Saturday, August 20, 2016

Swansea is the place to go with teenagers!

The end of the summer is approaching; my son is looking at school bags online as he left his on the TGV coming back from the UK (with ID card, carte jeune, crisps and a few clothes inside); I've been back at work for a week.

We went for two weeks to England and Wales, as usual, but did not do just usual things. For our trip to London, we visted the Bethal Green Museum of Childhood where I saw, to my joy, an owl just like my own "Sage".

Toy from Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood
Mine is a bit bigger than this one, and has a blue and green body in a material printed with feathers. He came from Heal's sale and the story goes that I was about 4 or 5 and could be seen staggering along with the owl almost as big as me, saying "Can I have this?". He had one wing a bit loose but that was quickly remedied with a sharp needle and cotton, and he's been in my room (chez parents) ever since. The museum is lovely, but the noise of screaming kids was phenomenal. Take ear plugs.

In Wales, we stayed in a lovely little bungalow in Bishopston near Mumbles. It also has a story. The owner, who lives next door, built it for his father-in-law about 7 years ago. He incorporated all the specifications required by the old man. Then, when it was all finished, and ready to roll, the father-in-law, an inveterate hoarder, couldn't face leaving his own home.

It had an amazing bathroom, with, most unusually for rented accommodation, a thousand pound's worth of free-standing bath on feet.

My youngest was the only one to get to try it because my mother decided she'd never be able to get out of it, and I preferred the shower. He found it was lovely to soak in after a good hour at Limitless, Swansea's trampoline park.
Limitless Trampoline Park, Swansea
This is a fabulous place for kids and adolescents, or indeed students who want to play a game of dodgeball or organise a bouncy party. The noise levels were pretty high, so my mother and I retired to Starbucks about 100m away for a cup of tea while my youngest got on with bouncing off his energy.

While we were at that end of Swansea, we visited the new engineering faculty and management school of Swansea University. It's been built on reclaimed land from the docks, and is enviably close to the beach, called the ("pied dans l'eau") Bay Campus.
View from Great Hall restaurant balcony

Swansea University Bay Campus view towards Mumbles
The town has two universities that are both expanding, and bringing much-needed investment into the area.

Another activity that we did, that was eminently suitable for teenagers, was FootGolf, along the Mumbles Road. By that time, my brother and family (two ado girls) had arrived, and this was one of the activities that we could all enjoy. My mother kept score, and I distinguished myself not one bit as an ace footie player. 

I remember the greens, sandwiched between the promenade and main road, as a 'pitch 'n' putt' where my brother loved to thrash me and got very annoyed when I didn't take it seriously, which of course made me all the keener to be silly. The new owners have enlarged the holes and bought a bunch of footballs, and created a very entertaining activity that even I enjoyed without being too much of an idiot. I had to cheat on the odd occasion of course, but I enjoyed trying to kick the ball more than hitting it with a stick. No one will be wanting to sign me up for their team any time soon though...

My youngest wanted another go at shooting innocent targets, so we went back to Perriswood where he shot the hell out of a range of metallic creatures and printed baddies.
Rifle range with life-size targets
Airsoft range
Mother and I, on the other hand, were enjoying meeting Alice the lazy Eagle Owl, and Dave the dim Peregrine falcon as Perriswood is, primarily, a falconry centre where they do displays and rear rapaces. It also has lovely views over Oxwich Bay.
Oxwich Bay from Perriswood

So a good time was had by all, and we even had good weather! Next up, hopefully, our visit to the Tin Works Museum at Aberdulais, and cruise on Copper Jack up the River Tawe.


  1. Love all these ideas. I've heard of FootGolf before - sounds great fun. That uni looks fantastic too: what a location!

    1. If I were a student interested in engineering, I'd definitely have Swansea on my list! It's brand new and all state of the art, AND on the beach! :)


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