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Swansea City Guide
Things to Do in Swansea
Rugby & Football
Football is the main event in Swansea. Games at the Liberty Stadium, north of the city centre, are lively, not too expensive and pretty frequent, being in the Championship this season.
Alternatively there is rugby at the Liberty with the Ospreys, or with Swansea RFC at the historic St. Helen's Rugby and Cricket Ground.
National Waterfront Museum
Yet another impressive National Museum of Wales, the Waterfront Museum focuses on Wales' industrial and maritime heritage, and it's free, located in the picturesque setting of Swansea Marina.
Swansea's other museum, and the oldest in Wales, is full of information detailing the history of the town over the years from village to city, and it's also free! There's plenty of information regarding World War One, Welsh Pottery and even an Egyptian mummy!
The centrepiece of the city, Swansea Castle may not be as imposing, spectacular or dramatic as other castles in Wales, but it is no less significant, as there wouldn't be a city without it. The current 700+ year structure sits by the roadside, open to passers-by.
Dylan Thomas Centre
Swansea's most famous son now has his own museum, as of 1995, in the old town hall in Swansea Marina. See and hear some of Thomas' works, as well as encounter some memorabilia from his fascinating life in this free visitor's centre.
Glynn Vivian Gallery
Swansea's primary art museum is a little off the beaten track, on the underrated Alexandra Road, and contains a vibrant collection of art, pottery and antiquities from around the world, collected by Richard Glynn Vivian, of the notorious Vivian family.
Hafod Morfa Copperworks
Swansea was built on the copper works of the Lower Swansea Valley across the 18th & 19th centuries, when over half of the world's smelted copper came from Swansea. The Hafod Morfa Copperworks were the last copper works in the city and are the only remains of Copperopolis today. Tours take place once per month, otherwise it is possible to wander around parts of the old complex yourself anyway.
For transport options to Swansea from Cardiff, you can find that information on the Swansea Tour page...
Food, Drink & Souvenirs
Your best option in Swansea for Welsh food, souvenirs, breakfast, lunch & a look into the heart of Swansea life. The market has so much going on, you'll find things you never knew you needed, as well as Gower's famous cockles & laver bread.
An iconic local cafe, even if it's not quite the original, the Kardomah covers every food imaginable, just not quite Welsh items, but worth it for the coffee and in order to take a step back in time.
A relatively new cafe-bar-restaurant in the heart of the marina, behind the Waterfront Museum, the Swigg offers a great location, nice outdoor seating, modern Welsh cuisine and even live music sometimes.
For something a little more upmarket in the evening, a highly regarding central location is this international fusion restaurant, offering dishes from around the world.
Now the epicentre of Swansea nightlife, Wind St was once a centre of business and finance in the glory days of Copperopolis, and it still shows, with the most listed buildings of any street in the city. Today it is a hub for students and locals alike to revel at the weekends, with dozens of bars, pubs, nightclubs and restaurants.
No Sign Bar
Perhaps the most iconic establishment on Wind St, as maybe Swansea's oldest pub and a renowned bohemian watering hole pre-WW2 for Dylan Thomas, No Sign features great food, pub quizzes and regular live music.
For something a little different and off the beaten track, the city centre's foremost craft beer bar sits overlooking Swansea Bay Barrage and offers a wide selection of local and international beers, and food.
Joe's Ice Cream
There is endless debate across the Gower as to what the best ice cream in the area is. Joe's is a regular winner of such chatter, and is easily accessible as well, with shops in Mumbles and on St. Helen's Road in the city centre., opposite the Guildhall
There is more to the Swansea area than just the city centre of course, and you don't need to go to far to find beautiful beaches, castles, scenery and interesting museums.
Swansea's nearby seaside resort has attracted vistors for the past 200 years. An ideal location for a waterfront stroll with ice cream or fish & chips, and only 5 miles from central Swansea.
The UK's first Area of Natural Outstanding Beauty contains 60 miles of coastline, six castles, amazing surf spots, and some of the highest rated beaches in Europe like Rhosilli, Llangennith, Caswell & Three Cliffs Bay.
The Gower peninsula is most easily accessible by car but public buses do cover the area from Swansea bus station.
Gower Heritage Centre
Not far from Three Cliffs Bay, the local heritage centre contains Wales' smallest cinema, and a look into the industrial and agricultural hertiage of the area, as well as a nice local cafe.
Getting Around Swansea
Swansea is not a huge city, and all of the tourist attractions in the city are very close to one another as well, as is Swansea Beach. However, if you want to go further afield, that is where things can get a little trickier.
There are train links in the city between Swansea and it's suburbs and even nearby towns like Carmarthen, Llanelli and into Pembrokeshire. However, it is not useful for accessing the Gower and the city's beaches unfortunately.
Many of Swansea's iconic and beautiful beaches are accessible by local buses with First Bus from Swansea Bus Station, next to the Quadrant and Tesco Superstore. However, buses can be irregular, may take a while and are expensive, at £4.70 for a return/day ticket.
Swansea is better covered by bikes that ever before, with Santander Bikes offering a city bike scheme to the city this year. They offer a decent service between Singleton Campus of Swansea University and Mumbles in particular.
There are not many tour options available in Swansea unfortunately, but at least a couple of options exist...
There wouldn't be a Swansea without the River Tawe, and the best way to see it is on the Copper Jack boat excursion that departs everyday from Swansea Marina, close to the Waterfront Museum. The trip is up to two hours long and brings you up the Lower Swansea Valley and back again.
The premier castle in this part of the world is not necessarily Swansea Castle, but rather Oystermouth Castle, which was more frequently inhabited and better maintained historically. The Castle us open to visitors everyday and only costs £4 for adults.
Where to Stay
Unfortunately, Swansea is lacking a little bit in budget, quality, backpacker accommodation, but there still are a lot of reasonably priced alternatives.
The Chapel House
Swansea's first hostel opened in August 2019, and is therefore very clean, friendly and also very nicely located in the heart of Mumbles village.
The same applies to Swansea's only city centre hostel, which opened in 2021, containing great amenities and a perfect, central location.
Swansea city centre has a bunch of decent hotels at competitive prices, including...
The Dragon Hotel
Swansea beach seafront also contains a string of budget hotels/guesthouses. They can be a bit hit and miss by all accounts, but some of the better of them include...
Alternatively, Airbnb and Home from Home offer a wide range of apartments and holiday homes in the area as well.
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