Swansea is best known as the gateway to the Gower and some of Britain's most beautiful beaches. Less than 200 miles away from London and only 40 miles away from Cardiff, the nearby Welsh capital, Swansea is the second-largest city in Wales. But this is no big city, and Swansea has all the charm of a small, countryside town.
Driving is one of the best ways to get there, simply because you need a vehicle to fully explore all of the natural beauty around Swansea. However, driving comes with its own hassles as well, so you can take the train to cut down the travel time and not worry about parking or traffic. For the cheapest transport, the bus can take you from London for just a few pounds. It takes a little longer, but it's a great way to save some money.
|Train||2 hours, 45 minutes||from $25||Arriving on a time crunch|
|Bus||5 hours, 10 minutes||from $7||Traveling on a budget|
|Car||3 hours, 30 minutes||186 miles (300 kilometers)||Exploring the area|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get from London to Swansea?
With bus tickets from London to Swansea starting at only $7, it's without a doubt the most affordable way to get from city to city. It's also the longest method, taking over five hours of total travel time—about twice as long as the train. However, bus tickets are considerably less expensive than even the cheapest train tickets, and the difference in price is even more drastic if you're purchasing last-minute tickets.
Buses are provided by National Express, and you can catch the bus in London from Victoria Station with connections to the Circle, Victoria, and District lines of the Underground. In Swansea, the bus station is located in the center of the city and easily accessible on foot to the rest of the town.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From London to Swansea?
If you want to get to Swansea quickly, direct trains will get you there from London in under three hours. Trains are comfortable and the route is a scenic trip through the English and Welsh countryside, and the views alone are reason enough for many to splurge on the extra cost of a train ticket.
To get the best deals, look at schedules and book tickets through National Rail when train routes first open, which is about 12 weeks before the travel date. There are several daily options to Swansea and tickets with "Advance" pricing are the cheapest options, albeit the most inflexible. You have to catch the train that departs at the time you choose, which can be difficult to plan out weeks ahead. If you want a reservation that's more accommodating, choose "Anytime" or "Off-Peak" tickets—you'll pay an extra premium, but have more freedom to choose your departure time on the day of travel.
All trains to Wales leave from Paddington Station in London, with connections to the Bakerloo, District, Circle, and Hammersmith & City lines of the Underground. The Swansea Train Station is also centrally located and just a 10-minute walk from the city center.
How Long Does It Take to Drive?
If you have a vehicle, you can drive from London to Swansea in about three and a half hours, depending on traffic. Not only can traffic around London cause major delays, but you'll also pass through other major cities like Bristol and Cardiff where congestion may pick up. Once you get to Swansea, it's nearly impossible to park within the city center, so plan ahead to park farther out and leave your car there.
The biggest advantage of having a car is that many people visit Swansea in order to explore the nearby region called the Gower, one of the most beautiful coastlines in the entire U.K. To fully experience the Gower and access its most isolated places, you need your own vehicle to get around.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Swansea?
Like most parts of the U.K., the best time to visit Swansea is from May to September, when the weather is warm, the sun is out, and you're not likely to get rained on. Since most visitors are coming for the Gower and other nearby outdoor activities, a sunny day is important to get the most enjoyment out of your trip. The summer months are also the most crowded, but you can balance out good weather with fewer crowds by visiting in the shoulder months of May or September.
Swansea is also a university town, so if you're traveling during any major campus events—the start of term, sports events, etc.—book your transportation and accommodations early, because they're likely to fill up.
What Is There to Do in Swansea?
The biggest draw to Swansea is the Gower, the nearby peninsula that was recognized as the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the entire country by the British Parliament. A car is the best way to get around and explore the area's local beaches, rolling hills, and hiking trails. Mumbles Pier is a nearby viewpoint of the Swansea Bay and is also one of the best places to get a fresh cone of fish and chips. Besides the beach and pier, Swansea is home to the Wales National Waterfront Museum, a modern slate and glass building presenting 300 years of Welsh industrial history. Oystermouth Castle is a Norman castle nearly 1,000 years old, offering great views of Swansea Bay and the local area.