swansea, SA1 2AX, Tel: 0871 873 2450. Tenpin is located next to an Odeon multiplex. It features 26 tenpin bowling lanes and a amusement arcade, two pool tables, a Wimpey burger bar and a drinks bar.[85]
  • The Grand Theatre, Singleton Street. Tel:+44 1792 475-715 [86] - Swansea's largest theater, with everything from pantomime to opera.
  • The Brangwyn Hall, Guildhall complex, Victoria Park [87] - with it's stunning British Empire Panels, originally commissioned for the British House of Lords, this grandiose concert hall is the focus for the annual Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts - the second largest such festival in the UK.
  • The Taliesin Arts Centre, University Campus, Singleton Park. Tel:+44 1792 602-060. [88] - this lively venue hosts a broad programme of events including cinema screenings, an average of ten visiting exhibitions per year, and a great variety of live performances, from dance and drama to jazz and world music. The emphasis at Taliesin is on quality and innovation.
  • The Dylan Thomas Theatre, Maritime Quarter. Tel:+44 1792 473-238 [89] - home to the Swansea Little Theater group.
  • The Dylan Thomas Centre, Maritime Quarter. Tel:+44 1792 463-980 - specializing in plays produced by the bard himself.
  • Swansea Institute Theatre, Swansea Institute Campus, Townhill Road. Tel:+44 1792 281-280. This theater is home to Swansea based and internationally acclaimed Volcano Theater Company [90]
  • Swansea Environment Centre, Old Telephone Exchange, Pier Street, Marina (behind the 5 star Morgan's Hotel on Adelaide Street). Tel:+44 1792 480-200 [91]. The center organizes volunteer environmental work in the area - a great opportunity to meet local people and inject more purpose into your stay in Swansea.
  • Swansea City Farm, 2 Pontarddulais Road, Fforestfach. Tel:+44 1792 1792 578-384. E-mail: ray@swanseacommunityfarm.org.uk [92] (Directions: bus numbers 110, 111, 112 and X13 from city center to Ivorite Arms bus stop). A project that aims 'to provide a sustainable community farm which is stimulating and educational and offers enjoyable and safe activities.' Everyone is welcome to contribute their energy and time to this on-going project (call first).

Walking

Swansea is a great place if you are into walking. Here are a few easily accessible routes:

  • Swansea Marina to Mumbles Pier - about five miles of flat walking - great views over Swansea Bay.
  • Limeslade Bay to Caswell Bay - about three miles of cliff path walking - stunning scenery.
  • Bishopston Valley - about three miles of riverside walking, starting just below Bishopston church - a peaceful and lush valley that spills out onto a storm beach. The return journey can be made over the cliff path to the left of the beach when facing the sea.
Tor Bay and Three Cliffs Bay, Swansea
Tor Bay and Three Cliffs Bay, Swansea

The calm waters of Swansea Bay and Oxwich Bay are ideal for watersports such as skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, dinghy sailing and Power boat training - Contact:

  • Watersports 4 All, Bishopston, Tel:+44 1792 234-502, E-main fun@watersports4all.com [93].
  • Mumbles Yacht Club, Southend, Mumbles. Tel:+44 1792 369-321, [94].
  • Mumbles Motor Boat and Fishing Club, The Pier, Mumbles, Swansea, SA3 4EN, Tel:+44 1792 363832.
  • Swansea Yacht and Sub Aqua Club, South dock, Pumphouse, East Burrows Road, Marina. Tel:+44 1792 469-096. [95].
  • Bay Watersports, seafront at the Slip (near St. Helens stadium). Tel:+44 1792 534-858 [96]. Lessons in windsurfing and kayaking on Swansea Bay. May to October, seven days a week.
  • Swansea Watersports, The Pilot House, Pilot Wharf, Swansea Marina, Tel:+44 7989 839-878, Email: info@swanseawaterports.com, [97]. Offers training in the following activities at various locations around the Gower Peninsula: powerboating, sailing, kayaking, jet skiing, first aid and sea survival.

Some of the best surfing spots in the UK are in Swansea, with Llangenith, Caswell and Langland bays being the most popular - contact:

  • Gower Live, [98]. real time view of the surf at Langland Bay
  • Gower Bays Surf Club, Mumbles, Tel:+44 1792 362-192. [99]
  • Langland Board Riders, 19 Croftfield Crescent, Newton, Tel:+44 1792 386-104.
  • See also "LC" listed under Swimming.
Swansea Bay and Swansea University
Swansea Bay and Swansea University
  • Swansea University [100] has student population of over 10,000, and for the past few years has been the successive winner of 'The Times' award for the best student experience in the UK [101]. The university is also listed as one of the top 500 universities in the world.
  • Swansea Metropolitan University. [102]. Located at several campuses throughout the city, SMU is famous for its courses in stained glass design [103] and digital media [104].
  • English Study Centre, 81 Mansel Street. Tel:+44 1792 464-103. Email: info@escwales.co.uk [107]. Founded in 1979, this is the city's oldest language center.
  • City School of Languages, 102 Walter Road. Tel:+44 1792 459-615. [108] In addition to English, the center also offers classes in several other languages.
  • Oaklands Educational Travel Services Ltd, 30 Oakland Road, Mumbles. Tel:44 1792 539-184. Email: Abacusaupairs@aol.com

Sailing

Sailing lessons are available at several training schools in the Swansea area:

  • Mumbles Sailing Club, Mumbles. Tel:+44 1792 864-499. [109]
  • Rainbow Sailing, 14 Cambrian Place, Marina. Tel:+44 1792 467-813. [110]
  • Euphoria Sailing, 34 Eastlands Park, Bishopston. Tel:+44 1792 234-502. [111]
  • Welsh Love Spoons - large spoons carved in wood that are traditional gifts between lovers.
  • Woven cloth - available in traditional Welsh designs and sold as shawls, skirts and purses.
  • Monopoly - one of the series of this famous game is based on the streets and landmarks of Swansea.
  • Laverbread - the Swansea specialty dish made from seaweed.
  • Murroughs Welsh Brew Tea [112] - Quality African and Indian teas blended in Swansea
  • Michton Chocolates [113] - Luxury chocolates made in Swansea.
  • Salt Marsh Lamb Localy produced Gower salt-marsh lamb, from sheep reared in the salt-marshes of Loughor Estuary is available from many local butchers and in Swansea Market.

Where

Handicrafts

  • The Sheep Shop, 38-39 Castle Street. Tel:+44 1792 645-718 [114] - sells irresistible stuffed toy sheep of all shapes and sizes. The shop also has a wide selection of other gifts, including jewelery, love spoons, Celtic crafts, traditional toys and woven blankets.
  • Love Spoon Gallery, 492 Mumbles Road (near junction with Newton Road), Mumbles. [115] - offers the largest range of love spoons in the city.
  • Crundles, 80 Brynymor Road. Tel:+44 1792 462-585 - quality handicrafts and ethnic clothes/jewelry from Asia.
  • Treasure, 29-33 Newton Road, Mumbles. Tel:+44 1792 361-345. E-mail: sales@treasuremumbles.co.uk - an up-market gift shop with an emphasis on local goods.
  • Goose Island, 78 St. Helens Road. Tel:+44 1792 458-222 - handicrafts from Asia - gallery upstairs.
  • Celfi Gallery and Gift Shop, 20 Mansel Street. Tel:+44 1792 477-707 [116] - a charity store offering space for former homeless people and the unemployed to exhibit and sell their handicrafts - some lovely framed black and white photographs, jewelry and wood items. Open Tues - Sat 10AM - 4PM
  • Oriel Ceri Richards Gallery, Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea Univeristy. Tel:+44 1792 295-526 [117] Taliesin’s Oriel Ceri Richards Gallery not only hosts regular touring exhibitions, but also stocks an excellent range of greetings cards as well as jewellery, ceramics and other craft items. Open Monday to Saturday
  • The Chocolate Factory, The Kingsway, Fforestfach. Tel:+44 1792 561-617. Michton luxury chocolates hot from the mould [118].
Swansea City Center from Kilvey Hill
Swansea City Center from Kilvey Hill

General

The Quadrant Centre and Oxford Street are the main shopping centers, and host all the usual department and chain stores. Between these two areas lies the much more interesting city market. Although housed in a modern building, Swansea Market can trace its history back to medieval times, and is the largest market in Wales. It is also a good place to purchase the local delicacy of laverbread (though note that laverbread requires refrigeration to keep fresh. If traveling, request vacuum packed or canned).

On the edge of the city center is an array of large, utilitarian shopping centers collectively known as Parc Tawe. Within the complex there is also a UCI multiscreen cinema and bowling alley. Parc Fforestfach is an out-of-town shopping center that houses several huge retail stores. And, for night owls, the huge Tesco supermarkets located between the Quadrant Centre and Oystermouth Road in the city centre, Parc Fforestfach and Llansamlet are all open 24 hours.

High Street (near the junction with College Street) has several stores specializing in backpack and hiking equipment. So, if your tent is springing a leak or your hiking shoes wearing thin, this is the best place to replemish your equipment before heading into the wild Welsh country-side.

Books

New:

  • Waterstones, Oxford Street and University.
  • Uplands, 27 Uplands Crescent - specialist in maps and guide books, also a selection of novels.

Second Hand:

  • Dylan's [119], King Edward Road.
  • Dylan Thomas Centre, Somerset Place, Marina - good selections of local poetry and history.
  • Ice-cream. Due to an influx of Italian families into the area during the early 20th century, Swansea has developed quite a reputation for its tubs and cones. While there are several excellent brands, the nationally acclaimed Joe's Ice-cream [120] is by far the most famous, and their parlors are venerable institutions in the city - in fact it is often said that no visit to Swansea is complete until you've had a Joe's.
  • Laverbread. This Swansea specialty breakfast made from seaweed is delicious rolled in oatmeal and lightly fried or just heated and served on buttered toast. Request your hotel serve it for breakfast or pick up a can or vacuum pack from Swansea Market.
  • Welsh Cakes. Scone-like cakes studded with raisins and dusted with sugar. Available at most bakeries, but best served hot off the griddle at Swansea Market.
  • Welsh Rarebit. Swansea is a good place to sample this Welsh specialty of melted cheese spiced with ale and herbs. It is generally served on toasted bread with a side salad.
  • Cockles These are harvested from the mud-flats in the nearby Loughor Estuary. Cockles are sold in Swansea Market.
  • Salt Marsh Lamb This is the meat from lambs which graze in salt marshes. The meat from these lambs have a subtly differnt taste to lamb sold in supermarkets. Local Gower salt-marsh lamb comes from sheep reared in the salt-marshes of the Loughor estuary. Salt marsh lamb can be bought in many local butchers and in Swansea Market and is served in the premier local-cuisine restaurants in the city like Bizzy Lizzies Bistro and the Fairyhill restaurant. (see below)

Where

Swansea is teaming with quality restaurants - over one hundred in the city center alone. Wind Street for theme bars and quality international cuisine. Quality Chinese food on High Street and Princess Way. St.Helen's Road for take away and sit down Indian (also quality restaurants on Walter Road and off the Mumbles Road at Blackpill), Italian, Turkish and Indonesian. Cheap and excellent vegetarian at 8 Cradock Street, off Kingsway. The Environment Centre [121], Pier street, Marina offers cheap and excellent fair trade coffee and snacks.

Mumbles Road in Mumbles has a wide range of restaurants. Check out Verdi's on Mumbles sea front for great views over a cappuccino.

Joe's Ice-cream parlors are located on St. Helen's Road, near the Guildhall, and near the post office on Mumbles Road in Mumbles.

Below is a a very brief list of popular restaurants in the city center and marina area.

V = vegetarians catered for.

Budget

American

  • Charlie's Chowder, 2 Prospect Place, Marina (near Morgan's Hotel). Tel:44 1792 411-074. Open: Mon-Tue 11AM-5PM, Wed-Sat 11AM-midnight. Serves up great New England dishes in simple New England style.

Cafes (English Breakfast)

  • Coffee's Been, Ground Floor, 55 Walter Rd
  • Uplands Diner, 69 Uplands Crescent, [122]. home of the "Beast" a massive breakfast, has to be seen to be believed  edit
  • Kardomah, Morris Buildings, 11 Portland St
  • Sams Cafe, St. Helens Road

Cafes (Fish and Chips)

  • Roma, Bryn-y-Mor Road
  • Windsor Cafe, 3 Cradock St

Chinese (Cantonese):

  • April's Cafe, 19 Mansel Street. Tel: +44 1792 455422
  • China China, Salubrious Place (above Chiquitos) - all you can eat buffet.
  • Oriental Garden, 18-23 Anchor Court, Victoria Quay, Maritime Quarter, Tel: +44 1792 464600

Indian:

  • Indian Scooner, 18 Anchor Court, Victoria Quay, Marina. Tel:+44 1792 649-301 - V
  • Nawab Tandoori, 12 Christina Street. Tel:+44 1792 470-770 - V
  • Anarkali Tandoori, 79-80 St. Helens Road. Tel:+44 1792 650-549 - V
  • Gulshan, 74 St. Helens Road. Tel:+44 1792 456-390 - V

Indonesian:

  • Garuda, 18 St. Helens Road. Tel:+44 1792 653-388 - V

International:

  • Cafe Continental, 37 Castle Street. Tel:+44 1792 654-663

Thai:

  • Spice, 43 St Helens Road. Tel:+44 1792 654-764 - Indian and Thai cuisine.
  • The Bay View, 400 Oystermouth Road. Tel:+44 1792 652-610 [123]. Located near the Guildhall, the restaurant offers wonderful views of Swansea Bay, and is connected to a lounge bar - good, inexpensive meals.

Vegetarian:

  • Govinda's, 8 Cradock Street (off Kingsway). Tel:+44 1792 468-469 [124] - V - cheap and really excellent food - Indian dishes are a specialty, but the desserts alone are worth the visit. Mo-Thu 12 noon -3PM, Fri-Sa 12 noon - 6PM. Closed on Sunday.
  • Retreat, 2 Humphrey Street (off Walter Road). Tel:+44 1792 457-880 - Vegan - small, backstreet cafe.
  • Khusi Khana, 36 St Helens Road. Tel:+44 1792 411-076 - V - Indian snacks and fast food.

Mid range

American:

  • Frankie and Benny's, Salubrious Place, Wind Street. Tel:+44 1792 461-774 - V

Chinese (Cantonese):

  • The Emperor, 206 High Street, Tel: +44 1792 652 888
  • Evergreen Cantonese, 9 St Helens Road. Tel:+44 1792 466-787 - V
  • Opium Den, 20 Castle Street. Tel:+44 1792 456-160 - V
  • Rendez-Vous, St. Davids Square, Princess Way. Tel:+44 1792 467-113 - V - French and Chinese cuisine, great food, great service.
  • Sea Garden, Penclawdd Road, Penclawdd, Tel: +44 1792 872 886
  • Dragons Nest, 12 High Street. Tel:+44 1792 644 868 - V - The only Chinese restaurant in the Swansea area to serve Dim Sum. Excellent food and great service.
  • Wild Swan, 14 Orchard Street. Tel:+44 1792 472-121 - V

Indian:

  • Anarkali Tandoori Restaurant, 80 St. Helens Rd. Tel: +44 1792 650 549
  • Bengal Brasserie, 67 Walter Rd, Uplands, Tel: +44 1792 641 316
  • Cafe Saffron, 1 Wind Street. Tel:+44 1792 477-771 - V
  • K2, 91-92 Mansel St, Tel:+44 1792 465 015
  • Miahs, St. Helens Road, Tel:+44 1792 466-244 (located in a listed former church building)
  • Mumbai, Mill Lane, Blackpill (opposite the Blackpill Lido on Mumbles Road). Tel:+44 1792 402-402 - modern and spacious ambiance - amazing food - very highly recommended.
  • The Seaview Tandoori, 728 Mumbles Road, Mumbles Tel:+44 1792 361-991 - v

International:

  • Chelsea Cafe, 17 St. Marys Street (off Wind Street). Tel:+44 1792 464-068 - popular with young up-and-comings.
  • Ice, 64 Wind Street. Tel:+44 1792 646-111

Italian:

  • Ask, 6 Wind Street. Tel:+44 1792 477-070 - V
  • Bella Napoli, 66 Wind Street. Tel:+44 1792 644-611
  • Vivaldi Ristorante, 29 Singleton Street. Tel:+44 1792 456-780
  • Castellamare (cafe and restaurant), Bracelet Bay, Mumbles Tel:+44 1792 369-408 - V - built on the edge of cliff, this restaurant offers unrivaled sea views as a backdrop to your pizza and latte. Buses traveling to Limeslade make a stop here. From Mumbles Village, it is a twenty to thirty minute walk.
  • La Bussola, 217 Oxford Street. Tel:+44 1792 655-780 - V
  • Pizza Express, 40 Castle Street, Tel:+44 1792 474-320 - V
  • Pizzeriea vesuvio, 200-201 Neath Road, Landore, Tel: +44 1792 648 346
  • Topo Gigio, 55 St. Helens Road. Tel:+44 1792 467-888 - V
  • Verdi's (cafe and restaurant), Knab Rock, Southend, Mumbles. Tel:+44 1792 369-135 [125] - V - probably the nearest thing the UK has to an authentic Italian sea-front cafe-cum-restaurant, and the huge plate glass windows offer spectacular views over Swansea Bay. Buses traveling to Limeslade stop here. Alternatively, it can be reached on foot via the promenade - a ten minute walk from Mumbles Village.

Japanese

  • Wasabi, 49 Uplands Crescent, Uplands. Tel:44 1792 464-999. Excellent sushi and noodles with sake or green tea to wash it down.

Mexican:

  • Chiquitos, Unit 15 Salubrious Place (bottom end of Wind Street).

Turkish:

  • Mediterranean, 640 Mumbles Road., Mumbles. Tel:+44 1792 363-666. - great, no-nonsense Turkish cuisine.

Vegetarian:

  • Bizzy Lizzies Bistro, 55 Walter Road, Uplands. Tel:+44 1792 473-379 - V

Vietnamese:

  • Vietnam Restaurant, 36 Uplands Crescent, Uplands. Tel:+44 1792 650-929

Welsh/British:

  • Beaumont Hotel, 73 Walter Road. Tel:+44 1792 643-956 - V
  • Bizzy Lizzies Bistro, 55 Walter Road, Uplands. Tel:+44 1792 473-379 - V
  • Dylan Thomas Center, Tel:+44 1792 463-980 - V
  • Hanson at the Chelsea, Ty Castell House, 17 Mary Street, Swansea. Tel:+44 1792 464-068
  • Sketty Hall, Sketty Lane, Sketty. Tel:+44 1792 284-011 - located in a beautiful white Georgian Mansion within the spacious grounds of Singleton Park, this restaurant offers an especially peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.
  • The Pump House, Pump House Quay, Maritime Quarter, Tel:+44 1792 651-080

Splurge

Austrian:

  • Mozart's, 766 Walter Road. Tel:+44 1792 649-984 - V

French:

  • L'amuse, 93 Newton Road, Mumbles. Tel:+44 1792 366-006
  • Didier and Stephanie, 56 St Helens Road. Tel:44 1792 655-603. French country cuisine.

Italian:

  • The New Capriccio, 89 St. Helens Road. Tel:+44 1792 648-804 - V

International

  • Truffle, King Edward's Road. Tel: +44 1792 547246 [126]
  • Truffle Too, 68 Brynymor Road. Tel: +44 1792 547246 [127]

Mediterranean/Spanish:

  • La Braseria, 28 Wind Street. Tel:+44 1792 469-683 - a favorite with Catherine Zeta-Jones
  • Paco's, 22A St. Helens Road. Tel:+44 1792 301-522
  • La Parilla, Unit 5, J Shed, King's road. Tel: +44 1792 464-530

Welsh/British:

  • Abernethy's, Marriott Hotel, Marina. Tel:+44 1792 642-020 - V
  • Norton House, Norton Road, Mumbles. Tel:+44 1792 403-210
  • Patrick's, 638 Mumbles Road, Mumbles. Tel:+44 1792 360-199
  • Atrium Restaurant, Morgan's Hotel, Adelaide Street. Tel:+44 1792 484-848 - V - top-notch restaurant.
  • Papa Sanchos, College Steet. Tel:+44 1792 454647 - stone grill restaurant
  • Knabrock Hotel, 734 Mumbles Road, Mumbles. Tel:+44 1792 361-818. Uncomplicated, but excellent cuisine. Restaurant offers uninhibited views over Swansea Bay.
  • Langland's Brasserie, Brynfield Road, Langland, +44(1792) 363-699 (), [128]. A fine modern British restaurant located with a fantastic view overlooking Langland Bay. Ingredients are organic when available  edit
  • The Penthouse, 29F. Meridian Quay (Marina), +44 (1792) 458-527. Located on the top three floors of a 29 storey apartment block. Fantastic views over Swansea Bay and hinterland  edit
  • The city's busiest and liveliest watering hole is on historic Wind Street (appropriately pronounced Wine) and surrounding area, which is also the home to many of the city's best restaurants.
  • The Kingsway is the night club area, and on a Friday or Saturday night the words of Dylan Thomas, although originally referring to death, seem somehow appropriate in describing the mood of the revelers: "Do not go gentle into that good night, .... burn and rave at close of day; rage, rage against the dying of the light."
  • Another popular watering hole is the Brynymor Road area. This area has a more laid-back atmosphere than Wind Street and is popular with the many university students who live nearby. There are also several excellent international restaurants in the area - serving Italian, French, Meditarranean, Thai and Indian cuisine.

Cafes

City center

  • Baguette Du Jour, 9 Caer Street. Tel:+44 1792 651-165. An open fronted cafe offering great views over Castle Square. A good place to grab a light snack and a coffee for those changing trains in Swansea as the cafe is about ten minute walk from the station (walk down High Street to Swansea Castle and turn right onto Caer Street. The cafe is in the mock Tudor building on the left).
  • Café Nissé, 11 Wind Street. A cafe-cum-gallery.
  • Cafe Smooth, National Waterfront Museum. Tel:+44 1792 456-100 [129]. A large Bohemian style cafe - great views over marina - huge selection of coffees and teas.
  • Cafe Twocann, J-shed, Kings Road, Swansea Waterfront. Tel:+44 1792 458000 [130]. A cafe in a listed building over looking marina - includes small gift store - alcohol served.
  • Eleos Brasserie, 33 The Kingsway, Swansea. Tel:+44 1792 648-609. Centrally located, but nothing special.
  • Gershwins Coffee House, 14 Nelson Street. Tel:+44 1792 474-000
  • Java Tading Company, 10 Picton Archade. Tel:+44 1792 458-141
  • Kardomah, 11 Portland Street. Tel:+44 1792 652-336. Dylan Thomas' old haunt
  • Monkey Cafe 13 Castle Street. Tel+44 1792 480-822. Cosmopolitan and eclectic venue - great views of Swansea Castle from plush leather sofas - live music - alcohol served.
  • Strudles Coffee Shop, Whitewalls. Tel:+44 1792 650-011
  • Starbucks, Oxford Street, near Market entrance. From Seattle to Swansea, the same standard decor and coffee.
  • The Sub-Cafe, 6 Shoppers Walk Archade. Tel:+44 1792 476-334
  • Pure Refreshment, Ty John Penri Building, St. Helen's Road (near junction with Kingsway). A juice and smoothies bar using all natural ingredients.
  • Also and Morgan's Hotel - under Sleep listings.

Mumbles

  • Cafe Valance, 50 Newton Road, the leather sofas, wood flooring, brick walls and open fronting give this cafe a very trendy but homely atmosphere.
  • The Coffee Den, 34/36 Newton Road. Tel:+44 1792 360-044 - simple, but excellent value meals
  • Ocean, 61 Newton Road. Tel:+44 1792 363-462 - alcohol served.
  • Pavilion Bistro @ Mumbles Pier. Tel:+44 1792 365-225
  • Also Verdis and Castellamare - see Eat listing.

Uplands

  • The Chattery, 59 Uplands Cres. Tel:+44 1792 473-276. [131] - live music and fair trade coffee. Friendly, but uninspiring decor.
  • Chambers Cafe Bar, 87 Brynymor Road. Tel:+44 1792 480-699 - modern and cosy - serves wholesome beverages and snacks, such as fair-trade coffee, teas, smoothies, local produce, hummus and ciabattas.

Bars and pubs

City centre: Wind Street vicinity

  • Pitcher & Piano, 59 Wind Street. Tel:+44 1792 461-312
  • Revolution, 24 Wind Street. Tel: +44 1792 475-189
  • Bar SA1, 2-5 Wind Street. Tel: +44 1792 630-941
  • Bar-Co, 8-9 Wind Street. +44 1792 460-658"
  • Idols, 10 Wind Street. Tel: +44 1792 474-240
  • Varsity, 63 Wind Street. Tel: +44 1792 463-520
  • The Cross Keys Inn, 12 St Mary's Street. Tel: +44 1792 630-921
  • Exchange Bar, 10 The Strand. Tel: +44 1792 510-919

City centre: Kingsway vicinity

  • Bar Quarter, Oceana 71-72 The Kingsway. Tel: +44 1792 653-142
  • The Potters Wheel (Wetherspoons) 85 The Kingsway. Tel: +44 1792 465-113
  • Eli Jenkins 24-25 Oxford St. Tel: +44 1792 641-067

City centre: Bryn-y-Mor Road vicinity

  • Cardamon Lounge, St. Paul's Church, St. Helens Road
  • The Brunswick Arms, 3 Duke Street [132]
  • The Bryn-y-Mor, 17 Brynymor Road
  • The Mill, 75 Brynymor Road
  • The Westbourne, 1 Brynymor Road [133]
  • The Wig, 134 St. Helens Road

Sleep

There is a whole row of 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. Mumbles Road in Mumbles also has a wide selection of B&Bs with sea views.

Youth Hostels

Swansea has four youth hostels - three in rural setting (See Swansea/Gower) and one in the city area:

  • Swansea Bunkhouse, Huntington Close, West Cross. Tel:+44 1792 401-548. Fax:+44 1792 403-750. E-mail:mary.devoy@swansea.gov.uk [134] - a large Victorian house near Mumbles Village and seafront - groups only - Open: Fri-Sat nights and school vacation times.

Bed & breakfast

There are far too many B&Bs to list all, but here is random selection: 1) Leonardo's Guest House, 380 Oystermouth Road Tel:+44 1792 470-163, 2) The Oyster Hotel, 262 Oystermouth Road Tel:+44 1792 654-345, 3) Devon View, 394-396 Oystermouth Road Tel:+44 1792 462-008, 4) The White House Hotel, 4 Nyanza Terrace, Uplands Tel:+44 1792 473-856, 5) Cefn-Bryn Guest House, 6 Uplands Crescent, Uplands Tel:+44 1792 466-687, 6) Carlton Hotel, 654-656 Mumbles Road, Mumbles Tel:+44 1792 360-450, 7) Shoreline Hotel, 648 Mumbles Road, Mumbles Tel:+44 1792 366-233, 8) The Coast House, 708 Mumbles Road, Mumbles Tel:+44 1792 368-702, 9) Glenview House, 140 Langland Road, Mumbles Tel:+44 1792 367-933, 10) Langland Cove Guest House, 4 Rotherslade Road, Langland, Mumbles Tel:+44 1792 366-003, 11) Grosvenor Guest House [135], 1A Mirador Crescent, Uplands. Tel:+44 1792 461-522, E-mail: enquiries@grosvenor-guesthouse.co.uk

  • Bay Apartments, 29 Camona Drive, Maritime Quarter. Tel:+44 1792 645-566. E-mail:mail@bayestateagents.com [136]. Apartments in the Maritime Quarter.
  • Clyne Farm Cottages & Clyne Estate, Westport Avenue, Mayals. Tel:+44 1792 403-333. E-mail:info@clynefarm.com [137]. Converted barns and cottages plus horse riding and other activities. Located near Mumbles.
  • Tan yr Eglwys Cottages, Pontardawe, Swansea Valley. Tel:+44 1792 863367. E-mail:rees.lloyd@btinternet.com [138]. 4 star accredited self catering cottages in quiet rural location convenient for Swansea, Brecon, Gower and Afan Argoed Mountain Centre.
  • Hendrefoelan Holiday Apartments, Gower Road, Sketty. Tel:+44 1792 208-929. E-mail:n.s.edmonds@swansea.ac.uk [139]. Housing and apartments in student village - vacation times only.
  • Welsh Holiday Cottages, Pontardawe, Swansea Valley. Tel:+44 1792 864611. E-mail:enquiries@walescottages.com [140]. Luxury self catering farm cottages in the Swansea Valley.
This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget below £60
Mid-range £60-100
Splurge £100+
  • Dolphin, Whitewalls, near Quadrant Shopping Mall. Tel:+44 1792 650-011. Older city centre hotel.
  • Premier Travel Inn:
    • Salubrious Place. (off Wind Street). Tel:0870 990 6562 [141]. Convenient for city centre, marina and 'Swansea-Cork Ferry.' Extremely noisy at weekends as Wind Street is Swansea's main watering hotel and many of the out-of-town revelers stay at this hotel. Opened 2005.
    • Swansea North (in the enterprise park) Upper Forest Way, Morriston. Quieter than the city centre one and located next to a popular Taybarns eat as much as you like restaurant. Tel:0870 990 6562
  • Travelodge Swansea Central Hotel, Princess Way. Tel: 0870 191 1826 [142] A modern city centre hotel. Opened March 2007.
  • Beaumont Hotel, 72 Walter Road. Tel:+44 1792 643-956 - small hotel, near city centre
  • Hotel Ibis, Fabian Way. Tel:+44 1792 638-800. Located off motorway connecting road - car essential. Not convenient for tourists.
  • The Grand, High Street, (across from Swansea Railway Station entrance). Tel:+44 1792 645-898 [143] A beautifully renovated classic hotel. Convenient for city center and rail travel.
  • Dragon Hotel, 39 Kingsway Circle. Tel:+44 1792 657-100. E-mail: info@dragon-hotel.co.uk [144]]. Swansea's oldest and one of its most popular hotels in the heart of the City Center.
  • Marriott Hotel, Maritime Quarter. Tel:0870 400-7282 [145] Convenient for city center. Wonderful views over Swansea Bay and marina.
  • Norton House, Norton Road, Mumbles. Tel:+44 1792 404-891 [146]. A converted small Georgian manor house.
  • Ramada Jarvis, Phoenix way, Enterprise Zone. Tel:+44 1792 310-330 [147]. Located in business district. Not suitable for tourists.
  • The Village, SA1 Waterfront, Fabian Way. [148]. Tel:+44 0870 066 5013. Fax:+44 1792 479-946. Located in the prestigious SA1 Waterfront area - twenty minute walk to city center - two minutes to sea front. Opened March 2007.
  • Winston Hotel, Church Lane, Bishopston. Tel:+44 1792 232-074 E-Mail: email@winstonhotel.com [149]. A small family run hotel in quiet location over looking the Bishopston Valley and close to sandy beaches.
Morgan's Hotel
Morgan's Hotel
  • Morgan's Hotel, Adelaide Street, Marina. Tel+44 1792 484-848 [150]. Five star luxury in listed building. Convenient for city center and marina.
  • Knabrock Hotel, 734 Mumbles Road, Mumbles. Tel:+44 1792 361-818. [151]. A boutique hotel offering unobstructed views of Swansea Bay. Excellent cuisine and service.
  • Patrick's with Rooms, 638 Mumbles Road, Mumbles. Tel:+44 1792 360-199 [152]. An eight room hotel overlooking Swansea Bay - famed for its 'seriously good food'.

Get out

Other places of interest in the Swansea area: (see also Swansea Bay for more highlights of the immediate surrounding area)

  • Dan-yr-Ogof Caves [153] are located in the Swansea Valley (on the A4067 - main Swansea to Brecon Road). Voted Britain's "favourite natural wonder" in a nation-wide competition organized by T.V. Channel 5, these show caves comprise the largest complex of caves in Western Europe. There is also a craft shop and restaurant.
  • Middleton, the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire (off A48, between Swansea and Carmarthen). [154] For public transport information, call 0870 608 2608.
  • Brecon Beacons National Park - a short drive from Swansea will take you into this land of lakes, mountain peaks and Celtic mystery.
Carreg Cennen Castle
Carreg Cennen Castle
  • Half day drive from Swansea: Join M4 at Swansea and take until the end. Follow A483 and then A40 through Llandeilo and the market town of Llandovery. Both towns are very picturesque, though Llandovery is larger and has more places to relax and visit. Instead of traveling directly to Llandovery, it is possible to take a detour to the river-side village of Trapp and the spectaular Carreg Cennen Castle [155]. There are handicraft gift shops and cafes at the castle and near Trapp. From the castle there is the option of returning to Llandeilo and rejoining the A40 or traveling through the lanes to Llandovery. From Llandovery, follow signs for Sennybridge and then take a right onto the A4067. This road leads to the Dan-yr-Ogaf show caves and back to the M4, (Head west for Mumbles and Gower and leave the motorway at 'Exit 47', 'Swansea West,' or head east for Swansea City Center and leave the motorway at 'Exit 42.' Follow signs for 'The National Waterfront Museum'). During this half day journey, you will pass through some of Wales' most breathtaking pastoral scenes, and along the way take in quaint villages and towns, mountains, caves, lakes and waterfalls.
  • Pembrokeshire Coast National Park - stunning coastal scenery a 90+ minute drive (longer at vacation times)
  • Tenby - a medieval walled town - great beaches - 90+ minutes by car, bus or train.
  • Cardiff - Wales' capital city - castle - shopping - around 50 minutes by car, bus or train - frequent connections by bus and train.
  • Burgess World Travel, 28 Kingsway. Tel:+44 1792 455-195 [156] An independent travel agency offering good deals.

Talk

Although it definitely has character, Swansea dialect (especially from east-side) can be hard to understand for the uninitiated.

The following usages are peculiar to Swansea:

  • bye-ya = here (example: "Put it bye-ya" means "Put it here.")
  • ciao for now = goodbye for now.
  • ewe = you (example: "Alright, arr ewe?" means "Are you OK?")
  • learns = teach, (example: "Will you learns me English?" means "Will you teach me English?")
  • likes = like, (example: "I likes it" means "I like it")
  • now = often used as an affirmative, not be taken literally (example: "I'll come over now later" just means "I'll come over later.")
  • fair dues = to give someone credit (example: "He is not rich, but fair dues he's always happy to lend money to his friends." means "He is not rich, but give him credit. He's always happy to lend money to his friends.")
  • there's = that's, how or what (example: "There's lovely" means "That's beautiful" or "How nice", whereas "There's a mess!" would in more standard English be expressed as "What a mess!")
  • butt/butty = friend/buddy. (example: "How're you doing, butt?" means "How are you doing, mate/friend?")
  • mun = used at the end of a statement for emphasis purposes (example: "Hurry up, mun, or we'll be late").
  • Evening Po = an abbreviated term for Evening Post (the Swansea evening newspaper) called out by road side vendors.
  • In addition, there is a tendency for those with a strong accent to speak in the third person. So if someone walks up to you and says, "eye nose ewe", don't be surprised. They are merely expressing the fact that they recognize you (i.e. "I know you")!

The Swansea accent is more noticeable in blue collar areas of the city, whereas in more affluent areas people speak with a more refined Welsh accent. However, even in these areas Wenglish phrases like "Uch a fi!" (dirty) can still be heard.

About 16% of Swansea's population can speak and read Welsh in addition to English, though the majority of these are residents of the the northern suburbs (i.e. those closest to the counties of Powys and Carmarthenshire). People from the original town of Swansea, east-side, Mumbles and South Gower were not traditionally Welsh speaking, and so there are far fewer Welsh speakers in these areas.

  • Bishopston Leisure Centre, The Glebe, Bishopston. Tel+44 1792 235-040. Bishopston features a well equipped gym, a sports hall and tennis courts.
  • The LC or Swansea Leisure Centre (see Swimming section above) features a comprehensive gymnasium and spa.
  • Village Swansea Health & Fitness Club, Langdon Road (Off Fabian Way), SA1 Waterfront. Tel:44 844 847-2970. Offers state of the art leisure facilities on a truly impressive scale. Open to both hotel guests and club members. Features a 25m swimming pool, cardio and resistance training equipment, sauna, aerobic studio and whirlpool spa.

Religious Services

There are many religious and spiritual groups meeting in Swansea. Below is just a representative of the most common.

Anglican:

  • St. Mary's Church, St Mary’s Square. [157] Tel:+44 1792 655-489 (joint Anglican and Greek Orthodox)

Bon

  • Yungdrung Bon Meditation Group, 122 Clydach Road, Morriston. [158] Tel:+44 1792 207-474

Buddhist:

  • Pulpung Changchub Dargyeling (Kagyu Tradition). [159] Tel:+44 1792 524-282 (Annzella Gregg). e-mail: palpungchangchubdargyeling@ymail.com

Hebrew:

  • Swansea Synagogue, Ffynone Road, Uplands. [160] Tel:+44 1792 206-404

Hindu:

  • Tridev Meditation Society, 5A Beechwood Road, Uplands. [161] Tel+44 1792 208-373

Islam:

  • Swansea Mosque 14/15 St Helens Road. [162]

ISKCON:

  • Radha Krishna Temple (Govinda's), 8 Cradock Street. [163] Tel:+44 1792 468-469

Jehovah Witnesses:

  • Swansea Congregational Jehovah Witnesses, Kingdom Hall, Uplands. Tel:+44 1792 411861

Native American Practices

  • The Heyokah Centre, The Retreat, 2 Humphrey Street. Tel:+44 1792 457-880

Quakers

  • Friends Meeting House, 168 St Helen's Road. [164]

Roman Catholic:

  • St. Joseph's Cathedral, Convent Street, Greenhill. [165] Tel:+44 1792 652-683

Stay safe

Beaches and Coast

As a coastal city, visitors inevitably come into contact with the sea. Be aware of local conditions before swimming or undertaking boating activities.

Among the popular beaches, Three Cliffs is dangerous for swimming due to the strong under currents caused by a tidal lagoon. Worm's Head off the tip of Rhossili Bay has also claimed many lives. Ensure that you know the times of the tides before venturing out the the island. Many people have been swept away trying to return through a fast rising tide. The cliffs between the Rhosilli village and Worms Head have also claimed lives, some of the grass and earth on the cliff edge is eroding and walkers should heed local warnings and stick to the path. Indeed, care should always be taken while taking clifftop walks in the Gower.

From the beginning of May, Caswell, Langland, Bracelet and Port Eynon beaches are all patrolled by professional lifeguards during the weekends. From June until September the beaches are patrolled 7 days a week

Advice for safe swimming:

  • A red flag means danger. Do not enter the water if the red flag is flying
  • Consider bathing at a beach that's under lifeguard protection
  • Don't swim alone at a deserted beach
  • Don't use inflatables. They are easily swept away by strong currents
  • If you see someone in trouble, call 999 and ask for Coastguard
  • Inquire about swimming conditions at local tourist offices prior to venturing to a beach without lifeguard cover
  • Read warning notices posted near beach access sites
  • The area between the red and yellow flags marks the area patrolled by lifeguards. Don't swim outside this area

Crime

Crime occurs in Swansea as in most other cities, and sensible precautions should be taken. As elsewhere in the UK, there can be drink related problems in those areas with high concentrations of pubs and clubs, e.g. Wind Street and Kingsway in the City Centre and the Mumbles Mile.

Hospitals and clinics

In an emergency, dial 999 and request ambulance service.

  • Morriston Hospital, Heol Maes Eglwys, Morriston (near the M4). Tel:+44 1792 702-222 - the largest hospital in the city - operates a specialist burns center and accident and emergency unit.
  • Singleton Hospital, Sketty Lane, Sketty (in the west of the city). Tel:+44 1792 205-666 - a large hospital but no accident and emergency unit.
  • Sancta Maria, Ffynone Road, Uplands. Tel:+44 1792 479-040 [166] - a small private hospital located in the Uplands area - non emergency treatment only.
  • Swansea Clinic for Alternative Medicine [167], 20 Walter Road. Tel:+44 1792 644-362

Contact

Area code

Swansea's area dialling code is 01792. To call from overseas, dial +44 1792 XXXXXX

Internet

The city center is a Wi-Fi hotspot zone, with a charge of £10 for 2 hours to access the system. There is also a Wi-Fi hotspot at Crossfire, on the Kezone/BT Openzone network, with single-hour access available for £6 or four hours for £10.

Internet Cafes

City Centre:

  • Swansea Central Library, Civic Centre, Oystermouth Road. Access is free, but ID required for registration. Closed on Sundays. Use is intended strictly for research, and so many websites (e.g. Hotmail) are blocked.
  • Crossfire Internet & LAN Gaming Centre, on the junction of Kingsway, Princess Way and College Street. Has 58 computers across 2 floors.
  • YMCA, St Helens Road, near junction with Kingsway. Has six computers on the second floor.
  • Mike-O-Soft Computers, Swansea Market. Has five computers in a corner section.

Mumbles:

  • Mumbles Library, Dunn's Lane - access is free, but ID required for registration.
  • City Center: The city's main post office is located above the W.H. Smiths store in the Quadrant Shopping Centre.
  • Mumbles: The post office is on Mumbles road, between the Tourist Office and Joe's Ice-cream Parlor.

Many other smaller sub-post offices can be found throughout the City and County of Swansea, including in many Gower villages.

  • BBC [168]. The BBC's Swansea and Region-wide news website.
  • The South Wales Evening Post [169]. The city's main evening paper - available from Monday to Saturday at news stands throughout the city - the best publication for finding out about job openings, events or just for keeping up to date on developments in the city.
  • 1170 Swansea Sound - The Heart of South West Wales [170]. One of the first local radio stations to take to the air in the UK. Popular oldies music is a regular feature as well as news, current affairs and discussion programs. Welsh language programming is broadcast daily when the station is known as Sain Abertawe. Swansea Sound broadcasts at 1170MW and DAB digital radio.
  • 96.4 The Wave - The Number 1 Station For South West Wales [171]. Covers similar ground as their sister station, Swansea Sound, but is aimed at a slightly younger audience and provides a wide range of oldies and a broad selection of Top 40 contemporary hit music. It can be picked up at 96.4FM and DAB digital radio.
  • 102.1 Bay Radio - The NEW Sound of South West Wales [172] Broadcasts to the same area as The Wave & Swansea Sound. Includes easy listening music as well as an adult orientated format.
  • What's On. This is monthly information booklet published by the city council listing up-coming events and movie information. The booklet is available free from the main tourist office or from cafes, restaurants and hotels in tourist areas.[173]
  • Compass. A bi-monthly booklet issued free and covering the mystical and spiritual aspect of Swansea. A good resource to find information on local Buddhist groups, tai'chi and yoga classes and reiki and shiatsu practitioners. Compass is available from the main tourist office and from cafes and restaurants, particularly those in the Mumbles and bed-sit area of Uplands.
  • Tonnau [174]. A locally produced magazine dedicated to the surfing community. Copies can be picked up at stores selling surfing equipment and newsagents in sea-side locations.
  • Swansea Life Magazine [175]. A glossy magazine covering all the hot topics in the Swansea area. Sold at most newsagents in the city.
  • Swansea.com [176]. Information guide on hotels, bars, nightclubs and what to do in the city.
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1911 encyclopedia

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

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Wikipedia

Etymology

From Old Norse personal name Sveinn + ey (island). Written Sweynesse c. 1165, Sueinesea in 1190, Swanesey in 1322.

Proper noun

Singular
Swansea

Plural
-

Swansea

  1. a city in South Wales

Translations

References

  • 2003, A. D. Mills, A Dictionary of British Place-Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198527586

Simple English

Swansea is a city and county in Wales, UK. It is Wales' second biggest city with just 169,000 people so it is quite a small city. The largest city in Wales is the capital, Cardiff.








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