Hislop was born there, Catherine Zeta-Jones was brought up there,
Dylan Thomas drank there and Bonnie Tyler lives there. It has been
compared to the Bay of Naples (it is better, apparently) and can
boast of having the world’s first passenger railway. Also
home to one of the most famous drinking challenges in Britain -
Mumbles may only be a small seaside village but it has lots to boast
Mumbles is attached to South Wales’ second
city of Swansea. Swap the mountains for the seashore simply by driving
twenty minutes from your self catering holiday cottage. The Mumble
Mile pub crawl starts from the famous White Rose, where Dylan Thomas
was often seen drinking. From there progress to the Nag’s
Head, go round the corner to the The Park Inn and Victoria Inn.
If you are still thirsty, there’s more ahead. Wobble over
to the Village Inn, then stagger onto the William Hancock, lean
on the bar at the Antelope, get dragged into the Famous Bear, try
and sober up in Salt, and finally crawl in to The Pilot.
Why the strange name? It is nothing to do with
muttering or stuttering, but instead is probably derived from the
French word mamelles, or "breasts". Look over to the two
islets at the end of the headland to see why. On the furthest of
the two is Mumbles Lighthouse, and in the village are the ruins
of Oystermouth Castle.
Oystermouth is Oystermouth because the sands
around the bay fed millions of oysters to many mouths. The creatures
were farmed in Swansea Bay until they were no more – in the
1920s. In 1871 alone, a staggering ten million of the shelled aphrodisiacs
were harvested from the sea beds of Swansea Bay and Gower. They
are beginning to be farmed again, and are back on the menu of some
In 1806, the Oystermouth Railway was built between
Oystermouth and Swansea to carry coal to Swansea. A horse-drawn
passenger service started in March, 1807 – the first passenger
railway service in the world, called the Mumbles train. Mumbles
became a popular tourist destination and the train line was extended,
and a pier opened in 1898 as the new terminus.
A RNLI lifeboat slipway was added to the pier
in 1916 and a boathouse in 1922; then in 1966 an amusement complex.
As for the view over Swansea Bay from Mumbles
– it is often compared to the bay of Naples in Southern Italy.
19th Century poet Walter Savage Landore said, on returning to Wales
from his travels: "The bay of Naples is very fine but give
me Mumbles for scenery every time."
The difference between high and low tide levels
across the Bay is huge, with the second-highest 'tidal reach' (the
difference between high and low tide) in the world, beaten only
by Canada’s Bay of Fundy.