Hi Swantv Viewers

Swansea & Gower are now a UK destination for both long and short vacations. Living in the UK? You can get to Swansea in less than 3 hours from London, Birmingham and Manchester, perfect for a short break. And train or coach allows you to relax en route, rather than have the hastle and costs of motoring. Swansea is compact and you can enjoy beaches, countryside and nightlife either walking or by public transport. Bikes can be hired too. And Swansea has been the driest place in the UK since the beginning of May with glorious blue skies and sun drenched beaches.

We have all seen video or pictures of packed beaches, not just on the Costa del Sol but also in the UK, for example at Blackpool during the heatwaves this year. And this might be your heaven but the contrast with Swansea and Gower beaches could not be more different.

You may enjoy being on your own square metre of sand, jostling your way into the sea,queuing for that ice-cream or, if you are out of the country, longing for a Britsh cup of tea. It might be very hot (although summers here are getting longer and hotter) and the food may be different, although I hear of visitors abroad who look for english food and beer. You may have had long delays or even cancellations at the airport or ferry.

But wouldn’t it be nice to arrive refreshed after a reasonably short journey with no worry about long-term parking, being 2 hours ahead of a flight, worrying that the flight may be delayed or cancelled, sitting in a crowded plane? South Wales is just a car drive, coach or train journey away. So no passports, medical documents, no language difficulties. And if you arrive by coach or train Swansea is a waterfront city where you can walk to the beach in minutes from the city centre. For a really relaxing vacation there are buses to take you around the Gower and bikes are readily available to hire.

There are now numerous hotels from the national chains to the more intimate private hotels where a real Welsh welcome awaits with real Welsh menus of delicious mouth watering locally produced food. And the guest houses, camp sites and caravan parks offer a huge selection of accommodation to suit every pocket.

Whether using public transport or driving, just pack up a hamper which you can make yourself if in self catering, pick up sandwiches, prepared salads and drinks and off you go. Find a quiet beach ( and there are many) park up and spend a family day. Don’t want to take a hamper? There are many places to eat, great  restaurants and pubs serving delicious food made with local produce.

And the beaches! You want some fun as a couple or family or just alone. There are desserted beaches, vast arrays of soft golden sand and clear safe water. Many beaches have top awards for clean water and litter free. The catch? It’s simple, many beaches are a short walk from parking and for many that’s more than enough. But isn’t it worth a 5 minute walk to be in such a haven!

It is becoming more common to have a number of shorter breaks too. So coming to Swansea for 3-4 days plus a weekend a few times might be a good way to make the most of the more days we all have from work now. For the holiday maker there is so much to see and do here from sitting on the beach, walking around the marina or cliff-top routes, seeing local cheeses, chocolate, pastries and other specialities being produced, visiting the many castles and other heritage sites, having a Joe’s ice-cream or being in Wales’s largest indoor market (and voted best indoor market in the British Isles) and tasting local cockles or a pastry. Joe’s ice-cream is iconic and known across the globe, and once tasted never forgotten. There’s also the Heritage Centre, archery, horse-riding and many other activities to enjoy.

And for entertainment there are the usual cinemas and don’t forget the Grand theatre with it’s varied productions, the Little Theatre and Taliesen Theatre on the Singleton University campus. And now the new Arena with a great line-up of shows. There are art galleries and museums.

Swansea, the waterfront city offers so much. And because the city has a small foot-print you don’t need a car, walking anywhere from the beach, marina or city centre is just a stone’s throw. And now with the network of cycle pathways and the ease of hiring bikes you can enjoy a relaxed time.

So if you live locally explore those places you’ve not visited before or try those activities for new experiences. If you live away why not make Swansea a holiday destination next year. We’d love to see you.

Mike Leahy