GO FOR A RIDE IN AFAN FORESTRY
I came here on training for mountain leader training and was blown away by the scale and availability of the routes for both bikes and walkers.
Well worth a visit, even though, was a little annoyed by the parking charge.
South Wales' own Forest Park, set in 3250 hectares of spectacular conifer forest specially set aside by Forest Enterprise Wales. Enjoy walking, mountain biking, orienteering, horse riding, or just relaxing with a picnic or barbecue in a breathtaking landscape.
The focal point of the park is the Forest Park Centre. Here you can enjoy a meal in the cafe, visit the gift shop or hire a mountain bike to explore some of the many miles of all-ability waymarked forest trails,
Dylan Thomas Centre
The well-known Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, was born in Swansea in 1914. Easily one of Swansea's most famous people. And some people think one of the greatest 20th century writers (Bob Dylan chose his name in honour of Dylan Thomas). He died prematurely and mysteriously in a New York hospital, in 1953.
Swansea has a large National Literature Centre for Wales, next to the River Tawe and close to the Maritime Quarter. It has a large exhibition about Dylan Thomas, his colourful life and his works. I really enjoyed the experience - you can listen at several places to recordings of Thomas reading his poetry - powerful stuff! There is TV newsreel footage and personal possessions of Thomas and his friends.
FREE ENTRY - normal opening hours 10am - 4.30pm (cafe closes 4pm)
There is also a great bookshop and cafe - the cafe is more like a second-hand bookshop, surrounded by bookcases of old books for you to read while you chew on some bara brith.
You can also visit Thomas's boathouse at Laugharne if you have the time, where he wrote poetry overlooking the River Towy, south of Carmarthen, quite a journey by car but very picturesque.
Cycle/Walk along the Coastal Path
There is a fabulous Coastal path which begins at the Maritime Quarter in Swansea City Centre and ends 2-3 miles down the coast at Mumbles. It is a lovely flat, wide path which runs alongside Swansea bay giving you spectacular views of the coastline along the way.
Gateway to the Gower
Abertawe in Welsh, or the mouth of the River Tawe, the name Swansea appears to be derived from "Swein's Eye", a 10th Century Viking.
Home to Dylan Thomas, Wales' most famous poet and notorious drinker!
This will be a somewhere biased page as currently my only pics are of the suburb of Oystermouth along the Mumbles.
Although quite a gritty and industrial city (Swansea's Tawe Valley used to be the most polluted place on Earth during the 18th and 19th centuries due to its huge copper and zinc smelting factories!) with its historic centre having been flattened by the Luftwaffe during WWII, it has a stunning coastline with a promenade of several miles in length arcing around the bay towards the Mumbles.
Past the Mumbles begins the Gower Peninsula with its beautiful sheltered bays and fine sandy beaches.
As Swansea city straddles the Gower, I will be adding all my Gower tips to the Swansea page as there is no Gower page on VT, though most of those tips will probably end up in the 'Off the Beaten Track' section. I totally recommend the Enjoy Gower website for its fantastic pictures of Gower's beaches!
"Quick Tips and Suggestions"
There are a number of interesting museums and galleries in Swansea including the Glyn Vivian Art Gallery, Plantasia, Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea Museum and the new soon to be opened National Waterfront Museum - part of the National Museums and Galleries of Wales.
As the second city of Wales Swansea also has a decent shopping area and is more of a 'Welsh' city than Cardiff.
As part of the M4 corridor Swansea has excellent road connections through South Wales and England and in an effort to relieve congestion there is a park and ride scheme on Fabian Way to the East of the city.
Swansea is also well served by rail being about 3hrs to the West of London, as well as being connected to the Midlands of England via the picturesque Mid Wales line.
Did you know that the World's first passenger train ran from near the present day Swansea Museum to Oystermouth in 1807!?
Swansea also has a ferry link to Cork in Ireland which is a great way to visit if you fancy a driving trip.