Wales is a country of outstanding beauty thanks to its diverse and picturesque landscape. With some of the best driving roads in the UK it is the perfect destination for a road trip and offers a brilliant choice of campsites, hotels and the traditional B&B.
Located in the south of the country you will find Swansea. It is a far cry from the beating cultural heart of the capital, Cardiff. Here you will find a busy little bay full of tradition, history and natural coastline surrounded by both the Bristol sea, leading to the River Severn and the Atlantic ocean.
Birthplace of Dylan Thomas, you can see how one of the world’s greatest poets was inspired to put pen to paper. Between the medieval castles and rich historic architecture it is a place that evokes a real sense of wonder.
Mumbles, home of the Oyster Festival, also houses one of the finest ice cream parlours on earth. Ice cream here is a sort of delightful mix between the italian gelato and good old british cornish. It is a delight to be enjoyed whilst taking in the sea air.
If food is what you are after, a short drive down to sample the famous Gower restaurants is a must. Here you will find local fish in abundance and the catches here can be seen in most top london restaurants, of course in Gower you benefit from your food seeing less miles between sea and plate.
Swansea market gives you the chance to sample many local delicacies such as cockles and laverbread (made from seaweed!) and if you are worried all this cuisine and culture maybe a little too much for the kids you will find the LC waterpark. This is a marvelous piece of modern architecture with plenty of waterslides and activities for children (and adults) of all ages.
For the more sporting amongst us Swansea plays host to The Liberty Stadium. A 20,000 seat stadium which opened its gates in 2005. Home of Swansea FC for football fans, but if rugby is more of your thing - when in Wales etc - it is also home of The Ospreys who are one of the UK’s strongest teams so the perfect place to inspire your kids to get into sport!
To really fall in love with the area you must take a trip to Clyne Gardens for its sheer drama. You will find exotic plants such as Elephant Rhubarb and American Skunk Cabbage. Through the majestic colours you will continue over a vibrant bridge to the japanese garden which offers a sort of messy confusion for the eyes.
This is a place to really slow down for, whilst some of the flowers you will see are common to the UK there are native wild plants exclusive to this area of Wales.
Image by John-Mark Smith
There is an incredible mix of attractions in Swansea Bay and since winning the Area of Outstanding Beauty, it is becoming fast one of the top places in the UK to see.
So, get your maps at the ready, pack up the car and head west. Unless you live in West Wales. Then head East.