PONTARDAWE | NEATH
| SWANSEA | BRIDGEND
If you fancy doing a
spot of shopping during your stay at our holiday cottages in the
Swansea Valley, here are some of your many options:
Pontardawe (2 miles from holiday cottages)
Starting with the smallest first, Pontardawe shopping centre
has two streets, Herbert Street and High Street. There are one or
two interesting shops but unfortunately, Pontardawe shopping centre
has suffered at the hands of the large supermarkets that lie on
the outskirts of the town. If you do decide to take a look, you
can park for free in a small car park on Herbert Street, or use
Somerfield’s car park and walk to the shops using the underpass.
Neath (5 miles from
Neath is large market town and has a very pleasant pedestrianised
shopping centre which includes a historic covered market famed for
its mini-cafes that serve the local speciality, faggots and peas.
You can spend a good few hours exploring the streets of Neath. In
addition to the small independent market traders, Neath also has
all the usual high street suspects such as WHSmith, Boots, Woolworth,
Marks and Spencer, B & Q etc. etc. There is a good car park
on Milland Road. It is cheap to park for the whole day, is central
(to get to the shops you’ll have to use the footbridge to
cross the railway) and can be found easily. Simply drop off the
A474 and you’ll see it in front of you.
Swansea (10 miles
from holiday cottages)
As Wales' second largest city, after Cardiff, Swansea has a good
selection of shops - from the familiar British high street stores
to colourful independent traders and boutiques. To help you put
Swansea into context, its population is roughly the same as a city
like Norwich or Bournemouth. If you include its surrounds, the population
is more similar to a city like Southampton.
Swansea is a sprawled-out city and has a few
different shopping areas, a result of its colourful history and
geographical location, sandwiched between a big beach and some mountains.
Although many of its buildings were destroyed during the war to
be replaced by 1950s concrete boxes, the city boasts what is arguably
the finest natural setting of any major British city, situated within
a sweeping, sandy bay. Most of the shops however, are situated a
couple hundred metres inland of the beach, with many of the top
fashion, department and entertainment stores in the Quadrant Shopping
Centre or along nearby Oxford Street. The Quadrant Shopping Centre
is a modern, spacious mall under a clear glass roof, home to most
of the best known stores.
Next door, the hustle and bustle of Swansea Market
shelters beneath a large arched roof, making it the largest covered
market in Wales. Market stalls offer local produce, Welsh delicacies
such as Welsh Cakes, cockles and laverbread, plus gifts, crafts,
clothing and general stalls.
The large department stores, with the exception
of the Quadrant-based Debenhams, are clustered around the east end
of Oxford Street, near Castle Square. In contrast, the west end
of Oxford Street is home to local based and bargain stores. St.
David's Shopping Centre, near the Quadrant, is a red-brick complex
of smaller shops and is generally not as busy as the Quadrant.
Leading each way from Castle Square is High Street
to the north and Wind Street to the south. Both these streets were
within the old town walls of medieval Swansea. Today, High Street
has become the sadly neglected part of the city, its smaller shops
and indoor market struggling to brighten the drab environment. Wind
Street, in contrast, is more a fashionable area with continental-style
café bars, public houses and restaurants offering an after-dark
alternative to the wild club scene surrounding The Kingsway.
Between the Castle and the River Tawe lies the
Parc Tawe Shopping and Leisure Centre, accommodating the UCI Cinema,
Superbowl, Plantasia and many big name household superstores. We
recommend that you park here for short visits to the city (you get
3 hours for free and it is easy to get out of and back up the valley
to Pontardawe). Should you wish to stay longer you could use one
of the official car parks which you will see signs for as you head
into the city centre. Swansea has two Park and Ride sites situated
off main routes to the north and east of the City Centre. These
sites are located at Landore and Fabian Way. For more information,
please see the Swansea
Council Park and Ride Website.
Bridgend (25 miles
from holiday cottages)
An alternative shopping trip would be a jaunt down the
M4 to Bridgend where, just off junction 36 of the motorway, you
will find McArthur
Glen Designer Outlet Shopping Village, a purpose built collection
of over 80 famous name designer stores offering discounts of up
to 50 per cent. Set out in a friendly village street style, there’s
a food court, family entertainment and a nine-screen cinema. There
is plenty of parking.
Cardiff (45 miles
Cardiff is the capital of Wales and has one of the best
shopping centres in the UK, with almost every major store represented.
Its city centre survived the worst of the bombs in the Second World
War and it is famed for its network of well preserved Victorian
and Edwardian arcades that even appeal to dedicated non-shoppers.
These weird and wonderful arcades contain many small shops, boutiques,
delicatessens, cafes and bookshops.
One of the first things that you will notice
about the city centre is how compact it is, with many shops in covered
arcades. There are two main shopping streets: Queen Street and St.
Mary Street. Cardiff has four covered shopping malls which are well
worth exploring: St. David's Centre, Queens West, Capitol Centre,
Queens Arcade. The city centre has two markets, one open-air and
the other covered. Both markets are an excellent source of fruit
and vegetables and the covered market is a great place to buy fresh
fish, meat and dairy produce.
A good plan would be to head down to Neath, leave
your car at Milland Road Car Park (cheap for the day) and catch
the train into Cardiff. Trains depart from Neath at least once an
hour and Cardiff Train Station is in the city centre. The journey
takes about 45 minutes. Should you wish to drive, there are a number
of well signposted multi storey car parks in Cardiff city centre.