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swansea, UK city guide

All photography is courtesy of Andrew Rowley

Today’s Swansea City Guide comes from Louise Rowley, a blogger and designer based in South Wales, UK. For her day job, Louise designs decorative wrapping paper, and in her down time, she renovates her Victorian house and designs children’s wear. Today she gives us a glimpse into this seaside city of taverns and beaches. Thanks, Louise, for this lovely guide! — Stephanie

The full guide continues after the jump . . .

Swansea is located in south Wales, around three hours by train from London. With its coastal location, it was historically used for transporting materials, such as coal and copper. Now it remains a busy city with many beautiful beaches, castles and more to explore.

South Wales is not only famous for rugby, leeks, daffodils, hills and sheep! Many notable people have come from Swansea and its surrounding areas, including actress Catherine Zeta Jones, actor Sir Anthony Hopkins, the late poet Dylan Thomas, artist Ceri Richards and the late designer Laura Ashley, to name a few.

Swansea is relatively small compared to major UK cities, but this much-maligned area should by no means be overlooked. It is large enough to feel like a big city but small enough to cover during a long weekend visit.

Swansea and its surroundings can be divided into three main tourist areas: the City Centre, Mumbles and Gower.

If you have any hidden gems, please feel free to share. I do hope you enjoy reading!

Check out the Google map with all of the below listings.

SWANSEA CITY CENTRE

Stay

Morgans (Somerset place, Swansea, SA1 1RR) For a luxurious stay. Reportedly where Catherine Zeta Jones has stayed when she visits her home city.

Eat

Uplands Diner (69 Uplands Crescent, Uplands,
 SA2 0EU) Experience their “Beast breakfast,” which, as suggested by its name, is really huge and delicious, too.

Thai Elephant (The Ice House, Kings Road, Swansea SA1 8AW) A cozy restaurant offering great, fresh, authentic Thai food. I would recommend booking to avoid disappointment.

Viceroy (50 St. Helens Road, Swansea SA1 4BD) Along St. Helens Road, there are many Indian restaurants to choose from. This is one of my favourites, along with Miah’s (St. Paul’s Church, St. Helens Road, Swansea, SA1 4BL) situated in a beautiful converted church.

Pant-y-Gwydr Restaurant (Oxford Street, Swansea, SA1 3JG) Delicious classic French cuisine. Quite easily one of the best meals I have experienced in Swansea.

Drink

Uplands Tavern (42 Uplands Crescent, Uplands, Swansea, SA2 0PG) Locally known as the ‘Tav,” this friendly pub features live music most nights of the week.

Noah’s Yard (38 Uplands, Crescent, Uplands, Swansea, SA2 0PG) Has a relaxed vibe and an eclectic interior. It is owned and run by artist and DJ Noah Redfern.

Monkey Bar (13 Castle Street, Swansea, SA1 1JF) Is an organic veggie café by day and a busy club by night, hosting DJs playing funk, hip hop, drum and bass and reggae.

Shop

Swansea Indoor Market (Oxford Street, Swansea, SA1 3PQ) One of the largest indoor markets in the UK. Try out local food, including traditional laverbread, cockles and Welsh cakes.

Blind Lemon Vintage (Swansea Museum, Victoria Rd., Swansea, SA1 1SN) Hosts regular fairs around the country including Swansea. Have a look on their website for upcoming dates.

Do

Swansea Museum (Swansea Museum, Victoria Rd, Swansea, SA1 1SN ) A grand neo-classical building housing all kinds of interesting things. Great for a visit on a rainy day, and I can assure you, there are plenty of them in Wales!

Mission Gallery (Gloucester Place, Maritime Quarter, Swansea, SA1 1TY) Showcases talented artists and hosts regular craft workshops.

Winter Wonderland (Museum Park, Oystermouth Road, Swansea, SA1 3RD) During the winter months (November–January) there is an ice skating rink, festive treats and a giant carousel wheel.

Taliesin Arts Centre (University Of Wales, Swansea, WA SA2 8PZ) Watch a film, visit a play, listen to music or view their art gallery.

MUMBLES

Stay

Tides Reach Guest House (388 Mumbles Road, Swansea, SA3 5TN) Well located in the heart of pretty Mumbles.

Eat

Verdis (Knab Rock, Mumbles, Swansea, SA3 4EN) Italian family-run restaurant and café. Situated in a lovely spot overlooking Swansea Bay.

Joe’s Ice Cream Parlour (Mumbles, Swansea, SA3 4DH) The best ice cream I have ever tasted! A must-visit.

Drink

Café Valance (50 Newton Road,
Mumbles, 
SA3 4BQ
UK) Retreat to this cozy bar with its open fire to relax after a busy day.

Shop

Newton Road has a stretch of boutique stores, gift shops and galleries. One of my favourite shops is The Oyster Gallery (70–72 Newton Road, Mumbles, Swansea, SA3 4BE). They stock lovely Cath Kidston goodies, handmade jewellery, fine art prints, unique greeting cards and much more.

Do

Visit Oystermouth Castle (Castle Avenue, SA3 4 Swansea) for spectacular views over Swansea.

Clyne Gardens (Blackpill, 
Swansea Bay, 
SA3 5BD) This is one of my favourite places to take my dog walking. The best months to visit are in May and June when the park is in bloom.

GOWER

Stay

Old Walls (Gower, Swansea, SA3 1HA) Offers luxury B&B and self-catering in an envious location.

Nicholaston Farm (Penmaen, Gower, Swansea, SA3 2HL) Make sure you take the opportunity to pick your own fruit and veggies from their farm.

Hill End Campsite (Llangennith, Gower, SA3 1JD) A family-friendly campsite with great amenities for those of you who prefer “glamping.”

Eat

Kings Head Gower (Llangennith, Gower, Swansea, SA3 1HX) Serves tasty pub grub. All of their food is locally sourced, where possible.

The Bay Bistro (Rhossili, Gower, Swansea, SA3 1PL) Serves homemade yummy sandwiches, soups and cakes. With the best views over Worm’s Head and Rhossili.

Shop

Rhossili Gallery (The Green, Rhossili, Swansea SA3 1PL) In this cute gallery, you will find a range of sculptures, jewellery and fine art.

Do

Gower is renowned for its beautiful beaches that attract artists, walkers, climbers and, most of all, surfers.

The best (and quickest) way to experience the coastline is by Gower Coast Adventures (Knab Rock, Mumbles, Swansea, SA3 4EN)

My Top Three Beaches to Visit

Langland Bay
Close to Swansea City Centre. Langland is lined with picturesque green beach huts overlooking the bay. This is a family-friendly beach that has good amenities, including the Surfside Café and Langland’s Brasserie.

Three Cliffs Bay
This beach is a bit of a walk but is well worth it! For more information on walks and climbing, the website has useful information.

Rhossili Bay
Voted the best picnic spot in the UK. During low tide, you can cross over to Worm’s Head (an island off the coast) to enjoy a 360-degree view of the coastline.

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12 Comments

Laurel

Oh great! We are going to be in Swansea soon. Now can someone do a guide for Lampeter, pretty please? :) I am going to be there soon and know nothing of it… should be an adventure.

susina

Recognition at last. I live in Italy but orginally am fron that part of the world, in fact this time next month I’ll be there AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
ooo what coincidence Shirley Bassey is playing too

Lexi

My husband grew up visiting Rhossili Bay and now as an American expat living in the UK, we have started taking our daughter so she can grow up with the same appreciation for this spectacular area. It’s breathtaking!

Jo

I second the Welsh Cakes from the Indoor Market! Freshly made in the market, they are delicious.
Jo @ lost property vintage

Annabelle

I’ve recently moved to Swansea for uni, very impressed with how much there is to do there and how pretty the scenery is.
And so much love for Monkey Bar, so many good nights in there! :)

Emily

Thanks for sharing, Lousie! I used to spend all holidays with my family in Swansea when I was a kid. Ice cream at Joe’s was such a treat and I love the ice-cream parlour styling, afternoons spent splashing away at Caswell or Langland Bay, and morning spent in the menagerie in the park. Lots of good memories all came flooding back, and I’m looking forward to trying some of the things you recommend too!

Emily x

bitsy

I’m going this summer!! Thanks for the guide. I can’t wait to see Swansea.

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