The birthplace of poet Dylan Thomas (1914–53), Swansea adores its native son. Citywide celebrations in 2014 marked a century since his birth, and every year the poet is honored with his own festival in October and November. But Swansea no longer seems like a place that would inspire poetry. Heavily bombed in World War II, it was clumsily rebuilt. Today it merits a stop primarily for a couple of good museums. However,
the surrounding countryside tells a different story. The National Botanic Gardens and Neath Abbey make for interesting diversions, and the stunning Gower Peninsula contains some of the region's best beaches.