Swansea (pronounced: Swan-zee; Welsh: Abertawe) is a city on the beautiful Gower Peninsula — the United Kingdom's first designated "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty". With a population approaching 250,000, it is the second largest city in Wales and is known for its Blue Flag beaches and stunning coastal walks.
During medieval times, Swansea was a prosperous market town, later gaining a certain prominence as a spa resort. It was during the industrial revolution, however, that the city flourished and its population grew. The city is home to the world's first passenger railway service known as the Mumbles Train, which bumped and bounced along five miles of Swansea foreshore, linking the city centre with the suburb of Mumbles. Much of the city centre's architectural heritage was lost through wartime bombing. However, the abundance of parks, stunning coastal scenery, lovely water-side suburbs, a magnificent bay-side maritime quarter, varied cultural events, medieval castles and golden sandy beaches have preserved Swansea's place as a major tourist destination. Furthermore, according to a survey conducted by an international health magazine that considered, among other factors, a city's crime rate, life-style, environment, etc., Swansea was judged to be the most relaxed city in the UK, while two national surveys have ranked the city as the third friendliest place in the country with regard to customer service and the safest urban area in the UK. Citizens from Wales' second city are known as 'Swansea Jacks,' and the name 'Swansea' is derived from 'Sweyn's-ey,' the Scandinavian name for the original settlement.