The Top Things to Do and See in Swansea, Wales
The coastal city of Swansea is an underrated UK gem. As one of the biggest cities in South Wales, it offers a range of must-visit attractions, from Oystermouth Castle to Clyne Gardens. To help you build your Swansea itinerary, Culture Trip takes you through the top things to see and do in this Welsh city.
Easily accessible on the bus from Swansea’s city centre, this castle has beautiful grounds, views over Swansea Bay and plenty of hidden stairways and tunnels to explore. There’s also a glass floor over the chapel that gives great views of the Mumbles.
This gallery had a £6 million refurbishment a few years ago, so it’s safe to say it’s up to scratch. It was born in 1905, when Richard Glynn Vivian offered his collection of paintings, drawings and china to Swansea, while the gallery was formally opened in 1911. It hosts loan exhibitions, events, an educational programme and an impressive art collection, including local and internationally acclaimed pieces.
Award-winning Swansea Market is the largest indoor market in Wales. It keeps alive a tradition of market trading in the heart of the city and is a chance to get a real feel for Swansea, speak to locals and taste local produce. More than 100 stalls sell a range of wares, including traditional Welsh fayre. Pick up gifts, jewellery, leather goods, toys and lots more. Plus, you can relax at one of the cafés and coffee shops.
The renowned Swansea writer often wrote affectionately about his city. Throughout Swansea, there are dedicated Dylan Thomas attractions and the chance to visit many of his haunts. First up is the Dylan Thomas Centre in the old city Guildhall, in the Maritime Quarter. Follow the permanent Love With Words exhibition that takes you through Thomas’s life with interactive exhibits. Then there are the pubs he loved to frequent, such as the Uplands Tavern, the No-Sign Bar and the Queens Hotel. And you can also visit his birthplace, 5 Cwmdonkin Drive.
Clyne Gardens are a collection of botanical gardens set in sprawling parkland. Admire the renowned collection of rare species, national collections and famous annual displays. Visitors can indulge in a coffee and cake at one of the nearby cafes, after a stroll through this sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The LC is home to Wales’ biggest indoor water park with slides, waves and one of the UK’s only indoor surf machines, the Boardrider. With a number of thrilling rides to choose from, including the Masterblaster, a roller coaster water slide, or the aqua slide and aqua tube, this park will have something to get your adrenaline going. If you’re looking for a more relaxing time, you can bob around in the wave pool, relax in the whirlpool or float around the lazy river. For small children, there’s an interactive pool with mini slides, tipping buckets and fountains, or Volcano Bay.
The first-ever location in the UK to be given the title of Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Gower offers a wonderful selection of landscape and wildlife. Featuring rolling moors, sandy beaches and stark cliff faces, the park has no shortage of breathtaking views. If you want to extend your trip, the area has a number of cosy campsites where you can get some extra time in the great outdoors.
There’s nothing quite like watching a game at the 20,00-capacity Liberty Stadium, featuring one of the top rugby teams in the UK, the Ospreys. If Wales is known for one thing, it’s their love of rugby, and this spot gives you an excellent opportunity to soak up some of that atmosphere at a home game. If sport isn’t your ticket, then the stadium also plays host to some amazing acts throughout the year, with former performances from the Killers, Little Mix and even Lionel Richie.
Additional reporting by Nicholas Grantham