A revitalised city
There’s no getting away from it – when it comes to image, Swansea is a bit of a mixed bag. During its heyday in the 19th century, as king of the copper industry, it was known as ‘Copperopolis’. Dylan Thomas then called it an ‘ugly, lovely town’, but home-grown megastar Catherine Zeta-Jones raves about it and surveys have concluded it’s the best place to live in Britain. The good news is that regeneration is afoot. The dock area has been redeveloped into an opulent Maritime Quarter, where refurbished old buildings mingle with modern architecture, and the city is home to some appealing attractions.
When you tire of the city, head west along the Gower Peninsula, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The perfect holiday destination, it is the ideal place to surf, kite surf or boogie board, with stunning beaches and pretty inland areas. There are four National Nature Reserves and ample gardens, parks, cycle-paths and bridleways. Inland Gower is mostly heath and grazing farmland broken up into tiny parcels of fields, but it has its fair share of attractions, with a smattering of little villages, such as Reynoldston, situated on the Cefn Bryn ridge from where there are far-reaching views of the peninsula.