Are you a bit of a history buff? Then you’ll love a visit to South Wales, as there are hundreds of historic landmarks. So if you are looking for things to do in Swansea, why not take a look around one of its seven castles?
Archive for the ‘Dragon Hotel Blog’ Category
Are you, and your friends, frequent visitors to Swansea’s best golf courses? Then for your next weekend away why not impress everyone with a brand new set of clubs?
Here is a list of the best golf clubs of 2014:
The Pilot in the Mumbles has been voted the Welsh pub of the year in the CAMRA awards for 2014. Have you already enjoyed a tipple or two at this award winning public house?
Swansea Christmas Parade 2015
Although the Christmas songs have been playing in shops for weeks already, the festive season will officially kick off this weekend when the lights in the city centre get switched on.
At 5pm on Sunday 15th November 2014, none other than Father Christmas himself, will flick the switch. So wrap up warm and bring the kids down to the city centre for a fun family night out, and for the chance to meet Santa!
Once he turns on the lights, Father Christmas will join all of his festive friends in a Christmas parade through the city centre. The parade will start at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Somerset Place, will travel along Wind Street, College Street, the Kingsway and then eventually down St. Helen’s Road, where it will end at the Guildhall.
Revellers lining the route should expect to see community and theatre floats built by the people of Swansea. And if you want to get into the spirit of things you can always wave or dance along from the side-lines. Make sure to get there early though for the best spot, and uninterrupted views of the parade.
Spend the Evening in Swansea
Want to make a night of it? Then there’s always plenty of things to do in Swansea. Why not book into one of the Dragon Hotel’s comfortable four-star rooms and enjoy a delicious meal in the Dragon Brasserie afterwards. It’s a great way to warm up after an evening on the cold streets of Swansea.
* Swansea’s Christmas parade and light switch on is kindly sponsored by The Wave and Swansea Sound radio stations.
(images: Swansea Christmas Facebook)
The people of Swansea, it’s fair to say, love a drink. And who can blame them – in this pretty part of South Wales we’re blessed with several brilliant breweries creating distinctive, ales and beers.
So we thought we’d celebrate that fact by sourcing Swansea’s best beers. After some serious, painstaking research – believe us, it was tough – we compiled this list. In no particular order, here are our 11 favourites.
Blodwen’s Beer (5%) – Tomos Watkin
It’s eminently drinkable, but don’t just take our word for it – this blonde bombshell won Gold at the 2012 True Taste awards for the Best Beer.
Neath Ales Gold (5%) – Neath Ales
Gower Gold (4.5%) – The Gower Brewery
Last year, Gower Gold was chosen by Sainsbury’s shoppers as the best Welsh beer. It’s tough to argue with that. It smells zesty and sharp, but the taste is pretty sweet – while drinkers are rewarded with the faint hint of lemony sherbert on the palette.
Three Cliffs Gold (4.7%) – Swansea Brewing Co.
Mumbles Gold (4.3%) – The Mumbles Brewery
Old Style Bitter (OSB) (4.5%) – Tomos Watkin
Gower Power (5.5%) – The Gower Brewery
It certainly deserves a spot on this list.
Oystermouth Stout (4.4%) – The Mumbles Brewery
The oysters give the stout a distinctive salty, natural tint that more than earns its spot on this hallowed list.
Lighthouse Lager (4.5%) – The Gower Brewery
Green Bullet (6%) – Neath Ales
Cwrw Idris (5.2%) – Tomos Watkin
What do you think? What are your favourite local beers and ales?
The Autumn Rugby Internationals kick off this weekend with Wales playing Australia on Saturday at 2:30pm. We don’t know about you, but we’re getting excited about it.
Where will you be watching the match? Not sure yet? Well, here is our pick of the places to go in Swansea for the game.
Yates’ – 1 to 4 Caer Street, SA1 3PP
If you are looking for somewhere to watch the match in the city centre, there is nowhere better than Yates’. Located right next to the Castle Gardens and McDonalds, Yates’ is in a prime position at the end of Wind Street.
With a Tudor style exterior and modern up-to-date interior, 2 floors and 2 bars, it is a popular nightlife location and is known for its affordable prices. Plus there is a big screen and 10 smaller plasmas. So if you fancy a few beers while watching the match you’re in luck!
The Wig – 134 St. Helen’s Road, SA1 4BL
If you’d prefer to watch the game in a classic pub environment head over to The Wig, where classic interior meets all the modern facilities. The Wig has recently been refurbished, and a comfy bar lounge was created, perfect for watching the game separately from the dining area.
Enjoy some traditional and warming pub grub from the kitchens here and there’s free WIFI for all guests if you want to discuss the game on social media.
Make sure to check out their ‘2 Can Dine for £9.99’ menu for a great bargain!
Varsity – Castle Square/Wind Street, SA1 1DW
This is another great bar with a central Swansea location. With a laid back and friendly atmosphere, Varsity Swansea is a large and spacious venue where you’re sure to find a seat on match day.
Varsity also has the best meal deal in Swansea with 2 meals costing £7.95, all day every day.
The Pumphouse – Maritime Quarter, SA1 1TT
The Pumphouse is the best of both worlds, you can watch the game on one of its many screens and then at half time take in the waterfront views through the window. And the staff here aim to create a ‘community bar’ making it the place of choice for local and visiting drinkers alike.
This is a premium bar with a stylish décor and a grown-up atmosphere. They have a vast array of cask ales you just have to try.
The George – 706 Mumbles Road, SA3 4EH
Just outside the city in the beautiful seaside town of the Mumbles lies a fantastic pub and restaurant with lovely sea views.
The George has been a staple drinking establishment in the Mumbles for years and is popular thanks to its upstairs balconies providing ample outside space if you fancy a break away from the bar and TVs.
There is a varied menu here, so arrive early to sample the best bits!
Other Saturday 8th Nov Fixtures
Italy v Samoa – 2pm
England v New Zealand – 2:30pm
France v Fiji – 4:45pm
Ireland v South Africa – 5:30pm
Scotland v Argentina – 5:30pm
If you are after a quiet retreat to enjoy a few drinks during or after the game the Dragon Hotel is just around the corner from many of these venues in the city. Or why not enjoy some food in the Dragon Brasserie, or Piano Bar?
Good luck Wales! We hope you win!
Just fifteen minutes from Central Swansea, The Mumbles is one of Wales’ prettiest, most chilled out spots.
It’s also home to a number of lovely, individual restaurants. Here are some of our favourites:
It can be a little pricey, although the lunch menu is just £15 for three courses, so we’d obviously recommend that.
The Kitchen Table
The Kitchen Table in Mumbles. I’d love to have a place like this near me. pic.twitter.com/BJKuvqFPwn
— ? Coffee Punk ? (@CoffeePunks) February 20, 2014
Describing itself as offering ‘homemade food from local suppliers’, The Kitchen Table’s mission statement isn’t ground breaking, but when you sample its lovingly-cooked fare it’s very tough to argue. Like SA3 it’s charming and cosy, but perhaps a little more relaxed. It doesn’t just do food; most Fridays its live music nights showcase some of the best up-and-coming musical talent that the Gower has to offer. Bunting, beers, bakes, breakfasts and burgers – you can’t say fairer than that.
The Mermaid Café Bar & Restaurant
It’s only been serving the good people of The Mumbles for just over a year, but The Mermaid has carved out quite a reputation for its modern family-friendly atmosphere and very consistent food. As the name suggests, The Mermaid does seafood particularly well – look out for its ever-rotating fish specials – although if you’re in the local area on a Sunday then you’d do plenty worse than sampling the carvery.
Munch of Mumbles
Previously a tapas restaurant, Munch of Mumbles has evolved from standard tapas into something modern and distinctly spectacular since head chef Ben Griffiths took charge two years ago.
Munch is good, really good. For the quality you’re getting here, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d be paying through your eyeballs. But a set dinner menu is available for less than £30.
Munch has recently been included in the 2015 Michelin Guide – a worthy accolade for a restaurant that’s truly at the top of its game.
As you’d expect from the name, Chaplin Steakhouse isn’t ideal if you’re a veggie. It is, however, a carnivore’s dream. Its steaks, fish and cuts have been impeccably sourced and are cooked with absolute care.
Melt in the mouth stuff.
(Image: C Hello Sunshine)
It’s true that Joe’s is a Swansea institution, but when we’re asked to choose between that or Verdi’s mouth-watering ice cream, well, it’s just something we can’t do. It’s like picking your favourite child, you know? Frankly, both make us exceptionally happy.
If you are wanting to visit The Mumbles, then The Dragon Hotel is in the perfect position. Check out our amazing Weekend Escape Offer!
The latest edition of our Golfing In Swansea review section sees us check out Fairward Park Golf Club – the only course in Swansea that’s hosted a PGA event:
Where is Fairward Park Golf Club?
A 15-minute drive from Central Swansea, and just around the corner from Clyne Golf Course, to get to Fairward Park you just have to follow the A4118 westwards out of Swansea. Then at Upper Killay, turn left onto Hen Parc Lane. Follow the road around for four minutes and you should see Fairward Park on your right.
How Fairward Plays Out
If you love golf but hate the mountaineering that you’re forced to do on many hilly courses, you’ll love Fairward. It’s the flattest course on the Gower Peninsula – but what it lacks in extreme undulation it more than makes up for in natural hazards.
It may be just a stone’s throw from Clyne golf course, but Fairward differs greatly from its neighbour. While Clyne is wild, sprawling and unpredictable, this is a little longer and significantly greener. With more than 15,000 trees packed in across 150 acres, this 6,700 yard course offers some quality parkland golf. That means accuracy is key.
Teeing off on the par-4 1st is a long, testing baptism of fire, while the watery dogleg on the 3rd is very popular with golfers and the 8th is a pretty par 4 that can be greened in 2 – an excellent opportunity to keep your score down ahead of harder holes to come.
On the tougher back 9, the 14th and the 16th are two highlights. The former is memorable and original – many talented players are caught out by the bank of tall trees that stand between the fairway and the greens – while the pin on the par-3 16th is surrounded by water hazards and demands a positive mental attitude. Otherwise your ball is going to get very wet.
The 18th is a worthy finale to any round – a long par 4 that demands you master an impressive rolling fairway and a stream before the final green.
Why you’ll love it
Long and flat, with trees cunningly positioned, Fairward is an extremely enjoyable course that rewards thinking golfers who get their angles right. It also offers options for golfers of varying abilities and rewards those who like to take calculated risks.
And if you love water, there are many courses in the locale that provide a better ‘wet’ experience.
It’s also easy to see why putters love this course. Its greens are very well maintained; running consistently and quickly throughout the year. It is, as you’d imagine from a course with thousands of trees, one of the most scenic around.
Why you might not
It’s true that there are more challenging rounds of golf in South West Wales than Fairwood. Its relative flatness is a plus point for many golfers, and offers players of all handicaps an opportunity to work on their technical game, but some do find it somewhat simple some times.
But it’s still a very playable course – in a scenic, attractive location – that’s a worthwhile addition to South Wales’ golfing sites.
Looking for a great golf hotel near Fairward Park Golf Club?
Here at The Dragon Hotel, we’re Swansea’s premier golfing hotel – offering a central location from which golfers can explore the bars and restaurants of Wales’ second city. Start creating your South Wales golf break today – call our golf team on 01792 657140 today or check out our special golf offers.
Everyone wants a wedding to remember, and one great way of making your big day stand out from all your friends’, is to book a unique venue. Here is our pick of the most novel wedding venues in Swansea:
(image: Welsh Gifts)
For a Sporting Celebration…
Are you or your partner big sports fans? Then there must be an obvious place to get married, at your team’s home, the Liberty Stadium! This huge venue has its own occasion rooms for the ceremony and reception, a hands on team to help organise and run your special day without a hitch and if you’re lucky you may be able to get your photos taken on the pitch.
Whether you have 60 or 600 guests this is the perfect venue!
For Unique Photos…
Have you always dreamed of being a princess in a tower waiting for her prince charming? Well, you’ve met the man, it’s now time to visit the tower.
The Towers in Swansea Bay has its own unique landmark – guess what it is! The architecture here makes for a fairy-tale like setting for stunning photographs, and scenic panoramic views out across the bay.
(image: JLB 2011)
For a Cultural Event…
Did you see Don’t Tell the Bride when it was in Craig Y Nôs Castle? No? It’s a truly stunning venue. A grade one listed opera house with castle like architecture, there is even a private chapel that is now home to the bridal suite.
Get married on the operatic stage before retreating to the conservatory garden room with beautiful scenic views of the wooded landscape. And make sure to get a few snaps with the wedding car out front.
For Waterfront Wonders…
(image: Welsh Holiday Cottages)
If you want a modern, waterfront venue there is nowhere better than the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea Marina. Here they use only the best locally sourced ingredients for their meals.
Be aware however that you may have to book your wedding around the museum’s public opening hours.
For Modern Marvel…
You could have your wedding here at the Dragon Hotel! We have a contemporary and spacious occasion room that all modern brides love, thanks to its clean and minimalist design, that you can really make your own. Our popular restaurant can cater for the event with a menu of your choice.
And being in a hotel you and your guests can dance the night away into the early hours without having to worry about a place to stay or taxis home.
There’s even the special offer of an all-inclusive package where we organise everything for you, taking the stress away and allowing you to really enjoy your wedding day.
What do you think? Will you be booking your wedding soon? We hope you love the venues. Don’t forget us for your hen and stag do accommodation!
Check out the Dragon Hotel’s all inclusive wedding package, where we will take the stresses of planning a wedding off your hands so you can really enjoy your big day. And at only £3,500 it’s a steal! For more information click here.
In the latest blog in our Golfing in Swansea series, we take a look at Clyne Golf Club, one of the South West’s oldest, most beloved courses:
Where is Clyne Golf Club?
One of the closest courses to The Dragon Hotel, you can get to Clyne in just 15 minutes from Central Swansea. Simply take the A4067 west out of Swansea then turn right onto the B4436 at Blackpill. Clyne Golf Club will be at the end of Owls Lodge Ln.
If you’re coming from outside Swansea, exit the M4 at J47, take the A483 and turn right onto the A4216 after Fforest-Fach. You’ll eventually reach the A4067 where you’ll turn right onto the B4436.
How Clyne plays out
Clyne isn’t dissimilar in style to another South Wales favourite, Southerndown Golf Course, with wild gorse and fern bordering many of the holes. Built on common land, Clyne retains an authentic aura, with sheep and cows roaming the land (but thankfully not the greens, where wire prevents the animals from spoiling the turf).
There’s no debating that Clyne is a tricky, testing heathland course – particularly if you stray off the fairways. With a number of long par 4s, and twisting par 3s, there’s plenty to try your technique. At more than 450 yards, the par-4 9th is a particularly long hole that requires you to have all your wares about you to about bogeying.
Generally, the back nine is slightly more enjoyable, purely because of the excellent views afforded as you head further uphill. The sight across sprawling Swansea Bay, the Gower and into mainland Wales are impressive, to say the least.
Why you’ll love it
Golfers love the unassuming, charming course at Clyne because it offers a really varied, testing round of golf. You’ll have to keep all of your wits about you, and have luck on your side, to finish well on this unpredictable, hilly course where the greens are well protected by all sorts of hazards and undulating ridges.
There’s no denying that your score will take a hit on blustery days, when the wind plays a huge part. Conversely, if you have the wind at your back, you’ve a great chance of hitting far along its quality fairways.
Clyne is also very popular with golfers because of its dependable, high-quality greens. They’re lovingly tended to and run fast even after heavy rain. In all, you can be sure of a thoroughly enjoyable round of golf
Why you might not
Given their stylistic similarity, comparisons between Clyne and Southerndown are pretty inevitable. Unfortunately, comparing the two doesn’t reflect terrifically on Clyne, which is a little scruffier and not quite so well kept. The previously-mentioned farm animals are occasionally known to leave their by-products on the course, which can be a source of frustration.
However, we think that adds to its charm – and it’s also reflected in Clyne’s slightly cheaper green fees.
Looking for a great golf hotel near Clyne golf club?
Located in Central Swansea, just two minutes’ walk from the train station, at The Dragon Hotel we’re hugely popular with golfers looking for quality accommodation near Clyne Golf Club. If you’re looking to build a great golf break in South Wales, we can help – call our golfing reservations team on 01792 657140.
Want to find out more about courses in and around Swansea? Check out our other reviews on our Golfing in Swansea series.