We recently paid a visit to Swansea en route to England made a stopover on the return journey.
It makes for a nice half way point from London and the south east to make the afternoon ferry.
It is also a good weekend destination. For people from the south east. It is just less than two hours from Fishguard port, serviced by Stena Line and for overnight guests there are lots of beachside hotels to choose from on the Mumbles and the Gower Peninsula and where an Irish accent is welcome.
Shoppers will enjoy the old style Swansea street market that has also has many stands under cover where you can buy anything from hardware goods to groceries, crafts to clothes, so something for everyone from the man in the house to the fashion conscious,
Nearby are next and marks and spencer plus a lively market.
Parking is important as it is pedestrianised area and given its covered local market resembles in some way English market in Cork.
It is a lesson for Waterford to liven up local city centre shopping with this large area where goods are available in a friendly fashion from a stall, both indoors and outdoors, so is not weather dependent .
We stayed out on the mumbles a few miles from the industrial town and port of Swansea, where Amazon, the online retailers have a huge presence also.
Check out also the National Waterfront Museum, there they give the interactive story of Welsh industry and innovation, this are was a major part of the industrial revolution in its day.
Swansea is not far away the steelworks of Port Talbot is still in production, the area was also well known for coal mining, so this is a strong tradition here .
Waterford through its port has also strong connections with Swansea with much traffic over the years, there were also fishing connections with Passage and Dunmore and Welsh surnames from that area can be found here.
The local castle in the Mumbles is also worth a look and more. The famous poet Dylan Thomas also came from this part of Wales , the man had a premature death but his origins and life are celebrated here and his house can be checked out.
Swansea City Football Club are another great attraction for visitors but you would need to order tickets in advance, remarkably now they are in the top half of the Premier League and we saw them last year beat Newcastle away. Top player Bony was the winner on that day and recently was part of ivory Coast team to beat Ghana in final of African Nations cup by 9-8 in penalties .
Interestingly now that there is a campaign in Tramore to have a local tourist train there is one still running Swansea from olden times, along the prom, but is with wheels rather than tracks.
At night you can find lots of places to eat both ethnic and local food , Welsh lamb is well renowned and there is also great sea food, including a local sea food dish that we tried for breakfast.
Getting there with Stena Line
We travelled with the very comfortable Stena Line ferry service from Rosslare.
Access is easy outside rush hours early morning it is just over an hour from Waterford to Rosslare , bear in mind you need to be 30-60 minutes there before departure. Morning ferry departs at 9am and afternoon return is at 2.30pm in the day, easily reached from Swansea or Cardiff .
Fares start from 220 return for car plus 4 passengers, check the special offers in advance on the stena line web site.
Having car is so convenient on other side and if you have a number of passengers or family the cost is very reasonable. With stabilisers on the ferry what might seem a little rough is very unlike today, food is good, a movie helps pass the time and there is some options and a childrens area too,
The service is better than years back and is still good value see stenaline web site for offers