Great accessible UK weekend breaks: Swansea
22nd May 2019
Swansea is a rural seaside retreat as the buzzing city is located right next to the sea. It is regarded as Wales’ cultural city and was the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
With award-winning beaches, stunning coastlines, castles and a plethora of top attractions, the Welsh city is a great destination for a weekend break.
Swansea is also renowned for being easily accessible and this guide takes a look at the top attractions, activities and restaurants visitors with limited mobility and who need brand-new stairlifts at home can visit.
How to get to Swansea
Travelling to Swansea by road
The M4 Motorway gives direct access to all parts of Swansea Bay and there are lots of park and rides available to visitors.
Travelling to Swansea by rail
There are fast and frequent train services that link all regions of the UK to Swansea Bay. There are direct trains from London Paddington, Bristol Parkway, Cardiff, Newport, Hereford, Shrewsbury, Crewe and Manchester to the Swansea Bay area.
Travelling to Swansea by air
There are internal flights to Cardiff available from UK airports, but Swansea has its own airport, which is suitable for small aircraft.
Best accessible attractions to visit
Swansea is home to a number of great attractions to visit and here are three accessible places you can visit.
National Waterfront Museum
The National Waterfront Museum gives visitors an insight into the industry and innovation in Wales over the last 300 years. It looks at how the industrial revolution affected people, communities and lives of the local people as well as the regions maritime history.
The museum, which is housed in a listed warehouse linked to an ultra-modern slate and glass building, has exhibitions on Transport, Materials and Networks as well.
The museum is also one of the regions most accessible attractions as it is fully wheelchair accessible. There are wheelchairs available to hire with all lifts being accessible to wheelchair users.
The Oystermouth Castle is beautifully located on the hills in the Mumbles, which is on the western edge of Swansea Bay. The views over the bay are spectacular and there is so much visitors can see here including parts of the castle that have been hidden away for centuries.
Some of the main draws for visitors are the ancient graffiti art from the 14th century and a 30-foot-high glass bridge. There is also a plethora of events that take throughout the year and these are popular with visitors from across the UK.
Back in 2011, conservation work took place to improve accessibility and the most accessible route into the attraction is via Castle Road. There is accessible parking along the foreshore and the ground floor is accessible to visitors.
The Dylan Thomas Centre
The Dylan Thomas Centre showcases the life and times of a literary giant from the 20th century who was born and lived in Swansea.
The permanent exhibition has a learning space for visitors, a range of activities for children on offer as well as a temporary exhibition space. The collections at the centre include a whole host of photographs, posters, letters, ornaments and other artefacts.
The displays, as well as the tours that are on offer, allow visitors to get a closer insight into this great writer and publisher.
The attraction is fully accessible to those with mobility issues as there are wheelchair-friendly toilets and ramps throughout the centre giving access to all areas of the attraction.
Best restaurants in Swansea
With its location right next to the sea, it should come as little surprise that Swansea is home to a number of top restaurants that serve up foods from around the globe and here are some of the most accessible.
This waterfront Thai restaurant is located within Swansea’s ‘Ice House’ in the heart of the maritime quarter and here diners can enjoy traditional Thai food served with locally sourced drinks.
Dishes that you can enjoy include:
•Pad Khing – Stir-fried ginger, mushrooms, mixed peppers in a yellow bean sauce.
•Gang Dang - A red curry sauce cooked with Thai aubergines, bamboo shoots and basil leaves.
•Chu Chi - A selection of fish or prawn topped with a creamy red curry sauce and kaffir lime leaves.
The restaurant is wheelchair accessible with disabled parking spaces close-by and accessible toilets available.
Hanson at the Chelsea
Combining a gourmet menu and a friendly personal service, Hanson at the Chelsea is one of the most popular restaurants in Swansea.
The restaurant is also an accessible venue and has full disabled access and facilities, meaning diners with mobility problems can enjoy the award-winning restaurant.
The menu is full of flavours and it only serves lean natural flavours that reflect the seasons. As a result of this, the eatery is the only ‘Two AA’ restaurant in the centre of Swansea.
Some of the foods you can enjoy here include; 28-day aged tournedos of beef fillet, honey roast Gower rack of lamb, roast Provence vegetables and roast Monkfish.
The stylish Diablos SA1 restaurant opens daily from 9 am to serve breakfasts and freshly made to order lunches to eat in or on an outdoor terrace.
In the evening the restaurant has an evening Bistro menu and serves a delicious Sunday Roast, while over the weekends’ visitors can enjoy live music.
Diablo SA1 says: “We have a Talented Team of Chefs to bring the ‘small plates’ dining concept to Swansea, along with Diablos reputation for great tasting, no fuss, British cuisine.”
The venue is wheelchair accessible with disabled parking nearby, accessible toilets and staff able to cater for diners with mobility issues.
Best accessible tours
With so much to see, there are lots of tours visitors can go on and here are the best ones visitors with mobility issues can go on.
Swansea Community Boat
The Swansea Community Boat travels down the Tawe River in Swansea and the trip passes by several attractions along its route including the Liberty Stadium and Morfa Shopping Centre.
Visitors can learn about the history of coal mining and copper, lead, nickel and zinc refining that took place in the 18th and 19th centuries around the area and how the river was a major factor in the growth of industries. You will also learn about how the river is now healthy with a thriving population of salmon and trout.
The Copper Jack boat is accessible to all with access to the pontoon, where the ship is moored, offering step-free ramp from the quayside. Wheelchair access onto Copper Jack is provided via a fully automatic lift and it can accommodate the wheelchair and its user as well as a helper.
Guided Swansea Bay walking tours
Tourism Swansea Bay offers guided walking tours around Swansea, the Mumbles and the rest of the Gower Peninsula.
Walking, talks, food trips and transport can all be included as part of these tours as well as entry into an attraction or an activity.
Tourism Swansea Bay has a variety of tours to suit groups of all ages and visitors with mobility issues. If you are unable to walk long distances and would like a really accessible tour, then there are bespoke guided walks and talks on offer.
The sunset tour
If you love a good sunset then you should certainly look to go on the sunset tour offered by Gower Tours, especially as prices start at just £30-£35.
With a picnic provided, you can see the famous Rhossili sunset over Worm’s Head and the bay. Visitors will not only get a picnic hamper but a blanket and a small bottle of champagne. The tour is dependent on the time of year and season; however, it is an experience you will never forget.
The evening tour also stops at other locations along the way and it is accessible to visitors with mobility issues. Gower Tours can even create a bespoke tour if you need one catered especially for your needs.
Visit Mumbles Pier
The Mumbles Pier was built back in 1898 and is one of very few privately owned piers left in the UK.
It was once a station for the Mumbles Railway and since being built the popular attraction has seen a lot of change. Visitors will get an insight into its rich history and learn how it has been the gateway to the Mumbles Lighthouse and is home to the Mumbles RNLI station.
From the amusements and bowling to the beach and its eateries, there’s so much to see and do at the pier that you could easily spend an entire day here.
There are no steps to the piers cafés, restaurants and arcades, meaning all the attractions can be accessed by visitors with mobility issues. Wheelchair-accessible toilets and baby changing facilities are available in the Beach Hut Café, Arcade and Copperfish Restaurant.
Shop at Swansea Market
Swansea Market is mostly indoors and it, therefore, offers the perfect escape for visitors looking to get away from any poor weather.
It also offers you the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a gift or some delicious food. Since the 1700s this market has been held inside and the shopping mecca is now home to more than 100 stalls selling everything from jewellery to food.
You can pick up some Welsh cheese, mussels, laverbread or souvenirs such as ornaments, books or clothing. The market has wheelchair accessible entrances and visitors with mobility problems can easily get around the market.
Image credits: Swansea Market
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.