If Swansea is on your list of potential university places, or you’ve already got a place on your course and set your heart to study in this vibrant city-by-the-sea, you’ll want to find out a bit more about what this exciting and beautiful coastal town has to offer.
With just over a hundred years as a university city, Swansea has a large and established student culture with over 24,000 students making it their home while studying. When you come here it’s easy to see why – with (when COVID allows) a vibrant nightlife and cafe culture, art galleries, museums and a busy music scene. It also has the world-famous Gower Peninsular on its doorstep, with award-winning beaches, rolling countryside, outdoor pursuit opportunities and surf-culture. So, however you like spending time when you’re out of the lecture theatre and away from your books, Swansea has something to offer you.
Here’s some of Swansea’s top student areas for affordable renting…
The heart of the action: City Centre – SA1
This is where you’ll find the heart of the action with a brilliant variety of restaurants, shops and bars all in one place. The City Centre contains the famous Wind Street, featuring some well-known chain bars such as Peppermint, Slug and Lettuce and Pitcher & Piano, along with your favourite, familiar restaurants like TGI Fridays, Nandos and Las Iguanas. There are also some great independent pubs and cafes, which are well worthy of your patronage.
At the top of Wind Street, in the shadow of the ruins of the Norman castle, Castle Square Gardens hosts events during the summer months, and its giant TV screen often shows sporting and other major events.
A short walk from here is the Maritime Quarter where you will find art galleries, bars, restaurants, and museums, as well as the sea-front promenade – a quick and easy route to walk, run, or cycle into campus.
LOCAL TIP: If you’re looking to sample some genuine Welsh culture and cuisine, pop into Swansea’s world-famous indoor market where you can (if brave enough) try the local delicacy of cockles and laverbread, as well as some of the best Welsh cakes you’re ever likely to find – our advice is to get them when they’re still warm from the Davies of Mumbles stall.
MONEY SAVER: You can also snap up some great student deals in lots of the stores in the high streets – so it’s always wise to ask if they do a discount whenever you shop, eat or drink.
The cool bit: Uplands
Just a mile away from the city centre, Uplands is said to be one of the best nightlife areas of Swansea, with a selection of cool and quirky bars offering a superb night out for any student. Some favourite bars and restaurants include the Uplands Tavern, where they offer regular live music events (in non-COVID times) from many of the city’s top bands; the almost-too-cool Noah’s Yard; BrewStone; and Verve 37 Uplands – which used to be the home of Wales’ most famous poet (and drinker), Dylan Thomas – just in case you’re looking for some added culture to impress your relatives with.
LOCAL TIP: Uplands also has a couple of supermarkets, as well as student-friendly diners and take-aways that allow you to top-up on supplies and continue to serve food well into the evening – handy for late-night snacks and a post-pub feed. The Uplands Diner is particularly handy when you need (and can manage) an enormous hangover-curing fry-up the morning after!
Close to the Uni: Brynmill
Historically the student area of the city, Brynmill is located two miles to the west of the city and is close to the university, Singleton Park, and the beach. Cricket and rugby fans have the famous St Helens’ ground on their doorstep, whilst the waterfront promenade offers some seriously awesome views. The Brynmill and Singleton Parks are perfect for lazy summer picnics, or a game of footy or frisbee, and they practically join up with the main Singleton campus making them easy to nip to on your way to or from lectures.
Cwtched (as we say in Wales) between the city, sea, and botanical gardens, this neighbourhood is perfect for those looking for the beach lifestyle and a bit of space.
LOCAL TIP: Pick up a morning coffee at the Brynmill Coffee House before heading out for a walk in the sand – but don’t get caught out by the tide as it moves extremely quickly.
For the arty crowd: Mount Pleasant
Within easy walking distance from the city centre (literally 2 mins), Mount Pleasant is a popular living area for students, particularly from University of Wales Trinity Saint David as their Swansea campus is located here. This area has long ties with the Swansea School of Art, which has always been located in the area, in close proximity to Swansea’s largest and oldest art gallery – the Glyn Vivian.
LOCAL TIP: The location offers some attractive and affordable accommodation options for students, while being able to take advantage of the City Centre’s attractions such as restaurants, shops and bars thanks to it being so close to the centre.
For the more intrepid, outdoorsy types
Like we’ve mentioned, all of these student areas are a short drive, cycle or bus ride from some of the best beaches and panoramic views Wales has to offer. The seafront runs all the way to Mumbles – a large village with copious opportunities to eat, drink and make merry. On the way here you’ll pass the beachfront lido at Blackpill and the stunning Clyne Park – both excellent locations to sun yourself in the warmer weather. Beyond Mumbles lies the jewel in Swansea’s crown – The Gower Peninsular – Britain’s first ever Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Craggy coves, wide sandy beaches, foam-flecked surf, countryside walks, and a proposed mountain bike trail are all some of the reasons this area is a mecca for lovers of the outdoors.
LOCAL TIP: In the warmer months, you can get a boat ride around large sections of the coast with Gower Coast Adventures, try out bushcraft courses with Dryad Bushcraft, and learn all about the area’s history and natural history with a guided walk from Gower Unearthed. Just be careful to treat this valuable and delicate ecosystem with care and respect, though it attracts large numbers of visitors, the infrastructure is limited – with few bins, so make sure you take your rubbish home with you.
Well, we hope you enjoyed this brief tour around the city and its surrounding area. There’s lots more to discover when you get here, and here at StudentDigz, we’re always on hand to help you find your perfect location and give you advice about where to go and what to see.
To find the best student accommodation in Swansea, take a look at our amazing list of house-shares, flats and more by using our search tool. Happy house-hunting!