Swansea shows what else is on offer when following Norwich City away
- Credit: Archant
Following Norwich City on the road this season has been less than enjoyable, especially with the club being miles away from any other in the Premier League. A 90-minute game was not enough to justify the 600-mile round trip to Swansea so it was decided to find out what else was on offer in the Welsh city both before and after the game.
With miles of sandy beaches, breathtaking views and a bustling city, Swansea is bursting with character.
Living in Norfolk, we are already blessed with rolling countryside, stunning shorelines and, of course, the fine city. But Swansea offered something different.
Just a short bus ride away from the city centre lies Mumbles, a quaint seaside town swathed in character and peppered with boutique and craft shops. After scouring the town, we made our way to Oystermouth Castle, a majestic building in the hills overlooking Swansea Bay which dates back to the 14th century.
We walked a mile along the seafront which was adorned with sailing boats waiting for summer, a convoy of Harley-Davidson riders enjoying a scenic backdrop and families out for a stroll.
With the sea air reddening our faces, we made a beeline for Verdi's cafe for a pre-match meal followed by hot chocolate and cake while overlooking the sea.
Along the coastline lies Bracelet Bay – also known as the Gateway to the Gower Peninsula – the first in the country to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956. White-washed rocks and towering cliffs cocooned the bay where children paddled and dogs ran into the distance, chasing sticks.
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We made the journey back to the city centre and explored the Waterfront area around our hotel, the Swansea Marriott, which also turned out to be the hotel of choice for the Norwich City team. The National Waterfront Museum was an impressive, interactive way to tell the country's industrial history and we refuelled with fresh cockles from Swansea Market, Wales' largest indoor market.
Our afternoon was spent at the Liberty Stadium for what turned out to be Chris Hughton's final away game as the Swans swept the Canaries aside in a 3-0 victory.
We left for the hotel where we enjoyed a swim in the pool and a relaxing half hour in the jacuzzi before dinner.
In the evening we headed to the Grape and Olive which is located on the 29th floor of the Tower in Meridian Quay – the tallest building in Wales. Leaving our vertigo at the door, we sat down to a three-course dinner overlooking the city in the building which was rumoured to be home to many Swansea players.
On the way back to the train station, there was just enough time to call into the Dylan Thomas Centre where we were able to explore the Man & Myth exhibition, which gave an insight into the life and work of one of Wales' most famous poet. This year, Swansea is at the heart of the celebrations commemorating 100 years since Thomas was born, culminating with an exhibition next month featuring Dylan's notebooks back in the country for the first time since his death.
We made our way back to Norfolk feeling exhausted and elated with the jam-packed mini break. With so much more to offer beyond the Liberty Stadium, Swansea is well worth a visit.
• For more information on Swansea go to www.visitswanseabay.com