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5 Beautiful Buildings of Swansea

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

Swansea is a city full of fascinating, beautiful and iconic buildings. The architecture of Wales' second city varies from medieval to Georgian, from Victorian to some post-war creations. The oldest buildings in the city are Swansea Castle, of which the current site is from around 1290, and the Cross Keys Pub, which is from the 1330s. Of course, new buildings are being erected in the city all the time today, be it the latest student accommodation tower block on Kingsway, or the new arena being built in the city centre.

Many of the city's most stunning buildings, however, come from the glory age of Swansea, the time of Copperopolis when the town was the centre of the world's copper industry, across the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries up until the First World War. That also happens to be the same window of time from which the following five buildings come from. So, in no particular order, here are five of Swansea's must beautiful buildings.

The Adelphi, Wind St (now Brewdog)

Swansea’s Wind St is full of beautiful Georgian and Victorian buildings, but perhaps the most unique is the old Adelphi Hotel, which is now a Brewdog as of late 2019. Wind St has more listed buildings than any other road in the city, and it is the street of the city centre that received the least amount of damage during the second world war, which has allowed for all of the stunning architecture to remain.

Wind St was already a stand-out street of the city anyway prior to the blitz of February 1941. The street was one of the first to develop beyond the castle's grounds during medieval times, and was always associated with businesses, trade and ale houses. With the rise of the copper smelting industry in the city from the late eighteenth century, Wind St became the business centre of the area, dominated by banks, hotels, train companies and offices. It's only as of the 20th century that it has become the nightlife centre of the city, featuring plenty of bars, restaurants and takeaways.

Despite all of that, The Adelphi is still distinctive, due to its stepped gable architecture, which makes it seem like something that should be sitting next to an Amsterdam canal. The date of its creation is not specifically known, but it was known to house a tea-dealer and grocer in 1854. It was granted a public house license though, in 1865, and underwent a heavy refurbishment by 1971 ahead of a marketing push. The venue would become synonymous with karaoke later into the twentieth century and was always a popular establishment in the city.

By now the bar has had a few different names, such as The Rat and Carrot, The Bucket List for most of the last decade, and now it is Swansea’s first Brewdog, but to many locals it will always be The Adelphi.

The bar is also famous for a story involving former undefeated World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano. The American boxer spent time in Swansea as a GI during the Second World War and he got involved in an argument at The Adelphi. Supposedly an Australian taunted him for drinking milk rather than alcohol and Rocky responded by knocking him out! He took up boxing only after the war, before becoming one of the most well known athletes in the world.

Swansea Museum

Swansea Museum is the oldest museum in the city, having originally opened in 1841, and is one of its most prominent and iconic buildings. For anyone arriving into the city from Fabian Way, you can’t help but notice its imposing, neoclassical architecture that stands out prominently in its surroundings.