City full of culture: five reasons to visit Swansea

With Swansea in the running for UK City of Culture 2021, Jude Rogers discovers five reasons why Wales’ second city is its hippest…

There’s art everywhere

Fall out of the train station into Swansea High Street, and you’ll see instantly how art’s reawakened Wales’ second city. There’s the psychedelic Dylan Thomas mural straight opposite (by Pete Fowler, cover artist for brilliant Welsh band Super Furry Animals), paintings above shops thanks to the town’s groundbreaking Art Across The High Street project, and two cutting-edge galleries, Elysium and Galerie Simpson (legendary pop artist Peter Blake exhibited at the latter last year).

Volcano Theatre

A stunning mural of Liz Taylor (once wife of Richard Burton, from down the road in Port Talbot) adorns the front of the independent theatre which kicked off the city’s cultural rebirth. Opened in 2007, Volcano Theatre’s currently running the From The Station To The Sea project, fitting artists together with local schools, residents and traders to transform other buildings in Swansea. Its recent four-day Troublemakers Festival also showcased fantastic talks, films and workshops. More uproar’s planned for autumn.

Cinema and Co.

Swansea has its multiplexes like most square-eyed cities, but independent film house, Cinema and Co., has been a brilliant newcomer. The 56-seater venue hosts Wednesday art house nights, kids’ clubs, and even a monthly book and film night, where bookworms get to watch an adaptation of a classic novel they’ve all gobbled up together. You can also eat pizza and drink craft beers while getting goggle-eyed.

The Swansea sound

There’s plenty of cool music to be heard in this corner of the land of song. Recent additions to town include nights by experimental music collective Nawr at the town’s long-forgotten BBC Hall, jazz, folk and indie gigs in Noah’s Yard (which has a shop sign with interchangeable letters that punters can change for £15), while the Swansea International Festival features avant-garde music and more in October.

And don’t forget Dylan…

Swansea’s hippest writer lives on. Thomas’ legacy is kept bracingly alive in the city’s Dylan Thomas Centre, where its Love The Words exhibition tells different stories of the poet and playwright for all kinds of culture-lovers. Daily workshops for kids during August explore ideas behind Thomas’ 1946 short story Holiday Memory too, with comic books and experimental printmaking being added to the mix, helping new generations of creative souls to find their voices.

Trains to Swansea

7 August 2017
Family fun I Music and arts I

Exclusive news and offers

Sign up today and receive exclusive promotions, inspirational content and much more.

Sign up

GWR Experiences

Discover and book local experiences from surfing to sea kayaking & 100s more.

Find out more

You may also like

Banksy street art in London
You can find Banksy Street Art throughout London. Whether you’re in North, East, South, West or Central, read our guide and take your own Banksy walking tour.
Read post
Indoor activities in Bristol
Take a look at some fun things to do in Bristol this spring. With lots of museums, galleries and restaurants to choose from, there’s plenty to keep you occupied for a weekend getaway or a day trip.
Read post
Celebrate the Queen's Jubilee in London
For some ideas of how to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in London this year, see our guide on official events, the best spots for afternoon tea and more.
Read post