EXIST Skatepark, Swansea

I am now an expert on UK indoor skatepark exteriors, having taken my son Matt to nearly all the UK’s scruffy looking shacks.  The best one is in Warrington, the one in Stockport is genuinely terrifying but at least there’s good pubs nearby.

The discussion* about Swansea‘s revival tends to focus on the marina, but while Swansea may aim to be the Hull of Wales, it’s more of a Sunderland, which is fine. Bombs and redevelopment took out the historic centre, but the bay along to Mumbles is one of the best in the UK.

The big video screen and water fountains opposite the castle ruins aren’t a patch on Bradford, and don’t quite work. Awa Grill House, where we had cheap kebabs and couscous with other skater parents, certainly does work.  Better than anything in Wind Street.

The walk from the skatepark to the Spoons takes you past the big nightclubs and some fairly half-hearted street art.

Keeping it simple

We followed the Cask Marque inspector into the Potter’s Wheel (he had thermometers in his top pocket) but I resisted the temptation to ask him for an advance sponsor’s copy of the 2017 Good Beer Guide.

I’d have been interested to see what he made of the beer.  Incidentally, I noticed he was drinking his samples from pint glasses, proving what I’ve been saying for years.

This is an average Spoons, a few yards from the shopping centre and drawing what I think is called a mature clientele. Like many of the early 2000s Spoons, it’s a little worn.

I think that’s Pimms in Mrs RM’s glass

Resisting the Trooper, I invested my last Spoons voucher on an excellent cool pint of Blindmans Icarus (NBSS 3.5).  I can’t say I saw much real ale sold (Mrs RM stuck to Pimms), but it was good to end our Welsh trip on a high note.

And the west Welsh coast has been fantastic, even with overcast weather for a week.  Not the received wisdom I know, but the Welsh themselves are as friendly as you can hope.  The towns (one Spoons apart) were actually neat and tidy, and public transport notably cheap if often late.  Our all day Gower bus pass for four cost a fiver.

Snowdon gets easier to climb on each visit, but also colder. Cycling to pubs from your campsite is great, particularly when you’re able to change your bike chain for the first time ever. There you go Tom, I told you the Quiz question was easy.

A sample of 25 Beer Guide pubs found them more geared to drinking than the norm, and certainly with less dreadful modernisation.  Beer was largely good (NBSS 3) with a few pints exceptional.  Those were in the top 3 pubs;

On the downside, internet is appalling. They should get rid of those hills that block the signal.

* ok, it’s not an conversation you hear very often


  1. Thanks for the interesting posts about Swansea.

    Do you mind if I share one post on the Swansea CAMRA website with links to the others?

    Regarding Brains pubs, we have two pubs in the guide (off the top of my head), the vivan arms and the cockett inn. I think what you say is true. Many I meet at meetings take Brains for granted now or consider the standard range a bit boring. However it does not necessarily pan out in the nbss scores and the scorers are not just those who attend meetings.

    That said (and it is a contentious opinion and not one shared by many in the branch or other branches), Swansea may have too many entries in the guide, especially when you compare it to places like Cardiff and Bristol. But then again the guide is about the best pubs in that area and not necessarily between areas (AFAIK). Regional members are very protective of their GBG allocations.


    1. Please help yourself !

      I can’t judge relative beer quality of course, it’s just noticable how poorly family brewers pubs do these days in terms of Beer guide representation (apart from Stockport).
      Beer quality generally good in your patch.


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