Archive for the ‘Dragon Posts’ Category

Cocktails with a Twist for the Perfect Hen Do

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Are you heading to Swansea for your friends hen do? Good decision. Wind Street is the perfect location for a night on the tiles to celebrate their upcoming nuptials. Enjoy a meal at our Dragon Brassiere and then why not create a few unusual cocktails of your own to get the party started?

Flaming Russian

Here are a few cocktails with a twist for the perfect hen do (they’re not exactly a black Russian or sex on the beach):

The Flaming Russian

If you are looking for something with a real wow factor then what is more impressive than a drink on fire? Pour 2/3 shot of vodka into a glass and carefully layer with 1/3 shot of rum. Ignite the rum and serve. It’s sure to put a fire in your belly.

Chocolate Truffle Martini

Every girl loves chocolate right? Then what could be more indulgent than a chocolate truffle martini? This cocktail is a combination of shaved truffle, vodka, cream, syrup and chocolate liqueur. And we think this impressive drink would go perfectly with our pistachio crème brûlée with chocolate shortbread. Yum!

Popping Candy Cocktails

Surprise your bride-to-be friend and add a little pop to proceedings with a secret ingredient to the hen do cocktails – popping candy! Mix raspberry vodka with pineapple juice and the delicious sweets for a hen do cocktail that is sure to impress.

The Prosciutto Melon Cocktail

Prosciutto and melon are delicious together so why not combine them to make an unusual cocktail? A savoury cocktail will make a great break from sweet beverages and who else can say they’ve drunk a ham cocktail?

This cocktail will take some prep beforehand so start it off at home before you travel. Infuse some grappa with honeydew melon for between 2 weeks and a month prior to the hen do. On the night shake the grappa over some ice and then poor into some glasses. Finally wrap a melon ball in prosciutto and spear with a toothpick and add to each cocktail.

Candyfloss Cocktails

Pink and sweet this cocktail is a great drink for a girly night out. Stock up on Grey Goose vodka and cranberry juice and pour this mix over a handful of the sweat treat in a martini glass. It’s that easy! They’re cheap to make and they taste amazing!

The Aurora

The aurora borealis is one of the most amazing natural light shows you will ever see and this cocktail takes its inspiration from this marvel. We’ve had cocktails on fire and ones that pop in your mouth but this one is even better – it glows in the dark!

Okay, confession time. You will need a black light to see the effects of this drink but it is well worth it. Mix gin or vodka with tonic water and pink lemonade concentrate before quickly switching to the black light.

Huddle around and watch the liquids glow and swirl around in the glass in bright pink and blue shades for your very own personal light show. It’s awe inspiring!

Do you know any unusual cocktail recipes that would be perfect for a signature hen do drink? Then tweet us the recipe. We hope it’s delish!

The Best Outdoor Pursuits around Swansea

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Swansea is an amazing place for outdoor enthusiasts. With such beautiful beaches, stunning countryside and nearby mountains there really is something for everyone!

Here are some of the best things to do in Swansea:

Go Ape!

Go Ape

Just a short drive away in Margam County Park you’ll find the adventure playground of Go Ape! This is a perfect destination for everyone who likes a little danger and who isn’t too afraid of heights. With up to three hours of tree top fun available, this is a great way to get outside for a morning or afternoon and is suitable for everyone from children to adults. There’s everything from high wires, rope bridges and even zip lines to keep you and your little ones entertained!

Walking & Hiking

Whether you’re a rambler or just someone who just enjoys a leisurely stroll down the beach, Swansea is the place to be. There are plenty of country walks to go on down the Gower or you could follow the Pembrokeshire Coastal Walk for a few miles along the scenic Swansea coastline. The Swansea Bay Promenade offers a fantastic stroll for anyone who isn’t a hardcore walker and is perfect for families.   Mountain Biking  Swansea is an amazing place to go mountain biking, especially if you know where! Some of the best places to visit include Clyne Woods, Kilvey Hill and the Gower which are all in close proximity to the city centre. There are all sorts of trails around, from long looping cross country routes to black-grade downhill tracks meaning that there really is something for everyone.

Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking © Grinding Gears

Swansea is an amazing place to go mountain biking, especially if you know where! Some of the best places to visit include Clyne Woods, Kilvey Hill and the Gower which are all in close proximity to the city centre. There are all sorts of trails around, from long looping cross country routes to black-grade downhill tracks meaning that there really is something for everyone.

SurfingSurfing

Even if you’ve never been surfing before, Swansea is a great place to start! There are loads of surf schools scattered all around the coast, and with many of the Welsh beaches having award winning standards. Check out Swansea Surfing for board hire and instructors and pass the days away learning to conquer the waves – once you master the basics you can try out some more difficult beaches!

Quad biking

Not every outdoor activity has to involve fear or sweat. Quad biking can be an extremely fun way to pass the day, shredding around in the gorgeous Welsh countryside with 250cc of power between your legs. In the summer you can return to base relatively clean, but the rest of the year will be a mud bath – perfect for people who don’t mind getting a little dirty!

Rock ClimbingRock Climbing

Swansea is renowned for its natural rock faces and is a huge attraction for many adrenaline seeking climbers. If you don’t fancy heading out into the wild then you can take on Dynamic Rock instead, Swansea’s premium indoor rock climbing centre. With a 12 metre wall, overhangs and bouldering Dynamic Rock offers a great place to get into climbing or hone your existing skills.

Paintballing

Sight-Seeing

Team Force in Swansea is one of the best venues in the UK to go paintballing, with five different games available with around 140 people being able to take part every day. They supply you with all the clothing and equipment you need, including paintball guns and battle packs for carrying extra ammo onto the field. This is a fantastic team activity for large groups and can easily keep you entertained all weekend.

Sight-Seeing

Not one for adrenaline rush? Don’t worry there are plenty of sight-seeing destinations to choose from. You can visit many of the historic destinations, local breweries and museums that the city has to offer. It is possible to combine this with walking, or you could simply drive to the destinations and then get out for a look around – it’s completely up to you!

If you’re looking for a place to unwind after spending the whole day engaging in outdoor activities then visit the Dragon Hotel and relax in luxury. Give us a call today on 01792 657 100 and book a room – you’ll need a comfortable bed after any of these fun-filled days! 

Six Reasons to Try the Mumbles Mile

Monday, March 31st, 2014

When it comes to pub crawls, nowhere in the UK comes close to being as diverse and exciting as Swansea. Here you have several choices of places to go drinking, from the notorious ‘Wine Street’ to the spectacular ‘Mumbles Mile.’ We’ve already covered a complete guide to Wind Street which can be found here: http://www.dragon-hotel.co.uk/dragon-posts/your-definitive-guide-to-drinking-on-wind-street-swansea/ and now we are bringing you the ‘Mumbles Mile’.

Plenty of PubsThe Pilot, Mumbles

Back in the day, the Mumbles Mile used to have over 20 pubs en route. Now however this figure has dropped down to 10 venues, but don’t let that put you off! By having only half the pubs, it makes the crawl much more achievable and less time consuming, but still incorporating the best drinking establishments in Swansea. The nine pubs in the Mumbles Mile includes:

  1. White Rose
  2. Nags Head
  3. Park Inn
  4. Victoria Inn
  5. Village Inn
  6. William Hancock
  7. Antelope
  8. Mumbles Rugby Club
  9. Salt @ The George
  10. The Pilot

Stunning Scenery

The Mumbles is notorious for its spectacular scenery, and this is something that is very present in the pub crawl. Many of these pubs are found on the seafront and provide sweeping views of the gorgeous Welsh coast. These settings alone make doing the Mumbles Mile an ideal activity for a leisurely, sunny summer’s day, as you can bask in the warm sun and enjoy a crisp, cool pint.

Different Drinks

Thanks to the diversity of the pubs that are frequented along this journey, you will be greeted with a great selection of different beers, ciders and wines. With choice ranging from local breweries to well-known brands you’ll be able to sample beverages you’ve never even heard of before. It is this wide selection that has made the Mumbles Mile a huge success for drinkers across the UK.

Mimic the Movies

Welsh people everywhere remember Swansea for being featured in the Cymru classic film, Twin Towns. This film walks through some of the most landmarked areas of Swansea, allowing you to recognise these movie spots in real life as you ramble from one pub to the next.

Super for Stags, Hilarious for Hens

Among the most common visitors of the Mumbles Mile are stag and hen parties, as the close proximity of these pubs allows the party to enjoy several venues without anyone getting too lost! Most of these venues offer incentives, such as room rental, set menus and free drinks for the stag or hen. If you’re planning a bachelor do then the Mumbles Mile could be a perfect destination.

No Fear for Your Feet

Unlike other pub crawls, the Mumbles Mile is only a mile long making it much easier on your feet. This is perfect if you’re sporting heels or simply don’t like walking long distances just to get to the next drink – most of these venues are around 10metres apart, allowing for a nice idle stride between bars.

Thinking about taking on the Mumbles Mile? Why don’t you book your stay at the Dragon Hotel and finish the nice in the luxurious comfort that we have to offer? We’re just a short taxi ride away from the end of the pub crawl!

Iechyd Da!

Golfing in Swansea… Machynys Peninsula | The Dragon Hotel

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Machynys Peninsula Golf Club is one of South Wales’ newest golf courses – and also regarded as one of the best that’s been built in Britain over the last 10 years.

In the latest of our golfing in Swansea series, we take a look at one of South Wales’ best-rated courses:

Where is Machynys Peninsula Golf Club?

Machynys from the sky

Because Machynys Peninsula was built recently, it’s very simple to get to.

From Swansea

Take the A483 (then becoming the A484) west out of Swansea. After a picturesque bridge journey over the river Loughor, turn left onto the B4304 and follow the road through three roundabouts before turning left to Machynys Peninsula.

From the M4

Take J48 and travel south on the A4138 towards Llanelli. At the end of the road, cross the roundabout to the B4304 and follow the road to the golf club.

How it Plays Out

£3.5m was spent creating the course (including 25 acres of new lakes) and building its impressive clubhouse back in 2005 and the sheer scale of the development , as well as its authentic, professional feel, will be sure to impress. We also recommend the practice facilities, which are among the best in South Wales.

The course, designed by Jack Nicklaus’ son Gary, consists of a very different front and back 9. The first holes are played mostly on parkland, while the latter nine sit closer to the sea and offer you the opportunity to play some links golf.

Machynys is one of South Wales’ most consistent golf courses. So consistent, in fact, that it’s tough to pick out any particular highlights. That said, the 4th is picked out by many as a particularly tough hole, while the signature 16th, Gary Nicklaus’ favourite, is a long and daunting par 4 that requires an incredibly accurate drive to avoid dangerous bunkers.

Birdie opportunities are few and far between, but the 13th and 14th offer an opportunity to spruce up your score somewhat, and the final 18th is an excellent way to finish your round: a short downhill par 5 to reflect on a hard day’s work.

Why You’ll Love it

hole 16 @ Machynys Peninsula Golf Club

Huge amounts of money were spent making Machynys the impressive course that it is, so it’s pretty ironic that its jaw-dropping surroundings cost nothing. Situated alongside the Wild Fowl and Wetlands Trust, with many rare and beautiful animals, you’ll be assured of a beautiful view while playing your golf.

The holes are creatively designed and have a real engaging aesthetic overlooking the Carmarthenshire bay. With water coming into play on nearly every hole, and frequent strong coastal breezes, it’s fair to say that Machynys isn’t an easy course to play – especially if you stray from the fairways. However, it is fair. Golfers of all experiences and abilities will be able to enjoy a good round here.

One of the best things about golfing at Machynys is the putting. ‘Put’ simply, they’re some of the best that you’ll play on as an amateur. The greens are immaculately tended by the staff and even on wet days (more on that below) they’re in top condition and won’t let you down when it matters the most.

Why You Might Not

Unlike many of South Wales’ most reputable courses like Porthcawl and Langland Bay, which can tower above the coast, many parts of Machynys are actually under sea level. That means that on wet days, or after rain-soaked spells, the course can struggle. That’s not to say that the staff at the course are inattentive, but its geographical makeup doesn’t always lend itself to fast golf.

Looking for a great hotel near Machynys Golf Club?

Less than a half hour drive from Machynys Golf Club, The Dragon Hotel is a particular favourite with golfers across South Wales.  Golfers love us for our great prices on golf packages, relaxing surroundings and close proximity to the bars, shops and pubs of Swansea.

For special prices on golf breaks, call our team today on +44 (0)1792 657 100.

The 9th hole @ Machynys Peninsula Golf Club

Rhossili Bay Retains its Title as Britain’s Best Beach

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Rhossili Bay © Travels with a Dog and Camera

Rhossili Bay in The Gower has been named as one of the world’s top 10 beaches – and the best beach in the UK. (more…)

Exploring Wales’ Coastal Beauty Spots

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

When it comes to lush landmarks and stunning scenery, there are very few places in the UK that are as striking as the Welsh Coastline. South Wales is home to some gorgeous, untouched beaches and quaint coastal towns, making it an ideal holiday destination for nature lovers and those looking for a taste of the quiet life.

Rhossili Bay

Here are the must-visit destinations you simply cannot miss out on:

Rhossili Bay

Whether you want to relax on the UK’s best beach or enjoy local shops and restaurants, Rhossili Bay is the place to be. This large, sandy beach sees thousands of tourists flocking to it every year and is extremely popular with nature lovers and surfers alike. Located at the bottom of the Gower Peninsula, Rhossili Bay is a destination that is not to be missed out on.

Tenby Harbour

Tenby Harbour

Tenby’s small harbour is a picturesque seaside town that is renowned for its amazing selection of locally sourced food. The beach features over two miles of soft golden sand and a promenade that makes year round walks of the area very pleasant. The town’s old castle walls are still standing and much of the Victorian architecture can still be seen making this a perfect destination for history enthusiasts.

Three Cliffs Bay

Three Cliffs Bay

Welsh Singer, Katherine Jenkins, famously said that the Gower’s Three Cliffs Bay has a view that takes her breath away every time. This award winning destination is a tribute to the untouched natural coastline that Wales is famous for. Often horses can be seen galloping along the sea front and families come to enjoy the safe, tucked-away feel of this gorgeous area offers.

Stackpole

Stackpole

This national trust listed designed landscape is one of the best places to go if you appreciate exotic plants, natural woodland, beautiful coastlines and luxurious estates. The beach is an excellent place to go to relax in the sunshine and it is well known for being the best surfing beach in Wales.

Swansea Bay

Despite Swansea being one of the biggest cities in Wales, Swansea Bay is where the majority of the tourism goes during the summer months. With the Mumbles and the Gower Peninsula just a stones through away you can enjoy all the goodness of the countryside without having to leave the convenience of city life too far behind. There are so many activities and attractions to choose from that you could spend weeks in Swansea and still not have done it all!

Swansea Bay

If you want to stay in a hotel that’s as gorgeous as the Welsh countryside that surrounds it then book your room with the Dragon Hotel.  We’re located just a walk away from Swansea Bay and a short drive to the most beautiful locations in Wales.

How to Keep Busy On Your Own in Swansea

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Although Swansea is a haven for families and couples visiting its shops and sights, it also plays host to many thousands of individual people on business.

And sometimes, when you’re alone in an unfamiliar city, it can be a boring, maybe even lonely, experience.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

There’s plenty to do in Swansea on your own. Get your company card out and visit some particularly single-person centric activities in Swansea:

The Grape and Olive

The Grape and Olive in SA1

Let’s face it, there’s little that a businessman likes more than a quiet beer in a pleasant pub. And if you’re looking for a great bar, there aren’t many better than the Grape and Olive.

At the very top of the tallest building in Wales, the former BT tower, the Grape and Olive is roughly 20 minutes’ walk from The Dragon Hotel and the perfect place to relax over a cold beer or even a freshly-made cocktail.

Grosvenor Casino

It’s not every person’s first choice, but Grosvenor Casino is a popular option for many businessmen.

Just a minute or two’s walk from The Dragon Hotel, the casino on High St is a decent way to while away an hour or two (responsibly, of course). Whether you’re proficient at poker, brilliant at blackjack or feeling risky on roulette, there’s all sorts on offer if you’re that way inclined.

Sports

People from Cardiff may disagree, but Swansea has risen to become the sporting capital of Wales in recent years. From Premier League Swansea City and the Ospreys rugby team to Swansea Storm Basketball, there’s every chance that there’s a sporting event on when you’re in town.

Cinemas

Thankfully, going alone to the cinema no longer has the stigma it used to. So why not pop down to Swansea’s Odeon or Vue, in Parc Tawe and York Street in the centre of town respectively, to catch the film that your other half doesn’t want to see?

And it may be a little drive out of town in the heart of studentville, but Taliesin independent cinema shows some must-see films you probably wouldn’t find elsewhere – perfect if you’ve slightly leftfield tastes and prefer a more personal approach than a soulless megacinema.

Have a night in

Every room at The Dragon Hotel is kitted out with Sky TV, free Wi-Fi and in-room movies – perfect for a relaxing night in for the self-dependant business traveller.

Grab a beer or three, put your feet up and get the football or the latest film on. Can’t say better than that.

Looking for somewhere comfortable to stay when you’re in Swansea on business? Get exclusive rates by booking online today at The Dragon Hotel. Talk to our team today on +44 (0)1792 657 100.

The Welsh Kilts Come Out at The Dragon for St David’s Day

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

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The knees were on display a day early at The Dragon Hotel this year when St David’s Day was celebrated on Friday 28th February. And our handsome men celebrated in style by donning some sensational Welsh Tartan kilts!

The traditional apparel, which came courtesy of The Welsh Tartan Centres, was all part of our St David’s celebrations as we entertained special guests with a Welsh-themed 3-course menu.

Guests were welcomed with a taster of Tomos Watkin Dewi Saint Ale before enjoying our exclusive Welsh 3 course menu. The meal included such delights as:

  • Bacon, Leek & Lava Bread Risotto
  • Roast Chicken Supreme stuffed with Tarragon Mousse, Wrapped in Carmarthenshire Ham and served with Creamy Mashed Potato and Chive Veloute
  • Merlyn & Welshcake Parfait with Berry Compote.

What’s more, our very own Welsh beauties Tanisha & Emma wore traditional Welsh costumes. Sadly, they didn’t break out into an old Welsh folk dance… maybe next year girls!

We hope our guests all enjoyed the convivial atmosphere and that our bid to promote St David’s Day will continue to go from strength to strength in years to come.

 

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Boot Size Matters: The Best Cars for Golfers

Friday, March 14th, 2014

When it comes to picking a car there are many things to consider. How luxurious is the ride? Is there space for all the family? But the most important question of all is can you fit your golf clubs in the boot?

There’s nothing worse than having to stick your trusty clubs in the passenger seat. Not only is it extremely dangerous if you had a collision, but it can be messy and limits the number of people you can fit in the car. Here are some of the best cars for golfers:

#1 Mercedes S-Class Mercedes S-Class

When it comes to combining sleek, sophisticated style with a large amount of storage space and a smooth ride, the Mercedes S-Class is one of the best cars on the market. There is more than enough room in the boot to fit both your clubs and your partners, while still having seating room for four adults.

#2 Audi A6 Avant Audi A6 Avant

If you want a car that allows you to fit all your clubs inside with ease then the A6 may just be perfect for you. With a whopping 1,680 litres of boot space you can fit all of your golfing gear inside with room to spare. The car itself offers all the latest in luxury and cutting edge technology, allowing you to be the envy of your golf club.

#3 Porsche Panamera Porsche Panamera

For Porsche and golf enthusiasts, the Panamera is the way to go. With an ample 450 litres of trunk space, it provides way more room for your golf clubs than a BMW 7 Series. On top of this, the four seats allow you to drive your family around in comfort, while retaining the sporting capabilities Porsche are known for.

#4 Volkswagen Passat Volkswagen Passat

A cheaper option than the previous cars, the Passat has a huge amount of room for all your clubs. The ride may not be the same quality as more expensive options, but you receive the best technology and reliability that Volkswagen can produce. The Passat has incredible economy, with extra urban producing a fantastic 74.3mpg.

#5 Volvo S80

Volvo are well known for their unbelievable reliability, with the engines running well even past 100,000 miles. The space you get in the boot is ample for at least two sets of golf clubs, without infringing on the legroom your rear passengers receive.

#6 Honda Civic Honda Civic

Not looking for an estate car? The Civic is a hatchback that allows plenty of room for your clubs to be placed either vertically or horizontally in the boot. This is a much shorter vehicle than others in the list, making it a great option for anyone who has to do a lot of tight city driving.

#7 Toyota iQ Toyota iQ

No, that’s not a joke. This tiny micro car may be incredibly short, but it is actually very wide allowing you to fit your golf bag into the back. By folding down the rear seats there is even enough room to get the trolley in. With an average economy of 65.7mpg, this will save you a lot of cash on fuel – giving you more money to spend on things you love.

 

 

If you’re planning on golfing around the Swansea area then do it with the Dragon Hotel. We have a selection of golfing packages to make your stay as perfect as possible. To learn more visit our website or talk to our friendly team today on 01792 657 100.

Where’s The Best Cappuccino? Swansea’s 7 Best Coffee Houses

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

As well as being home to some of South Wales’ most respected restaurants, Swansea is also full of plenty of chic, enjoyable coffee houses – perfect for whiling away the hours whether you’re at work or play. You don’t need to visit a faceless national chain for a cracking cappuccino – there are plenty of amazing independent options.

Here are our 7 favourite coffee houses in Swansea:

The Cove, Castle Street

It may be just a minute’s walk from the famous Wind Street, but The Cove is exactly what its name suggests – a quiet, intimate venue that’s perfect for chilling out a little if you’re a little sick of the crowds in Swansea City Centre. With ever-changing art on show from local artists, The Cove It serves some of Swansea’s best coffee. Well worth a look.

The One Shoe Café, Kind Edward’s Rd

Situated in an old cobbler’s shop on King Edward’s Road in Brynmill, the One Shoe Café isn’t lacking in atmosphere and certainly knows how to make a coffee that stands out from the rest. If you’re dropping in around lunchtime, we’d recommend one of their many paninis.

Verdi’s, Knab Rock, Mumbles

Coffee © UmerShabib

It’s a drive outside of Swansea, but the quality you’ll find at Verdi’s – not to mention the glorious views of the Gower coastline –  is well worth the trip. If you’re one of those that eats ice cream all year round, you’ll love Verdi’s, with up to 30 different Italian flavours made on-site with local produce, while the coffee also exhibits a typically Italian flair.

Café Twocann, Swansea Docks

Based in an old grade 2-listed grain store in Swansea Docks, Café Twocann offers excellent views over the marina and is the perfect  place to stop and sit with a really tasty cup. We recommend ordering the latte which comes with a separate shot to allow you to control the strength of your coffee and, of course, a traditional Welsh Cake.

Steam Coffee & Tea Room, Uplands

With an intimate ambience and homely wooden décor, Steam Coffee Room is as charming as it is cosy. With seasonal menus – as well as local artists and performers – you can be sure of something new on the menu, as well as its ever-reliable hot drinks.

Maddocks, Southgate

Yes, it’s another Gower coffee house – but another that you won’t regret making a trip to, especially if you’re on the way to Threecliff Bay or more of the locale’s beaches. Maddocks Tea Room makes all its food on location. Try its freshly-ground coffee which is a definite highlight, as well as the range of leafy teas on offer.

The Lounge, The Dragon Hotel

On our first floor, the Lounge is a contemporary and comfortable setting for you to enjoy a wide range of drinks and afternoon teas – and one of Swansea’s most popular places to stop for a coffee. Both visitors and patrons love us for our free Wi-Fi (perfect if you want to mixture of work and pleasure), friendly service and tasty lunch menu.

What are your favourite Swansea coffee houses? Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and let us know!

(Image: Umershabib)