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From Dylan Thomas to Sandy Beaches - What to See and Do in Swansea

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Swansea has a broad range of attractions to entertain visitors of all ages. There are museums commemorating the city's past, and you can visit the house in which Welsh poet Dylan Thomas was born. You may go for a swim off a 6-mile stretch of sandy beach. And you'll find 2 areas of outstanding natural beauty, both just a short drive outside town.

City center attractions

 

A highlight for many visitors to central Swansea is a chance to browse the stalls in Swansea Indoor Market. It's among the oldest and largest covered markets in the U.K. You'll also be able to visit Plantasia. This large glass pyramid is home to tropical plant species, as well as exotic lizards and colorful birds. Head south from the center in the direction of the Maritime Quarter, and you can learn about South Wales' industrial heritage, in the National Waterfront Museum.

 

  • Plantasia, Parc Tawe Retail Park, Swansea SA1 2AL; Tel: +44 1792 474555; Website: Plantasia
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  • National Waterfront Museum, Oystermouth Road, Maritime Quarter, Swansea SA1 3RD; Tel: +44 3001 112333; Website: National Waterfront Museum

Remembering Dylan Thomas

 

Swansea is where Dylan Thomas was born and raised. The poet never lost touch with his roots, and the city celebrates its links with the Welsh literary giant. You can learn more about his life and work at the Dylan Thomas Centre, which also hosts themed exhibitions. If you travel west from the city center into the Uplands neighborhood, you can explore the places where Thomas grew up, like the house where he was born in 1914. It's been restored and furnished to look how it would have 100 years ago.

 

  • Dylan Thomas Centre, Somerset Place, Swansea SA1 1RR; Tel: +44 1792 463980; Website: Dylan Thomas Centre
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  • Dylan Thomas Birthplace, 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Swansea SA2 0RA; Tel: +44 1792 472555; Website: Dylan Thomas Birthplace

 

Around Swansea Bay

 

Swansea Bay curves for 6 miles, from the Maritime Quarter in the north and east, to Mumbles Head in the south. In between is a near-unbroken stretch of sand. At the north end is 1940s Swansea Bay, a museum that recreates life in the city during World War II. There's a walk-though street scene, and a recreation of an air force operations room. You can even visit a 1940s pub. Towards the south end of the bay, leafy Clyne Gardens is home to hundreds of plant species. The park is particularly known for its collection of Rhododendron bushes.

 

  • 1940s Swansea Bay, Elba Crescent, Crymlyn Burrows, Swansea SA1 8PT; Tel: +44 1792 458864; Website: 1940s Swansea Bay
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  • Clyne Gardens, 120 A4067, Swansea SA3 5BD; Website: Clyne Gardens

 

The Gower Peninsula

 

A 10-minute drive southwest from the city will take you to Mumbles, gateway to the Gower Peninsula. Beyond it the countryside is dotted with small villages seemingly frozen in time. There are also long stretches of wild, rugged coastline that offer plenty of opportunities for scenic hiking. If you prefer more leisurely seaside activities, you'll also find several small bays and inlets with beaches, where you can swim and sunbathe.

 

Exploring the Brecon Beacons

 

If you drive about 15 miles northeast from Swansea, you'll enter Brecon Beacons National Park. It covers an area of more than 500 square miles and is characterized by steep, grass-covered hills and mountains. Go hiking around here and you'll be rewarded with regular panoramic vistas of the surrounding region. If you need refreshment, you can stop off in the small town of Brecon, at the center of the park. It has several pubs, cafés, and restaurants. In Abercraf, 20 miles from Swansea, you'll be able to head underground into the spectacular cave networks of Dan-yr-Ogof.