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Swansea , officially known as the City and County of Swansea (Dinas a Sir Abertawe), is a coastal city and county in Wales. It is Wales' second largest city after Cardiff and the twenty-fifth largest city in the UK. Swansea lies within the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands. According to its local council, the City and County of Swansea had a population of 241,300 in 2014. The last official census stated that the city, metropolitan and urban areas combined concluded to be a total of 462,000 in 2011, making it the second most populous local authority area in Wales after Cardiff.
During its 19th-century industrial heyday, Swansea was a key centre of the copper industry, earning the nickname 'Copperopolis'. Since 2011, Swansea has started to expand into a larger region known as the Swansea Bay City Region. After combining with other councils, it now includes Tenby and other parts of West Wales, its population including these areas an estimated 685,051. The chairman of the new region is Sir Terry Matthews.
|POPULATION :||Unitary Authority area: 239,000, Ranked 2nd|
Urban area within Unitary Authority: 179,485
Wider Urban Area: 300,352
Metropolitan Area: 462,000
|FOUNDED :|| Town charter 1158–1184|
City status 1969
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone GMT (UTC0)|
• Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
|AREA :||150 sq mi (380 km2)|
|SEX RATIO :|
|ETHNIC :|| 97.8% White|
1.2% S. Asian
|AREA CODE :||01792|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+44 1792|
Swansea (pronounced: Swan-zee; Welsh: Abertawe) is a city on the South Wales coast. With a population approaching 250,000, it is the second largest city in Wales, and located on the beautiful Gower Peninsula - the United Kingdom's first designated "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty".
- City centre: Plymouth Street (Opposite the Bus Station). Tel:+44 1792 468321 - Winter opening hours: Mon to Sat: 09:30-17:30. Summer opening hours (Easter - end of September): Mon to Sat: 09:30-17:30, Sun: 10:00-16:00. - offers free maps, information on tourist sites and hotel room reservation service.
- Mumbles: The Methodist Church, Mumbles Road. Tel:+ 44 1792 361302 - Opening hours (year-round):Mon to Sat: 10AM-5PM, Sunday (+ school vacations): 12:00-17:00 - offers same services as the main city center office.
Archaeological finds are mostly confined to the Gower Peninsula, and include items from the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age. The Romans reached the area, as did the Norsemen.
Swansea is thought to have developed as a Viking trading post. Its English name may be derived from Sveinn's island (Old Norse: Sveinsey) – the reference to an island may refer to a bank at the mouth of the river Tawe, or an area of raised ground in marshes. An alternative explanation is that the name derives from the Norse name 'Sweyn' and 'ey', which can mean inlet. This explanation supports the tradition that the city was founded by the Danish king Sweyn Forkbeard. The name is pronounced Swans-y /ˈswɒnzi/), not Swan-sea.
Abertawe, its Welsh name, meaning Mouth of the Tawe, first appears as Aper Tyui c. 1150 [see Place-Names in Glamorgan, Gwynedd O. Pierce, p 182.]
The earliest known form of the modern name is Sweynesse, which was used in the first charter granted sometime between 1158 and 1184 by William de Newburgh, 3rd Earl of Warwick. The charter gave Swansea the status of a borough, granting the townsmen, called burgesses certain rights to develop the area. A second charter was granted in 1215 by King John. In this charter, the name appears as Sweyneshe. The town seal which is believed to date from this period names the town asSweyse.
Following the Norman Conquest, a marcher lordship was created under the title of Gower. It included land around Swansea Bay as far as the River Tawe, the manor of Kilvey beyond the Tawe, and the peninsula itself. Swansea was designated chief town of the lordship and received a borough charter some time between 1158 and 1184 (and a more elaborate one in 1304).
The port of Swansea initially traded in wine, hides, wool, cloth and later in coal. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the combination of port, local coal, and trading links with the West Country, Cornwall and Devon, meant that Swansea was the logical place to site copper smelting works. Smelters were operating by 1720 and proliferated. Following this, more coal mines (everywhere from north-east Gower to Clyne and Llangyfelach) were opened and smelters (mostly along the Tawe valley) were opened and flourished. Over the next century and a half, works were established to process arsenic, zinc and tin and to create tinplate and pottery. The city expanded rapidly in the 18th and 19th centuries, and was termed "Copperopolis".
The Swansea smelters became so adept at recovering gold and silver from complex ores that in the 1800s they received ore concentrates from the United States, for example from Arizona in the 1850s, and Colorado in the 1860s.
From the late 17th century to 1801, Swansea's population grew by 500%—the first official census (in 1841) indicated that, with 6,099 inhabitants, Swansea had become significantly larger than Glamorgan's county town, Cardiff, and was the second most populous town in Wales behind Merthyr Tydfil (which had a population of 7,705). However, the census understated Swansea's true size, as much of the built-up area lay outside the contemporary boundaries of the borough; the total population was actually 10,117. Swansea's population was later overtaken by Merthyr in 1821 and by Cardiff in 1881, although in the latter year Swansea once again surpassed Merthyr. Much of Swansea's growth was due to migration from within and beyond Wales—in 1881, more than a third of the borough's population had been born outside Swansea and Glamorgan, and just under a quarter outside Wales.
Through the 20th century, heavy industries in the town declined, leaving the Lower Swansea Valley filled with derelict works and mounds of waste products from them. The Lower Swansea Valley Scheme (which still continues) reclaimed much of the land. The present Enterprise Zone was the result and, of the many original docks, only those outside the city continue to work as docks; North Dock is now Parc Tawe and South Dock became the Marina.
In the Second World War, its industrial importance made Swansea the target of German bombing, and much of the town centre was destroyed during the Swansea Blitz on the 19, 20 and 21 February 1941 (the 'Three Nights Blitz' ).
In 1969, Swansea was granted city status, to mark Prince Charles's investiture as thePrince of Wales. The announcement was made by the prince on 3 July 1969, during a tour of Wales. It obtained the further right to have a lord mayor in 1982.
Within the city centre are the ruins of the castle, the Marina, the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea Museum, the Dylan Thomas Centre, the Environment Centre, and the Market, which is the largest covered market in Wales. It backs onto the Quadrant Shopping Centre which opened in 1978 and the adjoining St David's Centre opened in 1982. Other notable modern buildings are the BT Tower (formerly the GPO tower) built around 1970, Alexandra House opened in 1976, County Hall opened in July 1982. Swansea Leisure Centre opened in 1977; it has undergone extensive refurbishment which retained elements of the original structure and re-opened in March 2008.
Swansea has a wet and mild climate, with winter temperatures ranging from around 4 to 6°C, while the summer average high is about 20°C but often reaching to 26 or 27°C. Sun lovers should visit Swansea from June to August, which is the period that records the most hours of sunshine and is the main tourist season. However, those who prefer long solitary walks along cliffs paths or contemplative strolls through wooded valleys should consider September and October. During these months, the air is crisp and fresh and the area quiet, with most tourists having already departed. However, as Wales is one of the wettest areas in the UK, you should always prepare for rain when visiting the region. Even in the summer, pack some rain gear and an umbrella in your luggage.
Climate data for Swansea
|Average high °C (°F)||8.0|
|Average low °C (°F)||4.0|
The "City and County of Swansea" local authority area is bordered by unitary authorities of Carmarthenshire to the north, and Neath Port Talbot to the east. Swansea is bounded by Swansea Bay and the Bristol Channel to the south.
The local government area is 378 square kilometres (146 sq mi) in size, about 2% of the area of Wales. It includes a large amount of open countryside and a central urban and suburban belt.
Swansea can be roughly divided into four physical areas. To the north are the Lliw uplands which are mainly open moorland, reaching the foothills of the Black Mountain. To the west is the Gower Peninsula with its rural landscape dotted with small villages. To the east is the coastal strip around Swansea Bay. Cutting though the middle from the south-east to the north-west is the urban and suburban zone stretching from the Swansea city centre to the towns of Gorseinon andPontarddulais.
The most populated areas of Swansea are Morriston, Sketty and the city centre. The chief urbanised area radiates from the city centre towards the north, south and west; along the coast of Swansea Bay to Mumbles; up the Swansea Valley past Landoreand Morriston to Clydach; over Townhill to Cwmbwrla, Penlan, Treboeth andFforestfach; through Uplands, Sketty, Killay to Dunvant; and east of the river from St. Thomas to Bonymaen, Llansamlet and Birchgrove. A second urbanised area is focused on a triangle defined by Gowerton, Gorseinon and Loughor along with the satellite communities of Penllergaer and Pontarddulais.
About three quarters of Swansea is bordered by the sea—the Loughor Estuary, Swansea Bay and the Bristol Channel. The two largest rivers in the region are the Tawe which passes the city centre and the Loughor which flows on the northern border with Carmarthenshire.
In the local authority area, the geology is complex, providing diverse scenery. The Gower Peninsula was the first area in the United Kingdom to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Excluding the urbanised area in the south-eastern corner, the whole of the Gower Peninsula is part of an AONB. Swansea has numerous urban and country parklands. The region has featured regularly in the Wales in Bloom awards.
The geology of the Gower Peninsula ranges from Carboniferous Limestone cliffs along its southern edge from Mumbles to Worm's Head and the salt-marshes and dune systems of the Loughor estuary to the north. The eastern, southern and western coasts of the peninsula are lined with numerous sandy beaches both wide and small, separated by steep cliffs. The South Wales Coalfield reaches the coast in the Swansea area. This had a great bearing on the development of the city of Swansea and other nearby towns such as Morriston. The inland area is covered by large swathes of grassland common overlooked by sandstone heath ridges including the prominent Cefn Bryn. The traditional agricultural landscape consists in a patchwork of fields characterised by walls, stone-faced banks and hedgerows. Valleys cut through the peninsula and contain rich deciduous woodland.
Much of the local authority's area is hilly with the main area of upland being located in the council ward of Mawr. Areas of high land up to 185 metres (607 ft) range across the central section and form the hills of Kilvey, Townhill and Llwynmawr, separating the centre of Swansea from its northern suburbs. Cefn Bryn, a ridge of high land, forms the backbone of the Gower Peninsula. Rhossili Down, Hardings Down and Llanmadoc Hill form land features up to 193 metres (633 ft) high. The highest point is located at Penlle'r Castell at 374 metres (1,227 ft) on the northern border with Carmarthenshire.
Swansea originally developed as centre for metals and mining, especially the copperindustry, from the beginning of the 18th century. The industry reached its apogee in the 1880s, when 60% of the copper ores imported to Britain were smelted in the Lower Swansea valley. However, by the end of the Second World War these heavy industries were in decline, and over the post-war decades Swansea shared in the general trend towards a post-industrial, service sector economy.
Of the 105,900 people estimated to work within the City and County of Swansea, over 90% are employed in the service sectors, with relatively high shares (compared to the Welsh and UK averages) in public administration, education & health andbanking, finance & insurance, and correspondingly high proportions of employment in occupations associated with the service sector, including professional, administrative/secretarial and sales/customer service occupations. The local authority believes this pattern reflects Swansea's role as a service centre for South West Wales.
Economic activity and employment rates in Swansea were slightly above the Welsh average in October 2008, but lower than the UK average. In 2005, GVA per head in Swansea was £14,302 – nearly 4% above the Welsh average but 20% below the UK average. Median full-time earnings in Swansea were £21,577 in 2007, almost identical to the Welsh average.
Swansea is home to the DVLA headquarters based in Morriston which employs around 6,000 people in the city. Other major employers in the city are Admiral Group, HSBC, Virgin Media, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, BTand Amazon.co.uk. Virgin Atlantic also maintains its largest worldwide contact centre in Swansea; including reservations, sales, baggage claims, and customer relations.
- Swansea Urban (this article) - from north to south covering areas from Morriston and Clydach to St.Thomas and Swansea Bay sea front and from east to west covering areas from Port Tennant to Caswell. Swansea Urban includes the city centre and the tourist areas of the Maritime Quarter, Mumbles, Limeslade, Langland and Caswell.
- Swansea Rural - basically the Gower Peninsula, covering all points west of Bishopston, Pwll Du Bay, Fairwood Common and Upper Killay, and also including the highland areas of Pontardulais and Mawr.
The city centre is a Wi-Fi hotspot zone, with a charge of £10 for 2 hours to access the system. There is also a Wi-Fi hotspot at Crossfire, on the Kezone/BT Openzone network, with single-hour access available for £6 or four hours for £10.
- Swansea Central Library, Civic Centre, Oystermouth Road. Access is free, but ID required for registration. Closed on Sundays. Use is intended for research, and so some websites may be blocked.
- Crossfire Internet & LAN Gaming Centre, on the junction of Kingsway, Princess Way and College Street. Has 58 computers across 2 floors.
- YMCA, St Helens Road, near junction with Kingsway. Has six computers on the second floor.
- Mike-O-Soft Computers, Swansea Market. Has five computers in a corner section.
- Mumbles Library, Dunn's Lane - access is free, but ID required for registration.
- City Center: The city's main post office is located above the W.H. Smiths store in the Quadrant Shopping Centre.
- Mumbles: The post office is on Mumbles road, between the Tourist Office and Joe's Ice-cream Parlor.
Many other smaller sub-post offices can be found throughout the City and County of Swansea, including in many Gower villages.
Prices in Swansea
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€2.35|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€7.80|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€25.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€50.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€6.80|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€3.90|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€3.80|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€7.50|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€9.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.14|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€10.60|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€77.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€40.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€76.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€|
72 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
199 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
- Heathrow Airport has daily arrivals from the widest number of places around the world to the UK. By rail, take the RailAir coach service from Heathrow Central Bus station and change at Reading Railway Station for trains direct to Swansea. By Coach, National Express provide a coach service from Heathrow Central Bus station to Swansea.
- Cardiff Airport (IATA: CWL), approximately fifty minutes drive to Swanesa. There are arrivals from various places in Europe. By rail, take the train from Rhoose Cardiff International Airport Railway station and change at Bridgend. Enquires: 01446 711111.
- Swansea Airport located in the Gower Peninsula handles private aircraft only [www] (IATA: SWS), Tel:+ 44 1792 207550.
- Pembrey Airport, 17 miles to the west, handles private aircraft and offers charter flights from destinations in UK and Europe. Enquiries: 01554 891534.
- First Great Western Trains offer a very frequent express service from London Paddington Station to Swansea Station, stopping at Reading, Swindon, Bristol Parkway, Newport, Cardiff Central, Bridgend, Port Talbot Parkway and Neath. Inquires:08457 48 49 50
- Arriva Trains Wales runs local trains throughout Wales. Timetables
- West Wales services, west of Swansea. After leaving Swansea, the train follows of the contours of the coast. A left side seat will give you the best view. Inquires:08457 48 49 50
- The famous Heart of Wales Line runs between the medieval town of Shrewsbury and Swansea, passing through some of Wales' most spectacular scenery and picturesque towns during its three-hour and forty minute journey. Trains depart Swansea at 04:36, 09:15, 13:17 and 18:21.
- There are direct trains from Manchester Piccadilly to Swansea operating hourly during the daytime Mon-Sat, and every two hours during the daytime on Sundays. The journey time is about 4 hours 20 minutes. This service calls at Crewe, Shrewsbury, Hereford, Newport and Cardiff.
- Airport connections:
- Travellers arriving from Heathrow have the option of taking the shuttle bus to Reading and boarding the west bound train there - this saves travelling into London - or taking the Heathrow Express high speed rail link to London Paddington Station. This service runs every 15 minutes from terminals 1,2,3 or every 23 minutes from terminal 4 and takes 15 minutes: £13 (single); £25 (return).
- Travellers arriving from Cardiff International Airport can take a train to Swansea, however this requires a change at Bridgend. Services are provided by Arriva Trains
- National Express runs frequent bus services from Cardiff, London, the Midlands, and Heathrow Airport. All buses depart and arrive at the city's Bus Station. Enquires: 0990 80 80 80. The National Express ticket office is located next to the bus station. Megabus is a cheaper option.
- Greyhound operate a frequent and efficient bus service from Cardiff (Central Station) to Swansea (Quadrant Shopping Centre). Enquiries: 0900 096 0000. Tickets are purchased on boarding the bus. No prior booking required. Discounts available when traveling outside peak times.
- A convenient way to spend the day in Swansea city centre is to use one of the three Park and Ride systems National Park and Ride Directory. One is based at Landore on the A4067 - leave M4 at junction 45. The eastern 'Park and Ride' operates off the A483 (Fabian Way), which is the main artery into Swansea when coming off the M4 (junction 42) from the east Buses on this route follow an express bus lane into the city center. The western 'Park and Ride' operates off the A483 (Carmarthen Road) in Fforestfach. There is a £1.50 charge per car that includes all-day parking and return bus travel for up to 4 passengers, and the system operates from Monday to Saturday from 06:45 to 19:30.
- The M4 motorway links the city to Cardiff and London, with connections to the M6, M5, M32, M42 and M50. The main junction for Swansea is 42, but 43,44,45,46 and 47 also lead off into Swansea
- National Cycle Route 4. Swansea is served by the NCR 4 which passes just south of the city centre. To the east, NCR 4 connects Swansea with Port Talbot, Newport and London. To the west, NCR 4 connects Swansea with Llanelli and St David's. From the east, NCR 4 follows the route of the A483 (Fabian Way), it then follows the route of the seafront promenade of Swansea Bay Beach and at Blackpill it continues up the Clyne Valley cycle track towards Gowerton.[www]
- National Cycle Route 43. NCR 43 is still under development and will eventually connect Swansea with Builth Wells. Part of the route wholly within Swansea has been completed and signposted. The completed signposted section of NCR 43 begins at the Swansea Marina and follows the route of the River Tawe all the way to Ystalyfera, passing Pontardawe.[www]
- National Cycle Route 47. NCR47 Connects Newport with Fishguard. Within Swansea, NCR47 follows the same route as NCR4. Whilst, NCR4 is a more coastal route, NCR47 is a mostly inland route. [www]
Transportation - Get Around
Bus companies First Cymru and Veolia maintain frequent services connecting all suburbs of Swansea and the Gower Peninsula. All buses depart from the Bus Station, and there are connecting links to/from Swansea's railway station. Visitors travelling to the Mumbles have the option of taking buses heading to these final destinations: Oystermouth (synonymous with Mumbles and the final stop is in the village), Limeslade (includes stops at Mumbles Square, Verdi's Cafe and Mumbles Pier), Langland, Newton and Caswell. All buses on these routes also make stops at St. Helen's Stadium, Swansea University/Singleton Park and Blackpill Lido.
First Cymru offer a one-day "FirstDay " bus pass for the Swansea urban area. It costs £4.00 per adult before 9:30AM and £3.50 after 9:30AM.
There are several taxi ranks in the city centre. One is located at High Street Station for rail connections and one is located at Swansea Bus Station for bus/coach connections. A taxi rank beside St. Mary's church serves city centre shoppers. The taxi rank on Caer Street next to Castle Square is the most convenient for people returning home after a night out on Wind Street.
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
- Welsh Love Spoons - large spoons carved in wood that are traditional gifts between lovers.
- Woven cloth - available in traditional Welsh designs and sold as shawls, skirts and purses.
- Monopoly - one of the series of this famous game is based on the streets and landmarks of Swansea.
- Laverbread - the Swansea specialty dish made from seaweed.
- Murroughs Welsh Brew Tea. Quality African and Indian teas blended in Swansea
- Michton Chocolates. Luxury chocolates made in Swansea.
- Salt Marsh Lamb Locally produced Gower salt-marsh lamb, from sheep reared in the salt-marshes of Loughor Estuary is available from many local butchers and in Swansea Market.
- Love Spoon Gallery, 492 Mumbles Rd (near junction with Newton Road). Mumbles. - offers the largest range of love spoons in the city.
- Crundles, 80 Brynymor Rd, . Quality handicrafts and ethnic clothes/jewelry from Asia.
- Treasure, 29-33 Newton Rd, , e-mail:[email protected]. Mumbles. an up-market gift shop with an emphasis on local goods.
- Goose Island, 78 St. Helens Rd, . Handicrafts from Asia - gallery upstairs.
- Celfi Gallery and Gift Shop, . Llys Glas Building, 1 Alexandra Road. - a store offering space for former homeless people and the unemployed to exhibit and sell their handicrafts - some lovely framed black and white photographs, jewelry and wood items. Open Tues - Sat 10AM - 4PM
- Oriel Ceri Richards Gallery, . Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University. Taliesin’s Oriel Ceri Richards Gallery not only hosts regular touring exhibitions, but also stocks an excellent range of greetings cards as well as jewellery, ceramics and other craft items. Open Monday to Saturday
- The Chocolate Factory, . The Kingsway, Fforestfach. Michton luxury chocolates hot from the mould.
The Quadrant Centre and Oxford Street are the main shopping centres, and host all the usual department and chain stores. Between these two areas lies the much more interesting city market. Although housed in a modern building, Swansea Market can trace its history back to medieval times, and is the largest market in Wales. It is also a good place to purchase the local delicacy of laverbread (though note that laverbread requires refrigeration to keep fresh. If traveling, request vacuum packed or canned).
On the edge of the city centre is an array of large, utilitarian shopping centres collectively known as Parc Tawe. Within the complex there is also a UCI multiscreen cinema and bowling alley. Parc Fforestfach is an out-of-town shopping centre that houses several huge retail stores. And, for night owls, the huge Tesco supermarkets located between the Quadrant Centre and Oystermouth Road in the city centre, Parc Fforestfach and Llansamlet are allopen 24 hours.
- High Street (near the junction with College Street) has several stores specializing in backpack and hiking equipment. So, if your tent is springing a leak or your hiking shoes wearing thin, this is the best place to replenish your equipment before heading into the wild Welsh countryside.
- Sketty Local Produce Market, Bishop Gore Comprehensive School, Del-La-Beche Road, Sketty. Times: 9:30AM-12:30PM. Occurrence 1st Saturday each month
- Swansea Market. Located in the heart of Swansea City Centre, opens 6 days a week and contains a number of stalls selling locally sourced produce.
- Uplands and Marina Markets, Gwydr Square, Uplands and Dylan Thomas Square, Marina. Uplands: 9AM-1PM, last Saturday of each month. Marina: 10AM-3PM, second Sunday of each month. Fully fledged street markets selling fresh breads, fruit, plants and handicrafts
- Dylan's, King Edward Road.. Second-hand books.
- Dylan Thomas Centre, Somerset Place, Marina. Good selections of local poetry and history.
- Uplands, 27 Uplands Crescent. Specialist in maps and guide books, also a selection of novels.
- Waterstones (Oxford Street and University).
- Ice-cream. Due to an influx of Italian families into the area during the early 20th century, Swansea has developed quite a reputation for its tubs and cones. While there are several excellent brands, the nationally acclaimed Joe's Ice-cream is by far the most famous, and their parlors are venerable institutions in the city - in fact it is often said that no visit to Swansea is complete until you've had a Joe's.
- Laverbread. This Swansea specialty breakfast made from seaweed is delicious rolled in oatmeal and lightly fried or just heated and served on buttered toast. Request your hotel serve it for breakfast or pick up a can or vacuum pack from Swansea Market.
- Welsh Cakes. Scone-like cakes studded with raisins and dusted with sugar. Available at most bakeries, but best served hot off the griddle at Swansea Market.
- Welsh Rarebit. Swansea is a good place to sample this Welsh specialty of melted cheese spiced with ale and herbs. It is generally served on toasted bread with a side salad.
- Cockles These are harvested from the mud-flats in the nearby Loughor Estuary. Cockles are sold in Swansea Market.
- Salt Marsh Lamb This is the meat from lambs which graze in salt marshes. The meat from these lambs have a subtly different taste to lamb sold in supermarkets. Local Gower salt-marsh lamb comes from sheep reared in the salt-marshes of the Loughor estuary. Salt marsh lamb can be bought in many local butchers and in Swansea Market and is served in the premier local-cuisine restaurants in the city like Bizzy Lizzies Bistro and the Fairyhill restaurant.
Swansea is teaming with quality restaurants - over one hundred in the city center alone. Wind Street for theme bars and quality international cuisine. Quality Chinese food on High Street and Princess Way. St.Helen's Road for take away and sit down Indian (also quality restaurants on Walter Road and off the Mumbles Road at Blackpill), Italian, Turkish and Indonesian. Cheap and excellent vegetarian at 8 Cradock Street, off Kingsway. The Environment Centre, Pier street, Marina offers cheap and excellent fair trade coffee and snacks.
Grape and Olive at the top of the Meridian Tower in the Marina has incredible views over Swansea Bay
Mumbles Road in Mumbles has a wide range of restaurants. Check out Verdi's on Mumbles sea front for great views over a cappuccino.
Joe's Ice-cream parlors are located on St. Helen's Road, near the Guildhall, and near the post office on Mumbles Road in Mumbles.
Below is a very brief list of popular restaurants in the city center and marina area.
V = vegetarians catered for.
- Charlie's Chowder, 2 Prospect Pl, . Marina (near Morgan's Hotel). Open: Mon-Tue 11AM-5PM, Wed-Sat 11AM-midnight. Serves up great New England dishes in simple New England style.
Cafes (English Breakfast)
- Coffee's Been, Ground Floor, 55 Walter Rd.
- Espresso Bar, 65 High Street, . This is an unpretentious little cafe located just opposite Swansea railway station. They serve fry-up breakfasts in the morning. During lunch hours, they serve several British classics like cottage pie and roast dinners. In addition to the plated food, they serve made to order sandwiches and baugettes and coffee. This is an excellent place to fill up when there is some time to kill before the next train leaves.
- Kardomah, Morris Buildings, 11 Portland St.
- Sams Cafe, St. Helens Road.
- Uplands Diner, 69 Uplands Crescent. home of the "Beast" a massive breakfast, has to be seen to be believed
Cafes (Fish and Chips)
- Roma, Bryn-y-Mor Road.
- Windsor Cafe, 3 Cradock St.
- April's Cafe, 19 Mansel St, .
- April's Cafe 2, 83 Brynymor Rd, .
- China Deli and Cafe, 42 St. Helens Rd. tasty authentic Chinese cafe dishes, superb value
- Oriental Garden, 18-23 Anchor Court, Victoria Quay, Maritime Quarter(close to Waterfront Museum and The LC), . Buffet style cuisine - at least 40 dishes on rotation.
- Indian Scooner, 18 Anchor Court, Victoria Quay, Marina, .
- Nawab Tandoori, 12 Christina St, .
- Anarkali Tandoori, 79-80 St. Helens Rd, . V
- Gulshan, 74 St. Helens Rd, .
- Garuda, 18 St. Helens Rd, .
- Cafe Continental, 37 Castle St, .
- Peachy Keens, 18 Little Wind Street, SA1 1ED, , e-mail: [email protected]. Offers a range of international cuisines which can be cooked in front of you from ingredients of your choice.
- Lemongrass, 43 St Helens Rd, . Thai cuisine.
- The Bay View, 400 Oystermouth Rd, . Located near the Guildhall, the restaurant offers wonderful views of Swansea Bay, and is connected to a lounge bar - good, inexpensive meals.
- Govinda's, 8 Cradock St (off Kingsway), . cheap and really excellent food - Indian dishes are a specialty, but the desserts alone are worth the visit. Mo-Thu 12 noon -3PM, Fri-Sa 12 noon - 6PM. Closed on Sunday.
- Retreat, 2 Humphrey St (off Walter Road), . Vegan - small, backstreet cafe.
- Khusi Khana, 36 St Helens Rd, . Indian snacks and fast food.
- The Kitchen Table, 626 Mumbles Rd, . Mumbles. Wholesome meals made with locally sourced ingredients. Open: Tu-Sat 10AM-4PM, Sat 6:30-9:30PM
- Frankie and Benny's, . Salubrious Place, Wind Street. - V
- The Emperor, 206 High St, .
- Evergreen Cantonese, 9 St Helens Rd, .
- Rendez-Vous, . St. Davids Square, Princess Way. French and Chinese cuisine, great food, great service.
- Sea Garden, . Penclawdd Road, Penclawdd,
- Dragons Nest, 12 High St, . The only Chinese restaurant in the Swansea area to serve Dim Sum. Excellent food and great service.
- Wild Swan, 14 Orchard St, .
- Anarkali Tandoori Restaurant, 80 St. Helens Rd, .
- Bengal Brasserie, 67 Walter Rd, . Uplands.
- Cafe Saffron, 1 Wind St, .
- K2, 91-92 Mansel St, .
- Miahs, St. Helens Rd (located in a listed former church building), .
- Mumbai, Mill Lane, Blackpill (opposite the Blackpill Lido on Mumbles Road), . modern and spacious ambiance - amazing food - very highly recommended.
- Patti Raj, Victoria Park, Gorse Ln (Located in the splendid Patti Pavailion in Victoria Park), .
- Rasoi Waterfront, 3-4 J Shed, Kings Road, Marina (Off Langdon Road), , e-mail: [email protected]. Fri–Sun and Bank Holidays 12noon–11.30PM, Mon–Thurs 12noon–2.30PM / 5.30PM–11PM. Located in a converted warehouse. The cozy and warm decor compliment the excellent meals and service
- The Seaview Tandoori, 728 Mumbles Rd, .Mumbles
- Vojon, 13 St. Helens Road, SA1 4AW, .Excellent value for money, service is a bit slow. 7-18€.
- Chelsea Cafe, 17 St. Marys St (off Wind Street), .Popular with young up-and-comings.
- Ice, 64 Wind St, .
- The River House, Kings Road, SA1 (near Sail Bridge), . Chic restaurant and lounge with views over the Sail Bridge. Delicious and innovative cuisine.
- Ask, 6 Wind St, .
- Bella Napoli, 66 Wind St, .
- Vivaldi Ristorante, 29 Singleton St, .
- Castellamare (cafe and restaurant), Bracelet Bay, Mumbles, . Built on the edge of cliff, this restaurant offers unrivaled sea views as a backdrop to your pizza and latte. Buses traveling to Limeslade make a stop here. From Mumbles Village, it is a twenty to thirty minute walk.
- La Bussola, 217 Oxford St, .
- Pizza Express, 40 Castle St, .
- Pizzeriea vesuvio, 200-201 Neath Road, Landore, .
- Topo Gigio, 55 St. Helens Rd, .
- Verdi's (cafe and restaurant), Knab Rock, Southend, Mumbles, . Probably the nearest thing the UK has to an authentic Italian sea-front cafe-cum-restaurant, and the huge plate glass windows offer spectacular views over Swansea Bay. Buses traveling to Limeslade stop here. Alternatively, it can be reached on foot via the promenade - a ten minute walk from Mumbles Village.
- Grape & Olive (Brains), Meridian Tower, Trawler Road, , e-mail: [email protected]. A penthouse restaurant located in the tallest building in Wales with spectacular views of central Swansea and the bay. Wifi access is available and parties are catered for.
- The Mediterranean, 640 Mumbles Rd, . Mumbles. A small restaurant with loads of character and excellent food.
- Wasabi, 49 Uplands Crescent, Uplands, . Excellent sushi and noodles with sake or green tea to wash it down.
- Kan Zaman Restaurant, 67 Brynymor Rd, .Relaxing atmosphere and wide choice of dishes.
- Shiraz Restaurant, 696 Mumbles Rd, . Mumbles. Great selection of Middle Eastern dishes - uninhibited view over Swansea Bay.
- Chiquitos, 15 Salubrious Pl (bottom end of Wind Street). Unit.
- Cosmo, 16 Castle Street, SA1 1JF, . Buffet restaurant. Serves a range of Asian cuisine. Very nice decor.
- Thai Elephant, Ice House, Kings Road, SA1, .small but cosy restaurant serving authentic Thai dishes.
- Istanbul, 22B St Helens Road, SA1 4AP, .10:00 - 23:00. Non-pretentious but excellent Turkish restaurant with a very friendly staff. Portions are big and cheap. 8-20€.
- Mediterranean, 640 Mumbles Road, Mumbles, .Great, no-nonsense Turkish cuisine.
- Bizzy Lizzies Bistro, 55 Walter Road, Uplands, .
- Crumbs Kitchen, 2 Gwydr Square, Uplands, .Delicious, healthy and innovative
- Vietnam Restaurant, 36 Uplands Crescent, Uplands, .
- Bizzy Lizzies Bistro, 55 Walter Road, Uplands, .
- Dylan Thomas Center, .
- Hanson at the Chelsea, Ty Castell House, 17 Mary St, .
- The Gower Kitchen, 39 Uplands Crescent, .
- Sketty Hall, Sketty Lane, Sketty, . located in a beautiful white Georgian Mansion within the spacious grounds of Singleton Park, this restaurant offers an especially peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.
- The Pump House, . Pump House Quay, Maritime Quarter,
- Number 13, 13 Dyllwyn St, . An excellent little restaurant located near the Grand Theatre. Amazing food and excellent service.
- Mozart's, 766 Walter Rd, .
- L'amuse, 93 Newton Road, Mumbles, .
- Didier and Stephanie, 56 St Helens Rd, . French country cuisine.
- Rose Indienne, 73-74 St. Helens Rd, .Swansea.
- The New Capriccio, 89 St. Helens Rd, .
- La Braseria, 28 Wind St, . A favorite with Catherine Zeta-Jones
- Paco's, 22A St. Helens Rd, .
- La Parilla, Unit 5, J Shed, King's Rd, .
- Abernethy's, Marriott Hotel, Marina, .
- Atrium Restaurant, Morgan's Hotel, Adelaide St, .top-notch restaurant.
- Norton House, Norton Road, Mumbles, .
- Langland's Brasserie, Brynfield Road, Langland, , e-mail: [email protected]. A fine modern British restaurant located with a fantastic view overlooking Langland Bay. Ingredients are organic when available
- Knabrock Hotel, 734 Mumbles Road, Mumbles, .Uncomplicated, but excellent cuisine. Restaurant offers uninhibited views over Swansea Bay.
- Patrick's, 638 Mumbles Road, Mumbles, .
- Quay Three, Trawler Road, Marina (five minute drive from city centre), . Tues-Sun 8:30 until late (closed Sunday evening). A chic deli, bar, cafe and restaurant. Great place to to boat-watch over a cappuccino.
- Papa Sanchos, College St, . stone grill restaurant
- Slice, 73-75 Eversley Road, Sketty (five minute drive from city centre), . Thu-Sat - lunch 12noon-2PM, Dinner 6:30-9PM. Excellent dishes made with locally sourced produce and seasonal ingredients. Slice has won two covered 'Which' awards for cuisine
- Swigg, Unit 18 Waterfront Museum, Marina, , e-mail: [email protected]. 7:30AM-11PM. Located right on the waterfront, Swigg functions as a cool café by day and a sophisticated bar by night.
Coffe & Drink
Swansea enjoys a wonderful cafe culture, originally sparked by an influx of Italian families to the city in the early 20th century and later expanded with the establishment of local independents.
- Americano Jazz Cafe, Prince of Wales Docks, Kings Road, SA1, . A waterside jazz cafe/bar serving snacks and tapas live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Open: Thur-Sun 3PM-12midnight, Closed: Mon-Wed.
- Baguette Du Jour, 9 Caer St, . An open fronted cafe offering great views over Castle Square. A good place to grab a light snack and a coffee for those changing trains in Swansea as the cafe is about ten minute walk from the station (walk down High Street to Swansea Castle and turn right onto Caer Street. The cafe is in the mock Tudor building on the left).
- Café Nissé, 11 Wind St. A cafe-cum-gallery.
- Cafe Smooth (National Waterfront Museum), . A large Bohemian style cafe great views over marina huge selection of coffees and teas.
- Cafe Twocann, J-shed, Kings Road, Swansea Waterfront, . A cafe in a listed building over looking marina includes small gift store alcohol served.
- Dilwyn's Cafe, 1 Victoria Quay, Marina, . A lovely waterfront cafe with a wide selection of vegetarian/vegan dishes. Delicious cakes and pastries. Large out-door seating area. Open daily 8AM to 4PM.
- Eleos Brasserie, 33 The Kingsway, . Centrally located, but nothing special.
- Gershwins Coffee House, 14 Nelson St, .
- Holbrook's, 28 Union St, . Centrally located with a pleasant and warm atmosphere. Excellent coffee, including Fair Trade, and good selection of cakes.
- Java Tading Company, 10 Picton Archade, .
- Kardomah, 11 Portland St, . The original Kardomah was a favourite haunt of Dylan Thomas.
- Monkey Cafe, 13 Castle St, . Cosmopolitan and eclectic venue great views of Swansea Castle from plush leather sofas live music alcohol served.
- Mosaic, Urban Village, 218 High St, . A chic bistro-cafe. great coffee, innovative dishes (including a wide selection of vegetarian options) and interesting wines.
- Pure Refreshment, Ty John Penri Building, St. Helen's Road (near junction with Kingsway). A juice and smoothies bar using all natural ingredients.
- Sapore, 6 Plymouth St, . Close to bus station. Open: mornings and afternoons only.
- Strudles Coffee Shop, Whitewalls, .
- Starbucks, Oxford Street (near Market entrance). From Seattle to Swansea, the same standard decor and coffee.
- The Sub-Cafe, 6 Shoppers Walk Archade, .
- Tapestri, Llys Glas (corner of Orchard Street and Alexandra Road). A social enterprise cafe that uses fairtrade and locally sourced products.
- Tiffanys, 57-58 Plymouth St, City Centre, .
- Cafe Valance, 50 Newton Rd. The leather sofas, wood flooring, brick walls and open fronting give this cafe a very trendy but homely atmosphere.
- The Coffee Denn, 34/36 Newton Rd, . Simple, but excellent value meals
- Ocean, 61 Newton Rd, . Alcohol served.
- Pavilion Bistro (Mumbles Pier), .
- Also Verdis and Castellamare
- 360 Beach and Watersports Cafe Bar, Mumbles Road, . This is a cafe and snack bar Located near St Helen's Rugby Ground on the beach front. Open 7 days a week.
- the junction cafe, Old Station Building, Mumbles Road. A quaint cafe and snack bar based in a building that was once a station for the historic Swansea to Mumbles Railway.
- Also see see Mumbles section above.
- The Chattery, 59 Uplands Cres, . Live music and Fair Trade Coffee. Friendly, but uninspiring decor.
- Chambers Cafe Bar, 87 Brynymor Rd, . Modern and cosy serves wholesome beverages and snacks, such as fair-trade coffee, teas, smoothies, local produce, hummus and ciabattas.
- Noahs Yard, 38 Uplands Rd. Mon-Thu: 4-12PM, Fri-Sat: 4PM-3AM, Sun: 4-11PM. An Italian inspired cafe/bar. Live jazz every Monday from 8:30-11PM. Excellent atmosphere. Cosy and earthy artwork, including an original Banksy.
- One Shoe Cafe, 1 King Edward Rd, . Located in a former cobblers, this small, cosy cafe serves excellent coffees and wholesome snacks - very competitive prices.
Sights & Landmarks
- Swansea Castle. The ruins of this 13th century castle are located in the city centre. While the remains are not substantial enough to warrant a special visit, the contrast of the battlements against the more contemporary architecture of its surroundings does provide an interesting backdrop for souvenir photographs of Swansea city centre - the building is floodlit at night.
- The Guildhall. This elegant building of white Portland stone has graced the city centre's western approach since 1934. The main building only houses administrative offices and is of no interest to the casual visitor. However, Sir Frank Brangwyn's murals (originally intended for the House of Lords, but considered too frivolous) that grace the interior of the Brangwyn Hall are definitely worth viewing. The Brangwyn Hall is on the sea-facing side of the building and functions as the city's main concert and reception hall.
- Arthur's Stone (Cefn Bryn, Gower). A neolithic burial chamber or cromlech dating from 2500BCE.
- Dylan Thomas' Childhood Home, 5 Cwmdonkin Dr. Uplands. Restored to reflect the environment of Dylan's youth, Number Five Cwmdonkin Drive is open as a self-catering guest house - suitable for budding writers.
- Oystermouth Castle. Mumbles. The original castle was founded in the early 12th century by William de Londres of Ogmore and was constructed of ringwork and bailey. In the 13th century, the castle was the principle residence of the de Braoses, the lords of Gower (their other main residence was Swansea Castle), and most of the structure remaining today originates from this period. King Edward 1 is recorded to have visited the castle in December 1284. The present day remains are well preserved and the battlements offer commanding views over Swansea Bay. There is a small entry fee.
- Mumbles Pier. Mumbles. Built in the 1880s to encourage more passengers to use the Mumbles Train, the pier is an edifice to the Victorians' love of the ocean. Compared to many piers around the country, Mumbles is quite simple in design, but the 255m walk from beginning to end allows for spectacular views over Swansea Bay. In particular, Oystermouth Castle and the high rise buildings of the city centre are in clear view.
- Historical buildings. Much of Swansea city centre was destroyed in wartime bombing. Still, there are large pockets of the historic centre that did survive, and these have been painstakingly restored in recent times. Some of the best examples of Georgian and Victorian architecture can be found on Wind Street (pronounced Wined), with Salubrious Passage (linking Wind Street with Princess Way) being almost exclusively Georgian - though the accolade for oldest buildings in that area goes to Swansea Castle and the Cross Keys (inn), which are respectively relics of the 13th and 14th centuries. At the bottom end of Wind Street and across the main thoroughfare leading from the M4 into Swansea are several lovely Georgian terraces, with Somerset Place and Cambrian Place perhaps being the most stylish. The Dylan Thomas Centre on Somerset Place also represents a fine example of Doric style Georgian architecture, and the area (which leads onto the marina) also has an impressive mixture of Victorian and Edwardian buildings, such as the colonnaded neo-classical style Swansea Museum (1841) and Morgan's Hotel (1903). Across town, Alexandra Road offers some fine examples of baroque revival Edwardian architecture, with the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery acting as the focal point. British visitors may immediately recognize some of Swansea's historic streets as they have featured in the popular TV series Doctor Who.
Parks and scenic sites
- Mumbles. A former fishing village located at the western end of Swansea Bay the quaint streets, a 12th-century castle, fashionable boutiques and excellent restaurants make this suburb of Swansea a must-see destination. The promenade at Mumbles offers a spectacular panoramic view over Swansea Bay, and Village Lane (behind Patrick's restaurant) is a street of picture postcard fisherman's cottages.
- The Gower Peninsula - the first area in Britain to be designated an "area of outstanding natural beauty" - stunning scenery that extends from sandy beaches, hidden coves and lush country-side. In addition, (including the ruins of Swansea castle) there are seven medieval castles to explore. Home to Oxwich Bay - named the most beautiful beach in the UK and one of the most beautiful in the world by The Travel Magazine in 2007.
- The Maritime Quarter. An international award winning bay-side development. The swinging masts and sails of the three marinas offer a great backdrop to the theaters, museums, hotels, cafes, bars and restaurants that jostle for positions in this tight little corner off the city center. The south-side faces the sea, where there are great views over Swansea Bay and the Mumbles Head.
- Plantasia, . Open: Daily 10AM - 5PM. Parc Tawe. A chisel shaped hot house in the city center, complete with three different climate zones and exotic animals. Adult £3.70, Children and Concessions £2.70, Passport to Leisure £2.00, Under 4's admitted free and Family £12.00.
- Singleton Park. Swansea's largest park meandering over several acres of gentle undulating hills and leading down to Swansea Bay botanical gardens located near the Sketty end of the park, and Swansea University located at the lower end, near the sea front. The main entrance to the park is on Mumbles Road, just past the St. Helen's Stadium.
- Clyne Gardens and Country Park. No doubt the gem in the crown of Swansea parks. Originally a private garden, Clyne is bursting with flora and fauna meticulously collected from across the world. It is has an internationally recognized collection of rhododendrons and azaleas which are at their spectacular best in May. The Japanese style pond, complete with willow trees and oriental bridge is a great place to relax and watch the clouds sail by. Entrance behind the Woodman pub on Mumbles Road at Blackpill.
- Cwmdonkin Park. Located in the Uplands. A classic Victorian park that was a favorite with Dylan Thomas, and several of his works were inspired here.
- Brynmill Park. Swansea's oldest park, located in Dylan's Uplands famous for its large swan lake.
- Lake Fendrod. Situated in the heart of the Swansea Enterprise Park. It has a large population of Swans and is stocked with a range of fishes like carp to 20 lbs, skimmers to bream of 8 lbs, tench to 6 lbs, roach to 2 lbs together with crucian carp, dace, orfe, perch & rudd. There are about 75 pegs, some of which are concreted. Lake Fendrod is surrounded by a public footpath.
- Swansea Vale Nature Reserve. Located at the far north eastern end of the Enterprise Park. It is one of the few remaining places of wetland in Swansea and features streams, ponds and woodland. The nature reserve is accessible by bike or on foot and features a board walk and bike paths
- Kilvey Community Woodland (Kilvey Hill). The south side of the woodland offers panoramic views of Swansea Bay right over to Mumbles Head and Port Talbot and also the city centre and docks, while the western face of the hill allows uninhibited views of the lower Swansea Valley, the northern part of the city centre, the Enterprise Zone and the Liberty Stadium. In addition, the hill itself has a sculpture trail, a number of footpaths and some dedicated white knuckle mountain biking trails.
- View over the city and Swansea Bay. One of the best locations to gain a panoramic view of the city and the full sweep of Swansea Bay is from Pant-y-Celyn Road in Townhill (near the Townhill Campus of Swansea Metropolitan University). There are bay-facing parking areas along the road that allow the stunning views to be enjoyed from the comfort of your car. The scene is especially spectacular at dusk with the sun setting over Mumbles Head. For the adventurous and those possessing cars with strong brakes, return to the city center via the 1 in 3 incline of the cobbled street of Constitution Hill.
- Blackpill Beach (located on the southern edge of Swansea Bay beach).Blackpill Beach and the Blackpill Stream which flows into it are a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. Many types of gulls can be seen feeding there at high tide.
- Crymlyn Bog. Crymlyn bog is the largest area of lowland fen in Wales located to the east of Swansea City Centre. It is a Ramsar site, a Special Site of Scientific interest and a protected National Nature Reserve. There is a visitor centre with car parking.
- Swansea beach. A 5 mile stretch of beach from Swansea Docks all the way to Mumbles with a cycle way and promenade along its whole length.
Museums & Galleries
- National Waterfront Museum, The, Maritime Quarter, . Open daily 10AM-5PM. Housed in an iconic building clad in Welsh slate, the National Waterfront Museum represents an exciting and innovative way to explore the development of the industrial revolution - through the eyes of the people whose lives it touched and transformed. The toil, the achievements, the defeats and the joys are revealed through the museum's creative exhibitions. Children will particularly enjoy the working machinery. There are also cafes and gift shops overlooking the marina. This is one of the UK's most imaginative exhibition spaces and must-see destinations. Admission is free.
- Dylan Thomas Centre, The, Somerset Place, Marina, . Tu-Su 9AM-10PM. This splendid example of early 19th century Doric style architecture served as Swansea Guildhall for over 100 years. It became the Dylan Thomas Center in 1995 when it was refurbished in commemoration of Swansea hosting the 1995 UK Year of Literature and Writing, and was opened by former US President Jimmy Carter. The center is dedicated to the works of Swansea's greatest literary son, and in addition to a theater, exhibition and events hall, the center also has a second hand book store and gift shop. The local cuisine served in the second floor restaurant is highly recommended. Admission free.
- Glyn Vivian Art Gallery, The, Alexandra Rd, .Open: Tues-Sun 9AM-5PM. The gallery housed in a baroque revival Edwardian building has permanent exhibits of paintings by local artists and a good collection of Swansea china. In addition, it frequently hosts exhibitions of national and international works of art. Admission free.
- Swansea Museum, Victoria Road, Maritime Quarter, . Tu-Su 9AM-5PM. This grade two, neo-classic building was Wales' first museum, and displays artifacts as diverse as Swansea china and an Egyptian mummy. The museum gift shop sells good quality souvenirs. Admission free.
- Gower Heritage Centre, Parkmill, Gower, . A rural life museum based around a working water mill - gift shop and cafe on site.
- Egypt Centre, . Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM. The Swansea University campus (near the Taliesin Art Centre). One of the UK's best collections of ancient Egyptian artifacts outside London. Free.
- Attic Gallery, 140 Cambrian Place, Marina, . F 10AM-5:30PM, Sa 10AM-4:30PM. Wales' oldest independent gallery - specializing in grass roots Welsh art. free.
- Mission Gallery, Gloucester Place, Marina, . Mo-Su 11AM-5PM. A small independent gallery located in a converted seaman's chapel. free.
- Exposure Art Gallery, 9 College St, . M-Th 10AM–5PM, F,Sa 11AM–4PM. A city center gallery established by the Swansea Guild of Artists and sponsored by Air Wales. free.
- 1940s Swansea Bay, Elba Crescent, Crymlyn Burrows (off Fabian Way - the main road linking the city center and M4 motorway), , e-mail: [email protected]. Open: March–Oct: 10AM–5PM, Nov–Feb:10AM–4PM (Closed 24–26 December, 1st January and Mondays Oct-March). This small museum invites visitors to experience life in Swansea during the second world war and through the blitz that devastated the city center. NB: This is definitely a museum in the making, and at present the entrance fee is probably a bit steep. However, for those interested in war memorabilia, it is worth a visit and the owners are very friendly and helpful. The museum offers free parking and has a gift shop and cafe.
- Mellow Mango. Café Nissé, 11 Wind Street. A gallery in a cafe. Exhibits focus on the work of local artists.
- Women in Jazz, Queen’s Buildings, Cambrian Place, Maritime Quarter, , e-mail:[email protected]. A collection of several thousand audio and visual records, photographs, periodicals, paintings, stained glass windows, stage gowns, a library and an oral history collection.
- Mumbles Lifeboat Museum. Located on the slip road running off Mumbles Road to Mumbles Pier (near Verdi's Cafe). This small museum is dedicated to the memory of the heroic and sometimes tragic events in the history of the Mumbles Lifeboat. Open Mon-Sat and Sun morning.
- Oriel Ceri Richards Gallery, Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University, . Open Monday to Saturday. Taliesin’s Oriel Ceri Richards Gallery not only hosts regular touring exhibitions, but also stocks an excellent range of greetings cards as well as jewellery, ceramics and other craft items.
- Elysium Art Space, 41 High St, . Th-Su 11AM-5PM.A volunteer run space promoting the work of emerging artists. Admission free.
- The Nick Holly Studio Gallery, . Open: Tue-Sun 10AM-5PM. Exchange Building, Cambrian Place, Maritime Quarter. Showcases the work of local artists. Admission free.
- Palterman and Thomas, . Open: Tue-Sat 10AM-5:30PM. Norwegian Church, Lagdon Road, SA1. Exhibit of handcrafted jewellery. Admission free.
- Swansea Bus Museum. Open: Mon-Fri 9AM-4PM, Sun 10AM-5PM.SA1 Business Park, Fabian Way, Port Tennant. An exhibit of over thirty buses that once plied the streets of Swansea and West Wales. Admission free - donations welcome.
Things to do
- Swansea Airport, . See Swansea and the Gower Peninsula from the air.Flying Lessons and recreational flights are operated by Swansea Sport Flying.Skydiving lessons and recreational skydives at Swansea Airport are operated by Skydive Swansea
- Swansea Indoor Bowls Stadium, . Beaufort Road, Plasmarl, Swansea. The Swansea Bowls stadium is an international standard indoor bowling stadium which hosts the Welsh International Open, part of the World Bowls Tour, annually. The stadium features 6 bowling rinks with a function room and a bar.
- Swansea Bay Rider. A colorful children's land train runs throughout the summer along the promenade from the St. Helen's Stadium to Southend Gardens, Mumbles.
- Chocolate factory, The Kingsway, Swansea West Industrial Park, , fax: , e-mail: [email protected].Enter the world of Willy Wonka at Swansea's own chocolate factory. There are organised tours for schools and members of the public, during which the process of turning cocoa into everyone's favorite snack is explained, and plenty of samples are available to try. In addition, there is a factory shop where souvenirs can be purchased. Reservations are necessary to guarantee admission.
- Rowing and crazy golf. A boating lake and crazy golf course located between the junction of Sketty Lane and Mumbles Road and the entrance to Swansea University.
- Discovery Centre(Brynmill Park). Mo-Fri 11AM-5PM, Sa&Su 11AM-4PM. The center offers the opportunity for children to observe and gain first hand knowledge about local wildlife and nature.
- The LC. A state of the art leisure center. See 'Swimming' section for more details.
- The historic ship MV Balmoral runs day trips to Ilfracombe in North Devon and cruises around the Gower coast - summer only. The paddle steamerWaverley runs similar trips, but less frequently. Certain journeys continue on to Lundy Island. Starting point- Swansea Ferry Port. [www] Tel:+44 845130-4647.
- Euphoria Sailing Ltd, , e-mail:[email protected]. Motor boat and yacht cruises around the Gower coast - starting points Swansea Marina or Oxwich Bay.
- South Wales Cruising Company, , e-mail:[email protected]. Private cruises.
- Gower Coast Adventures, . Offers trips around the Gower coast for up to twelve people on their ten meter sea serpent cruise boat.
Swansea is connected to the National Celtic Cycling Trail, and there are four main routes in city.
- The Jersey Marine and Fabian Way Trail. Traces the main road into the city center from the East few special sites of interest, it passes the Jersey Marine Tower and offers views of the heavy industrial plants in Baglan Bay and Port Talbot.
- The River Tawe Trail. Runs along the banks of the river Tawe passing through a former industrial area that has been reforested, skirts the Liberty Stadium, a business district and finally heads out to the Swansea Valley.
- The Promenade Trail. Runs along Swansea Bay foreshore to the sea-side suburb of Mumbles it passes through the Marina and offers stunning views over Swansea Bay. On a sunny day, with the blue water lapping at the side of the promenade, cycling along this trail must be the nearest thing to poetry in motion.
- The Clyne Valley Trail. Runs through Clyne Country Park to the North Gower coast, where it rejoins the National Celtic Cycle Trail the first part of the trail passes through a forested area, then meanders through sprawling suburbs before reaching the Loughor Estuary near Loughor. This trail leads from the Promenade Trail at Blackpill (a child's paddling area marks the site). Mountain bike trails are located on the sides of the valley.
Bikes can be rented at the following city center stores:
- Cycle Centre, 10 Wyndham Street. Tel:+44 1792 410710 (closed Sunday)
- Action Bike, St. David's Square. Tel:+44 1792 464640 (open seven days and will deliver bike to hotel free of charge)
- Mountain biking. Kilvey Hill has a dedicated downhill run and several other trails for the mountain bike enthusiast.
There are some wonderfully picturesque drives in Swansea. Below are a couple of popular ones:
- City centre - Mayals - Bishopston - Caswell Bay - Langland Bay - Bracelet Bay - Limeslade Bay- Mumbles - city centre.
To start this drive, take the A4067 Mumbles Road from the city center and turn right onto B4436 Mayals Road. Follow road over Fairwood Common and take a left at Bishopston Village. From there, follow signs for the above places.
This drive takes in some beautiful coastal scenery. Recommended stops: Verdis cafe (Mumbles, Swansea Bay sea front), Castellamare cafe (Bracelet Bay sea front), and Mumbles Village .
- City centre - Uplands - Killay - Parkmill - Reynolston - Rhossili - Llangeneth - Oldwalls - Killay - Uplands - city centre.
To start this drive, take A4118 through the bed-sit suburb of Uplands and then Killay. Finally, after leaving Upper Killay, the road passes through the heart of the Gower Peninsular. Follow signs for the above places.
This drive passes through some quintessential British countryside and culminates at stunning Rhossili Bay. Recommended stops: Parkmill is the location of the Gower Heritage Centre, with its working water wheel, and Shepards' village store and cafe is a good place to take refreshment. Near the village of Reynolston, you can take a short detour onto Cefn Bryn to see Arthur's Stone. Also, in Reynolston is the beautifully renovated country inn, 'the King Arthur's Hotel', which is an excellent place for lunch. At Rhossili, there are tea houses, but the attraction here is definitely the stunning views.
As you drive along the beautiful country lanes with the smell of freshly cut grass pervading the air and the vista of a wide blue bay opening before you, the words of a famous Buddhist master - 'the journey is the goal' - will never ring truer!
- Swansea, . See and the Gower Peninsular from the air. Flights from Swansea Airport.
Swansea has a number of excellent golf courses, many with spectacular sea views:
- Clyne Golf Club, 118-120 Owls Lodge Ln, .Mayals. 6323 yard 18 hole course built on moorland, par 70 sss72
- Fairwood Park Golf Club, Blackhills Lane, Upper Killay, . 6,658 yard 18 hole parkland championship course
- INCO Golf Club, . Clydach
- Morriston Golf Club, 160 Clasemont Rd, .Morriston.5708 yard 18 hole course
- Langland Bay Golf Club, . Mumbles.
- Pennard Golf Club, 2 Southgate Rd, .Southgate.6,225 yard, 18 hole par 71 links golf course
Bars and cafes that provide life music:
- Cafe Smooth, . National Waterfront Museum. - large Bohemian style cafe - great views over marina - huge selection of coffees and teas - jazz/poetry readings.
- Milkwoodjam, 50 Plymouth St, . Live music venue, cafe/bar and recording studio.
- Monkey Cafe, 13 Castle St, . Cosmopolitan and eclectic venue - great views of Swansea Castle from plush leather sofas - live music upstairs.
- No Sign Bar, 56 Wind St, . A watering hole that dates back to the 18th century - relaxed atmosphere and good food - generally 40s+ crowd.
- Swansea Jazzland, . St. James Social Club, St. James Crescent, Uplands. - jazz, jazz and more jazz
- Taliesin Arts Centre, . Swansea University. - music from across the globe, including high profile jazz artists and other musicians of international acclaim.
- The Chattery, 59 Uplands Crescent, Uplands, . alt-country/Americana - attracts mostly student crowd.
- The Garage, 47 Uplands Crescent, Uplands, . hip-hop, metal, rock as well as stand-up comedy.
- The Lemon Factory, 37 St Helen's Road. Underground music venue.
- Uplands Tavern, 42 Uplands Crescent, Uplands, .rock and folk - attracts student crowd.
Living in nature
- Cinema.co, 17 Castle Street, e-mail: [email protected]. 6PM-12 midnight nightly (screening starts at 8PM). Screening of art/indie movies. Discussion after screening. Adult: £5, Student: £4.
- Odeon, Odeon: Parc Tawe, . Multi-screen cinemas screening blockbusters.
- Taliesin, . Screens quality mainstream, independent movies.
- Vue, York Street, . Multi-screen cinemas screening blockbusters.
- Teamforce UK (Paintballing & Activity Centre), Llangyfelach Rd, .
- Cricket: Swansea is one of the home locations of the Glamorgan County Cricket Club, one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English and Welsh domestic cricket league. Glamorgan play at the St. Helen's Stadium.
- Football: Swansea is home to Swansea City AFC (also known as 'the Swans'), a professional team that currently plays in the Barclays Premier League. The Swans home venue is the Liberty Stadium in Landore.
- Rugby. Swansea is home to two major rugby union teams: 1. the Ospreys a profession team playing in the Celtic League and competing for the EDF Energy, Heineken and European Challenge Cups. The Ospreys play at the Liberty Stadium. 2. Swansea RFC (also known as the 'All Whites'), a semi-professional team playing in the Welsh Premier League. The All Whites play at the St. Helen's Stadium.
- Swansea Bay Rally. A major event in the UK rally calendar. Held annually in summer at locations near Swansea.
- Many of the bays on the Gower Peninsular are great for swimming. However, the most popular are the sandy bays of Langland andCaswell. Both these beaches are under seasonal lifeguard supervision, offer changing and toilet facilities and are in easy reach of the city center.
- Welsh National Pool, . Sketty Lane (near the university). - Serious swimmers will enjoy the waters of this Olympic size pool.
- The LC. Mo-Fri 6:30AM-10PM, Sa-Su 8AM-9PM. Maritime Quarter. A cutting edge leisure complex that includes a wave making machine, hydro-slide, artificial beach, children's paddling area, Europe's only indoor surfing center and the world's first uphill water slide. LC offers an excellent rainy-day alternative to a day at the beach.
- Swansea Tenpin Bowling, Parc Tawe, The Strand, . Tenpin is located next to an Odeon multiplex. It features 26 tenpin bowling lanes and an amusement arcade, two pool tables, a Wimpey burger bar and a drinks bar.
- Swansea Institute Theatre, . Swansea Institute Campus, Townhill Road. This theater is home to Swansea based and internationally acclaimed Volcano Theater Company
- Grand Theatre, . The, Singleton Street. Swansea's largest theater, with everything from pantomime to opera.
- Brangwyn Hall. The, Guildhall complex, Victoria Park. With its stunning British Empire Panels, originally commissioned for the British House of Lords, this grandiose concert hall is the focus for the annual Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts - the second largest such festival in the UK.
- Dylan Thomas Centre, . The, Maritime Quarter. Specializing in plays produced by the bard himself.
- Dylan Thomas Theatre, . The, Maritime Quarter. Home to the Swansea Little Theatre group - Where Dylan Thomas was an actor/member along with Catherine Zeta Jones.
- South Wales Evening Post Theatre, 219 High St (Urban Village). The theatre is part of a so-called creative hub based in the Urban Village.
- Taliesin Arts Centre, . The, University Campus, Singleton Park. This lively venue hosts a broad programme of events including cinema screenings, an average of ten visiting exhibitions per year, and a great variety of live performances, from dance and drama to jazz and world music. The emphasis at Taliesin is on quality and innovation.
- Swansea Environment Centre, . Old Telephone Exchange, Pier Street, Marina (behind the 5 star Morgan's Hotel on Adelaide Street). [www]. The center organizes volunteer environmental work in the area - a great opportunity to meet local people and inject more purpose into your stay in Swansea.
- Swansea City Farm, 2 Pontarddulais Rd, , e-mail:[email protected]. Fforestfach. (Directions: bus numbers 110, 111, 112 and X13 from city center to Ivorite Arms bus stop). A project that aims 'to provide a sustainable community farm which is stimulating and educational and offers enjoyable and safe activities.' Everyone is welcome to contribute their energy and time to this on-going project (call first).
Swansea is a great place if you are into walking. Here are a few easily accessible routes:
- Swansea Marina to Mumbles Pier - about five miles of flat walking - great views over Swansea Bay.
- Limeslade Bay to Caswell Bay - about three miles of cliff path walking - stunning scenery.
- Bishopston Valley - about three miles of riverside walking, starting just below Bishopston church - a peaceful and lush valley that spills out onto a storm beach. The return journey can be made over the cliff path to the left of the beach when facing the sea.
The calm waters of Swansea Bay and Oxwich Bay are ideal for watersports such as skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, dinghy sailing and Power boattraining - Contact:
- Watersports 4 All, Bishopston, E-main, , e-mail:[email protected].
- Mumbles Yacht Club, Southend, Mumbles, .
- Mumbles Motor Boat and Fishing Club, The Pier, Mumbles, Swansea, SA3 4EN, .
- Swansea Yacht and Sub Aqua Club, South dock, Pumphouse, East Burrows Road, Marina, .
- Bay Watersports, Seafront at the Slip (near St. Helens stadium), . Lessons in windsurfing and kayaking on Swansea Bay. May to October, seven days a week.
- Swansea Watersports, The Pilot House, Pilot Wharf, Swansea Marina, , e-mail: [email protected].Offers training in the following activities at various locations around the Gower Peninsula: powerboating, sailing, kayaking, jet skiing, first aid and sea survival.
- Cable Wake Boarding, Prince of Wales Dock, SA1.
Some of the best surfing spots in the UK are in Swansea, with Llangenith, Caswell and Langland bays being the most popular - contact:
Festivals and events
- Swansea Bay Summer Festival. The umbrella term for a number of events occurring in the Swansea Bay area from May to September. Only the main festivals are listed below. For other events, check the official website.
- Swansea Pride (Lacrosse field, Singleton Park). Gay pride festival. 30 April 2016 (all day event).
- Skate, Street and Sports Festival. Castle Square, City Centre ramps, rails and quarter pipes fill Castle Square for boarders, bikers and rollerbladers to strut their stuff. 21 May 2016. 10:30AM-4:30PM.Admission free.
- Swansea International Jazz Festival. Various venues throughout the Marina area. 17–19 June 2016.
- Gower Folk Festival. Live performances and workshops at various venues across the peninsular. 12-14 June 2015.
- Swansea Festival of Transport. City Centre. Display of classic and modern vehicles. 14–15 June 2014. Admission free.
- Wales National Airshow, Swansea foreshore. Spectacular displays by the red arrows. 2–3 July 2016. Admission free
- Dance Days, various locations throughout the city centre. Street dance performances. 18–19 July 2015. 11AM-5PM.
- Mumbles Raft Race. Mumbles sea-front. Rafts of all shapes sizes compete in the this annual race across Swansea Bay. 5:30PM, 10 August 2014.
- Noel Gallagher, Singleton Park, . 2 September 2016. From 4PM £35.75.
- Gower Bluegrass Festival, . Gower Heritage Centre, Parkmill. 11–13 September 2015. 10AM-10:30PM
- Swansea International Festival, various locations. An annual three week bash of culture in Swansea - The second largest such festival in the UK. 17 Oct to 8 Nov 2015.
- Do Not Go Gentle Festival, various venues in the Uplands. A festival of music and words held in the Uplands, the childhood home of Dylan Thomas - 23-25 October 2015
- Dylan Thomas Festival. The Dylan Thomas Centre held annually between 27 Oct 9 Nov. During these two weeks, the centre built to commemorate the works of Thomas reverberates to the sound of his poems and plays. This is a must see event for fans of the bard. In addition, the festival hosts the awards' ceremony for the winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize a biannual writing competition for most outstanding literary talent in English, aged under 30.
- Waterfront Wonderland. This event held next to the National Waterfront Museum includes stalls selling traditional Christmas goods, a big wheel offering views over Swansea Bay and an ice rink. 14 Nov 2014 4 Jan 2015
- Swansea's busiest and liveliest watering hole is on historic Wind Street(appropriately pronounced Wined) and surrounding area, which is also the home to many of Swansea's best restaurants.
- Wind Street marks the centre of the city's night club and bar area, and on a Friday or Saturday night the words of Dylan Thomas, although originally referring to death, seem somehow appropriate in describing the mood of the revelers: "Do not go gentle into that good night, .... burn and rave at close of day; rage, rage against the dying of the light."
- Another popular watering hole is the Brynymor Road area. This area has a more laid-back atmosphere than Wind Street and is popular with the many university students who live nearby. There are also several excellent international restaurants in the area - serving Italian, French, Mediterranean, Thai and Indian cuisine.
Bars and pubs
City centre: Wind Street vicinity
- Pitcher & Piano, 59 Wind St, .
- Revolution, 24 Wind St, .
- Bar SA1, 2-5 Wind St, .
- Bar-Co, 8-9 Wind St, .
- Idols, 10 Wind St, .
- Varsity, 63 Wind St, .
- The Cross Keys Inn, 12 St Mary's St, .
- Exchange Bar, 10 The Strand, .
- La Cantina, Wind St, .
City centre: Kingsway vicinity
- The Potters Wheel (Wetherspoons), 85 The Kingsway, .
- Eli Jenkins, 24-25 Oxford St, .
City centre: Bryn-y-Mor Road vicinity
- Cardamon Lounge, St. Paul's Church, St. Helens Road.
- The Brunswick Arms, 3 Duke St.
- The Bryn-y-Mor, 17 Brynymor Rd.
- The Mill, 75 Brynymor Rd.
- The Westbourne, 1 Brynymor Rd.
- The Wig, 134 St. Helens Rd.
- Noahs Yard, 38 Uplands Rd. An Italian inspired cafe/bar. Live jazz every Monday from 8:30-11PM. Excellent atmosphere. Cosy and earthy artwork, including an original Banksy. Open: Mon-Thu: 4-12PM, Fri-Sat: 4PM-:3AM, Sun: 4-11PM
- Uplands Tavern, 42 Uplands Crescent, Uplands. Live bands play on most nights of the week. Features a large fenced outdoor area at the front. This can be a very lively pub at weekends and on special occasions.
Things to know
Although it definitely has character, Swansea dialect (especially from east-side) can be hard to understand for the uninitiated.
The following usages are to be heard in Swansea:
- bye-yer = here (example: "Put it bye-yer" means "Put it here.")
- ewe = you (example: "Alright, arr ewe?" means "Are you OK?")
- learn = teach, (example: "Will you learn me English?" means "Will you teach me English?")
- likes = like, (example: "I likes it" means "I like it")
- now = often used as an affirmative, not be taken literally (example: "I'll come over now later" just means "I'll come over later.")
- tidy = not to be mistaken as a command to clear up something, but a statement of approval, meaning "I agree" or "that is acceptable".
- fair dues = to give someone credit (example: "He is not rich, but fair dues he's always happy to lend money to his friends." means "He is not rich, but give him credit. He's always happy to lend money to his friends.")
- there's = that's, how or what (example: "There's lovely" means "That's beautiful" or "How nice", whereas "There's a mess!" would in more standard English be expressed as "What a mess!")
- butt/butty = friend/buddy. (example: "How're you doing, butt?" means "How are you doing, mate/friend?")
- mun = used at the end of a statement for emphasis purposes (example: "Hurry up, mun, or we'll be late").
- cowin' lush = not to confused with a fertile plain for herbivores, but a statement akin to approval (example: "That curry I 'ad last night was cowin' lush mun".
- Evening Po = an abbreviated term for Evening Post (the Swansea evening newspaper) called out by road side vendors.
- In addition, there is a tendency for those with a strong accent to speak inthe third person. So if someone walks up to you and says, "eye nose ewe", don't be surprised. They are merely expressing the fact that they recognize you (i.e. "I know you")!
The Swansea accent is more noticeable in blue collar areas of the city, whereas in more affluent areas people speak with a more refined Welsh accent. However, even in these areas Wenglish phrases like "Uch a fi!" (dirty) can still be heard.
About 16% of Swansea's population can speak and read Welsh in addition to English, though the majority of these are residents of the northern suburbs (i.e. those closest to the counties of Powys and Carmarthenshire). People from the original town of Swansea, east-side, Mumbles and South Gower were not traditionally Welsh speaking, and so there are far fewer Welsh speakers in these areas.
Safety in Swansea
Beaches and Coast
As a coastal city, visitors inevitably come into contact with the sea. Be aware of local conditions before swimming or undertaking boating activities.
Among the popular beaches, Three Cliffs is dangerous for swimming due to the strong under currents caused by a tidal lagoon. Worm's Head off the tip of Rhossili Bay has also claimed many lives. Ensure that you know the times of the tides before venturing out the island. Many people have been swept away trying to return through a fast rising tide. The cliffs between the Rhosilli village and Worms Headhave also claimed lives, some of the grass and earth on the cliff edge is eroding and walkers should heed local warnings and stick to the path. Indeed, care should always be taken while taking clifftop walks in the Gower.
From the beginning of May, Caswell, Langland, Bracelet and Port Eynon beaches are all patrolled by professional lifeguards during the weekends. From June until September the beaches are patrolled 7 days a week
Advice for safe swimming:
- A red flag means danger. Do not enter the water if the red flag is flying
- Consider bathing at a beach that's under lifeguard protection
- Don't swim alone at a deserted beach
- Don't use inflatables. They are easily swept away by strong currents
- If you see someone in trouble, call 999 and ask for Coastguard
- Inquire about swimming conditions at local tourist offices prior to venturing to a beach without lifeguard cover
- Read warning notices posted near beach access sites
- The area between the red and yellow flags marks the area patrolled by lifeguards. Don't swim outside this area
Crime occurs in Swansea as in most other cities, and sensible precautions should be taken. As elsewhere in the UK, there can be drink related problems in those areas with high concentrations of pubs and clubs, such as Wind Street. In general, however, Swansea is a very safe city and violent crime is rare.
Hospitals and clinics
In an emergency, dial 999 and request ambulance service.
- Morriston Hospital, Heol Maes Eglwys, Morriston (near the M4). Tel:+44 1792702222 - the largest hospital in the city - operates a specialist burns center and accident and emergency unit.
- Singleton Hospital, Sketty Lane, Sketty (in the west of the city). Tel:+44 1792205666 - a large hospital but no accident and emergency unit.
- Sancta Maria, Ffynone Road, Uplands. Tel:+44 1792 479040 [www] - a small private hospital located in the Uplands area - non emergency treatment only.
- Swansea Clinic of Natural Medicine, 20 Walter Rd, .
- Swansea Treatment Centre, 40/41 St James Crescent, Uplands, , e-mail: admin.swanse[email protected]. Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre