Only in Swansea: coastal strolls and pub crawls

Wales’ second city is a fun-filled waterfront destination, voted the UK’s friendliest city, and perfect for a weekend break.

Why go there

Sitting on the south coast of Wales, on the edge of the Gower Peninsula – the UK’s first ever Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – is Swansea, recently voted the friendliest city in the UK. You’re certain to get a warm welcome in this vibrant place, full of fun things to see and do. What’s more, 2019 marks the anniversary of Swansea’s 50th year as a city, so there’s no better time to visit.

Where do I start?

Once you step off the train, head south towards the coast and you’ll hit upon Swansea Castle. Dating back to the 12th century this rugged ruin has had a turbulent history, frequently being besieged by Welsh rebels. Once you’ve admired this medieval fortress, walk for five minutes to reach Swansea Museum where you can discover more about the area’s lively past.

Where to eat?

The family-run restaurant The Belle Vue Bistro is perfect for casual dining. Despite the French-sounding name (a reference to the establishment’s address) the food here is distinctly Italian flavour, and includes excellent pizzas, pasta and risotto. Sit back, relax and enjoy this local favourite.

Where should I kip?

Housed in a Grade II listed building, Morgans is at the luxury end of the spectrum, but well worth a stay if you can handle the price tag. The rooms are suitably plush, mixing modern design with dark wood floors and panelling. Dine in the hotel restaurant and you could sample some top grub for just £26.95 for three courses.

What’s hip?

For visitors to Swansea looking to experience the renowned Welsh nightlife, simply head over to Wind Street. You’ll likely bump into a hen party or two, but that’s all part of the fun. Once the haunt of poet Dylan Thomas, the street is full of pubs, clubs and restaurants. Elixir is a classy-looking joint, with an ornate ceiling, leather seats and wood panelling, specialising in craft ale and cocktails – a great place to get the party started.

If I do one thing?

The Gower Peninsula is a must, boasting as it does the best beach in the UK (according to a TripAdvisor survey), Rhossili Bay. Hop on a bus and explore the whole area, making sure you join the Wales Coast Path, which covers most of the country’s coastline, to discover dramatic cliffs, coves and salt marshes. The area offers loads of great walks, so make sure you wrap up warm and enjoy those breezy days.