Day 1 in Swansea

Welcome to Swansea (Abertawe in Welsh), the second-largest city in Wales and the jewel of the River Tawe. Some of you will be self-driving, and others will be visiting by train or regional bus. For many people arriving in Swansea, they will be arriving by train at Swansea train station just north of the city center. If you want to stow your luggage for an hour or two before leaving the area for your hotel, there are paid lockers adjacent to the station inside a local convenience store. In the immediate area of the train station are two notable sites: the Palace Theatre, which hosted its first production in 1888, making it Wales` oldest surviving theatre; and the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, the city`s public art gallery, which hosts a very impressive collection of European Old Masters.

After dropping your things at the hotel, head toward the city center and visit Swansea Indoor Market; with 100 local food stalls, it is the largest indoor market building in Wales. Adjoining the indoor market is Quadrant Shopping Centre, Swansea`s major indoor shopping mall. Adjacent to Swansea Market and Quadrant is St. Mary`s Church; rebuilt after World War II, this building is a replica of the church that was built here in the 14th century by Henry de Gower, Bishop of the Anglican Archdiocese of St. Davids (southwestern Wales). On the other side of Quadrant from St. Mary`s is Swansea Grand Theatre, a Victorian-style hall best-known as the performing arts venue for Swansea; consider buying tickets to a show if you are in town.

Toward the end of the day (between 4 and 5 p.m., thus avoiding crowds), arrive at Swansea Castle, the focal point of the city center. It was built in the 12th century by Henry de Beaumont to serve as protection for his lands, the Lordship of Gower, and withstood a ten-week siege that century. The castle has fallen into disrepair, but the outlines of the remaining ruins sit beautifully amongst the backdrop of the modern city center. There were adjacent buildings no longer in existence that housed the old South Wales Evening Post offices where poet and writer Dylan Thomas worked as a reporter in the 1930s.

Spend the evening exploring the bars and restaurants in and around Wind Street, the most happening street in Swansea. Get something to eat, have a drink or two, and have a great evening. Return to your accommodations at the end of the evening.

Day 2 in Swansea

Start the morning bright and early just south of the city center, in the maritime quarter, with a tour of Swansea Museum, the oldest museum in Wales. There are exhibits related to Swansea`s role in the copper mining industry, an interactive area near the marina that tells Swansea`s maritime history and is open during the summertime, and `the tramshed`, which educates visitors on the heritage tramways that used to run between Swansea and The Mumbles. Between the Swansea Museum and the Tawe Basin, you will find the Dylan Thomas Theatre, which features a small exhibit on the life of Swansea`s most famous son; and the National Waterfront Museum, part of the National Museums of Wales, which tell the story of Swansea`s maritime and industrial endeavors and how those intersected.

Later in the morning, head west of the maritime quarter to Swansea Beach for a little fun in the sun, stopping in the Uplands neighborhood at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive first. This is the birthplace of Dylan Thomas, and the building is open to the public. It is decorated much as it would have been when Thomas lived here, from his 1914 birth until he moved out at age 23 in 1937. Spend the rest of the afternoon heading west and then southwest, first stopping at Swansea`s largest park, Singleton Park, where you can view the legendary Swiss Cottage building and stroll in fields of flowers at Swansea Botanical Gardens. If you`re in the mood for more flowers and greenery, head down Mumbles Road to Clyne Gardens, originally curated and kept by Glynn Vivian, who used to own the adjoining Georgian-era castle.

If you want to end the day on your own terms and at your own leisure, head to The Mumbles, a small, vibrant seaside town that also serves as a nightlife destination for people from Swansea. You will find dozens of great restaurants here and many great bars and pubs, along both Mumbles Road and Newton Road. Take Mumbles Road all the way down past Mumbles Beach to the Victorian-era Mumbles Pier, where there are even more food and entertainment options. Return to your accommodations at the end of the evening.

Additional Days in Swansea

If you have an extra day, head east to the suburb of Port Talbot, where there is the largest steelworks in the United Kingdom and also the South Wales Miners` Museum which tells their history. There is also a mural by the artist Banksy which was created in 2018. Called `Season`s Greetings`, it can be viewed from the Ty`r Orsaf building. Nearby is Aberavon Beach, one of the largest sandy beaches in Wales, stretching along the coast for three miles. It is well-known for surfing for those who would like to experience the Welsh waves.

For those who have extra days on top of that, spend some time exploring the Gower Peninsula. With a history stretching back over 33,000 years, the Gower Peninsula is considered to be the first portion of Wales that was settled by prehistoric man. Cathole Cave features a cave drawing that is the oldest in existence in Britain. The remains of the Roman settlement of Leucarum are now artifacts being discovered underneath the soil in the town of Loughor. Eight standing stones dating from the Bronze Age dot the peninsula, as do six castles that date from either the Norman or Edwardian conquests of Wales. With dramatic cliffsides meeting gorgeous stretches of coastline, the Gower Peninsula is the oldest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the United Kingdom. It`s definitely worth exploring for two days if you have the time to do so.

Your Last Day in Swansea

Depart your hotel and head to your next destination. We hope you enjoyed the sights of Swansea, The Mumbles, Port Talbot, and the Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty!