Swansea’s industrial heritage has created a city filled with vibrant communities, shops, restaurants and bars, all located only a short distance from the stunning scenery of the Gower Peninsula. Wales’ second city is also its cultural capital and has developed a brilliant reputation in more recent years for its galleries, museums and live music venues. All this makes the city a great place to be a student.
We hope you like these tips for exploring the city and its surroundings, all provided by UWTSD staff.
Get your bearings
There is so much to see and do around Swansea that you’ll feel spoilt for choice. UWTSD’s John Kinsella says visiting Gower should be on the top of your list. An area famous for its outstanding natural beauty, Gower is a must-see and is easily accessible by public transport. Whether you want coastal walks or woodland, extreme sports or a good pub meal, Gower is a 19 mile-long peninsula and therefore offers something for everyone.
Catch the 118 from the Bus Station to the far end of the Peninsula, Rhosilli for one of Wales’ most famous coastal views and a beach known for being consistently voted one of the best in the UK.
Looking for something quieter? Check out beautiful Pwll Du Bay, a small, secluded pebble beach that sits at the bottom of Bishopston Valley.
Like your food? Make sure you spend a morning at Swansea Market. It is the largest indoor market in Wales, and with over 100 stalls, the variety will leave you feeling spoilt for choice. In addition to a wealth of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, the market also boasts a brilliant variety of places to eat. From a traditional Welsh breakfast, to Thai delicacies; sushi to a vegan lunch, there’s something for everyone.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous and want to taste something local, buy an open tub of cockles and enjoy as your walking around the market or take some laverbread home to share with your new flatmates.
Many stalls offer student discount if you show them your NUS Totum card.
In recent years Swansea has boasted a greater variety of vegan and vegetarian options. Whether you’re looking for a good meal or a healthy snack, make sure you pay these places a visit:
- At just a stone’s throw away from the College of Art, Govindas has been a staple on Swansea’s vegan and vegetarian foodie scene for years. It’s affordable, delicious, and also offers occasional yoga and meditation classes.
- A newer addition to Swansea’s plant-based offering, Canteen 18 on Bryn y Mor road is a small café nestled among most of the city’s student accommodation… Very handy if you’re living in the area and are looking for a cheap and tasty lunch.
- A small tapas restaurant, café and deli on Walter Road, Arthur Neave do a vegan and vegetarian night every Thursday. If you’re looking for somewhere friendly and relaxed, this is a must-go. They also have a Spanish conversation club.
Swansea has always been renowned for its vibrant nightlife, and you will have heard of Wind Street, the lively strip in the centre of town that boasts dozens of bars and clubs. In recent years the street has become a hub for smaller independent bars rather than super-clubs, and is worth a visit if you’re ‘out out’ – especially on student night (Wednesdays). However, if you’re looking for something quieter, there’s plenty out there for you, too.
If you’re less interested in clubbing and would prefer to enjoy a quiet beer with friends, the city still has a lot to offer. Head to Uplands and choose from a selection of wine bars, or towards Bryn y Mor Road for more relaxed pubs. Enjoy craft products? Don’t miss Beer Riff, a craft brewery and tap overlooking picturesque SA1… Not far at all from the new campus.
The city also has a thriving music scene which is best encapsulated by Swansea Fringe Festival and Swansea Music Hub. Swansea has a vibrant art scene, and these brilliant projects are connecting artists, audiences, venues and the city’s communities. If you’re interested in music too, getting involved is a great way to meet new people. Keep your eyes peeled for exciting events.
Swansea is a great place to be if you’re into sports. The city boasts excellent sports facilities including the Wales National Pool, leisure centres, extensive cycle tracks and footpaths. However, two sports dominate the city and even share a stadium; football and rugby.
It would be wrong to write about Swansea without mentioning football and the passionate and sometimes turbulent relationship the city has with the club, with intense highs and lows over the club’s history, Swansea City AFC supporters have become notorious for their tireless commitment to the team.
If football’s not your thing, you might want to keep an eye on the Ospreys. One of Wales’ four regional teams who play in the Pro 14, catch them at The Liberty Stadium and soak up the brilliant atmosphere.
The home of both clubs, The Liberty Stadium is located around 2 miles from the City Centre and it’s well worth a visit, whether to watch the Swans, check out an international fixture or even catch a concert.
Arts and culture
Swansea’s art scene has mostly manifested itself on High Street. An area of recent regeneration, a walk around this part of town is always surprising. Keep your eyes peeled for public art, performances, and the occasional pop-up shop.
It is an area of spontaneity, creativity and celebration. Pay close attention to;
- Volcano Theatre, a responsive arts company who specialise in producing site-specific events and theatre productions
- Elysium Gallery, a not-for-profit, artist-led social enterprise that houses artist studio spaces, exhibition spaces, a library, and runs art workshops and events
- Creative Bubble, an initiative set up by UWTSD and Swansea BID which uses an empty shop to showcase student work through pop up shops, exhibitions, workshops and talks
- The Hyst, a bar and live music venue and home to a TV and Radio studio
Have we missed something? Share your Swansea-related tips with us by sending us a message on social media @UWTSDStudents