The second largest city in Wales, Swansea is showing Cardiff whose boss when it comes to epic nightlife, great restaurants and amazing activities. Bold, daring and always lively, Swansea offers something for everyone and makes for a great trip away. Plus, it’s a university town which guarantees a good laugh and even better drink deals.
Yet aside from the restaurants and buzzing nightlife scene, this Welsh gem has outstanding natural beauty, bundles of medieval castles and a landscape that couldn’t be recreated. The perfect combination of city and beach, there’s loads of things to do and see in Swansea. It’s also really popular with groups, thanks to it being easily accessible. With friendly locals, cheap drinks and an unrivalled atmosphere, it’s no surprise that Swansea is so popular.
Explore the City
Swansea Bay is the beach surrounding the areas of Swansea, Mumbles and Gower. Boasting hundreds of shops, restaurants, bars and pubs, explore the wide range of ice cream, seafood and local produce on offer. The Bay View and Grape and Olive boast some incredible views across the bay and also welcome groups.
If you’re looking for a little adventure in Swansea, why not take a trip to South Wales’ very own mountain range. Take in the views and test your nerves as you throw yourself into some local activities such as Gorge Scrambling and Canyoning. Self-guided walks can also be arranged for those who don’t fancy the thrill.
Swansea is a proud home to Swansea City FC, The Ospreys and The Liberty Stadium. Take part in a Stadium Tour or why not arrange a number of activities such as goggle football or five-a-side football. It’s a great way to recover from the night before, and find out who the best footballer in the group really is.
Even if the weather isn’t on your side, Swansea guarantees a good time. Centrally located, the LC Waterpark is a state-of-the-art attraction for all ages. Boasting multiple slides and tubes, you can even put your surfing ability to the test on the never-ending wave.
Theatre and Comedy in Swansea
The Grand Theatre offers a varied entertainment selection including exhibitions and performances. Plus, there’s a regular comedy club, hosting some of the best acts around. Relax with friends, laugh yourself silly and enjoy a few drinks from the theatre bar. Plus, once finished, head outside and visit one of the fantastic bars and restaurants nearby to keep your spirits lifted.
There’s plenty of clubs in Swansea, offering a wide range of genres that make planning nights out for large groups easy. Plus they’re all centrally located, meaning a city centre bar crawl is always easy to arrange.
Wales’ most famous pub crawl may have faced a few difficulties when a number of the pubs closed, but there’s still a fair few amount to explore. A legendary night out, we promise you that the only way to get rid of your hangover the next day is a brisk walk on the beach.
Whether you want to dance, see live DJ’s, enjoy a band or just want to have a good time, Swansea has something for you. Wind Street is the main location for the city’s nightlife and offers a wide range of clubs, bars and lounges including Peppermint, No Sign Wine Bar and The Bucket List.
A night out in Swansea’s largest nightclub guarantees a good time until the early hours. With some of the biggest DJs and acts on the clubbing scene, here the dancefloor is always packed. VIP Booths and an extensive drinks menu will complete your experience.
Favoured by visitors, students and locals alike, Popworld is the place to let your hair down. With resident DJs playing the finest tunes and a wide range of packages to pre-order, why not go all out and book a booth for the entire evening?
Know what you like and like what you know? Swansea is also home to popular chains including Yates, Walkabout and Revolution. Offering great music, fantastic drink deals and an even better atmosphere, it’s no surprise that large groups favour these venues.
Eat like a local
As is expected with a seaside resort, Swansea is renowned for its incredible seafood. However, if you’re not mad for fish, the city centre also caters for a wide range of tastes and budgets, whatever the occasion.
From traditional fish and chips to the finest welsh shellfish, if you love seafood then you’re in luck. Wander along Swansea Bay and you’ll come across quaint little huts selling the freshest produce, head inland and fish takeaway shops adorn the streets. But if you’re looking for something a little special, Hanson at the Chelsea Restaurant will get everyone talking.
Swansea’s restaurant scene is vibrant and offers Mexican, Italian, vegetarian, Indian, French, Greek, Spanish, Thai, Cantonese and Indonesian. Frankie and Benny’s, TGI Friday’s and Nandos are just some of the popular chains in the area and also cater for large groups.
Having been a long favoured party destination, Swansea’s restaurants are used to catering for big groups. Some of the best group-friendly restaurants include La Parrilla Restaurant Swansea, Quay Three and Bay View.
Places to stay
After a long day of drinking, partying and probably more drinking, it’s likely that you’ll want to find somewhere to rest your head, close by. Swansea is home to a large number of hotels, hostels and apartments, ideal for large groups. Plus, The Grand Hotel, which is conveniently located offers double rooms, meaning you can bunk up with your mates.
Swansea is built in a smashing location
Your guide to the ultimate stag weekend in this action-packed Welsh city
Down to earth, up for a laugh and good at getting real describes Swansea perfectly. It doesn’t have a pretentious grain on its long, lovely coastline but there’s nothing it loves more than a night out on the town – the wilder, the better.
Swansea at a glance:
• The second biggest city in Wales sits on Swansea Bay with five miles of sandy beaches and watersports galore • Close to the Gower Peninsula, action packed outdoor pursuits or gentler encounters with nature are right on your doorstep • Transforms into a true party city at weekends, as visitors flock from surrounding areas and further afield • Claims Hollywood A-lister Catherine Zeta Jones as one of its own and she’s always quick to sing the city’s praises • Fresh, local produce is the key ingredient in a flourishing foodie scene
Things not to miss:
One of the best things about Swansea’s fantastic combo of outdoor adventure and brilliant nightlife is how accessible it all is. Wherever you are in the city, you’re never far from a beautiful beach or a forest or a mountain and encouraging you to come and play outside whatever the weather or time of year is what they do round here. And the same can be said of Swansea’s less healthy pursuits. Any day of the week in the city centre somewhere is prepared to party if you are. And at the weekends? Basically all bets are off and Swansea becomes the world’s friendliest free-for-all.
WIND STREET – it’s all about the weekend and being wild Swansea’s famous party street is closed to cars on Friday and Saturday nights so it’s open season for bar-crawling and offers plenty of places to pick from. Colourful, loud, relentless – watching the crowds work Wind Street at the weekend is a night out in itself.
CASTLE SQUARE – made for lazy summer days and long evenings The heart of the city’s summer life, Castle Square is the other side of outdoors in Swansea. It’s not beachy or rugged but it’s the place to hire a deckchair and watch big screen movies on summer nights or catch one of the city’s spectacular live music gigs.
SA1 – making the most of the waterfront Swansea’s once notoriously gritty docks have been transformed over the past decade into a waterfront playground with all the right European elements and still enough of the city to keep it real. Favourite place for afternoon drinks and great views.
MUMBLES – cute, quaint and as cosy as Swansea gets Chic, elegant and sweetly quaint, Mumbles, which marks the beginning of the Gower Peninsula's coastline, is as idiosyncratic as its odd name. This is the place for specialist shops, interesting galleries, restaurants specialising in fresh, local Welsh ingredients and smart cafés for tea and cakes.
Swansea’s best bars:
Kon-Tiki, The Strand Tropical themed bar with a hint of Jamaica in there too, always packed and playing loud. Best for local DJs, reggae and R’n’B, out-there interiors and regular party nights with great drink offers. KonTikiSwansea
Prohibition Bar, Green Dragon Lane Like the names says, it’s the 1930s, so find Prohibition behind the ‘bookcase style’ door on Green Dragon Lane between Wind Street and The Strand. Best for speakeasy attitude and artisan cocktails.
Pitcher & Piano, Wind Street Big, squashy sofas and opulent décor plus a huge cocktail list to work through, Pitcher & Piano is a Wind Street classic. Best for huge outdoor seating area, expert mixologists (they give lessons) and a fantastic cocktail menu. pitcherandpiano.com
No Sign Wine Bar, Wind Street Wood panelling, open fires and lots of room to spread out, No Sign Wine Bar is a lot less studenty than some of Wind Street. Best for real ales and an excellent wine list, while The Vault downstairs is top notch for live music at the weekends. nosignwinebar.com
Bambu Beach Bar, Wind Street Ok, not on the beach, but big beach party attitude and has the grass-hut look nailed. Best for karaoke, private parties, a sweet sun terrace and fantastic cocktails. bambu-bar.co.uk
Idols, Wind Street Open from 5pm until late every night, with different daily drink offers and DJs Wednesday to Sunday. Best for party atmosphere, good prices and deals, lively crowd and late, late nights. idols-venues.co.uk/swansea/
Walkabout, Castle Square Live sports on lots of screen, loads of beer and a laid-back beachy attitude straight from Australia to the centre of Swansea. Best for cheap eats, cool beers, drinks deals and big, big, big TVs. Sporty stags will be in their element. walkaboutbars.co.uk/venues/swansea/
Yates, Caer Street Deals on everything from ‘vodkabombs’ to food, 10 plasma TVs and a giant screen for live sport, Saturday night specials for stags and more karaoke than you’ll ever need or want. Best for blow-out party, great prices and straight-up pub food. weareyates.co.uk/swansea/
The Pumphouse, Pumphouse Quay Right next to the Marina’s lock gates in the Maritime Quarter, The Pumphouse is the place for Wales’ national beer, Brains. Best for sitting outside and watching the water, Brains’ Welsh beer and good, sturdy pub grub. sabrain.com/pumphouse/
Swansea’s best nightclubs:
Monkey Bar, Castle Street Famous for burgers with weirdly wonderful toppings by day and monkeying about with the sounds at night. Best for funk, hip hop and R’n’B, resident and guest DJs and a lively, local crowd. MonkeyBarSwansea
Popworld, Wind Street Famously fabulous right down to the flashing dance floor, Popworld plays cheesy tunes from the early 90s to right now and doesn’t care about cool. Best for non-cool and amazing clubbing, a cheesy soundtrack and getting the party started with their ‘Poptail’ drinks’ menu. popworldswansea.co.uk
Revolution, Wind Street Sleek, stylish vodka bar with minimalist bench seating for groups, beer keg tables, big leather sofas and choice of two dance floors. Best for groups, vodka and lounging about in between dancing. revolution-bars.co.uk
Coco Bar, Salubrious Place Open until 3am, with local DJs, club anthems and classics, ridiculously cheap drink deals and really young, lively crowd. Best for £1 shorts, 2-4-1 cocktail offers and a big sound mix. cocobars.co.uk
Sin City, Dillwyn Street Live music venue with legendary club nights and lots of treats for people organising parties. Best for it great sound mix, new bands, different club nights and Sin City party treats. sincityclub.co.uk
Food: eat like a local:
Local, fresh and organic are big in Wales and if you want to see amazing home-produced ingredients at their best, you want Swansea Market. With over 100 stalls, it’s the biggest indoor market in the country and sells everything from delicious Gower Saltmarsh Lamb to laverbread, Penclawdd cockles and Welsh Black Beef. A firm favourite with local lass Catherine Zeta Jones, Patrick’s (Mumbles Road) uses only fresh, local produce on an innovative and contemporary menu. Not a cheap place to eat but the food is fantastic. Fans of the eat-all-you-can buffet should book ahead for Swansea legend Cosmo (Castle Street). Pan Asian and world cooking styles, live sushi, noodle and pizza stations and brilliant prices mean it is always busy. Choice of steaks cooked to perfection is Chaplin Steakhouse’s (Wind Street) signature. Named after the movie star and decorated with dozens of black and white photos in his honour. Truffle (Brynymor Road) is one of Swansea’s best loved local restaurants and keeps the menu simple and delicious with a fixed price for three courses. It’s BYOB and they don’t charge corkage, so book a party and bring a case. The city’s best breakfast is served at Uplands Diner (Uplands Crescent) and no competition. It’s also home to heart-attack special ‘Mega Beast’ – 10 rashers of bacon, 5 eggs, 8 sausages, 2 hash browns, 2 black pudding, 4 slices of toast...you get the idea. Eat an entire Mega Beast and you get it free with a t-shirt.
Swansea centre is easy to walk around and even going down to the waterfront at SA1 isn’t much more than a stroll. If you need a taxi there are several city centre ranks and the one on Castle Street and on the end of Wind Street are best for party people when it’s time to call it a night. One day ‘First Day’ bus passes are good value for getting around the city and to Mumbles – a cycle along the prom to Swansea’s cute little suburb is also good fun.
Did you know?
Swansea FC fans are known as Jacks after the dog who saved 27 people from drowning in the city’s docks.