The picturesque village of Mumbles is famous for having been home to the oldest passenger railway in the world. The Mumbles Train which was originally horse drawn carried passengers along the beautiful sweep of Swansea Bay from 1804 until 1960.
Rather ironically a newer motorised ‘train’ has been taking passengers along the same route in recent years. This is a seasonal service which tends to be popular with children and tourists having rather more novelty value than the original highly functional train.
The tidal reach (the difference between high and low tides )
The Mumbles and its inhabitants consider themselves a completely separate entity from nearby Swansea and the village has in the past been primarily a fishing village. The sea still supports the village as it is now a well known centre for water sports and a popular tourist destination.
The promenade from Swansea to Mumbles Pier is accessible to both pedestrians and cyclists. The main road is well served with cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels as well as the Mumbles Pottery where you can observe the potter at work and purchase lovingly crafted souvenir lighthouses, clocks etc.
Narrow streets called slades of former fishermen’s cottages lead steeply down from the Mumbles Hill to the main road.
Tennis courts and a bowling green are located just off the promenade in the centre of the village while at nearby Southend there is a crazy golf course and pleasant children’s play park.
Knab Rock is the hub of activity for water sports in the summer months and the Mumbles Yacht club and the sympathetically designed Verdi’s Restaurant and Ice cream parlour are located here.
Continuing from Southend you soon arrive at the famous Mumbles Pier constructed in 1898 of wood and decorative, ornate cast iron.
In days gone by scores of tourists would arrive by steamer from Ilfracombe to enjoy a day at The Mumbles and perhaps take a trip to Swansea on the Railway. Nowadays there is a skating rink and ten pin bowling alley, café, and amusement arcade. For a small entrance fee it is possible to walk along the 225 metre pier where you will see fishermen casting their lines for bass or mackerel and have spectacular views of the whole of Swansea Bay which is particularly attractive at full tide.
It is also home to the Mumbles Lifeboat which has a heroic and fascinating history.
Two limestone islands make up Mumbles Head, the outer island home to a lighthouse since 1794. The lighthouse was converted to solar power operation in 1995. There is ample car parking and a noteworthy landmark is the Big Apple just at the entrance to one of the car parks.
Oystermouth Castle is the most striking landmark in the village and is located on a hill overlooking Newton Road. It is the best preserved of all the Gower castles and for a small entry fee you can explore inside its huge limestone walls. Spectacular views over the Bristol Channel towards Devon are afforded from the Castle grounds.
In summer as part of the Swansea Bay Festival cultural events such as Shakespeare productions take place in the floodlit grounds of the castle as well as the annual Mumbles Raft Race and Swansea Bay fun run.
Newton Road is the main shopping area of the village and there are a number of highly individual and attractive shops including a toy shop, artist’s gallery, florists and boutique.
Tucked in among picturesque side streets you may also discover the Chimes the watch and clock repairers and Mrs Macs Knitting wool shop.
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