Overview of Swansea
Located on the coast of South Wales, Swansea is the second largest city of Wales, with a population of nearly 250,000. It is situated in one of the most picturesque locales in Wales, the breathtaking Gower Peninsular, and a must-see for travelling couples on holiday. The Gower Peninsular has been named as an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.” It was the first venue in the United Kingdom to receive such an honour.
Swansea (pronounced as Swan-zee) consists of two main districts – the urban and the rural. The urban portion spans the areas of Morrison and Clydach on the north and St. Thomas and the Swansea Bay seafront on the south. In addition, Swansea is bordered on the east by Port Tennant and on the west by Caswell. Meanwhile, the rural portion consists mainly of Gower Peninsular, which includes the areas of Upper Killay, Fairwood Commong, Pwll Du Bay and Bishopton as well as Mawr and Pontardulais in the highlands.
The city centre is located in Swansea Urban, which also hosts the renowned tourist areas of Caswell, Langland, Limeslade, Mumbles and Maritime Quarter.
Swansea’s citizens go by many names including Swansea Jacks. The name “Swansea” comes from the original name of the first Scandinavian sentiment, “Sweyn's-ey.”
Swansea first gained prominence during medieval times when the city was a flourishing market town and, later, became a popular spa resort. Its heydays occurred during the industrial revolution when Swansea became a prosperous hub and its population grew dramatically.
Swansea is also famous for its Mumbles Train, the nickname which locals have affectionately bestowed on Swansea’s passenger railway service, the first railway service in the world.
The Mumbles Train ran for five miles and linked the city centre with the Mumbles suburb. The train ride was a major convenience but was by no means a smooth ride and instead consisted of mainly bouncing and bumping around.
Swansea also boasted of a magnificent architectural landscape but this and much of the city’s heritage were damaged and destroyed by massive bombings during World War II. Fortunately, Swansea continues to be a breathtakingly beautiful region, thanks to the presence of many parks, inspiring coastal scenery, golden sandy beaches, the magnificent maritime quarter and a host of tourist attractions.
Swansea’s city council is especially proud of the city’s low crime rate, which was validated by a recent survey by an international health magazine. The survey also gave high marks to the city’s environment, lifestyle and dubbed Swansea as the UK’s “most relaxed city.”
Swansea has also gained some popularity in popular lore, especially through the work of Dylan Thomas, who described Swansea during its early days as an "ugly, lovely town, crawling, sprawling, slummed, unplanned, jerry-villa'd, and smug-suburbed by the side of a long and splendid curving shore."
In later works, Thomas raved about Swansea as a "marble town, city of laughter, little Dublin" and marvelled that "Never was there such a town!"
As a tourist destination, Swansea is renowned for many things, including its superb golf courses, stunning sea views cycling trails and a host of children’s activities.
The leading golf courses are the Clyne Golf Club on Owls Lodge Lane in Mayals, (tel. no. +44 1792 401-989), the Fairwood Park Golf Club on Blackhills Lane in Upper Killay (telephone number +44 1792 297-849), the Langland Bay Golf Club in Mumbles (tel. no. +44 1792 361-721) and the Pennard Golf Club on Southgate Road in Southgate (tel. no. +44 1792 233-131).
With its links to the National Celtic Cycling Trail, Swansea boasts of a number of renowned cycling trails, including The Jersey Marine and Fabian Way Trail, The River Tawe Trail. The Promenade Trail and The Clyne Valley Trail.
Swansea’s most popular children activities include the Swansea Bay Rider in Mumbles, the Chocolate factory in Swansea West Industrial Park and the Rowing and Crazy Golf on Mumbles Road.
For more information about Swansea, visitors may inquire at any of the town’s two tourist information centres. The main one is located on Plymouth Street at the city centre, right across the bus station. During winter, its open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays. During summer, its open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays to Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sundays. Maps, tourist site info and hotel room reservation services are available. The telephone number is +44 1792 468321.
The other tourist information centre is located near the Methodist Church on Mumbles Road. It’s open throughout the year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays and 12 noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Maps, tourist site info and hotel room reservation services are available. The telephone number is + 44 1792 361302.