The delightful city of Swansea is the second largest city in Wales, and, over the past few years, has undergone a major renewal, especially in the award-winning Marina and Maritime Quarter, where the visitor attractions include the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea Museum and the Dylan Thomas Centre.
The city marks the gateway to the southernmost bulge of Wales, the lovely Gower Peninsula, a region designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Much of this area is owned by the National Trust. The Gower’s southern coastline is made up of a succession of sandy, sheltered bays, and, along its whole coastline, it is dotted with charming and relaxed seaside resorts.
The area is sprinkled with ancient monuments, Norman castles and a number of grand mansions such as Cyfarthfa Castle at Merthyr Tydfil. This is also an area rich in natural beauty, with a long history that can be explored at the Gower Heritage Centre, a few miles west of Swansea. The area has many small family farms that yield some of the finest produce in South Wales, with the Gower in particular being known for its cockles and its laver bread (edible seaweed).
The Vale of Glamorgan is characterised by gentle rolling hills, genteel towns, a coastline rich in heritage and history, pretty villages and rich farmland. Behind the coastal region lie the valleys of southwest Wales, once blighted by the consequences of coal mining and heavy industry. The best known is the Rhondda Valley, where one working mine survives.
For more free guides in this series, visit the Travel & Holidays pages.