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A snapshot guide to Swansea

Swansea

Officially known as the City and County of Swansea, this is the second largest city in Wales. During the 19th-century heyday, Swansea was the key centre of the copper-smelting industry, earning the nickname, Copperopolis. Today, it is a diverse city, boasting castle ruins, a marina, the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea Museum, the Dylan Thomas Centre (celebrating the life and work of the author, Swansea’s most famous export), the Environment Centre, Quadrant Shopping Centre and Swansea Leisure Centre. A number of beaches around Swansea Bay are promoted to visitors, offering everything from surfing to a walk along the promenade. In all, Swansea Bay has five miles of coastline, featuring a beach, children’s lido, leisure pool, marina, and museums and galleries such as The National Waterfront Museum and Mission Gallery. This part of Swansea is also home to various parks and gardens, and almost 20 nature reserves, bridging the gap between urban and rural life. Singleton Park, for example, has acres of parkland, a botanical garden, a boating lake with pedal boat, and crazy golf. And sports enthusiasts are really spoilt for choice, as the city offers a range of activities including sailing, water-skiing, cycling and more... Why not try something new?

For those who care more about the nightlife, Swansea doesn’t disappoint! There’s a wonderful array of pubs, bars, clubs, restaurants, and a casino. The majority of city centre bars are situated on Wind Street, with various chains represented, as well as several live music venues... The Mumbles Mile was once described by the BBC as ‘one of Wales’ best-known pub crawls’! Culturally, the city is served by a magnificent Victorian theatre, aptly named The Grand Theatre, along with a list of smaller premises. Swansea’s Singleton Park hosted the BBC Music’s ‘Biggest Weekend’ in 2018, welcoming the likes of Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Sam Smith and Florence + The Machine to the busy Welsh city over the festival period.

By the end of World War II, heavy industries were in decline, and Swansea shared in the general trend towards a post-industrial, service sector economy. Of those who work within Swansea today, over 90 per cent are employed in this field, with relatively high shares in public administration, health, education, banking, finance and insurance. The city is home to the DVLA headquarters, which employs around 6,000 people, while Admiral Group, HSBC, Virgin Media, BT, Amazon.co.uk and Virgin Atlantic act as other major employers.

Getting around Swansea is a breeze! The M4 bypasses Swansea, replacing the A48 as the main east-west route, while Swansea Railway Station operates services calling at all main stations in every direction. Bus routes within the city are operated predominantly by First Cymru, along with several park and ride services and a local airport (but this provides recreational flights only). For international travel, Swansea residents must travel to Cardiff Airport, which is 44 miles away.

In the local authority area, there are 77 primary schools, 15 comprehensive schools and six special needs schools. Additionally, there are also a few Roman Catholic primary schools, one of them being St Joseph’s Primary School, and independent schools that include Ffynone House School and Oakleigh House School. Swansea University has a campus in Singleton Park overlooking Swansea Bay – in 2017, Swansea University Medical School was ranked as the third best medical school in the UK, behind Oxford and Cambridge universities.

The average house price in Swansea is around £178,895, with flats selling for an average of £155,869 and terraced houses fetching £127,046. This reflects a small fall in the last 12 months.

Did you know that Swansea was the first city in Wales to feature in its own version of the Monopoly board game? The Swansea edition features 33 local landmarks including the Mumbles Pier and the National Waterfront Museum, and the games has been produced in both English and Welsh.