Archive for the ‘Dragon Posts’ Category

Beaches in Swansea – Pwll Du Bay

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Pwll Du Bay Swansea

Here at the Dragon Hotel we love spending the day at the beach. The sand between our toes, panoramic views, and maybe a quick paddle in the sea if it’s warm enough; so we thought we’d share our seaside passion with a series of beach reviews.

Have you read our previous post about Limeslade Bay? Well, here we introduce the second bay in our beach series – Pwll Du Bay.

About Pwll Du Bay

Although Pwll Du translates as ‘Black Pool’, this beach is nothing like the illuminated resort of the north. Pwll Du is a secluded and sheltered bay that is peaceful and unspoilt. It is picturesque and the perfect location for a romantic picnic or bird watching.

Located on the Gower Peninsula, there are uninterrupted views out across the bay, and with sheltered coves this a safe and protected spot. Pwll Du is a popular stop for ramblers who enjoy a walk along the beautiful Welsh coastline. And it’s easy to see why, this is wild Wales at its most scenic.

Facilities

Due to its remoteness there are no facilities at the bay. The nearest car parks and toilets can be found at Bishopston, Pennard and Caswell. There is also no wheelchair access or lifeguard on duty. This is the price you must pay for peace and tranquillity. Dogs are allowed at any time of year though.

How to Get There

Access to the beach must be taken by foot. It can be reached either by Brandy Cove which is around 20 minutes away, through Pennard or Bishopston Valley, which are both an hours’ walk.

In order to reach these paths you can follow the coastal road west from Swansea, through the Mumbles to Bishopston where you can park your car. Or bus number 14 can be taken Monday to Saturday, from Swansea city centre, to Kittle where the path starts. If you wish to visit on Sunday look out for the 114.

Pwll Du Bay is inaccessible by train. The nearest station is in Swansea city centre.

Pwll Du Bay Accommodation

Does Pwll Du Bay sound like a rural dream to you? Then it may be worth a visit during your stay in Swansea.

Construction in this area would spoil the countryside and the remote appeal of the place. Therefore accommodation is set back a bit from the bay. The Dragon Hotel is only 20 minutes away and therefore is a brilliant location if you wish to explore Pwll Du one day, and the city centre the next.

And if the sea is too cold for a swim, we have an 18 metre heated indoor swimming pool for when you get back. So get your goggles ready!

The Dragon Bids Adieu to Some Old Friends

Friday, July 18th, 2014

For those of you who follow our blog posts you’ll know that here at The Dragon Hotel we believe in the old maxim work hard, play hard.

Well, we were presented with such an excuse recently, with not one… not two… but three of our senior staff members leaving. To put together a memorable (hopefully for the right reasons), we deployed the party planning force that is the Williams Siblings.

From Inspector Gadget to Wham! and everything in between, Jaidon once again transformed the Pembrey Suite and took us all back in time for the 70s and 80s themed party, complete with creative bowls made out of old vinyl records.

As the photos might suggest, the creativity did not stop with the room decoration, there were costumes galore. The ever-creative Jaidon channelled his inner Kylier and managed three costume changes!

dragon

As usual, our Culinary team had prepared a fitting buffet (complete with vol-au-vents and cheese & pineapple on sticks!) and we welcomed DJ extraordinaire Steve to provide the excellent music. A raffle was pulled, with the top prizes of two pairs of tickets to the Kings of Leon concert at the Liberty Stadium being won by Birthday Girl Tanisha and DJ Steve – could there have been a better draw?!

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night!

There was, of course a slightly sombre element to the evening as we prepared to say good bye to Chefs Steve and Kevin and Restaurant Manager Justin.

With over 30 years of service at the hotel between them, it was lovely to welcome some ex staff members back to help us give them a good send off.

We also must thank their families for lending us some wonderful photos of them in years gone by so that we could truly mark the occasion. It is with a heavy heart that I see the three leave The Dragon family and I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing them all the very best for the future.

4 Gym Techniques to Improve Your Golf Swing

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Ravielli swing

Every golfer wants better technique. Every golfer wants to improve their swing.

But golf is a game of strength and suppleness as it is skill. Want to perfect your golf swing?

You could do so before you next step foot onto the golf course. You just need to get down the gym.

Here are 4 gym techniques to improve your game:

Medicinal Dumbbell Chest Press

What it does

The dumbbell chest press is perfect for working your triceps, chest muscles and shoulders – giving you more swing power at the tees. Although many choose to press off a stationary bench, doing so off a medicinal ball will also improve your balance and increase flexibility.

How to do it

Lie on your back with a dumbbell in each hand, your elbows at 90 degrees and the dumbbell over your elbows. Push the weights up to extend your arms but don’t lock your elbows and then bring them back down.

Aim for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Standing Twists

What it does

While performing chest presses is essential for building your front, if you’re not doing equal work to your back muscles, you could develop an imbalance and make your swing overtly tight. Standing twists strengthen your trapezius, rhomboid muscles and other core muscles around the neck and upper back.

How to do it

Stand loosely with a bar behind your neck and your hands securely holding the bar down. Keep your feet no wider than your shoulders.

Rotate your upper body and shoulders 90 degrees from one side to the while keeping your pelvis stationary, staring straight ahead and remaining at the 90 degree position for a moment. It’s can also very helpful to do this exercise before a round of golf to warm up those essential muscles.

Single-leg Leg Press

What it does

Great golfing technique doesn’t begin and end with the arms. One of the best ways to improve lower body strength and the control and stability in your lower limbs is through leg presses. These exercises really give your glutes and quads a big boost and improve your chances of developing a flexible, powerful rotation when swinging. And the best way to make both of your legs as strong as possible is to work them both separately.

How to do it

Sit on a leg press machine and put both of your feet on the leg press platform while gripping the hand attachments on the side of the machine. Then take one leg off the press and place fully on the floor.

Begin the lift – bend the knee until you reach a 90 degree angle and then push through your heel to full extension.

Rotating Dumbbell Row golf swing logo

What it does

Getting more power from a drive is very important, but it’s useless without the right control. If you can’t control your technique in the final moments of a swing then you’ll find yourself making more mistakes, affecting your confidence.

Because your abdomen and thorax should be moving before your hands do, you need strength and control in that area. This rotating dumbbell row is a great gym exercise to give greater control.

How to do it

Stand with two dumbbells with your knees slightly bent and your legs at shoulder width apart. Then bend forward at your waist to let them sit in front of your thighs. Then bring your arms up and down conversely toward your rib cage

Looking for picturesque places to test your swing?

South Wales is bursting with some of Britain’s most scenic, diverse and challenging golf courses. To build a brilliant golf break to suit you and your party, speak to golf specialists at The Dragon Hotel today.

For exclusive rates and flexible golf breaks, call 01792 657140, or take a look at our golf packages today.

How to Enjoy the Definitive Swansea Dylan Thomas Experience

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Dylan Thomas is without doubt one of Swansea’s, and Britain’s, greatest exports. The poet, most famous for his seminal play Under Milk Wood, grew up in our “ugly, lovely” city (his words, not ours!) and wrote most of his work here.

This year in Swansea, there’s plenty going on to celebrate the centenary of Thomas’ birth – we’ve already had Elijah Wood staying with us at The Dragon Hotel filming the 2014 movie Set Fire to the Stars.

Here’s where you need to go, and what you need to see, to get the quintessential Dylan Thomas experience in Swansea:

Visit 5 Cwmdonkin Drive

Dylan Thomas plaque

Where better to start than where Dylan Thomas was born?

Today Thomas’ house has been completely restored to how it appeared back in his day – including the tiny box bedroom where he wrote the bulk of his work.

In the suburb of Uplands, just a few minutes’ walk from the centre of Swansea, sits 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, the modest semi-detached house where the poet grew up and lived until he was 23.

You can tour 5 Cwmdonkin Drive today – visit its dedicated website today.

Eat at the Kardomah Café and Restaurant

In the 1930s, when Thomas was growing up in Swansea, the Kardomah was one of the young poet’s favourite haunts. He would join the poets Charles Fisher and Vernon Watkins, as well as the composer Daniel Jones, artist Alfred Janes and other bohemian members of the so-called ‘Kardomah Gang’, to talk politics, art, religion and science deep into the night.

The Kardomah was destroyed during the Blitz of 1941 (Thomas’ play Return Journey to Swansea emotionally describes the café being “razed to the snow” when he visited the site) but a new Kardomah emerged a few years later.

Today, it’s one of Swansea’s best cafes and still retains the arty, bohemian ethos that so endeared it to Thomas and the rest of the influential Kardomah Gang.

Drink at the No Sign Bar

Established in 1690, and with wine cellars that were used in the 15th century, the No Sign Bar is Swansea’s oldest pub.

The Kardomah Gang often strayed from their beloved coffee shop to drink something slightly harder, and became somewhat infamous for their drunken antics after enjoying one too many. The No Sign Bar was also a favourite with Thomas and his journalist friends when he was trying to make a name for himself on the local newspaper.

These days, the No Sign

Learn more at the Dylan Thomas Centre

The dedicated Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea’s Maritime Quarter is a gret place to go if you’re looking to learn more about Wales’ greatest poet, or even just to see some interesting curios from his life.

Here, you can see the writing shed where Thomas wrote Under Milk Wood, read previously-unseen manuscripts and scripts, listen to audio recordings, look at personal images and enjoy a range of literary events.

Dylan Thomas' shed where he wrote Under Milk Wood

 

There are also experts on hand to answer questions and debunk any myths about the poet.

Looking for the quintessential Dylan Thomas experience in Swansea?

Join us at The Dragon Hotel. We’re celebrating Thomas’ centenary with a very special offer that allows you to explore Dylan’s Swansea. For just £125 per room you can enjoy:

  • 1 night B&B for 2 people
  • Elevenses for 2 at the Kardomah Café and Restaurant
  • A free glass of wine or beer for 2 at The No Sign Wine Bar
  • A Dylan Thomas Trail Booklet

To book, quote the promo code DYLAN when you call our reservations team on 01792 657100.

(Images: Stuart Mudie, John Levin under CC BY-SA 2.0)

July 4th: Your Essential Guide to Independents Day in Swansea

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Did you know that this Friday (4th July) is Independents Day?

Indie

Across the UK, thousands of independent shops, cafes, restaurants and small businesses will be enjoying their spot in the limelight.

Now in its 4th year, Independents Day aims to celebrate the wide variety of personal products and services found in independent businesses and encourage shoppers to invade town centres and spend their money away from national brands.

And there’s plenty to be found during Independents Day in Swansea.

WHAT’S ON DURING INDEPENDENTS DAY IN SWANSEA?

This Independents Day will see over 250 independent traders in the city joining in the initiative.

Pubs, restaurants, shops, hairdressers and beauty salons will be providing a range of competitions, special products, discounts and initiatives throughout the day.

And, in combination with the Big Heart of Swansea campaign, which aims to bring more shoppers into Swansea City Centre, Independents Day will promote the Swansea City Centre Loyalty Card.

The exclusive card offers a range of discounts and incentives for over 100 businesses in the city centre.

What’s more, to celebrate this event, free parking will be available in Swansea’s NCP parks in The Kingsway, Orchard Street and Salubrious Place between 10AM and 4PM.

Join us this Independents Day

If you’re heading down to Swansea City Centre to celebrate independents Day, why not pop in and say hello?

Our lunchtime d’hôte menu is the perfect upmarket lunchtime dining option, or you could pop to The Lounge to enjoy speciality coffees and afternoon tea.

The Creative Bubble Summer Stage comes to Swansea

Friday, June 20th, 2014

This Saturday will see the launch of a new exciting City Centre entertainment project.

the-big-heart-of-swansea

Swansea BID/Big Heart of Swansea has teamed up with the Creative Bubble team from UWTSD and Santander to create a new performance area in Swansea City Centre.

The Santander Stage will be at Portland Street every Saturday 12:00pm – 1:30pm until September 6th.

The event will be showcasing singers, poets, actors, comedian and musicians of any age who will be entertaining visitors and shoppers in the City Centre.

This is all part of The Big Heart of Swansea – an initiative to encourage people to shop locally and use the city’s great services.

Come in to the city centre and enjoy the FREE entertainment! We’ll see you down there!

(Image: Big Heart of Swansea)

Get Fit and Have Fun With Tara Hammett!

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Are you looking to keep fit, enjoy the sunshine and get your beach body ready for the summer?

Of course you are.

The Dragon’s very own health guru Tara Hammett has started her own podcast with Swansea’s favourite independent radio station The Wave

In the podcasts, she covers all sorts of fitness issues with The Wave’s new health-freak breakfast DJ Badger to help you get fit – and enjoy yourself along the way. Some of the things she discusses include:

  • How to lose weight and have fun while you’re doing it
  • How to tell when packaging says food is healthy but it really isn’t
  • How to find time to exercise, even when work’s really busy
  • How to plan a healthy, good value weekly shop
  • How to look great for the summer
  • And much more!

You can download the fitness podcasts on iTunes, at the Google store, or on The Wave’s website today.

Alternatively, you can meet Tara in person by joining our health club where she’s our esteemed, motivational personal trainer. See you down the front!

Could You Enter the Mumbles Raft Race 2014?

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

race

If you’ll be in Swansea this summer, grab your swimsuit and start thinking about fancy dress themes. The RNLI Mumbles Lifeboat Crew Fun Raft Race is back for another year and you can get involved!

What is the Fun Raft Race?

The RNLI Mumbles Lifeboat Crew Fun Raft Race is a great day out for all, whether you take part or just watch from the side lines. Competitors build their own rafts and get dressed up in silly costumes to battle it out and raise money for a good cause.

The race is now in its 29th year, and is organised each summer to raise money for the Mumbles Lifeboat Station that has stood as an essential part of the community since 1863. Competitors must paddle along a one mile stretch between Norton and Knab Rock, and come in first to claim the prize of 2014 champion.

All funds raised will go to the lifeboat station that rescues more people than any other station in Wales. A volunteer led organisation, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) provide 24-hour search and rescue across the UK from their 236 lifeboat stations.

The RNLI also has over 1,000 lifeguards on 180 beaches across the country, making fun at the beach safer for everyone. As a volunteer charity service the RNLI relies on public donations to fund its rescue service, and this is why the raft race is held every year (plus its loads of fun).

The Best of Last Year’s Race

The 28th RNLI Mumbles Lifeboat Crew Fun Raft Race in 2013 was a roaring success after the 2012 event was sadly cancelled due to bad weather. 47 rafts battled it out along the famous course, some made it across the line but many sank.

Here is a round-up of our favourite teams from last year. Could you take inspiration from these teams for this year’s race?

 

1. Swans Football

These creative fellows got arty with balloons, masks and a giant swan costume for a local football themed raft.

swan

2. Hawaiian Fever

Then there were the Linden Tree girls who went all exotic and dressed up as Hawaiian hula girls.

hoola

3. Titanic 2013

Then there was this clever boat building by Alberto Culver’s Titanic team.

titanic

4. Watering the Plants

We’re not quite sure what this team was supposed to be but we can see Scooby Doo in there. We wonder if everyone fell off into the water by the end.

sink

When and Where

This year’s raft race will be held on 10th August 2014 and will start at 5:30pm. If you would like to get involved contact Tony Bowen at the boathouse on 01792 361268 or email themumblesraftrace@gmail.com.

 

(All photos courtesy of RNLI Mumbles Lifeboat Crew Fun Raft Race’s Facebook)

How to Make Your Own Chic Hen Party Invitations

Monday, June 9th, 2014

invite

 

When you’re head hen or Maid of Honour, organising a bachelorette party on a budget can seem a little daunting. But once you get started you’ll realise it’s easier than you think. With an affordable night’s stay at the Dragon Hotel you can have a fun night out in Swansea for less and if you hand make the invites and decorations you’re sure to come in bang on budget.

And to help you out in your craft quest, we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite hen party invitation ideas.

How to Make Hen Party Invitations

HEN Do

The easiest invitation theme is to run with the ‘hen’ idea. Print a greyscale picture of a chicken onto white card along with ‘NAME‘s Hen do!’. Fold in half and hand write all the need to know info inside. These invites will cost mere pennies to make and they look quite classy.

‘L’ Plates

A fancy dress staple for hen parties are the ‘L’ plates, which are worn to show that the bride-to-be is a wife in training. So why not keep to modern tradition and celebrate your friend’s last night of freedom with these simple signs.

A pink and white ‘L’ plate theme looks great on invites along with some classic calligraphy. Once you’ve printed the invites, stick them onto pink card and add a little glitter for that special touch.

Tickets Only

If you go to a concert, the theatre or book an activity you will be given a ticket as proof of payment, and to remind you of all the vital details. So why shouldn’t you have one for a party? You can mock up your own hen do tickets quite easily on your home computer, and as they are smaller in size than a regular invite they should be cheaper to print.

Tell All Cocktail

Okay, so this invite idea takes a little more crafting and will require you to be handy with a pair of scissors, but they look fab and are well worth the wait.

Start off by cutting out a cocktail glass shape from card in the colour of your choice. Then fold and fasten it to form a pocket shape with the glass cut out facing forward. On a separate piece of card create a bottle shape – this should be the perfect size to slide into the card pocket.

To decorate the bottle colour in some liquid on the upper half and on the back write the essential information for the party. Slide the bottle into the pocket, neck first, and you are all done.

The idea is that while the bottle is in the pocket the glass will look full, and when you remove the bottle the glass will be empty. And as you do so it will look like you are pouring a glass of the bride-to-be’s favourite cocktail.

Did any of these hen party invitation ideas take your fancy? You can tell us all about your artsy invites when you come to stay.

hen

(images: Organise a Hen and Ruby Sohi)

Beaches in Swansea – Limeslade Bay

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

limelimeslade

Wales is famous for its beautiful coastline and Limeslade Bay is no exception. If you are paying a visit to South West Wales sometime soon make sure to pay this stunning beach a visit.

About Limeslade Bay

Whether you prefer a sandy or pebbly beach with a rock shore, you’ll have the best of both worlds here. The beach is just a short walk from the Mumbles Hill Nature Reserve so take a stroll along the coastal path and take in the stunning scenic panorama. It’s a brilliant spot for a picnic too!

Thanks to its rocky areas Limeslade Bay is perfect for rock pooling with the kids, and with excellent water quality the only issue you may have when swimming is the temperature. Limeslade is an award winning beach having been given the Green Coast Award, and is Marine Conservation Society Recommended.

Facilities

If you fancy a light bite there is a café and restaurant nearby, with the nearest parking only 2 minutes away at Bracelet Bay. There is a small charge for this convenience however.

The beach is cleaned twice a day and there are litter bins provided in order to keep the beach safe for all. If you are travelling with pets be aware that dogs are not allowed on the beach during the summer months.

Swimmers must also be aware that there isn’t a lifeguard on duty here.

How to Get There

Limeslade Bay’s nearest town is Swansea. To get to the beach from here you will need to drive down the A4067 to the Mumbles. You’ll have to head straight through the village and towards the pier in order to find Limeslade. It will be just around the headland.

The nearest parking is at Bracelet Bay but there are a number of other car parks within walking distance:
Mumbles Hill – 0.4 miles away
Swansea Bay South – 0.5 miles away
Southend – 0.6 miles away
Mumbles Tennis Courts – 0.9 miles away

If you will be travelling by public transport, bus routes 2 and 2a from Swansea will take you to Mumbles. From here change to the number 37 bus which heads to the beach. The nearest railway stations are Swansea (approximately 4 miles away) and Gowerton (approximately 6 miles away).

Limeslade Bay Accommodation

If you like the sound of Limeslade Bay and are thinking of paying a visit then you are in luck! The Dragon Hotel is located perfectly.

So grab your sunglasses and put on your sensible walking shoes, and enjoy a walk down to Limeslade; after your day out, get the bus back and we’ll have a table in the Dragon Brasserie waiting for you.

 

 
(images: Wikimedia and Wikimedia)