Language: English and Welsh
Currency: Pound Sterling
Time Zone: GMT
Tipping: 10 to 12% is usual for hotels with 10 to 15% being usual for restaurants. In each case, it is not necessarily added to the bill. If a service charge has already been added, no further tip is required.
Prized native Dylan Thomas called Swansea "an ugly, lovely town," but now armed with an award-winning marina, maritime quarter and regional shopping centre the emphasis on the 'ugly' is shifting. Called the City by the Sea, vibrant Swansea is located on the Gower Peninsular, which was in fact the UK's first designated area of outstanding natural beauty. And how about this; Swansea's Rhossili Bay just clinched tenth spot in TripAdvisor's Best Beaches in the World for 2013, beating off beaches in Hawaii and Florida. Ugly? Surely not.
Much of Swansea's architectural heritage was blitzed in World War II meaning that Swansea's cityscape has an overall modern look to it. Swansea has the largest indoor market in Wales offering the chance to sample traditional cockles, laverbread and Welsh cakes. Despite the city's modern feel, it is still possible to stumble across parts that retain an older vibe, of which Wind Street is one.
Swansea is within walking distance of the five mile sweep of Swansea Bay, home to the quaint Victorian seaside resort of Mumbles and Gower, offering clean, stunning beaches. Most coach trips to Swansea are based in the city but will incorporate the beauty of the surrounding area such as the Heritage Coast and Gower Peninsular. Look out for dedicated walking tours offering mapped-out, guided tours. Accommodation, return coach travel and touring itinerary offering two or three excursions are also included.
To help you have an enjoyable holiday in Swansea, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Local Laws and Customs
Health and Travel Insurance
British Citizens are advised by some of our tour operators to have travel insurance before going on a tour or holiday, even if it happens to be in your country of residence. As a British citizen you will be entitled to free emergency health care on the NHS.
If you are visiting Wales from outside the United Kingdom and fall ill or are involved in an accident and are from any member of the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you can obtain free or reduced cost treatment with The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Comprehensive travel insurance is advised for all other nationals planning on visiting the Wales.
If you need to contact the emergency services whilst in Wales simply dial 999 or 112 to ask for an ambulance.
Most destinations in Wales are generally trouble-free, however as with all places that you are not familiar with, keep an eye on your belongings and if necessary lock them away somewhere safe back at your hotel if possible. Keep an eye on everyone in your party and do not go off with people you do not know. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t venture off on your own.
Local Laws and Customs
Queuing is a British Institution, jump a queue at your own risk.
Drug offences will carry penalties in the UK, so avoid getting involved with anything whilst in Wales. Please note the narcotic plant Khat/Qat is legal in the UK, but is not in a majority of other countries so never try to export this when leaving the UK.
If you are visiting from outside of the United Kingdom, it is wise to check customs requirements before you travel. If you are planning to bring alcohol, tobacco or souvenirs into the country, you need to be familiar with the UK's custom laws. For those people coming to the UK from the EU, you are allowed to bring an unlimited amount of most goods for your own use without paying tax or duty.
However, if you are travelling to the UK from outside of the EU, you are given an allowance of how much alcohol, tobacco, perfume, souvenirs and other goods. If you go above this allowance you may have to pay tax or duty. It is worth checking the HM Revenues and Customs website before you travel.
When travelling between the UK, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, in most cases, an official form of identification such as a Driver's License will be ok, however, some airlines will insist you show a passport so check before you travel.
If you are travelling to Wales from Australia, Canada or the USA, you must have a valid passport for at least three months beyond the length of your stay. EU nationals need to have either a valid passport or identity card.
Visas for the UK are not required by those travelling from Australia, Canada, USA or EU for stays of up to six months.
For further information on Wales please go to the Official Tourism Website at visitwales.co.uk
Swansea is a great place to visit with so many attractions nearby. Here are a few ideas of where to go when planning your break away:
In 1956 Gower became the first area in Britain to be called an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Gower is known for its rugged coastline which is particularly popular with walkers and hikers. There are six castles in the Gower Peninsula; Woebly Castle, Penrice Castle, Oxwich Castle, Oystermouth Castle and Bovehill Castle. In addition to this, four of the beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag.
The National Showcaves Centre for Wales
Thought of as Britain's Finest Natural Wonder, The Showcaves Centre is made up of three caves; Dan-yr-Ogof, Cathedral Cave and Bone Cave. In the first cave Dan-yr-Ogof you walk for 1km through attractively decorated passageways. The Cathedral Cave features large caverns and a walk behind a 40ft high waterfall. In the final cave, Bone Cave, learn about our ancestors and how they used it many years ago.
If you fancy wandering along the seafront the Swansea Marina is well worth a look. With plenty of boats to look at this is a great way to pass a few hours. There are a number of cafes and restaurants nearby and if you fancy learning about the industry and innovation in Wales you can also visit the National Waterfront Museum.
The ruins of Pennard Castle leave a stunning imprint on the skyline, perched on the edge of the Pennard Pill Valley. From the Castle ruins the view is stunning with Pobbles Bay and Three Cliffs Bay in the distance. Those with walking difficulties should note that Pennard Castle is an uneven walk from the nearest car park, so walking could be tricky.