Archive for the ‘Dragon Posts’ Category

Rhossili to Penmaen: A Walk

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Our hotel is great. But if you want to get out and about and explore the Swansea area, pull on your walking boots a warm coat, and go on a walk. The route from Rhossili Bay to Penmaen is one of the best, and passes through Britain’s first area of outstanding natural beauty.

horse
(image: Rodw under CC BY 3.0)

Essential Walking Information

Level: Strenuous
Type: Linear
Suitable For: Experienced walkers
Distance: 8 miles
Time: 4 to 5 hours

The walk from Rhossili Bay to Penmaen is known as the southern sector of the Gower Way, and is a popular walk among visiting ramblers to the area. This is mostly due to the stunning scenic views out across the sea, and the many terrains the walk passes through, including farm land and tracks, woodland and moorland.

The walk may be rather long for the inexperienced walker and therefore is defined as a strenuous route. But if you are in it for the long haul, this walk will reward you with picturesque views and panoramas, perfect for taking a few photos.

If you are planning on driving to Rhossili there is a private car park near the beach, which you can pay a small fee to park in or there are many public transport routes that pass by the area. There is also a small shop next to the car park, where you can pick up light refreshments to enjoy along your walk, as well as some public toilets, should you need them.

The Route

The walk starts off at the former Coastguard lookout near Worm’s Head, which has now been transformed into an information center. The Worm’s Head is a small tidal island, that itself is a must see attraction that brings many visitors to Swansea.

The walk is mostly in land, but will start and end at some of the best picturesque sandy beaches in the area. Along the way, keep an eye out for some of the 50 stone waymarkers that line the Gower Way. These are numbered and inscribe with the Gower Rambling Society logo, and mark the way to ensure walkers do not get lost.

Walk Highlights

The highlights of this walk are of course Worm’s Head and the two beaches either end. But there are also beautiful views out over the South Gower coast, where you can see Oxwich and Three Cliffs Bay, as well as a number of small villages.

And if you are interested in plants, you may also enjoy seeing the many indigenous flora and fauna that frequently appear along this walk.

To find out more about walking in Swansea, ask at our hotel reception, or for more information on this specific route pay a visit to the Swansea Tourist Information Centre. There are plenty of activities in Swansea, so take a look at a few of the other Dragon Posts for ideas.

Independent Swansea: The Best Boutique Stores

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

We’re going to let you in on a secret that only locals know: Swansea is great for shopping in small and independent stores. Yes there are all the regular high street stores, but if you know where to look, there are some real standout gems.

Here is our pick of our favourites in and around Swansea:

Oyster Gallery – 72 Newton Road, Mumbles, SA3 4AQ

 

The Oyster Gallery is an art store like no other. Stocked to the brim with original art work, limited edition prints and photography, there is something for every type of art-lover. And if you’re looking to display a purchase in your home, they have a picture framing service too.

Pop in for unusual greeting cards, handmade jewellery and other arts and craft gifts, perfect for presents this Christmas.

Attica – 52A Plymouth Street, Swansea City Centre, SA1 3QQ

If you are looking for something a little quirky or unusual then pay a visit to the clothing and gift shop Attica. With racks filled with pretty dresses, colourful scarves lining the walls and plenty of kooky homeware gifts, this is a great place to shop for someone who likes to stand out. It’s truly boho chic!

There’s even something for the guys – how does a clock made out of a Corona bottle sound?

So Cocoa – 28-30 Dunns Lane, Mumbles, SA3 4AA

 

 

Do you love anything and everything chocolaty? Then So Coca in the Mumbles is a must visit. Just off the main beaten track you will find the only independent chocolate shop in Swansea. With everything from luxury handmade chocolate sculptures to gourmet, small sweet treats, it’s like walking into Willy Wonka’s factory – minus the craziness!

They also stock a number of well-known brands like Booja Booja and Charbonnel, so you certainly won’t be disappointed. Make sure to try some of the desserts they serve here; there’s pastries galore!

Moustache – 5 Cradock Street, SA1 3EN

For high quality, branded gear for men, Moustache is the place to be. Every discerning gentleman shops here, with brands like Fred Smith, Lyle and Scott, plus Polo by Ralph Lauren. Your man will be the best dressed in town after a trip to this city centre store.

Cover to Cover – 58 Newton Road, Mumbles, SA3 4BQ

 

 

Cover to Cover is a well-known and established boutique book store in the centre of the Mumbles. The store has been a popular local business since it opened back in 1999, and they really know their stuff here, as the owner was once in publishing.

The store stocks a number of fiction and non-fiction, new and old titles, on a variety of subjects, and is the go-to place for their range of local books. So if you’d like to get to know the ‘real’ Swansea, pick up a book here!

Stardust Boutique – 102-104 Eversley Road, Sketty, SA2 9DF

 

 

Do you love everything that sparkles? Then you’ll adore this shop. With formal, party and prom dresses ranging from £200 to £1,000, this is a 5 star shopping experience that any girl would love.

Expect to see stock from dress designers such as Forever Unique, Sherri Hill and Jovani. All of which would be perfect for a big event such as a wedding or ball.

Arora Boutique – 64 Wind Street, SA1 1EQ

For something a little cheaper for a night on the tiles, make a trip into the city centre and to Arora Boutique. Whether you are looking for a bodycon mini or a floaty maxi dress, there is plenty to choose from.

And Arora is just around the corner from the Dragon Hotel. We’re independent too! So pay us a visit and book a room. We have plenty of special offers on in the run up to Christmas and the New Year.

Walking in a Waterfront Winter Wonderland

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014


Christmas is just a few weeks away, and we’re starting to feel Christmassy, are you? Lots of people are staying in the hotel on festive shopping breaks, and all the families are raving about the Waterfront Wonderland. So exactly what’s happening in this festive part of the city? 

Waterfront Wonderland

From November 14th 2014 to January 4th 2015, Swansea’s award winning Christmas attraction has returned for yet another annual festive celebration. Experience all of the magic of Christmas in one place, right in the heart of Swansea city.

The Waterfront Wonderland’s main attraction is the two fantastically popular outdoor ice rinks. A small children’s rink for tiny tots, and a larger rink, sponsored by Admiral, for family fun for all ages. Tickets can be purchased from the Skate House by the entrance or head down to the Swansea Tourist Information Centre.

And once you’ve hung up your skates and got back onto terra firma, who better to go and visit than Santa in his Grotto surrounded by elves.

Fancy a bite to eat, then pop into the festive indoor café. But don’t eat too much or you may feel a little queasy when you jump on the rides in the funfair.

Every year Swansea’s Waterfront Wonderland has some great rides and this year is no different with a carousel, snow storm ride and funfair, as well as the regular children’s rides, simulator and game stalls. And there’s a new addition to the fair – the Air Maxx! An exhilarating spinning ride that takes you a full 360 degrees in the air; are you tall (and brave) enough to have a go?

Swansea’s Waterfront Wonderland is open every day over the festive season, apart from Christmas Day, so there is no excuse not to visit. And at just a 10 minute short stroll from the Dragon Hotel it is the perfect activity if you are looking for things to do nearby in Swansea. 

Christmas Street Market

 

For more festive fun head over to the nearby Christmas street market on Oxford Street. From November 28th to December 21st 2015, this popular part of the city will be lined by wooden chalets in festive shades of red and green, and filled with delightful wares perfect to give as gifts.

There’s everything from handmade arts and crafts, to fine foods, and unique gifts; a little something for everyone. And why not warm up with a mug of warm mulled wine or a freshly made crepe in one of the many food stalls. Time your visit right and you may even experience some festive entertainment. 

Christmas at the Dragon Hotel

There is never a dull moment in Swansea, so if you are considering a weekend away by the sea this winter, or maybe a last minute trip to South Wales to finish off your Christmas shopping, check out our special offers here at the Dragon Hotel! But act quickly if you want to visit the Waterfront Wonderland, Christmas is nearly here, and it will soon be packed up for yet another year!

Dunvant to Gowerton: A Coastal Walk

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

dunvant

(image: Simon Mortimer under CC BY – SA 2.0)

Are you visiting us soon and trying to decide what to do in Swansea? Well, if you’re feeling active, there are plenty of stunning coastal and country walks a short drive away.

Sound like your thing? Then get out those walking boots and prepare to get a little muddy. Here’s one of our favourite routes – Dunvant to Gowerton.

Essential Walking Information

Level: Easy
Type: Circular
Suitable for: All
Distance: 2.5 miles
Time: 1 hour and a half

This is a woodland walk in the North Gower, with plenty of history and stunning views along the way. Those following the route will pass through wooded areas and fields, walking on firm ground, grass and of course some mud.

The walk from Dunvant to Gowerton forms part of route 4 of the National Cycle Network, and therefore is just as popular with bikers as it is pedestrians. So if you are bring your bikes with you, why not go for a ride?

There is free public parking at Dunvant Square where the route starts and ends, just off the B4296. And thanks to this convenient location, this is a popular and accessible walk or cycle. There is also refreshments and public toilets in this area should you need them.

Take Notice: The route crosses a busy road, there are some steps and the route has a short, steep section.

The Route

The route starts in Dunvant Square where you can park. Head down the road and passed Dunvant Social Centre, before entering the woods. Turn left at the junction of paths and continue walking up the slight slope. At the top make a right along the asphalt track and loop back round to the square. It’s that easy to navigate!

Walk Highlights

The area between Dunvant and Gowerton was once heavily industrialised, but you wouldn’t know that now with its lush, green canopy and open spaces. There were once collieries, brickworks and railways here, and the passes close to the sites of four of these: Killan, Bishwell, Bryn Mawr and Dunvant. The first two closed in the 1970s, Dunvant in 1914 and Killan in 1925 after a large accident.

Here you can walk paths that the 900 men employed here may have trodden a century ago, while experiencing the tranquillity of one of the most beautiful parts of rural Swansea.

The start of this walk is only 4 ½ miles from the Dragon Hotel making it the perfect place to escape the city for the day. And after a long afternoon in the countryside, you can sit back and really enjoy the luxuries of modern conveniences offered here at the Dragon.

Make sure to book a table at the Dragon Brasserie for a delicious evening meal. You’re sure to have worked up an appetite.

Winter Woollies: Golfing Essentials

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

wintergolf

(image: Roy Hughes under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Have you signed up for a winter league this year? Or perhaps you’re planning a visit to the golf courses in Swansea for a few days away? Either way, you’ll need to be prepared for all weathers. Don’t catch a chill, keep yourself warm with these winter woollies and golfing essentials.

Bag Hoods

Don’t let your clubs get wet this winter, give your bag a hood and keep them dry! These can be picked up online for around £20 and are well worth an investment.

Thermals

Give yourself an extra barrier from the elements with thermal trousers and vests this winter, such as Under Armour. These will not only keep you warm, but as they are made of breathable fabrics you won’t feel as sweaty.

colouredballsColoured Balls

It may seem simple, but coloured golf balls can really help during the winter months. With a light cover of snow, the traditional white ball will camouflage in with the canopy of powder. Best of luck finding it!

A coloured ball will stand out, making it easier to find. And they’re quite cheap to pick up at your nearest golf store.

 

(image: Golf WRX)

Wrap Up

Did your granny always used to say you should wear a hat because all your body heat escapes through your head? Well, respect your elders and listen to her. A hat can be a lifesaver when playing golf during the winter months.

Make sure to tuck your ears in to avoid them getting cold and bombarded by the wind. And then wrap up and tuck a scarf into your coat for added warmth. A scarf can be a great nose warmer too.

Big Grip Wheels

So you’ve invested in an electronic bag trolley, to make a game of golf easier, but it keeps getting stuck on ice or frosty patches. What do you do? Well, like you can get winter tyres for your car, switch out the wheels on your trolley for some more suitable to theweather.

These wheels are easily attached and will have large plastic treads with plenty of grip. And thanks to their wide set, they’ll leave less of a track on the grass.

wintergolferWaterproofs

There’s no worse feeling than getting wet and cold, and having to stay in damp clothing all day. So protect yourself with waterproofs!

For waterlogged tees make sure to have waterproof thermal socks just in case your shoes leak, waterproof gloves will help you grip your clubs and a good fleece lined coat is a winter must-have to fight off cold winds and the rain.

(image: Ebay)

Reusable Hand Warmers

Gloves not enough to keep your extremities warm? Then invest in some reusable hand warmers. These little chemical pouches can neatly slip into your pocket, for a warm place to put your hands. No more frost bite for you.

Now you know all the winter essentials, get out there and enjoy a few holes. There’s no need to let the weather stop you.

Once you’ve enjoyed a fun day out with all your mates at Swansea’s golf courses we’ll welcome you back to the Dragon Hotel with a warm and comfortable room, where you can enjoy a refreshing shower before a hearty meal in the Dragon Brasserie.

Sound good? Then take a look at our golf offers!

The Castles of Swansea

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Are you a bit of a history buff? Then you’ll love a visit to South Wales, as there are hundreds of historic landmarks. So if you are looking for things to do in Swansea, why not take a look around one of its seven castles?

Loughor Castle

loughor

(image: Nigel Davies under CC BY-SA 2.0)

This is a ruined, medieval fortification in the town of Loughor, built around the turn of the 12th century. Loughor Castle was built by Lord Henry de Beaumont, during the Norman invasion, to guard and rule over an important road going through the Gower Peninsula.

The castle is built from the former Roman fort of Leucarum and is designed in an oval ringwork design. It has seen much destruction and rebuilding over the years, but is now just a ruined tourist attraction.

 

Oxwich Castle

oxwich

(image: Pam Brophy under CC BY-SA 2.0)

This 16th century castle dominated the wooded skyline overlooking Oxwich Bay in the Gower Peninsula. It was built on the spot of an earlier fortification, but is not technically a castle, but a large Tudor manor house in a courtyard style.

Oxwich Castle was built by Sir Rice Mansel, and as the saying goes – a man’s castle is his home! He built a mock military gateway and has adorned the property with his very own coat of arms. After his death, his son expanded their home and built the six-storey tower which we see today.

The family moved out in the 1630s and ever since the property had multiple uses and suffered disrepair.

The castle is now owned and maintained by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service.

 

Oystermouth Castle

oystermouth

(image: Nigel Davies under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Oystermouth Castle is a Norman Castle overlooking Swansea Bay in the village of the Mumbles. This castle has seen a lot of investment over recent years, seeing many repair works, a glass bridge added and its gardens manicured.

The castle displays ancient graffiti from as early as the 14th century, and visitors can take a trip down to the deep vaults beneath the building where there is a labyrinth of rooms and tunnels.

Take a seat on one of the benches outside the castle walls for stunning views out across the Mumbles to the sea.

 

Pennard Castle

pennard

(image: Eiona Roberts under CC BY 2.0)

Pennard Castle is a 12th century ruin in the Gower Peninsula. It is believed that like Loughor it was commissioned by Henry de Beaumont, the 1st Earl of Warwick and Lord of the Gower.

The castle is a ringwork design, and was partly built with wood and then later rebuilt with limestone and sandstone from a nearby quarry. Although it may now be hard to imagine, this was once a grand property with a curtain wall, central courtyard and a towered gatehouse.

Due to its coastal location it was vulnerable to sand blow and this was the reason behind its eventual abandonment in the late 14th century. Since then it has been left to nature, and now very little of the original castle exists. There is enough, however, to enjoy on a walk along Swansea’s scenic coast.

 

Penrice Castle

penrice

(image: Robert Edwards under CC BY-SA 2.0)

This is another magnificent castle on the Gower Peninsula, but it was built slightly later during the 13th century. Penrice is the largest castle on the Gower, and it stands out from its neighbours.

Today the castle and its estate is used as holiday accommodation among its manicured gardens and is also a popular location for weddings. The castle is an ivy-covered ruin that makes a beautiful backdrop for photos.

 

Swansea Castle

swansea

(image: Swanseaatilidie under CC BY-SA 3.0)

Located right in the city centre is Swansea Castle. Originally the building was a sub-rectangular or oval enclosure on the River Tawe, with an outer bailey. It has seen many years of fighting but by the 15th century it had lost its military importance, after that it was used as a market, town hall and even a prison.

Today it acts as a landmark among the modern shops, restaurants and bars that line Swansea’s city centre.

 

Weobley Castle

weobley

(image: Graham Taylor under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Weobley was built in the 13th century as a fortified manor house, and is located just out of the village of Leason, overlooking Llanrhidian Marsh and the Loughor Estuary.

It was originally the proud home of the de la Bere family, who lived there until the 15th century. You can now walk through the property and imagine how it was to live in such a place. Walk along the floors as they did, and stand by the windows and admire the view as the family once had. The castle is now cared for, like many castles in Wales, by Cadw.

So, on your next visit to the Dragon Hotel there is no need to wonder what to do in Swansea, that should be obvious – visit a castle! And they’re only a short distance from our hotel. Here is a handy map to give you an idea.

For more information why not give us a call on 01792 657100 or tweet us!

castle map

The Must-Buy Golf Clubs of 2014

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Are you, and your friends, frequent visitors to Swansea’s best golf courses? Then for your next weekend away why not impress everyone with a brand new set of clubs?

Here is a list of the best golf clubs of 2014:

Calloway Apex – £799

club1These Apex irons are distance engineered forged club heads, with tungsten sole inserts for maximum performance. Weight is positioned low and deep, whereas the steel face generates an extra 2mph ball speed on impact, meaning you can hit further down that fairway. Plus the tungsten weight on the 3, 4 and 5 irons means your swing will be much smoother, making hitting the ball easier.

Many would say you can’t get game improvement out of a forged club, but Calloway have done it! Whether you are a leisurely golfer or a professional, a Calloway Apex iron is sure to suit you, and up that ball speed.

(image: Direct Golf)

 

Cleveland Golf 588 Altitude – £449

club2Cleveland Golf clubs may not have the prestige of Calloway, but they also don’t have the price tag. They’re much more affordable!

This is a club created for mid-high cappers who have a slower swing speed. Made of blended hybrid-iron, whatever club you play, you are bound to get great air – hence the name.
 
 

(image: Cleveland Golf)

The 588 Altitude has a full hollow construction, so like the Calloway there is a low and deep centre of gravity. This is a bit more forgiving than other clubs on the market. Plus the bendable hosel, means it can fit with almost any swing.

This is a great club for an improving golfer.

 

Cobra Baffler XL – £399

club3With its oversized face this is the perfect club for a golfer looking for game improvement. It has a high trajectory and a draw-biased ball flight, with a wide sole and oversized rails. That means no more grass tufts for you.

This is the club for you if you are looking for a higher and longer distance hit from any lie. There is also great slice correction and a large free floating face.

The Cobra Bafler is the perfect club for those looking for dynamic and different design, but aren’t too worried about maximum impact off the face.

(image: Cobra Golf)

 

 

Mizuno JPX-EZ – £429

club4

Add a little colour to your bag this winter with this stylish Mizuno iron. The 4 to 7 irons have an ultra pocket cavity to help this club give you a predictable long and high hit. And thanks to the harmonic impact technology (H.I.T.) it has that recognisable Mizuno feel about it.

This club says it all in its name ‘EZ’. With great forgiveness and airborne capabilities this is a must-buy for any golfer looking for value for money.
 
 
 

(image: American Golf)

Nike VR_S Covert – £450

club5

The long irons are made of high-strength, 450-Carpenter steel and the short from 1704 stainless steel, so you know they’ve really thought about the feel of these clubs.

These irons will pass through turf without creating a divot, and it looks much better than the basic VR_S thanks to a 16% narrower sole; a much appreciated improvement.

This is a club designed solely for the game improver, but thanks to its crisp hits and straight lines we’re sure no golfer would be disheartened to use it.

(image: Nike)

 

Now you know the best clubs out there make a splurge and get kitted out before your next visit to the Dragon Hotel. Where will you be playing next? Pyle and Kenfig, Fairward or Clyne Golf Club? They’re all great!

 

Mumbles Pub Voted Welsh Pub of the Year!

Monday, November 17th, 2014

The Pilot in the Mumbles has been voted the Welsh pub of the year in the CAMRA awards for 2014. Have you already enjoyed a tipple or two at this award winning public house?

THEPILOT

(image: Visit Wales)

The Pilot

The old stomping ground of Dylan Thomas and the location of the best ice cream in Swansea, the Mumbles, is now proud to boast an award winning pub! The Pilot, in the Mumbles, owned by Richard and Jo Bennett, has won the Campaign for Real Ales and will now compete against 15 other regional pubs to become the UK pub of the year.

The big award will be announced in February 2015, so why not pay the 165 year old pub a visit as they prepare?

The Pilot Inn opened in 1849 and was named by its owner, Sam Ace, after the valiant fishing boats that led big ships out to see through the choppy Swansea Bay waters.

The Pilot has had somewhat of a makeover recently. Before the present owners bought the public house it had been boarded up for months in need of a loving revival and some TLC from an enthusiastic new landlord.

puboftheyear

Now in 2014 there are great craft beers, cask ales and fine wines on offer, as well as there being free Wi-Fi in this dog friendly pub. Enjoy some classic pub favourites of crisps and nuts, but make sure to try one of the hand crafted ales made on site, while taking in the sea view!

Some of their brews are a bit different – they’re made with essence of oyster, in an attempt to revive the traditional industry of the area.

Congratulating the landlords, Ian Saunders, CAMRA’s regional director told the South Wales Evening Post:

“We judge pubs not just by the beer they serve but also by the atmosphere, the community spirit and the welcome you get when you walk in the door. The Pilot excels in all these and that’s why it’s Wales’ pub of the year.”

The Pilot has also been named one of the top pubs in Britain in the 2015 Good Beer Guide, and is ranked as the number one place for nightlife in Swansea on TripAdvisor.

(image: Twitter)

The Mumbles

While down in the Mumbles why not enjoy a meal at one of the area’s best restaurants, or if you’re in Swansea with a group of friends try your luck at the Mumbles Mile and end up here at the brilliant Pilot. Have some fun! Your warm and cosy room at the Dragon Hotel will be ready for you on your return.

You can find The Pilot at 726 Mumbles Road, Swansea, SA3 4EL or telephone 07897 895511 for more information.

Swansea’s Christmas Parade 2014

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

swanseaparade

(image: Enjoy Swansea)

Are you and your children counting down the number of sleeps until Father Christmas comes? Perhaps they’ve already written and sent their letters. Well, Father Christmas will be returning to Swansea this Sunday 16th November for the annual Christmas parade. Will you be joining him? We bet the kids would love too!

Swansea Christmas Parade 2014

Although the Christmas songs have been playing in shops for weeks already, the festive season will officially kick off this weekend when the lights in the city centre get switched on.

At 5pm on Sunday 16th November 2014, none other than Father Christmas himself, will flick the switch. So wrap up warm and bring the kids down to the city centre for a fun family night out, and for the chance to meet Santa!

Once he turns on the lights, Father Christmas will join all of his festive friends in a Christmas parade through the city centre. The parade will start at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Somerset Place, will travel along Wind Street, College Street, the Kingsway and then eventually down St. Helen’s Road, where it will end at the Guildhall.

Revellers lining the route should expect to see community and theatre floats built by the people of Swansea. As well as a Dylan Thomas themed float to celebrate the centenary of his birth in his hometown, and a Waterfront Winterland float, which Santa will proudly ride along on.

If you want to get into the spirit of things you can always wave or dance along from the side-lines. Make sure to get there early though for the best spot, and uninterrupted views of the parade.

Want to make a night of it? Then there’s always plenty of things to do in Swansea. Why not book into one of the Dragon Hotel’s comfortable four-star rooms and enjoy a delicious meal in the Dragon Brasserie afterwards. It’s a great way to warm up after an evening on the cold streets of Swansea.

Win this Christmas!

To celebrate the opening of the Waterfront Winterland 2014, Swansea are giving your family the chance to win a cracker of a prize. Enter their prize draw to win free ice skating, funfair rides and a visit to see Santa himself in his Swansea waterfront grotto!

You have to be in it, to win it! So enter here, and good luck!

 

* Swansea’s Christmas parade and light switch on is kindly sponsored by The Wave and Swansea Sound radio stations.

Swansea’s 11 Finest Beers and Real Ales

Monday, November 10th, 2014

The people of Swansea, it’s fair to say, love a drink. And who can blame them – in this pretty part of South Wales we’re blessed with several brilliant breweries creating distinctive, ales and beers.

So we thought we’d celebrate that fact by sourcing Swansea’s best beers. After some serious, painstaking research – believe us, it was tough – we compiled this list. In no particular order, here are our 11 favourites.

Blodwen’s Beer (5%) – Tomos Watkin

Blonwen Beer
Named after Blodwen Parry, famed for being the finest cockle picker in the whole of Wales, this pale beer is crisp, with a tasty citrussy splash. Which works by us.

It’s eminently drinkable, but don’t just take our word for it – this blonde bombshell won Gold at the 2012 True Taste awards for the Best Beer.

Neath Ales Gold (5%) – Neath Ales

gower-gold
Deep, dark and complex, with perhaps the bitterest taste in this list, is the Gold from Neath Ales. It’s a thinking man’s (or lady’s) beer with a hint of dark orange – just perfect alongside with a selection of local strong cheeses.

Gower Gold (4.5%) – The Gower Brewery

Gower Gold

Last year, Gower Gold was chosen by Sainsbury’s shoppers as the best Welsh beer. It’s tough to argue with that. It smells zesty and sharp, but the taste is pretty sweet – while drinkers are rewarded with the faint hint of lemony sherbert on the palette.

Three Cliffs Gold (4.7%) – Swansea Brewing Co.

Three cliffs gold
The Three Cliffs is a grassy, hoppy, fresh golden ale that makes this writer feel like a goat, gambolling over a grassy knoll. Which is to say, it carries a very pleasing natural taste. In our opinion, it tastes as good as its namesake looks.

Mumbles Gold (4.3%) – The Mumbles Brewery

Mumbles gold
This, the fourth local ‘gold’ is a pale ale that utilises a sumptuous combination of lemon and lime to delicious effect. Our sources tell us that the Mumbles Gold was the biggest seller at the Swansea CAMRA Beer Festival.

Old Style Bitter (OSB) (4.5%) – Tomos Watkin

0000996_tomos-watkins-osb-45_300
One of Tomos’ vintage creations, it’s not hard to see why the OSB is popular with ale lovers across South Wales. Taste wise, it is quite light and a little citrusy like many of Tomos’ best brews but its distinctive, utterly tempting red hue makes it stand out from the crowd.

Gower Power (5.5%) – The Gower Brewery

gower-power
Probably the sweetest brew in the list, the bright orange Gower Power is a Welsh slant on the Indian Pale Ale – a WPA, if you will – but has plenty of hops and spices to ensure that your attention remains piqued for the entirety of the pint.

It certainly deserves a spot on this list.

Oystermouth Stout (4.4%) – The Mumbles Brewery

Oystermouth
In Victorian times, the Gower was famed for its oyster industry. Although overfishing and viruses saw the species near enough disappear from the area, the Mumbles Brewery is reimagining this age-old tradition with this stout, which actually includes real oysters in its brewing process.

The oysters give the stout a distinctive salty, natural tint that more than earns its spot on this hallowed list.

Lighthouse Lager (4.5%) – The Gower Brewery

Lighthouse
A proper thirst-quencher that tastes like something you’d find on the streets of Prague or Berlin, this lager is a real delight and shows that the Welsh can do moreish light brews just as well as anyone on the continent.

Green Bullet (6%) – Neath Ales

Bullet
Another supremely-drinkable ‘WPA’, the amber-toned Green Bullet gets its name from the distinctively sharp New Zealand hops, which are complemented beautifully with a sweet biscuity malt-infused body. It’s very hard to stop drinking this one.

Cwrw Idris (5.2%) – Tomos Watkin

Cwrw idris
A dangerously drinkable premium ale, and named after war hero Idris Parry who survived German torpedo attacks – twice! – and then created the Hurns Mineral Water Co., this zesty tipple offers a slight promise of butterscotch. It’s ruddy lovely.

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Thanks to Tomos Watkin, The Gower Brewery, Neath Ales and The Mumbles Brewery for images.