It’s been officially seven weeks since lockdown began in the UK and the world around us closed down. With lockdown now extended in Wales for another three weeks, at least, it’s inevitable that many of us are starting to feel a bit impatient, and are pining for some of the small luxuries that we enjoy most in local life.
That is especially the case in Swansea at this time of the year, with the sun shining and the beaches cleaner than they have been in years as we move closer and closer to summer. It is very much a summer city, an outdoor way of life, and most of its charm is connected to its beaches, promenades, scenery and food. With that in mind, here are five things to look forward to in Swansea once lockdown is eventually over, or at least eased….
Ice cream at Joe’s
Other ice cream parlours are available of course, and Verdi’s, Mumbles Pier and Forte's are as good as anything too, but it is grabbing an ice cream from Joe’s and walking down Mumbles prom that is the quintessential Swansea eating experience. Expect queues down the Mumbles Road once it reopens with people pining for their renowned vanilla ice-cream.
Joe's is an institution not only in Mumbles but in all of Swansea. The original shop, still on St. Helen's Road today, was established by Joe Cascarini, from northern Italy, in 1922.
A beer with a view
Swansea, and Wales, is a great place to live for beer. Not only are prices very favourable, but the options are eclectic and plentiful. Regarding where to drink them at this time of year, options are equally abundant, such as the rooftop terrace of Croeso, the beer gardens of Cross Keys or Beer Riff, even any of the old haunts of Mumbles like The Park and The Pilot would be acceptable. However, you can’t beat the view over Swansea Beach, the Marina and the city centre offered from the Grape & Olive, from the top floor of The Tower at Meridian Quay.
As well as offering great views, The Tower, at 107m in height, is the tallest building in all of Wales since opening in 2009.
Surfing at Caswell or Llangennith
The Swansea area is defined as much by its beaches these days than anything else, and the main thing to do on those beaches is surf. Renowned for having some of the finest surf in the whole of the UK, beaches like Caswell or Llangennith are famed across the country for the consistent size and frequency of their waves, as well as their spectacular views, surroundings and settings.
Surfing is so ingrained in the lifestyle of Swansea that people will have a different wet suit depending on the season, will wear board-shorts all year round regardless of the weather, and it is bred into children from a young age. Surf schools and lessons operate across the year for people of all ages.
Visiting Swansea Market
They call it ‘The Heart of City Life’ and there is definitely some truth to the cheesy radio advert. Whatever you want to eat, or need fixed, or whatever trinket you are looking for, you will find it in Swansea Market. It is particularly famed for its cockles and laverbread, cheap breakfasts and lunches, and the wacky array of authentic Swansea locals who work and shop there. Whether you need a light bulb, a ‘Keep Calm & Cwtch’ tea-towel or a burrito, you will find it here.
Since 1730, there have been four different versions of a Swansea Market on its current site on Oxford St. The third version, built in the 1890s, was the largest glass and steel structure in the UK at the time, containing 600 busy market stalls. However, it was destroyed during the Swansea Blitz of February 1941 during World War 2 and ultimately rebuilt into the the building we have today in 1960, remaining the biggest market in Wales, albeit with 100 stalls now.
A Game at the Liberty
It doesn’t necessarily need to be the Swans, or the Ospreys, or even at the Liberty Stadium, as any live professional sport will do at this stage. Surely Glamorgan at St. Helen’s in the sunshine will be possible before the summer is out, as cricket might be able to make a comeback before football or rugby. However, it is Swansea City that makes the city tick, and matches back at the Liberty will suggest a sense of normalcy has been restored.
The Liberty is not only the home of rugby and football in Swansea in the 21st century, but also a live music venue capable of bringing some big names to Wales' second city, like Elton John, The Who and most recently, The Killers in the summer of 2018.
What are some of your favourite things about Swansea? And what are you looking forward to being able to do again? Make sure to comment below or on any of our social channels (links below).
If you have enjoyed this blog, make sure to check out our other articles about Wales, Welsh history, culture, traditions and its people on our regularly updated Blog page.
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