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The Welsh are more than qualified to boast about their beautiful renowned beaches, stunning national parks, and distinctive towns. 

Whether you’re on the lookout for the perfect day out with the family or chasing your next solo adventure, you’ll find so many amazing things to do within just a few hours of Swansea. 

1. Tenby

Situated along Pembrokeshire’s coast, Wales’s iconic seaside town of Tenby is a hugely popular tourist destination thanks to its picturesque charm and award-winning acclaim1 (source: Westwen Telegraph).

Begin the perfect day here, soaking up the glorious coastal scenery and colourful Victorian houses from Tenby’s renowned beaches. 

Next, get an authentic feel for the seaside spirit with a spot of fishing or rent a boat from Tenby’s dainty harbour and sail to the nearby Caldey Island.

Don’t miss: 

  • Spook yourself on the Tenby Ghost Walk
  • Crisp winter walks along Tenby’s prestigious coastal path with fabulous views of Saundersfoot Bay. 
  • Visit Tenby Museum, the oldest independent museum in Wales

How To Visit Tenby From Swansea

Visit by Bus: National Express buses run from the main bus station in Swansea and cost between £18-20 per return. The journey takes 1.20hrs. Remember to book ahead online.

Visit by Train (best option): Regular trains run all day from Swansea High Street station and costs £18.80 for an anytime day return. The journey takes 1.30hrs hours each way.

Visit by Car: Travel along the A478 to reach Tenby in around 1 hr. 


2. Brecon Beacons National Park

On the border between Mid and South Wales are the unmissable green open moorlands and striking mountain ranges found in the Brecon Beacons. This extremely popular area brings in visitors from all over the world who revel in this marvellous natural beauty, and should not be ignored.

With easy to extreme climbing grades on offer, you can walk, run, climb, hike, or cycle around 520 square miles of colourful history.  

Don’t miss: 

  • Two of the highest peaks in South Britain; Pen y Fan (886m) and Corn Du (873m)
  • Gentle recreational pursuits like photography to adrenaline-inducing activities like abseiling and rafting at the irresistible waterfall tour
  • National Cycle Route taking you into the surrounding hills, mountains, and the 5-mile Brecon Mountain Railway  

How To Visit the Brecon Beacons From Swansea

Visit by Bus: Travel line Cymru buses run from the main bus station in Swansea. For prices see Travel Line Cymru.

Visit by Train: Trains leaving Swansea High Street station involve multiple changes, so it’s probably best to avoid this option.

Visit by Car (best option): Travel along the A465 to reach the beacons in around 1.20hr. Parking is available but can get overcrowded during the busiest times. 


3. Cardiff

Wales’s largest capital, the lively city of Cardiff, is overflowing with activities to delight and surprise you all day long. 

Because there’s so much to do here, Cardiff offers lots of interactive guided walking and hiking tours. Lose yourself in Welsh coastal paths, ancient castles, and beautiful waterfalls.

Choose your day out:

  • Double-decker hop-on, hop-off bus (tickets from £15)
  • Explore two castles, Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch
  • St Fagan National Museum of History (free entry) 

See our full guide for the best things to do in Cardiff.

How to Visit Cardiff From Swansea

Visit by Bus (best option): National Express buses run from the main bus station in Swansea and cost £10 per return. The journey takes 1.10hrs. Remember to book ahead online.

Visit by Train: Regular trains run all day from Swansea High Street station and costs £13.20 for an anytime day return. The journey takes 50 minutes each way.

Visit by Car: Travel along the M4 to reach Cardiff in around 1 hr. However, parking in the city centre can be difficult, so it’s best to travel by public transport.


4. Gower Peninsula Beaches

Explore this varied landscape extending west from the City of Swansea for approximately 19 miles, and opt for a beach-themed day at the award-winning2 (source: BBC) Gower Peninsula.

Gower sure has a lot to offer those looking for days out on sandy beaches and rocky cliffs and coves. 

Don’t miss: 

  • Rhossili Bay: not ideal for swimming. Best known for its three miles of golden sand, stunning views, and established coastal paths. Parking and facilities available

Parking and facilities available 

  • Three Cliff Bay: expect spectacular views (see image above), serene walks, and extreme climbs. Parking and facilities available

Be wary of incoming tides while walking these beaches and hiking the coastline. Ensure to refer to beach dos and don’ts before visiting. 

How To Visit The Gower From Swansea

Visit by Bus: The Gower Explorer bus network runs from the main bus station in Swansea and costs around £5 for a day ticket. The journey takes around 1hr. 

Visit by Train: Trains leaving Swansea High Street station involve multiple changes, so it’s probably best to avoid this option.

Visit by Car (best option): Travel along the A4118 and B4271 to the Gower in less than 30 minutes. 


5. The Mumbles 

Dylan Thomas loved a good old-fashioned knees up at the Antelope pub, which stands on Mumbles’ locally famous seafront strip. These days, Swansea’s charming fishing village is less rowdy watering hole and more atmospherically quaint village. Awash with historic landmarks, fabulous views overlooking Swansea Bay, and indulgent award-winning ice cream; Mumbles is well worth a visit.  

Don’t miss: 

  • Oystermouth Castle, home to medieval features galore and fabulous views overlooking Swansea Bay
  • One of Mumbles’ most prominent trademarks; Mumbles Pier, built in 1898. Go here for full-packed entertainment. 
  • Award-winning Bracelet Bay; its rocky shoreline is perfect for exploring rock pools and soaking in views of Swansea Bay. 

How To Visit Mumbles From Swansea

Visit by Bus (best option): Regular First Bus service run from the main bus station in Swansea and costs £4.20 for a day ticket. The journey takes around 25 minutes. 

Visit by Train: After 150 years in operation, the last tram left Mumbles railway in 1960. 

Visit by Car: Travel along Mumbles Road (A4067) to reach Mumbles in around 15 minutes. 


6. Barry Island

Found in the Vale of Glamorgan, this iconic backdrop featured in the popular show Gavin and Stacey, and brought modern-day renown to one of Wales’s most bustling seaside towns. 

But Barry Island is more than just idiosyncratic Welsh characters. Make your way over to PorthKerry Country park, which boasts 220 acres of serene woodland, grassy meadows, and Victorian heritage sites. Emerging from these gardens is the pebbly stretch of Cold Knap Bay, where you can enjoy relaxing strolls along the promenade. 

Don’t miss:

  • train enthusiasts will love the steam locomotives and heritage train rides at Barry Tourist Railway
  • grown-ups and kids will enjoy Barry Island Pleasure Park
  • get a Barry Island insight into both world wars at Barry War Museum. 

How To Visit Barry Island From Swansea

Visit by Bus: Buses leaving Swansea involve multiple changes, so it’s probably best to avoid this option.

Visit by Train: Regular trains run all day from Swansea High Street station and cost between £26-40 for an anytime day return. The journey takes approximately 1.20hrs hours each way.

Visit by Car (best option): Travel along the M4 to reach Barry Island in around 1 hr. 


7. Bristol 

Close to Wales’s border lays Bristol, a vibrant, fascinating city that offers many exciting and contrasting things to do. 

Take your pick:

  • Bristol Ferry boat ride along the city with stops befitting your exploration goals. Tickets range between £3.50-5.50
  • Over 300 adorable animal species at Bristol Zoo Gardens; there’s a Bug World- if you’re feeling brave enough. Tickets range from £13 to £19.
  • Take a dip at Bristol Lido’s irresistible outdoor swimming pool and spa facilities to truly experience that poolside holiday ambience without buying a plane ticket.

How To Visit Bristol From Swansea

Visit by Bus: National Express buses run from the main bus station in Swansea and cost around £21 per return. The journey takes 2.30hrs. Remember to book ahead online.

Visit by Train: Regular trains run all day from Swansea High Street station and costs £30.40 for an anytime day return. The journey involves one change over and takes 1.40hrs hours each way.

Visit by Car (best option): Travel along the M4 to reach Bristol within 1hr35. 


8. Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo 

Folly Farm

Get on over to Pembrokeshire’s Folly Farm and choose your next adventure at the 10th best Zoo in the world3 (source: Wales Online).

It’s home to over 750 animals, from giraffes and rhinos to lions and penguins. There is no wonder why animal lovers worldwide flock like birds to enjoy their day here.  

Don’t miss:

  • Typical Welsh weather? Take shelter under Europe’s largest indoor vintage fairground and get dizzy with excitement on 17 different traditional theme park rides (price not included in Zoo tickets) 
  • Become a zoo-keeper for the day and spend your time feeding and looking after the animals (extra fee)
  • Take a tractor ride to the fields opposite Folly Farm, where they have deer and alpacas.

Tickets range from free for infants to £21.95

How To Visit Folly Farm From Swansea

Visit by Bus (one change involved): National Express buses run from the main bus station in Swansea to Tenby and cost between £18-20 per return. Catch the Taf Valley Coach 381 service for direct drop-off outside Folly Farm. The journey takes 1.20hrs

Visit by Train: Regular trains run all day from Swansea High Street station and costs £18.80 for an anytime day return. The journey takes 1.30hrs hours each way. A 30-minute walk is required to get to Folly Farm.

Visit by Car (best option): Travel along the A48 to reach Folly Farm in around 1.10hr


9. Oakwood

Brian Marshall

Based in the heart of Pembrokeshire, South Wales, Wales’ Biggest Theme Park, Oakwood, has fun and excitement for all the family. Operating since 1987, adventurers have been conquering their fears on adrenaline-inducing rollercoasters and thrill-seeking rides for the last 35 years. 

Don’t miss: 

  • The railway provides transport links from the car park to the theme park 
  • Megaphobia- the UK’s most popular wooden roller coaster  
  • Relax indoors and let the kids loose in the indoor soft play area with toddler-friendly rides

Tickets range from £18-36 for groups

How To Visit Oakwood From Swansea

Visit by Bus: Unfortunately, there are no viable options for buses to Oakwood Park.

Visit by Train: Regular trains run all day from Swansea High Street station to Kilgetty and cost between £19- £22 for an anytime day return. The journey takes 1.20 hrs hours each way. A 15 minutes taxi ride will take you to Oakwood Park. 

Visit by Car (best option): Travel along the A483 and B4286 to reach Oakwood Park in around 30 minutes.  


10. The National Showcaves Centre for Wales

© Crown copyright (2022) Cymru Wales

Located 5 miles North of Ystradgynlais, and once voted the greatest natural wonder in Britain4 (source: BBC), the 11 miles of cave systems have been around for 315 years old. These unique caves offer a special underground cave adventure that you won’t get anywhere else.  

Prepare to be amazed by the incredible limestone passages and tunnel formations adorned by million years old stalactite. Discover past inhabitants of the cave with bronze age skeletons, ancient jewellery pieces, and Roman pottery. 

Don’t miss: 

  • The dinosaur park has over 200 life-sized dinosaur models
  • Iron Age village, museum, and historically inspired stone circles 
  • Scientists explain what might have happened to the dinosaurs at the museum 

Tickets range from free for infants or £14.50-17.50, visit The National Showcaves Centre for more information.

How To Visit the National Showcaves From Swansea

Visit by Bus: TrawsCymru buses run from the main bus station in Swansea and cost £11 for a day ticket. The journey takes 1.10hrs. Remember to book ahead online.

Visit by Train (best option): Regular trains run all day from Swansea High Street station to Neath and costs £7.20 for an anytime day return. Take the T6 TrawsCymru bus to the caves. The journey takes 1.30hrs hours each way.

Visit by Car: Travel along the A4067 to reach The National Showcaves Centre for Wales within 49 minutes.  


11. The National Botanic Garden of Wales

© Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2022) Cymru Wales

Set in the beautiful Carmarthenshire countryside, you couldn’t do better than the remarkable 568-acre garden dedicated to the conservation and preservation of diverse specialist plant collections

For a relaxing and educating day out, experience biodiversity, history, and specially themed areas (including a butterfly garden) and encounter birds of prey.

Don’t miss:

  • Take a peaceful stroll around the Japanese Garden 
  • Kids can explore several natural wonders and Aqualab 
  • Adventure lovers will adore the zip wire

Tickets range from free for infants to £39.75 for group tickets. 

How To Visit the Botanical Gardens From Swansea

Visit by Bus: FirstGroup buses run from the main bus station in Swansea to Carmarthen and cost between £4.80 for a day ticket. Take 279 Morris Travel directly to The National Botanic Garden of Wales. The journey takes 1.45hrs. Prices available from Travel Line Cymru.

Visit by Train (best option): Regular trains run all day from Swansea High Street station to Carmarthen and costs £10-£11 for an anytime day return. Then take the Morris Travel service 279 directly to The National Botanic Garden of WalesThe journey takes 1.20hrs hours each way.

Visit by Car: Travel along the M4 and A48 to reach The National Botanic Garden of Wales within 36 minutes

50% Welsh, 50% English, 100% Swansea. While writing about all things lush and supreme about her home town, you'll also find Kelly writing content for business owners worldwide, and getting lost in books and the woods.