Archive for the ‘Dragon Posts’ Category

Date Night in Swansea: Returning Since Your Uni Days

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Were the years spent at Swansea University some of the best years of your life? Well, sadly they are now over but why not come back and visit. You could make it a nice romantic short break for you and your partner. And after a walk down memory lane, head to some of the best restaurants in the area for some fine dining in Swansea.

Swansea University logo

The Indian CottageGrape & Olive Swansea Bay

If you like your food with a kick but still want to enjoy the sophisticated atmosphere of a posh restaurant then head to The Indian Cottage in Pontardawe. The restaurant is famous in Swansea for their fine dining twist on the classic Indian meal and only the best ingredients are used here.

The Grape & Olive

The Grape & Olive will certainly provide you with a dinner with a view. Situated at the top floor of the tallest building in Wales you can pick your favourite dish from the menu and enjoy the stunning views across Swansea Bay and the Mumbles.
The food here is made from Welsh products of the finest quality so you can give your other half a real taste of South Wales.

Munch of Mumbles

Munch opened in December 2012 and over the last 18 months has established itself as one of the best restaurants in Swansea. The meals here look too good to eat and are masterpieces of Ben Griffiths the owner. He runs this restaurant with his wife Jacqui and youngest daughter Anna, so there is a warm and inviting atmosphere that comes from the family ownership.
And once you’ve enjoyed a good hearty meal here why don’t you go for a nice stroll along Mumbles pier.

Mosaic in SwanseaMOSAIC

If you decide to discover the new Urban Village area of Swansea then make sure to pay MOSAIC a visit. There is an electric mix of influences here with a melting pot of meals and people. The company owned 2 restaurants before opening their doors in Swansea so have good experience in what people want. And the prices aren’t bad either!

Other Romantic Activities

Of course a romantic meal isn’t everything. There are plenty of other things you can do together.

  • Go for a stroll along the stunning Gower Peninsula and take in the panoramic scenery. Take a picnic and stay until sundown for a truly spectacular set.
  • Want to explore somewhere that won’t get sand between your toes? Then maybe try Clyne Gardens? This well looked after manicured garden is open to the public and is particularly breath-taking in early summer when the flowers begin to bloom.
  • Become the Queen or King (for a few minutes) and visit Oystermouth Castle. This 12th century castle was rewarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2013 and makes for the perfect break from looking around the shops in the Mumbles.

If all of this tires you out then take some time for yourself and visit the specialist treatment room here at the hotel. Indulge yourself with a holistic or sports massage and maybe a seaweed wrap so you’ll be looking your best for the rest of the trip.

For more information about other activities around Swansea take a look at our previous blog posts or ask at reception.

A Brand New Team for Your Brand New Health Club!

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

We’ve all got ants in our pants in the health club as we’re closing for one week for a complete facelift and change.

The club is having a revamp and so are the team!

Tara, our Health Club Manager, is stepping down from the role and staying with us as Personal Trainer and Health Club Sales Manager.

Andy is stepping up as manager, Louise is stepping up as Deputy Manager and Tom has left to be replaced by Tom (Nice and easy to remember the name)

Wait – there’s more!

We’re excited to welcome Ceri to the team who is coming to us from The Dragon Brasserie and we still have Ashleigh and Bryony

So if you see some brightly coloured trainers running around the Swansea area a little more than normal – that’s our team putting their clients through their paces outdoors whilst the club is locked and having a bit of a DIY SOS moment.

We’re opening back up on Saturday 3rd May and would love to see you at our brand new club with our brand new team!

 

Get Active in Swansea!

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

If you are looking for attractions near Swansea for a hen do or maybe as an alternative to golf on a long weekend, you may want to consider doing something active. There’s plenty to do in Swansea, so get outside and enjoy the beautiful coastline. You won’t regret it!

Surfing

Head down Caswell Bay Road and you will find Gower Surfing School. Surf GSD is the only licensed surf school by the County of Swansea and is the only company allowed to run surfing lessons from this stunning seaside location. SurfGSD has been running for over 10 years and is a British Surfing Association approved school so you know it is a safe and fun place to learn this fun new skill.
Book online and whether you are looking for a beginner’s tutorial or a whole afternoon of advanced training you are sure to catch the surfing bug.

Waterpark LC2 Swansea

The LC2 in the middle of Swansea’s town centre is a modern leisure centre that has been awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2013. With its very own waterpark there are slides, a small lazy river and even a one-of-a-kind Boardrider.
There is also a 30ft climbing wall and a fully kitted out gym making this the perfect location for an active day come rain or shine.

Paintballing

A 15 minute drive from the town centre you will find Teamforce Paintball & Activity Centre the perfect location for a day of getting down and dirty. The centre is able to host 120 players at any given time on its 15 acre site and therefore is popular among groups of all sizes. So defend that castle, run over the bridge and capture that missile command bunker!

Indoor Karting

Skidz Karting in Swansea West Business Park is a fun place to go especially if you have a competitive side to your personality. The only indoor karting track in Swansea, there are 2 tracks to choose between as well as a big games room where you can play pool, air hockey or have a go at the driving simulator. Just remember, don’t drink and drive!

Mountain BoardMountain Boarding

Have you always wanted to try mountain boarding? The BRD Mountain Boarding Centre near Weobley Castle in Llanrhidian is a great place to start. Hire the equipment and take part in one of the lessons or courses served here on the 200m of sloping grass and woodland, for fun-for-all abilities that gets you out in the great Welsh outdoors.

Canyoning, White Water Rafting and Coasteering

For water sports in Swansea, Goytre is the place to be. The Liquidfriction Adventure Centre is the base for many adrenaline filled activities such as canyoning, white water rafting, coasteering and a high ropes challenge. The centre is located in the Afon forest so makes a beautiful setting to take part in these activities and a lovely place for an after activity picnic.

Do you like the sound of any of these activities? If you have any further questions just ask – we’re always happy to help!

Accommodation

Friday, April 25th, 2014

accomm-pic12

Comfortable, All-encompassing Accommodation

accommodation-spThe Dragon Hotel offers guests a choice of 106 immaculately-adorned en-suite bedrooms. All are  refurbished effortlessly, offering a comfortable environment. So whether you’re visiting for business, pleasure or a combination of the two we’ve somewhere you can really relax.

Want to take a look around? Please take a look at images of our accommodation in our picture gallery.

Our Four-star Rooms

Each bedroom in The Dragon Hotel enjoys modern décor and is kitted out with the latest mod-cons for your pleasure. When you stay here, you’ll benefit from:

  • Secure key card access
  • Direct dial telephone
  • Digital flat screen TV
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Hairdryer
  • Tea/Coffee making facilities
  • In-room movies and Sky TV
  • Air-conditioning

We’ve a wide range of rooms to suit all requirements and budgets. Why not choose from a simple and elegant Superior Double or Twin Room, a spacious Superior Family or Executive Double and Twin Rooms.

We also offer Superior Disabled Access Rooms with wide doorways, walk-in showers and rails for wheelchair users. Or, for a touch of decadence, you may want to treat yourself to an Executive Suite which boasts an impressive additional lounge.

Important Information

Guests can check in from 2pm on day of arrival. Check out is 12 noon. To avoid charges, cancellations must be made by 2.00pm on the scheduled day of arrival.

Did you know that The Dragon Hotel is home to an award-winning restaurant? Book a table at our AA Rosette Brasserie during your stay or enjoy our carvery Sunday lunch. For more information about our holiday accommodation and what we can offer you, speak to a member of our team today on +44 (0)1792 657 100.

5 Terrific Things to do in the Swansea Valley

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

The area around the River Tawe to the north east of Swansea is a historic, varied area. With so many things to see and do, it’s a haven for both visitors and locals.

Stuck for something to do in Swansea? Here are the 5 best things to do in the Swansea valley:

Swansea Canal © Gareth Lovering

#1 – Walk the Industrial Routes of Swansea Canal

During the industrial revolution until the First World War, the area around the River Tawe was one of the most industrialised in the world. Coal mining was huge business.

Swansea may not be the industrial power it once was, but its canal, opened in 1798 at a cost of £60,000, is a throwback to those heady times. It ran for more than 16 miles, and although only 5 miles remains of active water it still offers a range of great walks. The perfect way to taste the valley’s rich history.

Looking for more great walks in and around Swansea? Check out our great guide.

Dan yr Ogof © Chris SampsonDan yr Ogof © SocialRobot

#2 – Descend Down into Dan yr Ogof Caves

The National Showcaves Centre for Wales at Dan-Yr-Ogof is a perfect place to take both young and old. Voted by Radio Times readers as Britain’s greatest natural wonder, the caves are reportedly the largest in Europe.

Cave divers have identified that the network stretches at least 11 miles underground, although they also anticipate that it could go as far as 90 miles underneath huge swathes of South Wales. At Dan Yr Ogof you can get your hard hat on and enjoy the three huge main caves that are open to the public, or even find out about dinosaurs that walked round Wales.

Waterfall @ Sgwd Henrhyd © Jason Rogers

#3 – Wonder at the view of Sgwd Henrhyd

Sgwd Henrhyd, or Henryhd Waterfall, on the southerly edge of the Brecon Beacons is a jaw-dropping attraction – and at 90ft the tallest waterfall found in South Wales’ esteemed Waterfall County. It’s a popular spot and easy to walk down to from the National Trust car park just outside Coelbren.

Batman fans may well recognise the waterfall, which was used as the entrance to the Batcave at the end of The Dark Night Rises. Just don’t jump down.

Craig y Nos Castle © Gruenemann

#4 – Get Haunted at Craig Y Nos Castle

South Wales is famous for its castles, but the grounds and locale of this Victorian Gothic country house make it perhaps one of the best in the Swansea Valley. Bought by the opera superstar Adelina Patti in the late 19th century who developed it and added an iconic Grade 1 listed opera house to the already-impressive castle, Craig Y Nos is now a successful hotel and wedding venue

It is also said to suffer from paranormal phenomena. Patti and her second husband have been reported to roam the estate, as well as a number of children who supposedly died when the estate was used as a hospital to fight TB in the mid-20th century. So if you’re visiting on one of its ghost tours and notice some spooky goings on, don’t say we didn’t warn you!

#5 – Swim and splash around at The LC, Swansea

Right at the very mouth of the River Tawe in Swansea Bay, the LC Swansea (previously known as Swansea Leisure Centre), is probably South Wales’ most impressive leisure centre. Its amazing pool has a number of wicked water slides, while on dry land you can climb its 30ft climbing wall, use the multi-purpose sports hall or make the most of the extensive spa and gym facilities.

Have we missed any of your favourites? What do you think are the best places to go in and around the Swansea valley? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook and let us know!

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:  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 include:

  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…)