The Dylan Thomas Experience

Dylan’s Literary Pub Crawl can include walks around the pubs of Swansea, Uplands and Mumbles – here is an example of one of our walks.

“To Begin at the beginning”.

A walk in the footsteps of the great writer, to sample ales, fine wines and spirits in the pubs he used to frequent. A journey back to a time when Swansea, was his Ugly Lovely Town.

‘The Queens Hotel’ is situated on the corner of Burrows Place and Cambrian Place, a building of outstanding character, surrounded by Edwardian Houses that were once the dwellings and offices of wealthy ship owners. In bygone times this pub would have been full of seamen from all corners of the world, a time when its docks made Swansea the second busiest port in the UK after Liverpool, and where Dylan certainly drank during his time at the South Wales Evening Post.

The walls of the pub are adorned with some of the most incredible old original maritime photographs of life as it once was in the port of Swansea . A CAMRA nominated pub for its real ales and draught beers the Queens Hotel, guarantees a warm welcome and is a must for all lovers of a traditional pub.

From the Queens, we walk past the old Swansea Museum, a building which contains a wonderful collection of Swansea Pottery and an amazing Egyptian room. On our left hand side we can see the magnificent new Waterfront Museum, built on the site that once would have been the Swansea Victoria Railway Station on the London Midland Scottish (L.M.S) line.

We cross Oystermouth Road and pass the site where once the Mumbles Railway trams were stationed (Rutland Street) now, like the railway itself (the first passenger railway in the world), sadly gone forever.

A short walk towards the city along Princess way, and we pass ‘Salubrious Passage’ nicknamed ‘Paradise Alley’ by Dylan for dubious reasons!

Our next stop is ‘The Cross Keys’, Swansea’s oldest pub. The ‘Keys’, was built as a hospital for the original St Mary’s church and priory, some time during the 12th Century and over the years has been extensively excavated for artefacts whenever there has been alterations to the pub and the surrounding area.

Inside, the lower level restaurant area is what remains of the original pub. With its black oak beams and age old atmosphere the Cross Keys is a great place to enjoy good pub food and fine ales. Recently the pub added an outdoor garden area and the new Osprey’s Lounge.

We leave the Cross Key’s in St Mary’s Street and turn right down ‘Wind Street’, for the very short walk to ‘The No Sign Bar’, a real old Swansea establishment ( first mentioned in a document dated 1690 AD). Frequented by Dylan, and mentioned in his short story ‘The Followers’, as ‘The Wine Vaults’. The No Sign Bar, until recently only sold Wines, Port and spirits. It is still a centre for fine wines and each year on the third Thursday of November becomes the centre of Swansea’s ‘Beaujolais Day’ celebrations to celebrate the importing of the new Beaujolais wine to our region.

‘The No Sign Bar’, was the first site of Swansea’s Chamber of Commerce and was one of the first recorded libraries in Swansea.

Offering excellent food and drink, whilst once again treading in the footsteps of Dylan, makes this a truly memorable place to visit.

On leaving ‘The No Sign Bar’, we cross the road and take a short walk to ‘The Adelphi’, with its upstairs bar ‘Marciano’s’, the bar that was named after the great American, World Champion boxer whom it is claimed had his first ‘knock out’, in a bar brawl at the Adelphi while stationed in Swansea during the Second World War. Apparently two Australian sailors picked on him??

During the late 1960s The Adelphi was the centre of progressive folk music in Swansea and many of the performers went on to become well known musicians with the likes of Gordon Lightfoot and John Mayall being amongst the more famous names. Today the pub continues in much the same way promoting local singers, musicians and bands, this gives the Adelphi a great and lively atmosphere that make it still a traditional pub and a special place in the Heart of the City.

“To end at the end….hic”

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