Swansea City Life 

                       

                        Click here for Swansea - Maritime city of WalesHome to Swansea, Wales... the unique heritage of our bayside city ...

Museums  Galleries  Theatres  Castles     

Night ClubsVisitor Attractions  Swansea Parklands  Restaurants       

Steam powered tug boat at Swansea Maritime Museum

Museums

Swansea Museum    -  Victoria Road, Swansea     Click here for Swansea Museum  Link to The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Swansea

The oldest museum in Wales, described by Swansea poet Dylan Thomas as, "a museum which belongs in a museum"! The elegant, colonnaded neo-Classical building's exhibits includes the mummy of 4000 year old Egyptian priest, Hor; an Ichthyosaur skeleton; the "cabinet of curiosities" and a priceless collection of rare, early-19th Century Swansea Porcelain. Admission free.

National Waterfront Museum   -  Maritime Quarter, Swansea     Click for pic of Swansea Maritime Museum  Link to The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Swansea

The 32m National Waterfront Museum of Wales, Swansea is located at the city's marina-side Maritime Quarter. With the largest collection of floating exhibits in Wales, there's also an exposition from the Swansea & Mumbles Railway - the world's first railway service. Most displays are interactive and admission is free.

Museum of Egyptian Antiquities   -  Singleton Park, Swansea       Link to The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Swansea

Continuing the Egyptian theme, the Egypt Centre contains the finest collection of Egyptian artefacts in Wales, and the largest collection in the U.K. outside London. Over one thousand objects on display dating from pre-3500B.C. to A.D.500. Free admission.

 

Margam Stones Museum   -  Margam, Port Talbot   (15 miles east of Swansea)

Ancient Celtic "standing stones" collection from across Wales on display at Margam Park - from giant "cartwheel crosses" dating back a thousand years or so to earlier ornate Christian memorial stones from the sub-Roman era.

  Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Wales   

Galleries

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Glynn Vivian Art Gallery (pictured above) -   Alexandra Road, Swansea    Link to the Glynn Vivan Art Gallery, Swansea

One of the best fine art galleries in Wales, and a regular winner of U.K. awards, the Glynn Vivian is housed in a spectacular Edwardian building (1911). Among the permanent exhibitions is a collection of stained glass art which commemorates Swansea's world-wide reputation in the craft. The celebrated stained glass college faces the gallery in Alexandra Road. Permanent works tracing the history of Welsh art and the work of international artists compliment a programme of touring exhibitions. Admission free. 

 

Ceri Richards Gallery   -   Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University campus   Link to the Attic Gallery, Swansea

Named after the highly acclaimed 20th Century Welsh artist, this gallery exhibits and sells predominantly contemporary works. Free Admission.

 

Mission Gallery   -   Gloucester Place, Maritime Quarter, Swansea    Link to the Attic Gallery, Swansea

Housed in the former Seaman's Interdenominational Chapel, this gallery displays and sells work from artists chiefly inspired by Swansea's spectacular coastal scenery. Admission free.

 

Attic Gallery   -  Cambrian Place, Maritime Quarter, Swansea    Link to the Attic Gallery, Swansea  

Wales's oldest, best independent gallery, and still one of the finest exponents of grass roots Welsh art, the Attic Gallery is situated in the heart of Swansea's historic Maritime Quarter.

 

Arts Wing   -  Grand Theatre, Singleton Street, Swansea    Link to the Arts Wing  

A major public art gallery located at Swansea Grand Theatre. Officially opened by Swansea's own Catherine Zeta Jones.

 

Exposure Gallery   -  College Street, Swansea    Link to the Arts Wing  

Swansea Guild of Artists' gallery project with a packed program of exhibitions and events planned throughout the year.

 

                                                                Swansea Grand Theatre auditorium

 Theatres 

 

Grand Theatre    -  Singleton Street, Swansea    Link to Swansea Grand Theatre

Opened 104 years ago, Swansea's Victorian period pleasuredome, is amongst the largest provincial theatres in the U.K.  With three bars, a restaurant, rooftop cafe-bar, arts wing and "the Depot" - a second performance stage specialising in comedy - it's one of the city's most prestigious theatres. Just watch out for Dame Adelina Patti's ghost, though!

 

Dylan Thomas Theatre   -  Dylan Thomas Square, Maritime Quarter, Swansea     Click for pic of Dylan Thomas Theatre & statue  Link to Swansea Grand Theatre

Clad with a splendid mural depicting frenetic thespian activity, and overlooking poet Dylan Thomas' bronze statue in the square below, this theatre specialises in performances of Dylan's finest works - such as the immortal "Under Milk Wood".

 

Taliesyn Theatre   -  Taliesyn Arts Centre, Swansea University campus    Link to Taliesyn Arts Centre, Swansea

Home to a varied programme of innovative and less mainstream productions.

 

Pontardawe Arts Centre   -  Herbert Street, Pontardawe, Swansea Valley    Link to Pontardawe Arts Centre

Performances and art exhibitions representing the length & breadth of Wales. The centre and it's colourful auditorium is a natural focus for August's Pontardawe International Music Festival, which attracts traditional music performers from across the planet.

 

Penyrheol Theatre   -  Pontardulais Road, Gorseinon, Swansea    Link to Pontardawe Arts Centre

Host to musical and theatrical acts from Wales and farther afield.

 

 National Showcaves Centre for Wales. Photo copyright NSC. Click for www.

Visitor Attractions

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Plantasia    -   Parc Tawe Centre, Swansea    Link to Plantasia, Swansea    Click here for Plantasia

Futuristic indoor garden of Eden, a glass pyramid with climactically controlled regions including rainforest, desert and arid environments. Plantasia contains 5000 tropical and exotic plant species, some of which are extinct in the wild. Attractions include an indoor  waterfall, butterfly house, aviary, cotton top Tamarin Monkeys, fish and reptile collections.

 

Dylan Thomas Centre (National Literature Centre of Wales)   -  River Tawe     Click here for Dylan Thomas Literature Centre, Maritime Quarter, Swansea   Link to Dylan Thomas information service, Swansea

The National Literature Centre of Wales is named in honour of one of 20th Century's best loved poets and Swansea's most famous literary son. Opened by former President Jimmy Carter in 1995, the riverside centre includes the definitive Dylan Thomas exhibition (including original, handwritten manuscripts) a cafe bookshop, gallery, bar and restaurant. The centre is home to Swansea's annual literature festivals, including:  Literature Proms, Wordplay and the official Dylan Thomas Festival. Free admission.

 

National Showcaves Centre   -  Dan-Yr-Ogof, Abercraf, upper Swansea Valley    Link to the National Showcaves Centre for Wales

"Wales's best kept secret for 315 million years" is the largest showcave complex in northern Europe. Located in the Upper Swansea Valley, just ten miles north of the city hub, the centre consists of three enormous caves, a dinosaur park, Shire horse centre, Millennium stone circle, Iron Age and Victorian farms. Discovered by accident in 1912, the intrepid Morgan brothers used a traditional Welsh coracle (a round floating craft) to negotiate an underground lake. Shortly afterwards "Bone Cave" was discovered, named after the 42 Bronze Age skeletons which were later uncovered. Cathedral Cave, opened in 1956, is renown for splendid waterfalls and lakes.

 

Brangwyn Concert Hall   -  Guildhall complex, Victoria Park, Swansea      Link to Swansea Brangwyn Hall

Adorned with gloriously ornate, lifesize baroque wall panels commissioned at the turn of the 20th Century by the British House of Lords, the Brangwyn is the most stately concert hall in Wales. Brangwyn Hall is the perfect backdrop for Swansea's annual Festival of Music & Arts, the second largest (and one of the most applauded) in the U.K.

 

Gower Heritage Centre   -  Y Felin Ddwr, Parkmill, Gower, Swansea     Link to Gower Heritage Centre, Parkmill, Gower, Swansea

The heritage centre contains country life exhibits, such as its integral water mill, which date back to the 12th Century. Displays include a restored cornmill, farming museum and waterwheel. The attraction's won a plethora of U.K. awards, including "Heritage Centre of the Year". Admission: Adults, 4.10 / Children, 3.10

 

Swansea Vale Railway   -  Pentrechwyth, Swansea       Click for pic of Swansea Vale Railway steam locomotive  Link to Gower Heritage Centre, Parkmill, Gower, Swansea

This historical steam railway has recently been restored by volunteers to provide a comprehensive summer timetable. The mile and a half service operates just three miles from the route of Swansea's "Mumbles Train" - the world's first passenger carrying railway.

 

Swansea Market   -  Oxford Street, Swansea    Link to Gower Heritage Centre, Parkmill, Gower, Swansea

One of the largest indoor market centres in the U.K., the present trading centre follows in a Swansea tradition which dates back to the Twelfth Century. Teaming with colour, vibrancy and aroma which swamps your every sense, Swansea Market's shops and stalls are an excellent source for local produce from flowers and fresh seafood to jewellery, arts and Welsh souvenirs.

 

Swansea Observatory"Marina Towers"   -   Swansea Maritime Quarter   Click for pic of Swansea Observatory   Link to the Swansea Astronomical Society

The largest interstellar observatory in Wales, utilising the second largest Shafer-Maksutov telescope of its type in the world. Splendid stained glass feature at the head of the tower's spiral staircase with excellent views of the bay and promenade below, in addition to the skies above! Opening times vary.

 

Mumbles Pier   -   Mumbles, Swansea Bay     Link to Mumbles Pier   Click here for Mumbles Pier, Swansea Bay, Wales

Constructed in 1898 as a destination for the Mumbles Train (Swansea's bayside railway). Piers were built by Victorians due to the simulated effect of "walking on water"! The historic pier's 835 foot length branches off at one point to the old red-roof Mumbles lifeboat station, now a shrine to the men who were lost at sea selflessly saving other people's lives. At the sea end of the pier is a jetty, a popular location for fishing, whilst the land side houses an entertainments pavilion, restaurant, nightclub, bowling alley and bar. The pier runs parallel with the rocks of "the Mumbles", which support Swansea Bay's 18th Century lighthouse.

 

Cefn yr Erw   -   Caehopkin Road, Abercrave, upper Swansea Valley     Link to Cefn Yr Erw Rare Breeds Farm, Primate Sanctuary & Restaurant

The rare breeds farm and primate sanctuary, set in the glorious countryside of Upper Swansea Valley. Meet the rescued baboons, arctic foxes, gibbons, shire and miniature horses, llama, dexter cows, capuchin monkeys, cappy bara, kune kune pigs and the cheeky rescued chimpanzees! Perfect for a family day out.

 

Swansea Environment Centre   -   Pier Street, Swansea     Link to Swansea Environment Centre

An innovative showpiece centre focussing on a futuristic, environmentally harmonious lifestyle. Includes hands-on displays, exhibitions and research resources. Free admission.

 

XL Family Technology Centre   -   Princess Way, Swansea      Link to XL Technology Wales site

Science and Technology Centre which links 60 fun activities with I.T. awareness for the whole family. Hands-on access to robotics, invention shop and zoob construction kits.

 

The Golden Bays of Gower   -   The County of Swansea      Link to Swansea Tourist Information    Click here for Golden Gower

The ultimate attraction, with the most universal appeal, is Swansea's Golden Gower peninsular. A dozen magical sandy bays fringe the south coast of Swansea county for ten majestic miles, a place where humans have lived for thousands of years, fosilized by time, it will remain indelibly etched in your memory for ever. Gower became the U.K.'s first designated "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty" and the peninsular's bewitching beaches, sandy bays and rocky coves are awarded the most prestigious European accolades for cleanliness, safety and quality.

 Clyne Gardens, Blackpill, Swansea, Wales 

Swansea Parklands - click for Parklands Golden Gallery

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Clyne Gardens and Country Park   -   Blackpill, Swansea    click here for Clyne Gardens & Country Park, Swansea, Wales

One of the finest parks in the U.K., bayside Clyne is truly spectacular at any time of year. Famous for a huge collection of rhododendrons and elephant rhubarb of international significance, Clyne Park is 600 acres of Swansea's quintessential glory; enjoying bayside views, bluebell woodlands, architectural follies, a castle, bubbling streams and ornate bridges from  Italian to the Japanese. Free admission.

 

Singleton Park   -   Oystermouth Road, Swansea    click here for Singleton Park, Swansea, Wales

Being something of the size of a small town, Singleton Park is a natural focus for the city's most popular outdoor events, from rock to classical concerts, agricultural shows to car shows and funfairs. During it's quieter moments, Singleton houses the city's permanent botanical collection encased within an old walled garden. Charming features such as the bright red Swiss Cottage, herb garden, boating lake and Eisteddfod standing stones help to fashion Singleton's unique character. Free admission.

 

Brynmill Park   -  Uplands, Swansea    click here for Brynmill Park, Swansea, Wales

Resplendent rose beds, bowling green, basketball ring and a large wildfowl lake furnish this characteristically Victorian Swansea park, which evolved from a local picnic area and reservoir in the mid 1870's. Free admission.

 

Cwmdonkin Park   -  Uplands, Swansea    Click for pic of Cwmdonkin Park, Uplands, Swansea, Wales

Also established in 1871, Cwmdonkin originally contained the main city reservoir. The park which inspired the earliest poetry of a young Dylan Thomas, and provided material for his works, "The Hunchback In The Park" and "Return Journey". Dylan's birthplace at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive is a short walking distance from the park. Today, Cwmdonkin contains an ornate Italian water garden, bowling green, tennis courts and enjoys a unique perspective with nearby Swansea Bay  - Free admission.

 

Victoria Park   -   Oystermouth Road, Swansea    click here for pic of Victoria Park, Swansea, Wales

Encompassing  Swansea Guildhall complex, a grand white Portland stone edifice championing Swansea's 1930's civic pride, Swansea's oldest park features tennis courts, bowling greens, and an arts /performance centre.

 

St James Park   -   off Walters Road, Swansea

One of no fewer than 54 Swansea parks, St. James is one of the city's little known small jewels! A place of peace just on the edge of the city centre, the gardens are framed by towering redwood trees.

 

Margam Country Park   -   Margam, Port Talbot  (15 miles east of Swansea)    click here for Margam Country Park, Port Talbot, Wales

Majestic Margam has Britain's largest hedge maze, U.K.'s first orangery (a 19th Century indoor orange-tree garden) and a fairytale gothic castle. The park also contains the ruins of Margam Abbey (a Cistercian Abbey founded in 1147) deer herds, lakes, a Welsh chapel and an excellent collection of sculptures scattered throughout hundreds of acres.  The park is a vast bubble of paradise cocooned from Port Talbot's industrial landscape.

 

 Oxwich Castle, Gower, Swansea, Wales

Castles - click for Welsh Castles Golden Gallery  Flag of the nation of Wales - the red dragon, "y ddraig goch" in Welsh

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Swansea Castle   -  Castle Street, Swansea   Click here for Swansea Castle  

Here is where Swansea all began - almost an entire millennium ago, in the shadow of Bishop Henry de Gower's ornate Swansea Castle. Originally a centre of administration as well as residence, the present building sustained and survived heavy attacks from Welsh hero Prince Owain Glyndwr in the fourteenth Century. By the Nineteen Century the castle was still in use - as a debtor's prison! Today, the surviving tower stands defiantly at the heart of city life, dominating Castle Square's amphitheatre and fountains where the original city market traded over five hundred years ago.

 

Oystermouth Castle   -   Mumbles, Swansea    click here for Oystermouth Castle, Swansea, Wales

Originally named Ystumllwynarth by the Welsh, Oystermouth stands to its original height as one of the best preserved castles in Wales. The present structure is a large 12th Century Norman stronghold restructured in 1215 following destructive Welsh attacks. Patronised by Edward I in 1284, Oystermouth commands magnificent views overlooking Swansea Bay and Mumbles from the west. Famous for its exquisite 14th Century chapel windows, Oystermouth provides an imposing and atmospheric backdrop for opera and Shakespearean performances in the summer months.

 

Weobly Castle   -   Llanrhidian, Gower, Swansea    Click for pic of Weobly Castle

Fortified manor house clinging to the mists of the Llanrhidian salt marsh which rise from the north Gower coast. Contains an impressive layout of integral chambers centred around a stone courtyard and a stately banqueting hall dominated by an oak gallery. The late 13th Century construction was initiated by David de la Bere, a powerful steward with connections to the de Braose lords of Gower situated at Swansea Castle.

 

Oxwich Castle   -   Oxwich Bay, Gower, Swansea    click here for Oxwich Castle, Gower, Swansea

Named after the Gower bay which shares its name, this is another Swansea castle with panoramic sea views. Oxwich is located in a woodland area and was constructed in the courtyard style for the Mansel family during the Tudor dynasty (16th Century). The castle features an extraordinary six storey tower block which once accomodated servants and a circular Dovecote feature. An integrated exhibition interprets the complete history of Welsh castles, the finest collection of medieval stone settlements in the world.

 

Pennard Castle   -   Parkmill, Gower, Swansea    Click for pic of Pennard Castle

Perched high on a cliff above magnificent Three Cliffs Bay in southern Gower, the distinctive silhouette of 12th Century Pennard Castle radiates charm and enigma, not least due to an archaic Welsh legend about a fairy king who blew the castle away in a sandstorm! Perhaps there is some truth in the old Welsh tale - the castle was indeed abandoned in the fourteenth century by the de Mowbray family. This was due to irrepairable sand damage!

 

Penrice Castle   -   Penrice, Gower, Swansea

The largest castle on Gower peninsular was built for Henry de Beaumont in the early thirteenth century and later passed on to a family of knights who named it Penres. The ivy clad walls conceal the secrets of an unlit basement and large curtain wall. A complete round tower, which is still habitable, stands guard at the entrance to Oxwich village.

 

Loughor Castle   -   Loughor, Gower, Swansea

Constructed by the Normans and established on the original Roman fort of Leucarum. In 1151 the Welsh burnt the estuary castle to avenge the murder of the King of Wales. Seventy years later saw a refurbishment of Loughor after the stronghold was given as a gesture of peace to John de Braose, the son in law of Welsh prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth. One tower survives which probably existed as the castle keep. In spite of the continued ransackes on the castle, delicate 12th Century pottery has been discovered at the site.

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                        Horse-carriage at the City of Swansea Show, Singleton Park

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