Below is my “Days Out” column from The Weekend supplement in the Saturday, November 14, 2013, issue of the South Wales Evening Post.
With Richard Thomas
...IF THE WEATHER'S GOOD
This weekend Swansea’s award-winning Waterfront Winterland returns with all the magic of the festive season right in the heart of the city.
Lighting up the skyline this year is the amazing Sky Ride along with some brand new festive funfair rides. Ice skating is still top of the bill with two fantastic outdoor ice rinks – the Admiral Rink and a children’s rink, plus Santa’s Grotto and an indoor café – all the ingredients for a perfect day out!
For more information visit: www.swanseachristmas.com.
WHERE? Waterfront Winterland is located in Museum Park, Swansea, just outside the LC and Swansea Museum.
WHY? With two ice rinks, a festive funfair, stalls, hot food and the Sky Ride, it’s fantastic fun for the festive season. The Wave radio station has a studio at Waterfront Winterland, which you can listen to on 96.4FM.
WHEN TO GO? Until January 5 Waterfront Winterland will be open every day except Christmas Day.
CONTACT? Tickets for ice skating can be booked online (http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/info/waterfront_winterland.asp) or you can ring Swansea Tourist Information Centre on 01792 637300. Tickets and gift vouchers can also be bought in person from the Skate House at Waterfront Winterland or from the Tourist Information Centre on Plymouth Street, just opposite the bus station.
HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE? With so many great rides to try out at the funfair, plus the ice skating rinks, you’ll want to stay until closing. Waterfront Winterland is currently open 10am to 10pm on Saturday and Sunday, and 12pm to 10pm Monday to Friday.
WHO WILL ENJOY IT? The whole family will enjoy the brand new Sky Ride replacing the Big Wheel this year. Visitors can also hover 60m above the ground in this spectacular chair ride and there is also a penguin children’s ride too.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? Kids will love the funfair where they can enjoy the Sky Ride, Carouse, Snow Storm, Fun House, Children’s rides, Simulator and Game Stalls. Funfair tokens cost £1.50 each, but some rides require more than 1 token to do.
HOW DO I GET THERE? Waterfront Winterland takes place in the grounds of the National Waterfront Museum, which is right next to Swansea Museum and The LC. For sat-nav users the full address is: Waterfront Winterland, Museum Park, Oystermouth Road, Swansea, SA1 3RD.
WHERE CAN I PARK? St David’s car park is a long-stay, pay-on-foot facility just 1 minute away from the Winter Wonderland site.
LUNCH? There is an indoor café selling hot drinks and food to help stay warm.
ANYTHING ELSE IN THE AREA? Nearby is the Quadrant shopping complex, where you can do some Christmas shopping.
...IF THE WEATHER'S BAD
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.
WHERE? The National Waterfront Museum at Swansea is located in Swansea's Maritime Quarter, and less than half a mile from the city centre.
WHY? The National Waterfront Museum at Swansea tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales, now and over the last 300 years. The museum uses a collage of real life artefacts, archive footage and photographs, 2-D graphic panels, video diaries and various and often ingenious interactive computer displays, to bring Wales’ industrial and social history vividly to life for visitors. One of the most memorable exhibits is a detailed scale model of the 1865 steam ship Zeta, after which Swansea-born Hollywood actress Catherine Zeta Jones was named. There’s also a replica of the world's first steam locomotive, built by British inventor Richard Trevithick, which made its first journey along the tramway of the Penydarren Ironworks, near Merthyr Tydfil in 1804.
WHEN? The museum is open from 10am to 5pm daily.
CONTACT: Phone 01792 638950.
HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE? An hour is enough time to see most the exhibits but you can spend as much time as you like.
WHO WILL ENJOY IT? About 230,000 people a year visit the National Waterfront Museum. Key customer groups include families, tourists, adults and young people.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? The events programme is stacked with interactive workshops, themed fun days, film screenings and arts and crafts, so there is something for visitors of all ages and interests. Many of these activities are free but there is a small charge for some.
HOW TO GET THERE? For sat-nav users the address and postcode is: National Waterfront Museum, Oystermouth Road, Maritime Quarter, Swansea, SA1 3RD.
WHERE CAN I PARK? A pay and display car park is situated just a short walk away from the Museum on Oystermouth Road. For sat nav users the postcode is SA1 3RD.
LUNCH? The Marina has several shops, cafes and restaurants. The Grape and Olive can be found on the 28th floor of the Meridian Tower by Swansea Marina. For sat nav users the postcode is SA1 1JW. Go to www.grapeandolive.co.uk or phone 01792 462617.
ANYTHING ELSE IN THE AREA? The Tower is located in the heart of the Marina and only 50 metres from the promenade that borders the bay from the Marina to Mumbles Pier.