you like to be beside the sea, go to Swansea, Wales’ pretty
city in the sunshine. It is just a 20 minute drive down the valley
from your self catering holiday cottage. Wales’ second city
is home to Dylan Thomas, the
world’s first passenger railway, and randomly, the 2nd largest
tidal range in the world (it’s 9 metres in springtime!)
Follow Swansea Bay round from the city centre
all the way round past Singleton Park, where the National
Pool of Wales now lives, currently the only Olympic sized pool
in the country. Turn right for the beautiful golden sand beaches
of the Gower, the first designated
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Britain, or straight ahead
for a crawl along the famous pub-lined Mumbles Mile. Around the
corner you can walk along the gap-toothed old pier, or clamber around
the rocky edge of Swansea Bay’s beach.
If you are a sports fan, the road joining Mumbles
Head to the city of Swansea passes the old Vetch ground, historic
home of Swansea City Football Club, alongside the jail, where lucky
prisoners could watch the match if they had a pitch-side cell. Further
down the road is St Helen’s Cricket Ground, sometime home
of Glamorganshire county cricket.
On entry to the city centre you will see the
sprawling greenhouse of Plantasia, a mini tropical paradise, complete
with giant African snails and poisonous frogs. Discover over 800
different plant species live here, with monkeys and reptiles.
As Wales’ oldest museum, Swansea Museum
has its own Mummy and Egyptian artefacts, and within strolling distance
to Wales’ newest museum, the National
Fans of the alcoholic poet Dylan
Thomas can follow his trail, which includes a visit to his birthplace.
The Dylan Thomas Centre, which has a permanent exhibition, ‘In
My Own Intricate Image’ as well as a souvenir shop and obviously,
In the centre of town is a monument to Thomas’
poetry - a leaf sculpture in a fountain. Walk around the fountain
and read the poem, then look back at the setting – the 14th
Century ruins of the castle in ruins alongside the more glamorous
blue high-rise BT building.
Swansea, once copper capital of world, was bombed
extensively in the war, with little surviving intact. To find out
more, visit a new Swansea attraction - the 1940s
war museum, located on the way into the city from the east.
Wind Street, is one of the few streets left intact after the bombing
and is now permanently celebrating – the street is lined with
pubs and restaurants. Suitably pronounced ‘Wine’ rather
than Wind Street, the street hides a little alleyway worth a visit
– Salubrious Passage with its second hand bookshop.
Visit Swansea indoor market for local produce,
taste some faggots and peas or even some cockles and lava bread
if you are feeling daring – that’s soggy seaweed to
the uninitiated, a local speciality.
In Brangwyn Hall hang some lesser-known paintings
of the great Empire, by Frank Brangwyn. The enormous canvases illuminate
the walls of otherwise drab main hall with colour from four corners
of the globe packed into 18 panels of light and life. More art can
be found at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery which has traditional and
modern Welsh art, with pieces by Augustus John and Ceri Richards.
There is also a sculpture court and an international collection
of porcelain and Swansea china.
With anything and everything from history to
jet skiing, the seaside city of Swansea awaits your visit.