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Swansea Area Guide

Swansea Coastguard, Swansea Image courtesy of Flickr user Ben Salter

Swansea is Wales' second largest city, located on the Bristol Channel on the country's South coast. The City of Swansea is located some 44 miles from the Welsh capital, Cardiff. Swansea is now a unitary authority for local government but is located within the historic boundaries of the county of Glamorgan.

Inhabitants of Swansea are known as Swansea Jacks. Notable Swansea Jacks (or simply "Jacks") include none other than Hollywood actress Catherine Zeta-Jones and the poet, Dylan Thomas. Thomas himself actually referred to Swansea as an "ugly, lovely town" though his observation was made some time before the planned £1billion redevelopment of the City was announced, which is now well underway.

Swansea was described by the BBC as a "black spot" for car crime in 2002 but in recent years, the number of car crimes has reduced significantly.

Demographics

The population of the City of Swansea was almost 170,000 in the 2001 census with the Unitary Authority area being some 239,000 in the 2011 census. Swansea is less ethnically diverse than its bigger neighbour Cardiff. 97.8% of its population at the last census said they were of white ethnicity, versus Cardiff's 91%. Only 13.4% of Swansea residents declared themselves as Welsh speakers.

The average salary of those living in Swansea is about £21,500 which is almost £5,000 lower than the UK average. However, with the lower cost of living and the fact that property prices are lower than the national average, this does not necessarily represent a lower standard of living.

Education

The Swansea area is home to some 77 primary schools (of which 8 are Welsh speaking) and 15 secondary schools (of which 2 are Welsh-Speaking). The Welsh government operates a banding system in which it grades all schools from Band 1 to Band 5 with 1 being the best. Swansea is home to 5 Band 1 secondary schools whereas only 4 fall into bands 4 and 5 combined.

The City is home to the University of Swansea, which has several outstanding departments such as its theoretical physics department. The University won the "Best Student Experience" award from the Times newspaper in 2005.

Transport

Being Wales' second biggest city, Swansea is well connected with the rest of Wales as well as a lot of England. The M4 motorway and the A48 connect Swansea to Port Talbot, Bridgend and Cardiff in Wales and to Bristol and London in England.

A park and ride scheme operates in several locations around the city for visitors coming into Swansea. There is a good cycle network with 4 national routes in the area.

Swansea has an extensive bus network to the surrounding areas and there is a shuttle bus service, the 100, linking Swansea and Cardiff. The city is well connected through National Express and Megabus services.

Swansea's railway station connects the city to Manchester (4 ½ hours), London (3 hours) and Cardiff (1 hour) with direct services.

The nearest airport with passenger flights is Pembrey airport, about 17 miles away but it offers only limited European destinations. Cardiff airport is the closest major UK airport. Direct National Express services to London Gatwick and London Heathrow airports are also available.

A ferry is operated 3 to 4 times per week to Cork in Ireland by Fastway Line.

Amenities and Shopping

In 2002, a major investment was announced in Swansea and this has led to major improvements in the city centre, some of which are on-going and some of which are still to come. The Quadrant shopping centre in the city centre is open 7 days a week and on Thursdays until 8pm. Swansea is also home to Wales's biggest indoor market.

As well as shopping, theatre-goers will not be disappointed with Swansea's Grand Theatre which is over 100 years old and attracts a whole host of acts from all over the world.

Sports fans will enjoy going to see Swansea City Football Club and the Ospreys Rugby Union Club, both of whom share the city's Liberty Stadium. Both teams are amongst Wales's most successful teams in their respective sports at club level.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact editor@primelocation.com

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.