[Written by Helen Wilkinson]
If you’re an avid follower of The Cosy Traveller’s social media accounts, you might have noticed that earlier this month Emily very kindly invited me to travel to Swansea for a weekend of adventure courtesy of Visit Swansea Bay – which was an opportunity I was more than happy to take!
Exploring the United Kingdom is something that I’m always keen to do. I’m constantly surprised by the unrivalled scenes and attractions that can be found right on your doorstep… and Swansea Bay is no exception to this! So here are just a few reasons why you should look a little closer to home when planning your next adventure…
1. Food with a view
For foodies, Swansea Bay boasts a whole host of well-situated eateries with dazzling views. We were lucky enough to enjoy dinner at two exquisite venues in Mumbles; Verdi’s Italian Cafe and Mumtaz Indian Restaurant, both of which were ideally situated on the front of the bay and offer gorgeous views alongside tasty food. But if you want to take your dining experience up a level (literally) then the Grape & Olive, located at the top of Wales’ tallest building, offers panoramic views across the Bay (you can even see across to Cornwall on a clear day!)
2. Sunsets to die for
You might have seen me proclaiming Swansea Bay as the ‘Welsh Riviera’ on Facebook and Twitter… yes it might sound like a bit of an overstatement but I hope the picture below shows you why. One thing we most definitely didn’t expect to be doing during our stay was enjoying long evenings dining al fresco with the cliffs on one side and the sun setting over the water on the other. But on my first evening in Swansea that’s exactly what happened. We headed for dinner at Verdi’s (which is apparently the spot where the locals love when the sun comes out) and by 9pm, we were still there sipping on wine and eating authentic Italian gelato, all whilst watching the sun go down over the bay – bellissimo!
3. Outdoor adventures
Mumbles in itself is a fantastic place to discover by foot – there’s no end to the number of hills and alleyways that lead to unmade streets lined with cottages, but if you prefer your outdoor adventures with a side of adrenaline then look no further than 360 Swansea. This beach and watersports activity centre offers the opportunity to take to the water or sand and try something new, from beach volleyball and rugby to kayaking and kitesurfing. We opted for something a little tamer and went paddleboarding in the bay. Wetsuits are provided and their friendly instructors will be there to help every step of the way. Plus, 360 also benefits from a great cafe and bar so you can refuel or just sit and enjoy the views.
4. …and indoor adventures!
It’s true that the one thing you cannot rely on whilst taking a vacation in the UK is the British weather. Luckily, just as much fun can be had indoors as outdoors in Swansea Bay. The LC2 is far more than just a leisure centre. It’s also Wales’ biggest indoor waterpark and plays host to a wave pool, multiple slides and perhaps most excitingly, the board rider.
Thrill seekers are guaranteed to love riding the never-ending waves that the attraction offers. Though a word of warning… don’t run before you can walk! You can either try body boarding or full-on stand-up surfing…unfortunately my Mum got a little too confident and went straight in at the deep end, took a bit of a tumble and ended up in A&E! A big thank you to the expert staff at the LC2 who took great care of her – it’s telling that she’s keen to come back in the future and give it another go!
And look at her – she’s loving it!
5. Beautiful bays
One thing that we weren’t fortunate enough to have time to do was explore the many scenic bays and beaches that surround Swansea (although we did manage to get our fair share of gorgeous shoreline – see below!) A spot I was particularly keen to visit was Rhossili Bay, which is just a 30-minute drive from Mumbles. Unfortunately our jam-packed schedule (coupled with our very-much-unscheduled trip to A&E) meant we never made it, but it just gives us a reason to go back again soon and witness its stunning scenery for ourselves.
6. Historic sites
Wales is known for its plethora of impressive castles and if you’re staying in Mumbles you’ll be lucky enough to have a fine example of one of these right on your doorstep. Oystermouth Castle, built in the 12th Century, is situated majestically above Swansea Bay. If you take the time to explore it you’ll be rewarded with a host of intriguing twisting pathways and staircases which lead to some of the most photo-worthy views of Mumbles and beyond.
7. Quaint Shops and B&Bs
I’ll be doing a full review of Langland Road B&B soon, but rest assured my stay here was one of the highlights of my trip. Mumbles itself has a whole range of gorgeous independent shops, cafes and B&Bs to choose from. The majority of these are situated down the small but plentiful Newton Road, which leads directly down to Swansea Bay. Here you’ll find the friendly locals out and about, enjoying a morning coffee and meandering around the many artisan gift shops.
A big thank you again to both Emily and Visit Swansea Bay for the incredible trip. It’s a cliche to say that a weekend wasn’t long enough to really appreciate everything that Swansea Bay has to offer, but it’s true. There’s so much more to explore, I hardly even stepped foot into Swansea itself! There are so many hidden treasures to be discovered and exciting activities to do that the only way to truly experience everything is to take at least a long weekend or a week – I hope to revisit very soon!