This guide to exploring Swansea on a budget is ideal if you’re looking for a great UK staycation that won’t break the bank!
Recently, I headed to Swansea Bay for a mini break with my sister – and was surprised to discover that this was actually a fantastic spot for a girly weekend away!
Swansea is a great place for a staycation in general, with friends, with the kids, or as a couple – there’s loads on offer and some seriously great local food if you know where to look for it. Better yet, this is a trip that won’t break the bank. Here’s how to holiday in Swansea on a budget…
READ MORE: Best Places to Visit in South Wales
Getting There and Around
You can drive to Swansea fairly easily; it takes around 3.5 hours from London following the M4 almost all the way. Alternatively, Swansea is really accessible by train: it takes 3 hours 40 minutes from London Paddington on a direct train (no changes), making this a really easy journey.
Once you’re in Swansea, local busses are cheap and frequent, so this is the easiest way to get around. Find the timetables here. Swansea is also an extremely walk-able city; the centre is quite compact and most attractions aren’t too far apart.
Pampering in Swansea on a Budget
The spa at the LC Swansea is the city’s best-kept secret. Tucked away within this huge leisure centre complex is a beautiful, modern spa complete with jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, aromatherapy room, monsoon showers and heated loungers. Better still, it costs just £5.95 for an hour, with massage treatments starting at £20. This is high quality pampering on a budget – so indulge yourself!
Sightseeing – Free Attractions Around Swansea Bay
There are plenty of free things to do in Swansea Bay. Obviously, the area’s main attraction is the beach – which is a beautiful, wide stretch of sand along a relatively calm bay. There are also plenty more beaches in the area, like the rugged Three Cliffs Bay or Rhossli Bay beaches. Mumbles Pier is a pretty spot for a walk, and there are plenty of walking, hiking, and cycling routes in the area.
Explore the indoor market in Swansea city centre, or walk around the cute and kooky shops in Mumbles – and don’t miss a visit to the Lovespoon Gallery to see an incredible Welsh tradition (more in this blog post). Both the Swansea Museum and the National Waterfront Museum offer free admission, as does the lifeboat station in Mumbles.
One of the most significant historical sites in the area is Oystermouth Castle. A well-preserved, intricate castle dating back to the early 12th century, this is a great place to explore and learn a little more about the local history of the Gower Peninsula. Admission costs just £3 and is worth it for some of the best views of Swansea Bay in the area.
Cheap Eats in Swansea
With a wealth of restaurants to choose from, you can indulge yourself on a budget in Swansea. Verdi’s Cafe on Mumble’s Pier is really popular with locals, and has a fantastic menu of modern, Italian-influenced cuisine, with mains from £8-11. The real star here is the ice cream menu, though; starting at £4.35 the sundaes might seem a tad pricey, but the portions and quality are high enough to make them worth it.
Another great little lunch spot is the 360 Cafe Bar, right on the beach in Swansea Bay, which offers up great quality lunchtime fare at really reasonable prices.
The swanky setting of Grape and Olive, at the top of Wales’ highest building, might suggest a pricey menu – but mains here run the gamut from £8.50 to a £30 Porterhouse steak. Hearty, local food and a fabulous wine menu make this a great little spot; don’t miss the salt and pepper squid!
And in another fabulous setting, the contemporary European cuisine at the stately Morgans Hotel restaurant is seriously high quality. Mains start from £14.95, so it’s a little more indulgent – but the hotel often run dining offers that make a luxurious meal here surprisingly affordable.
Swansea Bay is the perfect setting for watersports, so make the most of the beautiful bay and try something new. 360 Swansea offer kayaking and Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boarding sessions from their beach-front location, starting from just £12.50. A great way to add a new experience to your Swansea staycation!
Are you a Swansea local, or a regular visitor? Share your top tips for exploring Swansea on a budget – scroll down to leave a comment!
My visit to Swansea was part of a press trip organised by Visit Swansea Bay. As always, all views and opinions are entirely my own and without bias.