Maritime Quarter

sights / Architecture

Lonely Planet review

WWII bombing flattened much of central Swansea, which was rebuilt as a rather soulless retail development in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. What little remains of Georgian and Victorian Swansea stretches from Wind St and York St to Somerset Pl and Cambrian Way in the Maritime Quarter ; this is the most attractive part of the city centre.

The area around the former docks to the southeast of the city centre was originally redeveloped as a residential area in the 1980s - low-rise red- and yellow-brick apartment blocks with blue-painted steel balconies, which are beginning to look a little tired now. The South Dock and the Tawe Basin (enclosed by a smaller version of Cardiff Bay's tidal barrage) are now busy marinas, surrounded by bars, restaurants and cafés, and the odd bit of public art - there's a seated statue of Dylan Thomas, while the old sailor with the bell nearby is the fictional Captain Cat from Thomas's play Under Milk Wood.

But the process of regeneration is still going on, with a big new commercial complex - the SA1 Waterfront development - on the far bank of the river, linked to the Maritime Quarter by the graceful swoop of the spectacular new Sail Bridge. When completed, the 26-storey Marina Tower will be the tallest building in the city.