Archive for the ‘Dragon Posts’ Category

The Five Best Walks in South Wales for Stunning Scenery

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Wales is well known for several things: male voice choirs, an extreme love of rugby and having some of the most fantastic, unspoiled scenery to be found anywhere in the UK. Normally the best walks are kept relatively secret in order to stop a huge influx of tourists flocking there and spoiling the countryside. But here are five of the best walks you can go on across South Wales, unveiled:

Rhosilli Bay © http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/07/Rhossili_06_05.jpg#1 Rhosilli Bay, Swansea

Despite being a short drive away from Swansea’s bustling city centre, Rhosilli Bay is still one of the local’s best kept secrets. With its sandy shores, beautiful cliff faces and miles of miles of rolling countryside it’s no wonder Rhosilli is such a firm favourite with ramblers across the UK. The walk itself is roughly 5 miles long and is a circular route, so you can go round as many times as you want. Some of the views you get include the Worms Head and Burry Holmes tidal islands and an astounding 360-degree view of the Gower.

Penbryn Beach © http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/21/Penbryn_Beach_from_coastal_path_-_geograph.org.uk_-_629983.jpg

#2 Penbryn Beach, Ceredigion

The best walk in Ceredigion is Penbryn Beach which may not be a long one, at around 1 ¾ miles, but it is second to none for views. Due to its rural location, Penbryn makes an excellent spot for star gazing, with clear nights offering fantastic views of millions of stars and even a glimpse of the Milky Way. Nature lovers will be excited by the variety of bats that come out around Penbryn Beach at night or the birds that flock to its shores during the day.

Pen y Fan © http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2834/8782152533_7b4329bf13_o.jpg

#3 Pen y Fan Horseshoe, Brecon Beacons

If it’s a challenge you’re after then why not tackle the Pen y Fan Horseshoe? The ascension for Pen y Fan is more than enough for some people, but the Horseshoe walk takes you over three other peaks – Corn Du, Cribyn and Fan y Big, a challenge for even the most experienced of ramblers. While the climb may be a real slog, the views you get at the end of it are more than worth it – on a really clear day you can see all the way to Mumbles, 40 miles away!

 

 

 

Cwmdown © http://www.grindinggears.co.uk/mtbpic-week1/#4 Forest Drive, Cwmcarn

Another one of Wales’ best kept secrets is Cwmcarn Forest Drive – only a 20 minute drive away from Cardiff and you find yourself in a whole new set of surroundings. With a fantastic panoramic view of Cardiff, Newport and, on a good day, the English Coast this is one of the most beautiful locations in South Wales. The walk to the top can be quite strenuous, but the view is phenomenal and more than makes up for the graft.

 

 

 

Coastal Path © http://s0.geograph.org.uk/photos/42/67/426747_538ba378.jpg#5 Coastal Path, Pembrokeshire

One of the longest purpose made walking trails in the UK. You can follow the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path 299km through some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK. Of course, you don’t have to do the whole thing! There are many stopping and starting points all along the trail, allowing you to customise the length and difficulty of your walks based on your abilities and time constraints.

 

If you’re walking around Swansea then why not make the trip more enjoyable and stay in the luxurious Dragon Hotel? After a hard day’s walking you can relax in our spa, enjoy a delicious dinner and then rest your weary head on our extremely comfortable pillows.

Hangover Cures – 9 Ways Hens Can Recover From the Night Before

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

So you’re on a hen do. You’ve woken up from the night before. And you don’t feel good.

Many hens call The Dragon Hotel home during a boozy break with the bride-to-be, but it’s fair to say that sometimes for them the morning isn’t quite as enjoyable as the night before.

With so much fun to be had in Swansea, a hen do’s no time to be feeling sour – here are 10 ways to get you feeling ship-shape:

1 – Water, water, water

Alcohol is a diuretic and causes dehydration. And the dehydration is the reason why your head is pounding. So start rehydrating your body with plenty of fresh water. It’s the most obvious, but it’s also the most effective.

2 – Toast

We’re frequently told that carbohydrates are a lady’s worst enemy. But not when you’re struggling with the mother of all hangovers. Carbs provided by toast can get the liver into action and help it to produce precious glucose and get your energy levels back to what they were.

3 – Exercise

Many think that getting your gym kit on and sweating out a hangover is the best way to beat the lurgee, although scientific studies have shown it has a minimal effect. However, what exercise undoubtedly does is release endorphins – making you feel happier and more motivated. So get down to The Dragon’s gym and get your blood rate up!

Hungover cat

4 – Sleep

It’s not recommended for girls on hen dos when there’s so much excitement to be had, but sleep is a great way of riding your boozy illness out. But there is a more attractive low-effort alternative…

5 – Spa

Many girls find that nothing quells a harsh head and a dizzy demeanour like an hour or two in the spa. At The Dragon, we’ve a number of energising spa treatments to help you repair and recover.

6 – Painkillers

If you want a quick fix solution to a banging hangover, then a painkiller could well work. But don’t forget that a paracetamol will only mask the problem temporarily – if you don’t rehydrate yourself or eat anything worthwhile then you’ll feel just as bad in a few hours’ time.

7 – Elaborate collections of vitamins

If you’re one of the Made In Chelsea-watching and Buzzfeed-reading girls, you’ll know that bespoke hangover cures are all the rage with socialites like Poppy Delevigne and Alexa Chung.  Whether they work or not, we can’t say, but these vitamin-rich superfoods consisting of acai berries, chia seeds and much more do look the business.

8 – Act quick

The longer you lie around and not taking action against your wine-induced illness, the longer it’ll stick around. So rehydrate and get some grub down you.

9 – Prevention is the best cure

If you want to feel a little better the next day, prevention is your best friend. Eat plenty before you start drinking, and intersperse your boozing with the odd pint of water. …but you knew that already, didn’t you?

Golfing in Swansea… Langland Bay Golf Club | The Dragon Hotel

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Langland Bay.1

The latest in our Golfing in Swansea series sees us take a look at one of the local area’s most popular courses (and Catherine Zeta-Jones’ favourite), Langland Golf Club:

Where is Langland Bay Golf Club?

Found just the other side of The Mumbles to Swansea, Langland is a 20-minute coastal drive from the Dragon Hotel in central Swansea – perfect for sunny days. Take the A4067 to The Mumbles then turn right onto the B4593 and latterly Langland Bay Road and you’ll arrive at your golfing destination.

How it Plays Out

Golfers have been teeing off at Langland Bay for over 100 years and to this day it’s not lacking in olde worlde charm. At 6,026 yards, it’s not a long course by any stretch but it’s not lacking in7284 Flag_Medium tricky hazards – here you’ll find plenty of bunkers, water traps and speedy greens which combine with the coastal wind to make your round a tough one.

However, that’s not to say that Langland Bay can only do diminutive holes. Although you might choose to leave your driver in your bag on some holes such as the 3rd and 4th, the par-4 5th is 360 yards long and needs a good solid drive for any chance of birdying.

Highlights at Langland Bay include the 453-yard par 4 7th where only the most confident golfers will avoid a bogie and the 16th which is as unforgiving a par 3 as you can get. The 16th consists of a short drive over gorse but if you miss the steeply-sloped, postage stamp-sized green you’re in big trouble.

Why You’ll Love it

If you’re one of those that prefers deft, controlled golf and cultured green play, you’ll love Langland. Because it’s shorter than most you won’t get bored driving down endless fairways – although there’s no denying that its many hazards and difficult pin positions do make it a real challenge.

As well as being diligently maintained all year round, the course is sandwiched between Langland and Caswell Bay and so provides some of the finest panoramic views in the UK, never mind Wales. On 15 of the 18 holes you’ll get a glimpse of the stunning Gower coast. Plus, if you’re somewhat hot after a sweaty round you can always cool off in the sea.

The 7th holeWhy You Might Not

As we’ve hinted at, Langland Bay is built for thinking-man’s golf and might not be your favourite if you like nothing more than driving down endless fairways.

What’s more, because it has 18 holes packed quite cosily into a tight space, there are a couple of instances when some holes cross each other (a pet peeve for some golfers) and you have to deal with some stray balls and align yourself with others playing on the course.

Want a hotel near Langland Bay Golf Club?

Situated just 20 minutes from the Gower, The Dragon Hotel is one of the favourite destinations for golfers and one of the best hotels near Langland Bay Golf Club. With exclusive rates and special packages available, our golf team can ensure your break costs less.

WINTER GOLF SPECIAL: Enjoy 2 nights’ bed & breakfast at The Dragon Hotel and rounds at two South Wales’ golf courses (including Langland Bay) for just £132.50pp*. Keen? Find out more today!

*Terms & conditions apply

 

Swansea Sales Shopping – Where to Grab a Bargain in South Wales

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Aside from being near areas of outstanding natural beauty and historical interest, thousands of people flock to Swansea for one thing…the shops.

Swansea’s one of the finest shopping areas in South Wales and it’s not an uncommon sight for patrons at the Dragon Hotel to check in laden with more shopping bags than they can carry.

So where is best for shopping in Swansea? Where can you grab a real bargain? Let’s take a look:

800px-Swansea_from_kilvey_hill

The Quadrant Shopping Centre

Perhaps the most well-known of Swansea’s shopping areas, the Quadrant is always an exciting, bustling spot for some retail therapy. Just some of the big-name stores to be found in the Quadrant include Superdry, Debenhams, Schuh, Animal and HMV. However, if you want a true taste of South Wales’ retail culture (and maybe want slightly more bang for your buck) we’d recommend getting out into somewhere a little more authentic. Which leads us on to….

Swansea Market

It’s been a key part of the city centre for over 100 years and today Swansea market is bigger and better than ever. You’ll find plenty of food to buy (you have to try some authentic Welshcakes from here) and also knick-knacks, clothes and home accessories for much less than at the big-brand stores. Expect old-school charm, thick Swansea accents and a huge array of tempting things to buy.

Mumbles Boutiques

They may be a short drive out of Swansea (approximately 15 minutes by car) but if you’re visiting the Mumbles to check out its brilliant beaches then it’s well worth taking a look round the chic shops too. You’ll find plenty of independent outlets selling everything from high-end fashion and home accessories to locally-made food and surf gear. There are also plenty of charming cafes, but that’s for another blog.

Oxford Street

Although it’s not quit as famous as it’s London namesake, Swansea’s Oxford Street is where the majority of sales-mad shoppers head for a deal. Like the Quadrant, there are all the big names to be found like Next, H&M and Marks & Spencer, but if you venture downs the streets off Swansea’s favourite shopping area you’ll find lots of cool boutiques.

We definitely recommend taking a look at Bossy Boutique on Oxford Street for high-end glamour, Attica on Plymouth Street for kooky home accessories and Moustache on Cradock Street for some marvellous menswear. But don’t take our word for it – get lost down the lanes and find out for yourself!

After a hard day’s shopping, there’s nothing quite relaxing in style. And there’s nowhere quite as classy and comfortable as the Dragon Hotel. Get great advanced rates by booking your stay online today.

Are you Celebrating National Yorkshire Pudding Day?

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

It’s a kitchen blog! Yes that right, us chefs at The Dragon Hotel also know how to use computers as well as cook fantastic food. Did you know that February 2nd is National Yorkshire Pudding Day? With that in mind, how could we pass up that opportunity to tell you a little about Yorkshire Puddings and of course give you our recipe?!

Yorkshire Pudding

The History of the Humble Yorkshire Pudding

The Yorkshire Pudding was traditionally made in a large tin, rather than the individual puddings that we are familiar with today. In the old days, Yorkshire Puddings were eaten as a separate course before the main meal. Folklore tells us that this was a trick used by Mums to fill-up the family so she could serve less meat – the expensive part of the meal.
The traditional way of eating these plump delightful delicacies is with roast beef but I like to eat them with any roast meat: chicken, turkey, pork or even on their own with a bowl of nice thick gravy.

A 2008 ruling by the Royal Society of Chemistry has it that “A Yorkshire Pudding isn’t a Yorkshire Pudding if it is less than four inches tall”. Well, we’re happy to announce that ours measure a whopping 4 and a half inches. Yay!

How to Make the Perfect Yorkshire Pudding

Now for the part you have been waiting for. The recipe! Its so simple you won’t believe it
You need equal amounts of eggs, plain flour and milk. Mix all the ingredients together and leave to sit in the fridge overnight.

Method

  • Pre heat the oven to 180°
  • Pour cooking oil inYorkshireto your pudding tray about half full each
  • Place the tray in the oven for 15 minutes to heat the oil up
  • Carefully remove from the oven and drain a little oil before adding your Yorkshire mix and placing back in the oven for 30 minutes
  • Try not to open the oven as this will cause them to sink
  • When your puddings are a dark golden brown get them out

There you have it, the secret to our Yorkshire Puddings – we told you it was easy!

Of course if you don’t feel up to cooking them yourself you can always pop into the hotel for our Sunday carvery where the puddings are always on the menu. Book your meal today!

(Image: I’m George)

Welshisms: A Beginner’s Guide to the Welsh Language

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Here at the Dragon Hotel, it won’t surprise you that we’re proud to be a quintessentially Welsh hotel.

Daffers

But when you come to stay here, you’ll be happy to know that we don’t insist on communicating in our beloved lingo. Nor when you’re shopping in Swansea market will you have to learn what the Welsh for pasty is (for what it’s worth, it’s called a pastai.)

However, if you want to speak a little of the local dialect when you stay, we won’t stop you! Here’s a quick beginner’s guide to some common Welshisms:

Cwtch

Voted as Wales’ favourite word, you’ll be hard pressed to visit Swansea or South Wales without heading the cutesy term cwtch.

The Welsh word for a cuddle or a snuggle, cwtch (pronounced COOTCH) can be found adorned on many lovely accessories in Swansea’s gift shops. You never know, if you’re lucky you might get propositioned for a cwtch in the middle of wind street if a local takes a shine to you.

Chopsy

If a local remarks to you that you’re being a little ‘chopsy’, then it might be worth shutting your mouth and doing a little listening. Chopsy means that you’re a talkative person with the gift of the gab…and not always in a good way!

Twp

Similarly, if someone calls you twp (pronounced TUP) then they think you’re stupid, daft and maybe a little dull. We’re sure they won’t, cos the Welsh are a friendly bunch.

Butty

To most of the UK, a butty is a sandwich. Not in Swansea, where a butty is a good friend. Remember, whatever you do in South Wales, don’t ask to eat a butty – locals will start looking at you funny.

Mitchin’

Usually used by naughty school kids, mitchin’ is the name given to the age-old act of playing truant. When you stay here, we’re sure that you won’t want to be mitchin’ away from the Dragon Hotel.
Rain

Bwrw glaw

Unfortunately, when you visit South Wales there’s a high chance that you’ll get a bit of bwrw glaw (pronounced boo-roo GLOW) falling from the sky. Yes, that’s right, you might well come across some Welsh rain in Swansea.

Happily, bwrw glaw is a very satisfying phrase to say and somehow manages to encapsulate the dreariness of a rainy day and the comfort to be found in staying indoors in the warm.

Popdy ping

Chances are, you won’t be wanting to use one of these during your stay to South Wales, but there’s no doubt that the Welsh word for microwave (pronounced Pop-ed-ee PING) is one of the most pleasing words in the whole of the taff lexicon.

Want an authentic, accessible base from which to explore Swansea and South Wales? Get exclusive online rates when you book your stay to the Dragon Hotel today.

(Images: Photophob,  Sam Webster)

Staff Member of the Month: Jaqueline Wilks

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Join with us in congratulating one of The Dragon’s newest recruits, Jacqueline Wilks, for winning our Team Member of the Month Award!

Jaqueline, who joined our housekeeping team back in July, won the award for the brilliant work she’s been doing in December for her team while also waitressing in the conference and banqueting  department. She’s a great team player and an asset to the company.

Away from The Dragon, Jacqueline has 3 children and 6 grandchildren, while she’s also fostered a number of children over several years. Her services to fostering were recognised here at The Dragon Hotel a few years back when she received an award for Foster Mother of the Year from Swansea FC legend Lee Trundle.

Congratulations Jaquie!

IMG-20140115-WA0000

5 Reasons Your Hen Do Needs a Tea Party

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Tea party

The humble tea party has skyrocketed in popularity over the last 5 years, as brides-to-be and their favourite girls congregate together for a slice (or three) of vintage glamour. At the Dragon Hotel, we’ve seen our fair share of hen dos and we believe that no girly get-together is complete without an all-singing, all-dancing tea party. Here are 5 reasons why:

The cupcakes

First things first, there’s one thing that’s great about a tea party – the cupcakes! Regardless of the style, size or shade, there’s nothing that epitomises the sumptuous culinary pleasures of vintage tea parties quite like a cupcake. Yum.

The older folks

Let’s face it: sometimes a hen party can get a little rowdy. And if you’ve some slightly more, ahem, ‘experienced’ ladies joining you for your soiree, you might be in want of an event that can incorporate your more aged guests.

That’s where a tea party comes in – allowing you to incorporate the mother-in-law and any relevant aunties into the day before the booze starts flowing too freely.

It’s civilised

Likewise, the event allows guests to catch up and chew the fat for an hour or two before the mayhem truly begins. As a result, you can introduce any unfamiliar hens to each other and allow for some quality chat in a welcoming, enjoyable atmosphere.

The dressing up

Tea parties allow a group of girls to engage in one of the most popular pastimes – dressing up!

There are plenty of different avenues you can go down – from a ‘mad hatter’-style Alice In Wonderland party to authentic 50s vintage bash or a modern Ascot-esque do with amazing hats. The choice is up to you.

The personal touch

Creating a hen do to remember is all about making it as personal and as individual as possible. Every tea party can be adapted to your specific tastes, meaning that the bride-to-be and her best girls have a weekend to truly remember.

At the Dragon Hotel, we offer a wide range of services for hen parties. Centrally located, and just a minute’s walk from the famous Wind Street, we’re the perfect modern location. Ask about our tea and cake parties in Swansea today – call (0)1792 657 100.

Are You Visiting the Welsh National Wedding Fayre?

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

When you’re getting married and planning your big day, all brides-to-be agree that there’s nothing quite so exciting as a wedding fayre. With all those sights, smells and pretty possibilities around, there are hundreds of ideas that you could incorporate into your wedding day.

For brides in South Wales, the Welsh National Wedding Fayre, held at Brangwyn Hall in Swansea on Sunday February 16th, is one of the most important days in the calendar – well, after their day that is.

What’s on at the Welsh National Wedding Fayre?

Whether you’re looking for some creative ideas for your big day or think you have it all sussed out, you’ll find plenty of inspiration. There are more than 100 different stalls offering a range of different services for your wedding, including:

  • Dresseshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brangwyn_Hall
  • Catering ideas
  • Invitation designers
  • Sale rails
  • Chocolate fountains
  • Cakes
  • Groom fashion
  • Favours and wedding accessories
  • Honeymoon packages
  • Hen and stag ideas
  • And so much more!

There’s also plenty of live entertainment on offer throughout the day at Wales’ biggest wedding event, from catwalk shows to give style ideas to brides, grooms and guests to live on-stage acts as well as on-site refreshments and a licensed bar.

The freebies

One of the best thing about planning a wedding is the freebies that you can enjoy, and at this Swansea wedding fayre you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of perks. On top of the free entry to the event and free parking, you’ll also get a glass of bubbly on your arrival, a free goodybag for Lush and Debenhams and a bundle of top wedding magazines. What’s more, with sale areas up to 90% off RRP, you’ll find that they’re practically giving away some brilliant bridal fashions.

For non-Swansea residents, there are also similar fayres in Cardiff and Carmarthen. Find out more about the events online today at www.welshweddingfayre.co.uk, where you can enjoy a range of special offers for your big day.

If you’re planning a wedding in South Wales, do it with the Dragon Hotel. Whether you want a chic city-centre location from which to base the perfect hen do, or are looking for a modern, accessible wedding reception package, we can help. Visit our specialist wedding page today or talk to a friendly member of the team on 01792 657 100.

Your definitive guide to drinking on Wind Street, Swansea

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

If you’re looking for a lively night out in South Wales then the name Wind Street will probably have popped up quite a few times, and for good reason. More aptly nicknamed by locals and tourists alike as ‘Wine Street’ this 160 metre stretch holds the majority of the city’s pubs, clubs, bars and
restaurants.

It is the close proximity of these venues that makes it a fantastic destination for hen dos, stag nights and office parties. Here’s your complete guide to bars on Wind Street:

Yates

Yates bar

At the very top of Wind Street you’ll find the popular budget option of Yates. Here you can enjoy a wide range of beers, wines and ciders without breaking the bank. It’s also a fantastic place to enjoy some quality food before heading out for the night, or just to unwind with friends. Yates is the place to be for Live Sports, with one big screen and 10 TVs throughout the venue you’ll have the best seats in the house.

Walkabout

Walkabout

This Australian bar is renowned in Swansea for its “dance ‘til you drop” attitude and creates a legendary night out. During the day it becomes a chilled out utopia, serving a wide range of food and the coldest beers around. If you’re planning a big night out then make sure you get yourself on the VIP package and guest list to make the most of it all.

Varsity

Whether you’re looking for a party house or just a nice pub to have an intimate dinner with Varsity is a great option for your needs. Located just a short walk down Wine Street from the city centre, Varsity has everything you need for a good night out – comfortable seats, a great selection of drinks and a nice dance floor.

Reflex

Fancy a retro night out, bringing the 80s music and moves straight to the dance floor? Then Reflex is the place to be! With a huge range of cocktails to choose from and the old classics being played till late into the night Reflex is the perfect place for a great night out. If you want to dance like your parents and enjoy a really chilled night out then head to this nightclub!

Reflex

Ice Bar

It may not be a venue carved out of frozen blocks of ice, but Wine Street’s ice bar is by one of the coolest places around. Enjoy a great value night out with 2 four 1 on cocktails and a huge selection of other drinks. The Ice Bar throws many themed nights to make your nights out even more special – check ahead on their Facebook to see what you can expect.

Pitcher and Piano

Probably the most elegant and comfortable bar on Wine Street, the Pitcher and Piano has a great range of both food and drinks. With a lunch menu that starts at £6 it is a very affordable place to grab a bite to eat or have a nice drink. Every weekend there’s great live music on at the venue and a huge selection of fine wines, premium draught and bottled beers as well as a range of cocktails.

Pitcher & Piano

The Bank Statement

Weatherspoons are award winning pubs for both quality and price, and The Bank Statement is no different. You can expect to find everything you would from a normal Weatherspoons – great food, good selection of drinks and a brilliant price – but when the night kicks off the dance floor opens up and club tunes start blaring!

No Sign Wine Bar

Need a perfect place on Wind Street for an office party? The No Sign Wine Bar is the perfect place to go for food and drinks. Unlike most of the other venues on the street that cater to the 20s market, No Sign Bar appeals to the older generation, giving a more mature and sophisticated atmosphere.

No Sign Wine Bar

Idols Bar

This vibrant night club is perfect for throwing a huge party. Found dead in the centre of Wind Street, this bar has different events for almost every night of the week. There are live DJs to be found every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to ensure the beats are always on point and the party never hits a low point.

Peppermint Bar

The Peppermint Bar provides an excellent night out with a huge range of cocktails to choose from. Enjoy some of the best drinks on the street with the fantastic atmosphere that the beautifully designed bar provides. If you’re looking for a night out with a difference then check out Peppermint.

Peppermint Bar

Revolution

Often referred to as Vodka Revs, the Revolution bar specialises in all things to do with vodka – from various different flavours to making elaborate cocktails for you to enjoy. If you head in earlier in the day then you can enjoy some of the best food on the street. When the light goes down this becomes one of the best nightclubs to head to. It is conveniently located at the end of Wind Street – a perfect finishing location for your pub crawl.