What You Need To Know

Swansea, officially known as the City and County of Swansea, is a coastal city and county in Wales. It is Wales’s second largest city and the UK’s twenty-fifth largest city. Swansea lies within the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands

Area: 378 km²
Population: 241,300 (2014)

Currency

  • The currency of the United Kingdom is the Pound Sterling (£).  In colloquial speech, the pound is also called “quid”.  There are 100 Pence (p) in the pound.  The word “pence” is usually just abbreviated to “p” in speech and writing.
  • When handling coins, be careful not to dismiss the small ones as unimportant—some small coins are worth much more than larger ones.
  • Visa and MasterCard are also widely accepted, but be warned that there may be a 1% – 3% transaction fee, depending on the card issuer, on every transaction. Over the last few years, American Express has also become widely accepted but a few merchants (usually small shops) will either not accept it or add a surcharge.

Weather

Swansea has a wet and mild climate, with winter temperatures ranging from around 4 to 6°C, while the summer average high is about 20°C but often reaching to 26 or 27°C. June to August, is the period that records the most hours of sunshine and is the main tourist season. However in September and October the air is crisp and fresh and the area quiet. Gower is known to have a micro climate and has half the rainfall of East Swansea. Local farmers say they have the same weather as the Channel Islands and early Gower new potatoes are evidence of the many extra hours of sunshine.

Language

Many people in Swansea speak English and Welsh every day; at home, with friends and in work.

Getting Around

  • Buses: Bus companies First Cymru and Veolia maintain frequent services connecting all suburbs of Swansea and the Gower Peninsula. All buses depart from the Bus Station, and there are connecting links to/from Swansea’s railway station.
  • Taxi: There are several taxi ranks in the city centre. One is located at High Street Station for rail connections and one is located at Swansea Bus Station for bus/coach connections. A taxi rank beside St. Mary’s church serves city centre shoppers. The taxi rank on Caer Street next to Castle Square is the most convenient for people returning home after a night out on Wind Street.

Health and security

  • Swansea, along with the rest of Wales has a relatively low crime rate, and you should not run into any problems whilst traveling throughout the area. Personal safety-wise, be sure to look to the left when crossing the street.
  • Be alert while traveling within large crowds, especially during the high season. Pickpockets can quickly pick you clean of your money or passport.
  • Keep your eyes and a hand on bags at all times, and do not leave your items unattended.
  • When visiting the beach, take special care of any valuables that you bring with you. Stuffing a wallet in the back of a shoe is not a great way to avoid having items stolen. If you choose to head into the water, have someone remain at the beach to watch over your belongings.
  • Keep a copy of the front page from your passport, any tickets, and any other important information in a location separate from the originals. You may also consider leaving a copy of these pages with someone back at home, whom you can contact if necessary if you get into trouble abroad. These copies will come in handy if you are a victim of theft.

History

  • Swansea was once called Sweins eg or ey, which means Swein’s island. The island stood in the mouth of the River Tawe. Who Swein was is not known for sure but he may have been a Norseman who built a fort on the island about 1000 AD and used it as a base for raiding the Welsh coast.
  • The town of Swansea was founded in the early 12th century when the Normans conquered the area. The Norman lord built a wooden castle on the site of Worcester Place. (It was rebuilt in stone in the early 13th century). A town soon grew up by the castle.
  • The garrison of Swansea castle provided a market for the townspeople’s goods. Many of the townspeople were English immigrants. At some time between 1158-84 Swansea was given a charter (a document granting the townspeople certain rights). King John gave Swansea another charter in 1215.
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