Swansea Introduction Walking Tour, Swansea

Swansea Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Swansea

Swansea, which will surprise you with its unpredictable landmarks, is home to astonishing architecture, monuments dedicated to victims of World War II and many other must-see venues. Take this tour and gaze at the Swansea sky, enjoy the scenery while relaxing on a bench at Castle Square and contemplate the beauty of Victorian architecture.
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Swansea Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Swansea Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Wales » Swansea (See other walking tours in Swansea)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: HelenF
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Castle Square
  • Swansea Castle
  • Swansea Market
  • St Mary's Church
  • National Waterfront Museum
  • The Pump House
  • Dylan Thomas Square
  • Swansea Museum
  • Morgans Hotel
  • Dylan Thomas Centre
  • Plantasia
Castle Square

1) Castle Square

Castle Square has been witness to many a historical moment throughout its entire existence, whether it was just a small, round hill during the Norman period or a “victim” of World War II, when it was bombarded by the enemy. Today, the square is one of the most lively spots in Swansea, a place where you will never get bored. As a result of its location, it is obvious that all the most important open-air events in Swansea take place right here. The square is decorated with trees and flower baskets, elements which will appeal to you and make you want to relax on a bench within the square. All year round, various events take place here, namely concerts and fairs, where you will surely fill your backpack with unique treasures.
Swansea Castle

2) Swansea Castle (must see)

Swansea Castle was founded by Henry de Beaumont in 1106 as the caput of the lordship of Gower.

The original castle seems to have been a sub-rectangular/oval enclosure overlooking the River Tawe on the east, surrounded on the north, west and south sides by a larger sub-rectangular outer bailey.

After various unsuccessful attacks the castle fell in 1217 but was restored to the English in 1220 as part of the settlement between Llywelyn ap Iorwerth and Henry III of England. Immediately after this the inner castle was probably walled in stone with at least one tower.

Later in the 13th century the large outer bailey was also walled. The only visible remains are two sides of a rectangular "new castle" built in the South East corner of the outer bailey in the late 13th or early 14th century.

In the 18th and 19th centuries parts of the castle were variously used as a market, a town hall, a drill hall and a prison.

Part of the interior of the new castle was demolished early in the 20th century in the construction of a newspaper office. The remains have now been consolidated and opened up to view from the street.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Swansea Market

3) Swansea Market

Swansea Market, situated in the heart of Swansea city centre, is the largest indoor market in Wales. The market is covered by a steel arched portal frame roof clad in steel and glass. The current market was built in 1959-1960 by Percy Edwards. It is the fourth market to be built at the site in 200 years. The previous market on this site had existed since 1894 and was destroyed in bombing raids during World War II. The site has been used as a market since the middle ages. Adjoining the market is the Quadrant Shopping Centre. The market includes fruit and vegetable stalls, butchers, cafes, fast food, fishmongers and clothes stalls. There are also a number of stalls selling local and continental delicacies, such as continental cheeses, Welsh laverbread, Penclawddcockles, Gower Saltmarsh lamb and Welsh Black beef.

Operation hours: Monday - Friday: 8 am - 5:30 pm; Saturday: 7:30 am - 5:30 pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
St Mary's Church

4) St Mary's Church

St Mary's Collegiate and Parish Church is an Anglican Church. There was a church on the site of St Mary's since circa 1328, erected by Henry de Gower, Bishop of Saint David's. One Sunday morning, in 1739, the roof of the nave collapsed into the church.

Fortunately this was before the waiting congregation entered the building. The whole structure was re-built apart from the tower. 1822 saw the church being lit by gas for the first time with thirty six lamps. The church underwent complete renovation between 1879 and 1882 by Vicar Dr Morgan. In 1896, the church was flattened and rebuilt again under the designs of Arthur Blomfield by Dean Allan Smith, though some parts of the old church survived the re-development. In Feb 1941 the Church was extensively damaged by Bombing during the Blitz It was not rebuilt until the 1950s.

From the 1890s the Swansea Devil stood on a set of buildings facing the west side of the church, constructed by a disgruntled rival of Blomfield's, angry at the commissioning of Blomfield's designs over his own.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
National Waterfront Museum

5) National Waterfront Museum (must see)

The National Waterfront Museum or NWMS is a museum forming part of the National Museum Wales. It is an Anchor Point of ERIH, The European Route of Industrial Heritage.

Consisting of a major new slate and glass building integrated with an existing Grade II listed warehouse (formerly the Swansea Industrial and Maritime Museum), the new museum deals with Wales' history of industrial revolution and innovation by combining significant historical artifacts with modern technologies, such as interactive touchscreens and multimedia presentation systems. Building and exhibition design was carried out by Wilkinson Eyre and Land Design Studio respectively, and Davis Langdon was project manager for the construction.

Much effort has been put into accessibility for the new museum, and is one of the first museums in the United Kingdom to feature multilingual voiceovers, as well as British Sign Language captioning on all interactive content.

The museum, which secured funding from the Welsh Development Agency and the Heritage Lottery Fund (among others) was opened in October 2005.

The collections on display include maritime, transport, technology and retail artefacts.

Operation hours: Monday – Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
The Pump House

6) The Pump House

One worthy representative of Victorian architecture in Swansea is the old Pump House. This building, which naturally possesses historical and architectural interest, was given Grade II listed status in 1987. Its original purpose was to serve as a pumping station, but through time, its designation changed. Today it is a pub, which doesn’t attract its customers strictly through varied drinks and menu, but also thanks to the Victorian brickwork and aluminum work with industrial touches.
Dylan Thomas Square

7) Dylan Thomas Square

Maritime Quarter is home to various prominent features; among these is Dylan Thomas Square. The square was named in honour of Swansea’s most famous son, affectionately remembered. The bronze statue of the Welsh poet, which is located in the square, is a commemorative and frequently photographed statue. This venue hosts lively events, some held in the memory of Dylan Thomas.
Swansea Museum

8) Swansea Museum (must see)

The Swansea Museum - the oldest museum in Wales - sits in the neo-classical building created in 1841 by a group of art and science enthusiasts for the Royal Institution of South Wales. Its original purpose was to house the Institution's numerous collections and to serve as a research and learning facility. Today, the museum is free to visit and comprises six galleries exhibiting a variety of artifacts, from an ancient mummy’s tomb to contemporary exhibits. Its maritime section is open in summer and includes, among other artifacts, three boats: Lightship Helwick; Tug boat Canning; and 1909 Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Olga. Among the displayed memorabilia there are also street trams that used to run around the edge of the bay from downtown Swansea to Mumbles pier. The museum is conveniently fitted for the disabled providing flat access to all levels and galleries via the lift.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Morgans Hotel

9) Morgans Hotel

Describing itself as Swansea's only boutique hotel, the hotel is the only Welsh Tourist Board five star-rated hotel in Swansea, although it is only rated as four star by international standards.

The hotel occupies a Grade II listed building adjacent to the offices of the South Wales Evening Post in the Maritime Quarter, formerly used by Associated British Ports. An additional 21 rooms are located in a nearby Regency house.

Originally completed in 1903, the main hotel building was designed by architect Edwin Seward who submitted the winning design out of 100 entries. The original character of the building is still preserved after its conversion to a hotel. The decorative Baroque exterior is clad in red brick and white stone and topped by a Greek statue-clad clock cupola. The interior features stained glass with compasses, exploration and maritime themes. A mural depicting tall masted ships on the River Tawe, overlooked by Swansea Castle, decorates the boardroom.

Previous names for the building have included Associated British Ports Building and Swansea Harbour Trust Building, reflecting the names of the building's occupiers.

The hotel currently has 41 rooms (20 in the main building, while an extra 21 in the new morgans townhouse). The hotel group has another hotel - the Cawdor Arms in Llandeilo.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Dylan Thomas Centre

10) Dylan Thomas Centre (must see)

The Dylan Thomas Centre is an arts centre located in the Maritime Quarter. Formerly the city's Guildhall, which was originally built in 1825, the Dylan Thomas Centre was restored and refurbished to host the UK Year of Literature and Writing in 1995.

It was opened in 1995 by American ex-President Jimmy Carter, one of the world's most famous Dylan Thomas enthusiasts (others include Bob Dylan), and has permanent exhibition on the life and work of Dylan Thomas, as well as a restaurant and bar, a bookshop cafe, conference rooms and a theatre.

The centre houses the permanent ‘Man and Myth’ exhibition, based on the largest collection of memorabilia of its kind in the world. It is designed to appeal to the Dylan expert and interested visitor alike. This interactive exhibition explores Dylan’s life and work through a variety of media and includes letters, books, worksheets and photographs.

The Dylan Thomas Centre is home to a year-round programme of literary events, including book launches, plays, poetry evenings, changing exhibitions and science talks. It hosts the annual Dylan Thomas Festival held between Dylan’s birth and death dates, 27 October to 9 November.

The Dylan Thomas Centre’s staff also provide a variety of talks and tours, such as talks on aspects of Dylan’s life and works, on contemporary literature, on writing poetry and on cultural tourism.

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 10 am – 4:30 pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

11) Plantasia (must see)

The Plantasia is a large public hothouse located in the Parc Tawe retail park. It exhibits a wide range of tropical plants and insects. It opened in 1990.

The glasshouse contains three climate zones: Tropical with a rainforest, Arid and a seasonal Humid Butterfly House. The collection includes over 5,000 plants, many of which are extinct from their natural habitat. Plant types include bananas, coconuts, giant bamboo, Paw paw and collections of ferns and cacti.

Along with the plants, there is supporting insect life including ants, fish and reptiles. In the butterfly house, butterflies can be seen flying freely and viewed at various stages of development.

Plantasia has been used as a filming location for Doctor Who episodes "The Doctor's Daughter" and "Cold Blood".

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

Walking Tours in Swansea, Wales

Create Your Own Walk in Swansea

Create Your Own Walk in Swansea

Creating your own self-guided walk in Swansea is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Dylan Thomas Trail

Dylan Thomas Trail

The Welsh poet and writer, Dylan Thomas, is known as one of Swansea’s most famous sons. He wrote exclusively in English. Dylan was born in Swansea, the city that inspired most of his work. Half of it was written by him while still living at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive in the Uplands. Take this tour to discover the world of this famous poet.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles