Tag Archives: Travel

Guest Post: Croeso i Abertawe- Welcome To Swansea

The first of our guest bloggers, Sarah Oliver, tells us about her short visit to Swansea.

Located in one of the most beautiful settings in Wales, Swansea is an unbeatable location when you want to visit somewhere with varied landscape. With a beach on the doorstep and the Gower in the backgarden, wherever you look in Swansea there is a pleasing view. Expecting to find a typical abandoned British seaside resort, my expectations were absolutely crushed. I was lucky enough to visit when weather was unusually warm and fine, and I was overwhelmed by the friendliness of the locals as well as the beautiful, sunlit scenery.

Visiting an old friend, I was lucky enough to be personally tour guided around some of the city’s best spots. My personal highlight was a bicycle ride along the sea-side from the city centre out to the nearby seaside village Mumbles. The pedestrianised area has so much to sea and do along the way. Outdoor gym equipment lines the beach, and running groups add variety to the pace, ducking on and off the path, joining the beach in places, whilst bikes get the benefit of added obstacles which my friend seemed to ease over fearlessly, whilst I stayed on the safe side keeping to the track provided!

The beach is clean and spacious and relatively safe, as the bay is quite enclosed and the waves rarely get big, even at high tide. Out at Mumbles, you can enjoy fantastic fish and chips and ice cream! It was evident from my visit that this area of Wales is particularly popular amongst young families, as its relatively cheap and there are lots free things to do. The Gower is a popular holiday destination, and my bicycle keen friend informed me that the area is the biggest and most popular for mountain biking in the UK with specially designated trails near the city centre on Clyne hill for all levels of mountain biking.

The town centre itself has plenty on for the less outdoorsy types too. I was treated to a night out with some Swansea’s student crowd to Sin City, a popular club with Swansea’s student population where drinks are cheap and the floors are sticky but the music and the crowds are great. There was plenty of shopping to be found too. Not expecting much from the shopping centre I was quite surprised to find it’s quite large and varied, with many high street chain retailers as well as cute little boutiques! The marina is an interesting spot to go and have a look at the boats, and on a clear day the view stretches for miles along the coastline.

Finding a place to stay in Swansea isn’t difficult. If planning a visit, there are many sea-front guest houses such as The Bayswater Guest House have seaside views and a comfortable welcome or the Morlais Guest House another family run bed and breakfast on the sea front.

So grab your bike or your walking boots and be surprised, you’ll definitely get more than you bargained for in Swansea.

Tuesday Newsday- Second Costa Cruise Disaster

The second Costa Cruise ship to have stopped functioning within the past month was last night awaiting rescue as a fire in the generators caused all electricity to cut out and the ship’s engine’s to cease function.

The Costa Allegra, which left Mauritius and was headed for Seychelles, lost all power after a fire in one of the generators. Although all 636 passengers and 413 crew were reported to be in good health, the ship was still in danger, as it was drifting about 200 miles from Seychelles’ port in an area where Somalian pirates operate.

The first rescue vessel was not expected to reach the vessel until about 11pm last night, but Cosimo Nacastro, the Italian Coastguard commander, was assured by the ship’s captain that the fire danger was over and everyone was well. Fortunately the ship’s communication was still in order due to a second emergency generator.

The Costa Allegra, a ship owned by Costa Cruises, is the second cruise ship PR catastrophe for this company still sore from  the wounds of last month, when the Costa Concordia ran aground killing 32 people and injuring many more. The company has many legal bills following the Costa Concordia tragedy and the ship’s captain, Francesco Shettino is under investigation for manslaughter for being “culpably unaware” of the situation.

Out and about in Leeds

Located in West Yorkshire, Leeds is a mid-sized city, and is a popular place for students, business people and tourists. The city is very multi-cultural and has a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere.

Popular things to see and do: The Leeds Art Gallery is a great place to visit and display’s some of the finest pieces of art from around the world. For a fun-filled day out for the whole family, a visit to Temple Newsam – this estate was once owned by Henry VIII and is the largest rare breed farm in Europe – located just 4 miles outside of Leeds it’s a perfect way to keep the kids entertained.

Culture, music and events: Outside of London, Leeds is the only city in the UK to have its own Ballet and Opera companies. The city is also home to the largest musical festival in the North of the country and certainly doesn’t come up short when it comes to cultural entertainment. If visiting Leeds during the summer, you should take time to attend the West Indian Carnival, an amazing bright, fun and carnival and parade that takes to the streets of Leeds and is the longest running carnival in Europe. Or enjoy an evening at one of the many theatres in the city.

Eating out: Thanks to the various nationalities living here, eating out in Leeds is far from boring. If you have been to the Leeds Art Gallery, then stop at the Tiled Café next door for a bite to eat – this place is very famous with the locals and is a place you won’t forget it. Given its name, because of the beautiful mosaic tiles all over. The Tiled Café serves a traditional and delicious menu at great prices and boasts an atmosphere and décor you won’t find anywhere else.  To sample some fine English fish & chips, then head to the Midnight Bell – a popular pub serving the best of British pub food. And don’t forget to wash your meal down with a pint of Leeds’ finest.

Nightlife: To get your groove on and party all night long, then should be heading to Call Lane – a party hotspot filled with bars and clubs for every taste. Or for a more chilled out approach, then Oracle may be more your thing – the place to be for the very sophisticated who can enjoy a nice glass of bubbly on the Moet Terrace overlooking the river.

Where to stay: No matter where you stay in Leeds, you will always receive a warm welcome and excellent service. For a more luxury orientated stay, then the Queens Hotel is a great choice – a 4 star hotel within good distance to the centre. High quality rooms come complete with everything you need for a perfect stay and to make the most of your trip. If you’re visiting on business or simply need a comfortable room for the night, then the Holiday Inn Express offers great quality rooms at very affordable prices, breakfast is usually included in the price and is a perfect starting point for enjoying the city.

Shopping: Shopping in Leeds is in a league of its own – from designers like Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and many more, Leeds has over 1000 shops to choose from, including all your high street favourites and many unique vintage and independent boutiques.