Archive for the ‘Dragon Posts’ Category

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.

Where to eat in Swansea? Quintessentially Welsh Restaurants

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

If you’re in Swansea for any length of time then you’ll want to experience some of the culinary delights that the seafront town has to offer. Where to start is always the biggest question. There are so many gastro pubs, fine restaurants, quaint cafes and diners, that picking the perfect location can be quite tricky. Here’s a guide to the best places to eat in Swansea:

Slice, Sketty

From Swansea’s best-kept secret to the number one place to eat in the city, Slice may be small but it’s a place you’ll never forget! The owner/ head chef Philip Leach prepares lip-smackingly delicious meals from a menu that only uses locally sourced products, including herbs from his very own garden! The opening hours are currently Thursday to Sunday between 6.30pm-9pm, so you’ll have to be quick in order to get a table.

Maes yr Haf, Parkmill

This award winning fine-dining hotel restaurant is another great Swansea restaurant that uses local produce and ingredients to achieve success in the kitchen. Everything from the seafood, meat and vegetables are all Welsh grown and bred, even the ales and lagers available are locally sourced. These all contribute to a stunning, modestly priced menu that brings in tourists and locals alike. Why not get a room and really enjoy the stunning range of Welsh beers and wines?

Junction Café, Blackpill

Enjoy some of the best views in Swansea, looking over Mumbles bay, while treating yourself to something off the Junction’s delightful menu. If you’re looking for a truly Welsh eatery then you won’t get much better than the Junction Café which was lovely converted from the generating station for the World-Famous Mumbles train service. There is an extensive menu to please even the pickiest of eaters, you can even book ahead for large parties and have a menu tailored to you.

The Kitchen Table, Mumbles

If you’re looking for a truly unique dining experience then The Kitchen Table is the place to be. Keeping the original features of the pottery shop that it is housed in, it creates a great atmosphere to match the mouth-watering menu. There’s nothing extravagant about the food itself, however it is immaculately made from locally sourced ingredients. The Kitchen Table is also very vegetarian and vegan friendly, which is great for anyone with these specific dietary requirements.

Pen Y Cae Inn, Swansea Valley

Yet another quintessentially Welsh dining destination, the Pen Y Cae Inn is without a doubt the best place in Swansea Valley for locally sourced food. If you’re looking for the traditional country-pub style that’s matched with a homemade menu then this gastro pub is definitely worth a visit. The food here is so good that the Pen Y Cae won the ‘Gastro Pub of the Year’ and ‘Best Pub of the Year’ in 2009 and gained the title ‘Best Family Pub in Wales’ in 2010. These five restaurants all specialise in finding the best ingredients to be found in Wales and creating fantastic menus. If you want a truly Welsh experience then there’s nothing quite like eating in one of these fantastic locations to get a real taste of Cymru.

Dragon Hotel brasserie

The Dragon Brasserie, Swansea

Of course we couldn’t finish this list without mentioning our award-winning Dragon Brasserie! Located smack-bang in the middle of Swansea, on the street level of our Hotel, it is the perfect place to visit for anyone looking for a delicious bite to eat in the city centre. We have a great range of European cuisine and a huge selection of wines. There is a very light atmosphere in the restaurant, thanks to our floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing you to enjoy a bustling view as you relax in style with friends, families or colleagues.

Golfing in Swansea… Southerndown Golf Club

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Here at the Dragon Hotel we’re passionate about golf. Fans of the great game come from across the country to play South Wales’ great courses and to stay at the Dragon Hotel.

With that in mind, we’re starting a series looking at some of the best courses and links around Swansea. So here’s our run-down on one of South Wales’ most popular places: Southerndown Golf Club.

Where is Southerndown Golf Club?

On the B4524 road near Ogmore-by-Sea, Southerndown is a mile or so from Bridgend and offers some amazing views of the Bristol Channel. It’s easiest to get there by exiting J37 of the M4, joining the A48 southerly for just over four miles, bearing right onto New Inn Road and then taking the B4524 at Ewenny. Southerndown will signposted on your left as you travel down. If you get to the beach at Ogmore, you’ve gone too far.

How it plays outSoutherndown Golf Course hole 2

You won’t have to wait very long before playing your first great hole at Southerndown. The first is only 366 yards but its steep slope makes it feel much, much longer and is renowned as one of South Wales’ (if not Britain’s) toughest holes.

Afterwards, things ease up a little as most holes play down rather than up. The course has four different par 3s each of which demands the utmost accuracy, especially the 5th, Carter’s Folly, which requires you to negotiate some very tricky bunkers with your iron.

The last four holes, each of them a par 4, are very challenging and a great way to end a round. The 18th in particular has split-level fairways and is one of South Wales’ most impressive finishing holes.

Why you’ll love it

Die-hard golfers adore Southerndown because it’s one of South Wales’ toughest courses. Its links-style course on limestone heath does away with aesthetically-pleasing trees and lakes – up here you’re at the mercy of the elements. It’s you, the wind and your technique.

That’s not to say that this is a barren, unappetising location; at Southerndown the lack of vegetation means that you’re afforded incredible views of both Swansea Bay and the estuary around Ogmore as well as pretty coastal vegetation. What’s more, you’ll love being watched by many of the area’s interested sheep.

The course plays as well as any other links in Britain and its firm turf is reliable all year round. In fact, thanks to its limestone base, good drainage, sandy soil and windy conditions, Southerndown is renowned as one of South Wales’ most durable and weather-resistant courses. Remember in the 2010 Ryder Cup when the Celtic Manor had to close because of rain? Southerndown stayed open.

Why you might not

If you’re one of those golfers who finds pleasure in locating your errant tee shot from the mire of the rough (or enjoy laughing at your fellow golfers doing the same), you might not enjoy Southerndown quite so much as others. That is to say that most of the fairways, kept wide by the courses’ hungry sheep, are reasonably wide. As a result, even the most errant drivers should stay in control. However, if you do miss the fairway it may take you a while to get your ball out of the fern.

Out there at the mercy of the elements, you’ll be forgiven for struggling a little with the wind on even the most settled day. What seems to be a harsh gale will actually resemble a light wind for members at the club.

Interested in trying out some challenging, ultra-scenic links golf? Here at the Dragon Hotel, we’re one of the best hotels near Southerndown Golf Club and can arrange individual golfing packages to suit you and your party. Let us take the hassle out of your booking – talk to us today about what how we can help.

3rd Tee Southerndown Golf Course

Keen to Avoid Wind Street? Alternative Hen Nights in Swansea

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

If you’re a lucky bride-to-be looking forward to your hen do, then you’ll know that Swansea is a perfect option for a brilliant boozy weekend away with your favourite girls. We’ve all heard of the alcohol-fuelled nights out on famous Wind Street and beyond – perfect for letting your hair down in style before your big day.

However, what about hens who want something a little classier? Can you find chic, stylish hen night ideas in Swansea? We think so. Here are some hip alternatives for sophisticated hens:

Still life painting

OK, so you don’t want the booze-fuelled mayhem of wind street, but that doesn’t mean you should forsake another time-honoured tradition of hen parties: gawking at the naked male form.

Still life painting is a perfect hen party activity – allowing you to admire and ogle lithe male models while also enjoying how your fellow hens lack a certain illustrative skill.

Sidecar Cocktail

Cocktail making

We’re not ones to make generalisations, but ladies love cocktails. There’s nothing better than finding out how to make a magical martini, margarita or mimosa with your favourite girls. And if you have to taste them too, well that’s the price all hens must pay.

Go-karting

We all know that the myth of dodgy female drivers is one of mankind’s most pernicious fabrications. So why not challenge that particular falsehood by getting you and your girls down to the racetrack?  You can race against each other over 30 minutes or three hours – perfect for those ladies who are just as competitive as the men.

Adventuring

Are you and your girls the adrenaline-seeking types? Whether you want to surf, kayak, gorge walk or abseil, you’ll be able to around Swansea. Exciting days out and boot camps like this are perfect for getting your blood really flowing and seeing your best friends in situations you’d never seen before!  Go Ape, just outside Swansea, is a particular highlight with hens who visit the Dragon Hotel – allowing you to indulge your inner Tarzan (well, Jane) and swing from treetops.

Laugh the night away

Comedy is the new rock n roll, they say. So why not indulge in a spot of side-splitting fun on your hen do? After all, there’s nothing that brings people together quite like a good laugh. Britain’s biggest comedians are always visiting Swansea on their tours, so check out Ents24 for a list of what’s happening in south west Wales.

Looking for somewhere classy to stay in Swansea for your hen do? At the Dragon Hotel we’re a city centre hotel that offers highly competitive rates for hen dos. Talk to our team about how we can build a package that suits you – call us today on +44 (0)1792 657100 or email info@dragon-hotel.co.uk.

Why You Should Visit Swansea… The Beaches

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Why should you visit Swansea? We think one motive shines above all others – the beaches. There’s nothing we love more than getting out into the country and visiting the locale’s compelling coastline. And whether spring, summer, autumn or winter, thousands of our patrons feel the same every year.

Here are five reasons why the beaches around Swansea are the best in Britain:

Rhossili

1 – The ratings

It’s not just us who think Swansea’s great. Earlier in the year Rhossili Bay, the jewel of Swansea’s Gower peninsula, was voted as Europe’s third-best beach – and Britain’s favourite. With typical Welsh class, Swansea council said that it was: “delighted but not surprised”.

What’s more, many of the local beaches have won awards. Bracelet Bay, Caswell Bay, Langland Bay and Port Eynon Bay are some of the best beaches near Swansea and have all been recognised with the Blue Flag and Seaside Award, while the latter was voted by Cadbury Flake 99 customers as Britain’s best.

2 – The aesthetics

If you’re looking for unspoilt, beautiful beaches you’ll adore the coastline around Swansea Bay and the Gower. Many shorelines stretch for miles and are framed by picture-perfect sand dunes, cliffs and with some wildlife that can only be found in the local area. Put simply, it must be seen to be believed.

3 – The variety

Locals and tourists love the beaches around Swansea because they offer so much variety. Whether you want to enjoy a spot of surfing (more on that later), play some beach cricket on some long sandy areas, take in some extreme sports or investigate cool crustacean pebble-strewn coves, you can do pretty much anything down here. There’s something for every taste!

4 – The logistics

Sure, it’s not a particularly romantic reason to visit some beaches, but we can’t deny that logistics play an important role in choosing a holiday. After all, why would you spend hours going down increasingly windy roads on the way to Newquay or Bude in Cornwall when you can zip along the M4 to Swansea in an hour or two less time? We rest our case.

5 – The waves  Surfing

Of the many thousands of people frequenting beaches in south west Wales, a significant percentage are there to do one thing: surf. The Gower Peninsula is renowned for having a number of super spots for both beginner and expert surfers to battle the waves. Lllangenith is a consistent favourite and popular with amateurs, while Oxwich Bay and Porthcawl, found further east, are also great options. In winter months, Langland Bay is also a particularly popular spot, with a variety of different spots to suit a range of surfers.

With free parking, easy access and a central city centre location, the Dragon Hotel is a perfect base for those looking to explore the picturesque local coast. Get great rates by booking online today!

(Images: Nigel’s Europe, Placeboe)