The sweep of Swansea Bay has been favourably compared to the Bay of Naples and although the weather may be unpredictable and the industrial outlines of the Port Talbot Corus plant cannot compete with Vesuvius when the tide is high and blue it is a truly lovely Bay.
Most visitors to Gower will arrive at Swansea and make the five mile trip along the curve of Swansea Bay to Mumbles. The promenade is used by both pedestrians and cyclists and the path is divided by white lines to accommodate both.
Arriving by road from the east along the Fabian Way the docks are no longer the major part of the landscape they were once and the east side is now host to a modern residential and business waterfront complex.
Most of the new development in Swansea has taken place on or around the Bay making it an interesting and attractive place to visit. After the River Tawe the Bay becomes past of the impressive Swansea Marina with its fine display of private yachts, boating yards and restaurants. The modern glass fronted Waterfront Museum has hosted a renowned outdoor art exhibition in addition to screening short works by amateur film makerís work as well as often providing child centred activities.
The Civic Centre located just past the Marina houses the new Swansea library which offers an automated lending services as well as sweeping views over the Bay to Mumbles from many of its reading tables. A cafeteria is located on the ground floor and there is plenty of Pay and Display parking available as the city centre is close to the Civic Centre.
A rather quiet stretch of promenade leads past the newly renovated Patti Pavilion Restaurant located at the western end of Victoria Park. Victoria Park, where bowls and tennis are played is adjacent to the Guild Hall and its landmark clock tower.
Back on the promenade you will find the old Swansea Slip Bridge strategically placed but no longer serving its original purpose of allowing the safe crossing of Swansea trippers to the sands opposite The Slip. The cost of safely renovated it to be fit for purpose was deemed too high and as it holds a special place in the affections of the Swansea people it was laid to rest ( temporarily perhaps?) near its original location.
Opposite is the St Helens rugby and cricket ground and further along is the ĎRecí, which provides extra car parking space for the special events in nearby Singleton Park and is also the venue for the occasional travelling fairs and circus.
The small car park at the junction of Sketty Lane marks the end of the council run 9 hole Pitch and Put golf course. The course is sandwiched between the promenade and the busy Mumbles road and it is surprising more balls donít end up in motorists cars!
Blackpill is the next stop where the lido is ever popular with children during the summer months. A rather nice cafť, The Junction offers a bit of history as well as refreshments as it really was a stop on the famous Mumbles passenger railway.
Plenty of car parking available over the road at the start of the Clyne Valley woodland walk which used to be a railway line but is now a leisurely walk/cycle route to Gowerton.
Clyne Gardens are definitely worth a visit in spring if you like azaleas and rhododendrons. The Japanese bridge and tower are also points of interest as is the dogsí graveyard at the Wesport Avenue Entrance.
At West Cross the road nearly meets the sea and the West Cross Inn balcony offers superb views of the Bay.
The Dick Bartonís fish and chip shop proudly calls itself the Motorists Rendezvous and is one of a line of shops including a chemist and post office.
Ripples ice cream parlour is situated directly on the promenade at Norton midway between Blackpill and Mumbles.
The promenade passes through the bustling village of Mumbles and Southend where there is a pleasant childrenís playground and Crazy Golf course. Water sports such as skiing and windsurfing kick off from here and for the less adventurous the Verdiís restaurant and ice cream parlour offer a perfect location for spectators. Swimming in Swansea Bay is not recommended as the tidal reach is huge and the sand can often be muddy. Those figures you see on the beach at low tide are not swimmers but fishermen digging for lugworm!
Last stop as we have completed the five miles from Swansea to Mumbles is the Victorian Mumbles pier. An extension of the Pier is home to the Mumbles Lifeboat. The Pier complex offers the usual amusements such as bowling, skating, an amusement arcade, fish and chips and ice cream along with several bars. Again there are superb views over the bay and a little sandy bay lies just west of the pier in front of the two tidal islands and lighthouse.
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