We’ve been to Swansea before while on a camping holiday at Three Cliff’s Bay in the Gower Peninsula. That time was to escape the rain and go to the LC Swansea leisure centre’s waterpark. This time it was predominantly because N had wanted tapas one day on holiday. We managed to fit in quite a few smaller shorter activities into the day. I’m sharing our day out in Swansea which includes lots of activities suitable for tweens. including visiting the National Waterfront Museum.
It did make me laugh with someone on my Instagram popping up to ask why we were in awful Swansea. She’s from near there, so I’m sure she knows all the rough and good parts. For us, we knew we weren’t coming here to look at beautiful architecture, or stunning scenery, or shop wonderful interesting boutique places. It’s a city like many others around the UK. It has lot of the well known chain stores and attractions, some local historical based museums, the maritime quarter with further development due to happen at some point.
What it does have is lots of smaller attractions, with most easily walkable. And that includes plenty of places to eat and drink. If you want to shop, there’s retail parks or the high street.
Where we visited and what we did in Swansea
National Waterfront Museum
First on our stops was the National Waterfront Museum which is alongside the marina in the Maritime Quarter. The museum is free to enter and is based on the people, life and economy of Wales, not just about boats.
There was something for both of us to enjoy. I liked the old products best, old washing machines, toys and hobby items, and the difference in shopping and fashion then and now. N seemed to enjoy finding out about the conditions and work on boats, and enjoying interactive elements were about. Given he refuses to go on boats, he found it really interesting learning about the historical side of Wales and shipping.
The museum was full of interactive screens in each room and display area. We especially enjoyed finding out details of who lived where down roads we’d been visiting that day but nearly all the displays had some kind of narrative from locals who worked in the industries, or had something of interest to share.
They also had one are dedicated to LGBTQ+ issues and changing world in Wales. Some of this was quite interesting although not what N was interested in finding out more about, so we did just skim that area. I couldn’t work out whether that was a temporary display or more permanent. I did love the rainbow coloured stairs leading upstairs though.
We probably spent close to an hour in the National Waterfront Museum, although we certainly only skimmed the surface of everything.
Swansea Castle and Castle Square
There’s not much left of Swansea Castle but I liked seeing it against the backdrop of more modern buildings with them having built up around it. The remaining stone walls were those of the ‘new’ castle, built around 1290.
The castle remains are in the Castle Square area, with various restaurants in the area. There’s a nice area been developed opposite it, with space for everyone to sit, chat and eat, watch the world go by. And maybe enjoy the water fountain feature when it’s working. There’s also a big screen so I presume they show events on there. I’d love our town and nearest city to have something like that area, but I’m not holding out any hope for that. We sat and people watched for a bit with a frappe each from Coffee #1.
Walking the marina
We love watching boats and walking along a waterfront. Bizarrely N has a fear of going on boats (even dry docked ones). Thankfully he is still happy wandering and watching them. There’s still lots of development going on alongside the water, and a few rougher blank canvas spots, but overall, it’s a nice 20-30 minutes wander to enjoy and stretch your legs.
Of course we had to decide which boat we’d choose to have. Neither of us fancied the catamarans.
Bunkers! Crazy Golf
N and I love a game of crazy golf, and he’s not usually too bad. The last few times I think he’s beaten me. But it was my day when playing Bunkers! Crazy golf.
Bunkers! Is an indoor golf location, with several around the country. With 2 golf course, 12 holes long, you have the option of doing 1 or both. We decided just to do the one – Loco.
On booking in (we’d booked in advance), the man on reception was really friendly and welcoming. He explained the course, how the scoring worked, and the final different hole. Then set us on our way.
With only 2 people you can move around quite fast. We were finished in just over 20 minutes. You just have to wait sometimes for larger groups in front who can take longer. It’s not a problem as here the holes are a bit more fun, with quirky cultural, musical or era themes, and you can repeat a hole if there’s noone else waiting behind you. We didn’t buy drinks but you can take those round with you as many holes have drinks stands to put them on.
It seemed I was having a good golfing day and trounced N well. An unusual scoreline as it’s usually much closer. He wasn’t frustrated, it was a lot of fun, and he got to experience the ET phone home photo opportunity.on one of the holes.
If you’re after food, they also serve limited options like different hot dogs. There’s plenty of drink options, with children banned in the evenings (so if you’re going with family, make sure you check the times you want to go are early enough.
As well as the crazy golf, they also offer virtual darts, and table tennis which you can book onto. We did book about an hour before we wanted to go – the earlier slots had already gone, but there were lots of times still left to book, so I presume you could just turn up and hope it’s a quiet day.
While we probably prefer outdoor crazy golf, this crazy golf at Bunkers was good fun, and good at keeping the interest of older children.
Superbowl bowling and amusements
The Superbowl place is set up with a small amusements arcake in the front. You then walk through there to to get to the bowling, or to do the Laser Tag. We decided on just one game of bowling. N got confident and decided not to put up the barriers. It turns out I’m lots better without them, but N really struggled. He still said he had a great time. But after my last few terrible attempts at bowling, I got 2 strikes and 2 spares, and a decent score.
While the bowling was good fun, clean and the staff on the booking in nice, the same can’t be said about the arcade area.
Maybe it’s just arcades feeling a bit grubby anyway. But there was quite a bit out of order (including one of our favourite throwing games). And a few areas which needed a good clean up and rubbish picking up.
We just played a few games of basketball which it turned out that N was much better than me on once the net starts moving on level 2. There were limited skills games which are the ones we prefer, so then just stuck with the 2p drop/push games. We changed £1 for each of us, and enjoyed winning some money back. N managed to win 2 sports key rings which he was happy about.
It was a nice hour spent before getting an early tea of nachos at Las Iguanas.
We also fitted in a visit to Plantasia Tropical Zoo, which is probably better for younger children.
While we didn’t have time this visit, we also recommend the LC which is where a really good swimming pool is. They have the main waterpark with slides galore, wave machine and lazy river, and for younger children a smaller pool with slide and interactive area.
If you’re driving to Swansea, we use St David’s multistory where we parked all day for a bargain £2 (after 9.30 arrival). There are plenty of other places to park, but this one was really central for all the activities we wanted, and eating out.
Is there anywhere else you’d recommend visiting in Swansea?
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