Saturday, 10 August 2013

LC2 and Oystermouth Castle

Below is my “Days Out” column from The Weekend supplement in the Saturday, August 10, 2013, issue of the South Wales Evening Post.
  




















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Days Out!

With Richard Thomas

...IF THE WEATHER'S BAD

The LC is Swansea’s premier leisure complex offering entertainment and adventure for the whole family. Waterpark tickets cost £7 per adult (£6 for Swansea Resident card holders) and £4 for 4-15 year olds, but children under 3 years old can swim for free. And if you pre-book on the LC website or by phoning 01792 466500 you can jump the queues!

Swimmers will need to bring a towel and swimming trunks/bather with them. And children who are not confident swimmers yet should wear arm bands. But if you don't have these there is no need to worry, goggles, swim wear, towels, arm bands and other pool accessories can all be bought from the LC Shop based in the main reception area. More information can be found on the LC website at www.thelcswansea.co.uk.



WHERE? The LC is situated on the main Oystermouth Road heading west into Swansea, located within the Maritime Quarter and adjacent to the National Waterfront Museum.



WHY? The LC is the most visited paid attraction in Wales and with so many different activities to choose from it’s easy to see why. You can make waves in their fantastic family-orientated waterpark that features an exciting network of pools, rides and slides, including the much loved wave pool! Or, if you prefer to stay dry, you can put your nerve to the test on the 30 foot climbing wall, the perfect place to experience the excitement and challenges of rock climbing! There’s also a sports hall where you can play games and a state-of-the-art fitness centre, as well as a luxurious spa to relax in, and even an interactive play area for the kids.



WHEN? The LC is open 9am to 8pm Monday to Sunday during the school summer holidays.



CONTACT? Phone: 01792 466500 or Email: enquires@the-lc.co.uk.



HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE? The waterpark is open Monday to Sunday between 9am and 8pm. Once you buy a ticket you can spend the whole day swimming, but don’t forget how long your parking ticket lasts for.



WHO WILL ENJOY IT? There is something for everyone at the waterpark. While adults relax on The Lazy River: a winding river that carries swimmers along the waves pool. Older children can try the waterpark’s own white knuckle roller-coaster style ride, the Masterblaster, that propels riders at high speed up step inclines and down great dips on a rubber ring. Perfect for younger children is the interactive pool fully equipped with mini slide, tipping buckets and fountains. There is also the aqua slide, the aqua tube, the wave pool, the whirlpool and the LC lagoon.



WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? Children should keep an eye out and you might spot Tommy the Turtle who loves splashing around in the waterpark. The LC also runs swimming lessons. Tommy's Tiddlers 1, 2 and 3 are for children up to 3 years and the LC Ducklings are for 3 to 4 years. These swimming lessons are designed to introduce your baby to the water and gradually build confidence and work on the basic swimming strokes. 



HOW TO GET THERE? For sat nav users the postcode is: SA1 3ST.



LUNCH? Food and drink are available in the LC Coffee Shop in the main reception. There is also the Poolside Bistro on the ground floor which offers spectator views of the waterpark and a wide menu of home-cooked family meals.


WHERE CAN I PARK? The LC has an on site car park and if you purchase an LC activity they will return 50% of your car parking costs. Parking costs £2 for a two hour stay and an extra pound for every hour after that for up to a five hour ticket.



ANYTHING ELSE IN THE AREA? Jam-packed with the latest interactive technology married with traditional displays, the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea offers visitors a unique and fully involved learning experience for the 21st century. The museum has more than 100 historical artefacts from Wales’ industrial past. Formerly the site of the Swansea Industrial & Maritime Museum, the new National Waterfront Museum was opened in October 2005. The museum building itself is a synthesis of contemporary architecture and Welsh history. The building eloquently combining a Grade II listed former dockside warehouse built in 1902 with a 21st century glass and slate structure, designed exactly a century later by Stirling Prize-winning architects Wilkinson Eyre. Admission is free but you might want to purchase some keepsakes in the museum’s gift shop, where the money you spend is gifted back to the museum. Visitors wishing to take photographs will be required to complete a Declaration Form available from the Information Desk, but this doesn't take long, so bring a camera with you. To find out more about exhibits etc. you can visit the National Waterfront Museum website at www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/swansea.



...IF THE WEATHER'S GOOD

Oystermouth Castle was built around 1100 by William de Londres and later rebuilt in the 13th century by the infamous de Breos family, after being burnt down by the Welsh twice. There is also a ghost story attached to the old battlement. Known as The White Lady of Oystermouth Castle the apparition of a woman dressed all in white has been experienced many times by visitors to the battlement. The White Lady is usually seen weeping, with the back of her dress ripped away and a series of bloody welts on her back. The woman then abruptly vanishes before confused onlookers can offer her any assistance. Reports of the woman in white go back centuries, leading some paranormal investigators to believe she might have died after being tortured on the medieval whipping post which still stands in the castle’s dungeon.

There is a small charge of £2.50 for adults and £1.50 for children over 5 for admission. Family tickets for four people are available for £6.50 and children under five visit for free. Remember to bring cash with you as there are no credit/debit card facilities on the castle site. Also wear suitable footwear for the uneven terrain. For more information visit www.oystermouthcastle.wordpress.com.



WHERE? Oystermouth Castle is located in a beautiful location on the hill in Mumbles overlooking Swansea Bay.



WHY? In recent years the battlement has been given a facelift and the castle hasn't looked better since the 14th century. A whole maze of rooms have been made safe and accessible for the public to see and explore. New features include ancient graffiti art from the 14th century, private staircases leading from vaults to previous banqueting halls and a 30 foot high glass bridge. The bridge, opened in 2011, allows access to the part of the castle called Alina's Chapel for the first time in hundreds of years. The chapel was added to the castle in the 14th century and marks the attraction’s highest medieval point. If visitors look close enough graffiti art from the 14th century can be spotted thanks to the improved view.



WHEN? The castle will be open daily between 11am and 5pm until 30 September. Last admissions are 30 minutes before closing.



CONTACT? Phone 01792 635075.



HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE? An hour is plenty of time to see the castle.



WHO WILL ENJOY IT? There's a variety of events and activities at Oystermouth Castle this weekend to keep the whole family entertained. Today the castle will be transported back in time with a special costumed battle re-enactment.



WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? There are plenty of activities to keep the children busy at the castle. Falconry, medieval cookery displays and live music are just some of the things organised.



HOW DO I GET THERE? Follow the A4067 into Mumbles and then turn right up Newton Road at the mini-roundabout by the White Rose. The castle is halfway up Newton Road on the right hand side. For sat nav users the castle’s postcode is SA3 5TA.



LUNCH? There are lots of nice places to eat nearby in Mumbles. For desert you can enjoy a  Joe’s ice cream near the sea front. The inside of the Mumbles parlour is adorned with photos of the ice cream parlour’s founder, Joe Cascarini, and there is also plenty of space, making it the perfect option for large families or groups. Visit www.joes-icecream.com.


WHERE CAN I PARK? There is very limited parking in Castle Avenue, so the best option is to use the pay and display car parks along the sea front.


ANYTHING ELSE IN THE AREA? Mumbles Pier offers visitors some of the most spectacular views of natural beauty in Wales. From The Pier Beach Hut Cafe you can see the breathtaking scenery of Mumbles Bay, Mumbles Lighthouse and Port Talbot. In the amusements arcade you can try your luck at the slot machines while the children play all the latest video games. There’s also ten pen bowling and an array of prizes to be won on the cranes. The bright and airy space has something for everyone. And before heading home be sure to check out Mumbles Lifeboat Station, the third busiest station in Wales, where a Tyne class lifeboat and a IB1 class lifeboat are operated. Visit www.mumbles-pier.co.uk.

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