National Waterfront Museum
This £30.8 million attraction pushes the boundaries of technology in an interactive interpretation of Wales’ industry and innovation.
15 exciting themed display areas include a showcase for new technologies in science, manufacturing and medicine – including ground breaking Welsh inventions. Visit a virtual shop in an exploration of money, discover large kinetic sculptures interpreting key energy sources and with high impact graphics and interactive opportunities featuring throughout the displays, this is a must-see attraction.
This landmark building is a fusion of Welsh steel, slate and glass with an attractive canopied street of cafes and shops overlooking the Marina waterfront. Coach parking in marked bays and guided tours are available by arrangement.
LC – Swansea’s new leisure complex and water park!
Wales’ biggest indoor water park with a network of pools, rides and slides including the Master Blaster and the UK’s first indoor standing surfing wave – the BoardRider. The complex also has a four storey Playzone, 30ft climbing wall and a multi purpose sports hall. In addition, a state-of-the art gym and spa complete this outstanding new leisure complex in the heart of the city centre and overlooking Swansea Bay.
City Centre, Waterfront and Shopping
Swansea has the largest covered market in Wales which has a wide choice of local produce including welshcakes fresh from the bakestone and Swansea’s famous cockles and laverbread (seaweed dish traditionally served with bacon). Boutiques and famous name stores line the streets and shopping malls together with tempting cafes.
Swansea is Wales’ Waterfront City. A five minute step away is Swansea’s Maritime Quarter which overlooks the five mile sweep of Swansea Bay. Take a relaxing stroll among the yachts and on to the promenade or stop for a bite at the top of the Meridian Tower, Wales’ tallest building for spectacular views across the Bay! Cross the Swansea Sailbridge and you’re in SA1, the Marina’s stylish sister, for restaurants, cafes and new hotels.
Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea
Swansea is the birthplace and inspiration for much of the work of this famous poet. Discover Dylan’s Swansea and visit The Dylan Thomas Centre for refreshments and to see the new and unique ‘Love the Words’ Dylan Thomas Exhibition. A guided city centre walking trail is available – please book in advance of your visit. Then discover Dylan’s childhood playground (at Cwmdonkin Park) and home at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, lovingly recreated to emulate the surroundings Dylan would have grown up in.
Along the western shore of the Bay lies ‘The Mumbles’, a picturesque seaside village, famed in turn as a fishing village and Victorian resort. The Norman Keep of Oystermouth Castle overlooks the village which has an excellent choice of interesting shops, galleries, cafes and good restaurants, including potteries and a Lovespoon Gallery, not to mention a Victorian Pier and a wealth of Welsh/Italian ice cream parlours (one boasting a secret recipe since 1922!).
The Gower Peninsula
20 minutes from the heart of Swansea city centre is the unspoilt Gower Peninsula, the first ever Area in the UK to be designated one of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Over 26 miles of coastline, from rugged limestone cliffs to long stretches of golden sand skirt the Peninsula, while inland, rolling hills topped with purple heather and acres of common land, are home to wild ponies. If you don't have time to explore all of Gower, make sure you make time to visit Rhossili Bay and the Worm's Head, the views across the Bay and promontory are truly breathtaking.
En route to Rhossili look out for Three Cliffs Bay (there's a viewing point pull-in on the road above) and on the way back go through the village of Reynoldston, returning to Swansea via Cefn Bryn with its links to the Arthurian legend (Arthur's Stone atop Cefn Bryn is an ancient burial site - the capstone of which is said to weigh over 25 tons). From the top of Cefn Bryn there are views both over the Bristol Channel to Devon and across the Loughor Estuary to Carmarthenshire. The Gower Heritage Centre in Parkmill is an ideal attraction for groups featuring a working water mill, woollen mill, craft workshops and tea room.
Gardens and Parkland
As well as the natural beauty of the Gower Peninsula, Swansea's parks and gardens offer a haven of tranquillity and colour. In 2008 Clyne Gardens and The Botanic Gardens in Singleton Park became two of three gardens in Swansea to be awarded the coveted Green Flag Award. Judges have remarked that 'Clyne is a well managed natural park and the Botanic Gardens at Singleton must be, if not the best, then one of the best horticultural displays in England and Wales!'
In Clyne Gardens you will find 50 acres of picturesque woodland gardens, a wild flower meadow, viewing tower and bog garden, complete with historic architectural features and the tallest magnolia in Britain! Together with internationally acclaimed collections of Rhododendrons, Enkianthus and Pieris - many of the species being unique to Clyne. Each May the gardens celebrate ‘Clyne in Bloom’ – well worth a visit!
The Botanical Collection is a garden for spring, summer and fall. Enjoy spectacular plant collections, creative seasonal bedding schemes and glass houses with orchids, cacti, rainforest and tropical plants. In August the Gardens are a riot of colour and celebrates 'Botanics in Bloom' throughout the month.
Plantasia is a hothouse pyramid featuring three climatic zones, tropical, arid and humid. There are over 5000 unusual exotic plants including rare specimens such as the endangered Cowboy Cactus, an Agave from the deserts of America, and the African Violet Orchid. The tropical theme is enhanced by parakeets and cotton top tamarin monkeys!
Guided tours are available by arrangement at all the above.
History and Heritage
From Neolithic burial sites atop Cefn Bryn and Rhossili Downs, mediaeval castles and Tudor manor houses, to the relics of the Industrial Revolution, Swansea boasts a rich and varied history. The Gower Heritage Centre at Parkmill has a working 12th Century water mill, craft workshops and café where you can sample welsh breads and cakes from flour ground at the mill! The colonnaded Swansea Museum is the oldest in Wales, the 1940’s experience takes you back to the sights and sounds of WWII and don’t forget the innovative new Wales National Waterfront Museum in Swansea’s Maritime Quarter.