(Swansea-)I don't know about...
(Swansea-)I don't know about must, but this is the marina at Swansea, an excellent place to wander down to. There are coffee shops which make a welcome hot chocolate on a cold day, and there's just a feeling of freedom to the place.
A walk along the Marina
When I was there it was a sunny day and the marina with all the ships looked just beautiful.
There are benches where you can sit and enjoy the scenery, the mountains in the background and the sea in front of you. There are galleries, a theatre, some shops and the Waterfront Museum. Unfortunately I only had time to go to the museum, but even without visiting the galleries etc I had a very nice walk.
The Church Gallery
St. Nicholas Church in Swansea was built in 1886 down by the docks as a mission church to the seafarers of that time. Nowadays its' interior has been transformed into a swanky gallery showcasing modern art sculptures. Inside you will also find a lovely little gift shop selling cards and handmade gifts - definitely somewhere to go if you're looking for an unusual present for someone.
Lovely ugly city
"My home town"
OK so I don't have to travel very far as I live in the city centre, but Swansea and the surrounding countryside are really awesome places so I thought I'd write a bit about them and post some images. Dylan Thomas immortalised it as that 'lovely, ugly town' but the younger generation calls it (rather tongue-in-cheek) pretty, sh***y city! It's also known as the graveyard of ambition because once you're here, it's so nice, people don't want to leave. I left for a few years to work in England but I had to come back - the pull of it was too strong. What can I say - fabulous beach- comparable to Naples, built on seven hills like Rome and officially the rainiest place in mainland Britain! Probably one of the best things is that it's a convenient base to explore the Gower Peninsula and West Wales - areas of outstanding natural beauty.
"On the Gower"
A short bus ride or drive from Swansea is the Gower Peninsula, Britain's first area of outstanding natural beauty. It's full of dramatic cliffs and vast, clean, sweeping beaches. Some are very busy, like Oxwich, Caswell and Port Eynon, others are off the beaten track and you have to park in farmers fields and walk to get to hidden beaches and coves. Mewslade and Paviland are two of the best hidden bays - both are dangerous when the tide is in but spectacular and well worth the trek to get to them. Paviland is the site of a famous archaeological discovery - the Red Lady - an ancient burial site.
"The wild West"
As you travel west from Swansea the countryside and coastline continue to be enchanting. There are a couple of great train rides fro Swansea station - to Carmarthen along the coast, past Kidwelly Castle and along a beautiful estuary, taking in Ferryside and Burryport. From Carmarthen you can continue by train along the coast to Tenby, a Georgian seaside town.
There is little public transport to the interior, but a car opens up a fabulous world of Celtic mystery and history. Carew is a magical place just this side of Pembroke Dock with a Castle on the site of a fort going back 2000 years. There's also an old tidal mill.
Croeso i Abertawe (Swansea)
"Wales' second city!"
"An ugly, lovely town" is how poet Dylan Thomas described his home city. Swansea is not as bad as some people say. It has improved massively over the last 5 years. Only 55 minutes from Cardiff by train and with good motorway links, it is easy to reach.
There are lots of shops, a university, a great art gallery. The newly developed marina looks super and has a beautiful new industrial museum.
Swansea has a tremendous coastline. Not far away are the Mumbles, the Gower peninsula and super beaches. Definitely the place to go on a hot summer day.
My sister went to university here. My grandfather was brought up here. I have fond memories of the place.
One word of warning - it has a reputation of being quite rough on Saturday nights. Fortunately the evening train service is so bad it means i have never spent the night in Swansea bars and clubs. You enter at your own risk ;-)
On 19-21 February 1941 the Nazi Lufftwaffe helped out (uninvited) with Swansea's slum-clearance programme. Swansea was one of Britain's great ports and industrail cities. The bombs levelled all of Swansea's old city centre, houses, shops, market, church.
So the centre of Swansea today is modern and, quite frankly, dreadfully ugly. If you want to see some of what Swansea used to be like, then walk along Wind Street towards the Maritime Quarter. Lots of older, grand and picturesque buildings, many of which are now trendy bars, restaurants and pubs.
"Ugly, lovely town"
Welsh women are definitely no longer short, squat, with frilly hats and beards. Thirteen delightful young ladies danced through Swansea's grotty streets of semi-derelict cut-price shops to celebrate the opening of the Waterfront Museum. They were followed by a carnival parade of hand made banners and flags. Fortunately the weather was splendid for October, otherwise dancing around Swansea in red underpants would have landed them in hospital with pneumonia ;-)