Days Out in South Wales
Map of South Wales
South Wales is the region of Wales bordered by England and the Bristol Channel to the east and south, and Mid Wales and West Wales to the north and west. The most densely populated region in the southwest of the United Kingdom, it is home to around 2.2 million people. The region contains almost three-quarters of the population of Wales, including the capital city of Cardiff (population approximately 350,000), as well as Swansea and Newport, with populations approximately 240,000 and 150,000 respectively. The Brecon Beacons national park covers about a third of South Wales, containing Pen y Fan, the highest mountain south of Snowdonia.
The region is loosely defined, but it is generally considered to include the historic counties of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire, sometimes extending westwards to include Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. In the western extent, from Swansea westwards, local people would probably recognise that they lived in both south Wales and west Wales — there is considerable overlap in these somewhat artificial boundaries. Areas to the north of the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains are generally considered part of Mid Wales.
Cardiff is the capital and largest city in Wales and the eleventh-largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is the country’s chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for Wales. The unitary authority area’s mid-2011 population was estimated to be 346,100, while the population of the Larger Urban Zone was estimated at 861,400 in 2009. The Cardiff metropolitan area makes up over a third of the total population of Wales, with a mid-2011 population estimate of about 1,100,000 people. Cardiff is a significant tourist centre and the most popular visitor destination in Wales with 18.3 million visitors in 2010. In 2011, Cardiff was ranked sixth in the world in National Geographic’s alternative tourist destinations. Cardiff is also one of Wales’s six settlements with official city status, also including Bangor, Newport, St David’s, St Asaph and Swansea.