Getting to Swansea, on the coast of South Wales, takes time. It's at least a short break commitment - not a day trip - but it's well worth it.
Swansea is the gateway to The Gower and some of Britain's most beautiful beaches and some of Wales most interesting prehistori sites. . It's also the hometown of Catherine Zeta Jones. And - take our word for it - the Mumbles Pier is where to find some of the best paper cones full of chips (French fries) on earth.
Besides the beach and pier, Swansea is home to the Wales National Waterfront Museum, a modern, slate and glass building, opened in 2005 and presenting 300 years of Welsh industrial history. And Oystermouth Castle overlooking Mumbles, a Norman castle nearly 1,000 years old, offers great views of Swansea Bay.
Use these information resources to compare travel alternatives and to plan your journey.
How to Get to Swansea
Great Western runs hourly direct trains from London Paddington Station to Swansea throughout the day. The trip takes about three hours and in winter 2019 their cheapest standard round trip fare was about £50 for off-peak services when purchased in advance as two single (one way) tickets. Be careful about booking trips that involve changing trains. Some of the journeys that include changing at Bristol Parkway station involve switching from a train to a bus.
UK Travel Tip - Finding the right combination of one-way tickets to arrive at the cheapest fare for a longer journey can be confusing and time consuming. You can spend a lot of time trying out different combinations. It's easier to let National Rail Enquiries do it for you with their cheapest fare finder. To get the best fare, be flexible about travel time and click the "All Day" button on the far right of the form.
National Express Coaches from London to Swansea take between 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 hours going and up to 7 hours returning (on a late bus). You can spend about £60 on a round trip but if you buy your tickets in advance and you are willing to leave about mid day in both directions, you could spend as little as £10.40 each way (as of February 2019). Cheap, non-refundable tickets, known as fun fares are available on a first come, first served basis to advance ticket buyers. The best way to find these bargain fares is to use the Cheap Fare Finder to discover the lowest prices and special offers. Buses travel between Victoria Coach Station in London and Swansea several times a day.
Bus tickets can be purchased online. There may be a booking fee from 50 pence to £2 depending upon the type of ticket you buy. Paper tickets, e-tickets that you print yourself and m-tickets for mobile phones are all available.
Swansea is 187 miles west of London via the M4 and A483 roads. It takes at least 3 hours 40 minutes to drive and, given the erratic traffic on the M4 (the main route to London from Heathrow), it can take a lot longer. Remember too that gasoline, called petrol in the UK, is sold by the liter (a little more than a quart) and the price is usually between $1.50 and $2 a quart
- Use the Automobile Association Route Planner to map a route with suggested stopovers and gasoline stations.
- Check Daily Petrol (Gasoline) Prices
If You Decide to Stay
Swansea is a small city with a university so at certain times of year - during special campus events, start and end of term - it can be hard to book a room. Swansea City Football Club plays in the Championship League and is popular with fans from all over Wales and Swansea Rugby Club is a Welsh rugby union team that plays in the Premiership. Plan well ahead if you are traveling during the sports seasons or when special campus events are occurring because rooms - and seats on trains and buses will be hard to get..