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.