Counties of Wales - Swansea

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The coastal city of Swansea is the second largest in Wales, after Cardiff. Once known for its copper industry, it was nicknamed Copperopolis in the 19th century. Nowadays it is known for its beautiful coastline and quaint little bays, as well as being the birthplace of acclaimed poet Dylan Thomas.

In the city centre, the Dylan Thomas Centre houses a large exhibition about the writer’s life and work, featuring interactive displays and a vast collection of memorabilia. Across town in the suburb of Uplands, you can visit his birthplace and childhood home. The Dylan Thomas House offers informative tours, taking you through the history of the Thomas family, the house’s role in the writings of Dylan and the social history of the early 20th century. Dylan lived here for the first 23 years of his life, and a substantial amount of his work was written here. The rooms have been refurbished and restored to authentically replicate how the house was when he inhabited it. 

Nearby Cwmdonkin Park was the focus and inspiration for many of Dylan’s works, as he described it in Reminiscences of Childhood, ‘And in the park was a world within the world of a seatown’. There are numerous memorials to Dylan Thomas along the park’s walking trails.

St Cenydd's Llangennith Swansea Wales

(c) Crown Copyright

Other attractions in Swansea include the National Waterfront Museum, which examines how the Industrial Revolution affected the lives of the people in Wales over the course of three centuries; and Swansea Market, the largest indoor market in Wales – traders have been selling their goods on this site since 1830. Want to see modern-day legends in action? Wales is known for its love of rugby – catch a game at Liberty Stadium, home to the Ospreys.

Like much of Wales, the wider Swansea region is peppered with ancient castles, including Pennard Castle, situated on the edge of Pennard Golf Club’s links course, and Weobley Castle, which overlooks the wild Llwchwr estuary. One of the more accessible ruins is Oystermouth Castle in The Mumbles. Here you’ll find a pretty seaside village with a Victorian Pier, where you can sample local seafood and traditional Welsh/Italian ice cream. 

The Mumbles is considered the gateway to the Gower, Swansea’s stunning peninsula which draws visitors from across the UK. It was the first place in the UK to be named an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956, boasting some of the finest coastal walks in Wales and a plethora of gorgeous beaches to suit all tastes. 

Llangennith Beach on Rhossili Bay is world-famous for its vast stretch of sand and fantastic surf - lessons can be arranged with The Welsh Surfing Federation surf school. Langland Bay is another spot popular with surfers, but when the tide is out, it makes for a beautiful little beach to relax on or enjoy a stroll; from here you can walk around the headland to Caswell Bay.

After a refreshing (or bracing, depending on the weather) dip, nothing beats a pub lunch. Try The Britannia Inn in Llanmadoc for gorgeous views of the countryside, or King’s Head Inn in Llangennith for a pint overlooking the ocean. Gin lovers might be interested in visiting the small distillery run by The Gower Gin Company for a post-swim tipple.

Heading inland, the Penllergare Valley Woods are a sight to behold. The landscape was designed and planted in the 19th century by John Dillwyn Llewelyn, a notable figure in Victorian society. Today the area is a great place for walkers; you can follow the trail along the river before reaching a waterfall, enjoying the woodland scenery along the way. Having recently undergone a restoration project, the place is back to its former glory with the paths reinstated, the lake unsalted, the reparation of the waterfalls and the astronomical observatory being restored.

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