Archive for the ‘Dragon Hotel Blog’ Category

5 Things to do in The Mumbles When its Raining

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

The Mumbles is extremely well known for being an area of natural beauty, with its long stretches of soft golden beaches and miles of well-preserved countryside. This makes it an extremely popular attraction for people who love to escape into nature or enjoy the sun on Britain’s best beaches, but what is there to do in Mumbles when it’s raining?

#1 Hit the Shops

Home to dozens of unique little shops, the Mumbles has plenty on offer for even the most dedicated of shoppers. From boutique shops to art galleries and with lots of hidden gems in between, you’re sure to find gifts for all the family as well as more than a few things for yourself. The shops may not be covered, but they are close enough together to allow you to dart between them when the rain is lighter.

There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants to choose from if you start feeling a little bit peckish, or simply want to rest your feet for a little while before launching on the second leg of your shopping adventure.

#2 Skidz Karting

What better way to escape the rain than to speed around an indoor go-karting track? This is perfect for people of all ages and gives you an great way to get your thrills when outside there is practically a monsoon happening. Found in Swansea West Business Park, it is only a short drive from the Mumbles and is definitely worth the trip.

If you came to the Mumbles and fancied rock climbing or mountain biking in the Gower but got rained off then this can be an alternative way to get your thrills.

#3 Oystermouth Castle

Built in the 12th century, Oystermouth Castle is one of the finest castles in the Gower and, thanks to being so well-preserved, it gives you a great way to escape the rain. This beautiful, ancient castle will give you an in-depth history of the area and let you understand more about how the Mumbles has developed over the ages.


In bad weather the interior of the castle is a safe-haven, but if you bring your umbrella or a raincoat the grounds are well worth exploring. This is a very peaceful setting and can provide you with a complete insight into just some of the treasures that the Gower has to offer.

#4 Swansea Grand Theatre

The Grand Theatre has a wide assortment of shows to watch throughout the year. This provides you with a brilliant way to escape the rain and thoroughly enjoy yourself while doing so. Depending on what’s on during the nights, you may need to book up in advance although there are often seats available for people arriving on the night.

#5 Just Get Wet

You’ve come all the way down to the Mumbles, you’d kick yourself if you left without exploring some of the scenic walks, hikes or bike rides on offer here. Why don’t you stick on your waterproofs, say goodbye to the landlubbers and prepare to get wet! Many of the hiking trails, bike paths and coastal routes are well equipped for the Welsh weather and won’t get bogged down or become inaccessible.

Best of all, if you’re staying with the Dragon Hotel you’ll have a lovely warm, dry place to unwind afterward. This will make your walk even more enjoyable, reinforcing the idea that you weren’t completely bonkers to go out in the rain in the first place.

Join The Dragon’s Macmillan Coffee Morning

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

The Dragon Hotel team is delighted to announce that by accepting the Ice Bucket Challenge, we raised £108.14 to Macmillan Cancer Support. Thank you to all who supported.

However, the fundraising doesn’t stop there…

As is our usual practice, we shall be hosting a coffee morning in the Lounge as part of Macmillan’s World Biggest Coffee Morning.

But there is one significant thing to remember this year… because of a prior reservation, The Dragon Hotel’s Macmillan Coffee Morning will be held on Friday, 19th September, and not Friday the 26th September as you might expect.

So come and join us, in the Lounge on the first floor of The Dragon Hotel from 10:00am -12 noon on Friday 19th September to enjoy a convivial morning of coffee and conversation, complete with an opportunity to win on the raffle, purchase homemade cakes and browse through the book stall.

Update…. thank you! 

It gives us great pleasure to announce that £410 was raised in The Dragon Hotel’s annual coffee morning as part of Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.

It would appear that holding the event a week early did not impact on visitors and our most sincere thanks go to Denise Rees and Lisa Anderson-Thomas for their tireless work in making the event a success, year after year.


Dead Exciting: Celebrity Medium Heading to The Dragon Hotel

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

On Tuesday September 23rd, the celebrity medium Paula O’Brien will be appearing at The Dragon Hotel for an emotional, exciting night of clairvoyance. Paula

Known by her fans as ‘The Peoples’ Angel’, Paula is a rising star of the psychic world and started touring her unique show last year.

She specialises in connecting audience members with loved ones and has actually worked alongside police forces across the UK – using her special gift to help locate missing people.

What can we expect from Paula O Brien?

With a bright, bubbly personality, Paula’s shows are a highly interactive experience and rely on participants to openly provide their own memories and real-life experiences.

The soothsayer will be trying to keep ‘spirits’ high – proving that there is such a thing as a happy medium – passing on ‘messages’ from loved ones and giving a whole new slant to the phrase ‘stage presence’.

Sessions are known to get quite emotional at times (for both Paula an audience members) and we’re all very excited to see what she will be getting up to!

Please note: the show is both experimental and investigational. Paula’s shows aren’t an ‘exact séance’ – there is no guarantee of any specific results and Paula’s show is purely for the purposes of entertainment.

We’ll see you down the front!

The Dragon Hotel Accepts the Ice Bucket Challenge!

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

After being challenged by Swansea Marriot Hotel, The Dragon Hotel stepped up to the Ice Bucket Challenge on Thursday!

Members of the Dragon team took part in The Ice Bucket Challenge in aid of their chosen charity Macmillan Cancer Support. They have now nominated their friends at Swansea City Football Club, DJM Solicitors & Swansea University to take part in the Challenge to continue their support.

If you should like to show your support to the team, please text ICE to 70550 to give a donation to Macmillan Cancer support.

What’s Hot for Hens in 2014?

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Every year sees trends appear in hen parties. Last year there was quad biking, baking master classes and glamping, but what has been popular in 2014 so far?

Life Drawing Sessions

(image: Yinjieart)

A hen party is a bride-to-be’s last night of freedom as a single lady and therefore there is always a saucy element to the event. For those who are not fond of gyrating strippers or willy straws, a classy activity is to go to a life drawing session instead.

You can have your own private class and you don’t have to be a great artist to take part. It’s the effort that counts! Just make sure to specify you want a male model.

Dirty Dancing Class

No, we don’t mean learning how to dance suggestively, it’s the film! Dirty Dancing is a romantic, cult classic that most women dream of, especially dancing with a hunk like Patrick Swayze. These hen classes are ladies only though, so you may have to all chip in and help out with that final lift!

Spend around 2 hours with a group of your best friends and a choreographer, learning to strut your stuff to famous tunes from the iconic film. And remember – “nobody puts Baby in the corner”, so get out there and have the time of your life!

Pole Dancing

(image: The Things We Would Blog)

Pole dancing has long been seen as taboo, but in recent years has been recognised as a great way of keeping fit. A pole dancing class with your hens is a right giggle, and you’re sure to lose all your inhibitions a few minutes in!

Learn how to swing around the pole in a sultry manor and attempt some acrobatic tricks, while listening to the latest pop hits. Advanced choreographers will help you bring out your sexy side and you could even show your new husband the skills you have learnt, while on your honeymoon.

Burlesque Classes

Similarly to pole dancing, burlesque classes are all about learning how to become confident with your body and to move in a way that shows it off to its best ability. You’ll end up leaving, feeling like you are the next Dita von Teese.

An average 2 hour workshop will encompass the basic movements and tantalising tricks, to get the attention of your audience. Expect plenty of props from these classes, like feather boas, fans, as well as plenty of glitter and gloves.

If the hen likes to strike a pose, then this may be the perfect hen activity.

After all these dancing hen do activities, you are bound to be worn out, so book a room at the Dragon Hotel to rest up before a big night out on Wind Street. And the bride-to-be can have a massage too!


7 Things Every Tourist Needs to Know Before Visiting Swansea

Monday, August 18th, 2014

We might be biased, but we love Swansea – after all, there’s a lot going for this pretty part of South West Wales.

In our informal tourist’s guide to Swansea, we’ve listed some things you need to know first…

1 – We love our sport

Swansea City Fans
(Image: John Candy under CC BY-SA 2.0)

 Swansea is a hotbed for sport. Not only do we boast Wales’ only Premier League football team (sorry Cardiff fans – we had to get that in), we’re also home to The Ospreys rugby team. That means that sometimes the town centre and North Swansea can get busy on matchdays.

Which isn’t a bad thing – it’s just good to be aware of!

2 – If someone tells you that they’ll be with you “now in a minute”

They won’t be with you now, but they will be with you in a minute.

3 – People will probably call you “Mush”

…but they’re not saying that in a derogatory way. “Mush” means, ‘pal’, ‘mate’ or ‘mucker’.

Read more – A Beginner’s Guide to the Welsh Language.

4 – And if someone says “yur”

They could be saying “here”, “your” “year” or “ear”.

Context is important.

5 – It’s just a few miles from an area of outstanding natural beauty

The Gower
(Image: Les Haines under CC BY 2.0)

If you’re visiting Swansea then you simply have to visit the Gower. From rugged, wild moors and towering cliffs to award-winning beaches like Rhossili Bay, the Gower has a frankly ridiculous amount of views and rare wildlife.

6 – Joe’s ice cream is an institution

(Image: Tim Walker under CC BY 2.0)

Everyone likes ice cream when they’re on holiday, but Joe’s is so much more than ice cream. Utilising a sacred, secret recipe that’s been loved in Swansea since Joe Cascarini took on his father’s café, Joe’s is a unique, delightful recipe.

Try it – regardless of what it’s like outside. Which leads us to…

7 – It rains, a lot

Rain in Swansea
(Image: Silent Shot under CC BY 2.0)

Yeah, sorry about that. There’s an old saying in Swansea:

“If you can see Mumbles Head it is going to rain. If you can’t, it’s raining”.

According to WalesOnline, Swansea is the UK’s wettest city, with 53 inches of the wet stuff falling every year. So be sure to pack an umbrella. Or plan some indoor activities while the rain blows over.

Talk to us about discovering Swansea today

Looking to book a brilliant weekend break? You’ll love the Dragon Hotel. We’ve been in Central Swansea for over 40 years – speak to our team about great rates today. Call (0)1792 657100 or Book online today!

Watch The Dragon’s Tara Hammett on BBC Wales!

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

We’re delighted to announce that The Dragon Hotel’s specialist fitness guru Tara Hammett is coming back to your TV screens!

Last October, our Tara featured on Is My Job Killing Me? where she mentored six unfit, lethargic DVLA workers who lived largely sedentary, unhealthy lives.

Watch more clips from Is My Job Killing Me?

She convinced them of the benefits of healthy eating, steady exercise and a more healthy lifestyle – resulting in her six subjects losing loads of weight and becoming more motivated than ever before.

…but did the big health kick last?

Some 12 months on, Tara returned to her team to see if they’d kept up with their health kick. The Great Welsh Diet Experiment: One Year On, part of the Live Longer Wales season on BBC Wales, detailed her findings and followed her trying to keep the six workers on the straight and narrow…

The programme is broadcast on BBC Wales at 20:30 but if you’re unlucky enough to be based ‘abroad’, you should be able to watch on Sky channel 952, Virgin Media channel 864 or Freesat channel 964.

You can follow Tara on Twitter @tarahammett – and why not give us a follow while you’re at it @TheDragonHotel.

Beaches in Swansea – Caswell Bay Beach

Monday, July 28th, 2014

The latest in our series examining South West Wales’ beautiful beaches sees us land at the scenic Caswell Bay – one of the region’s most popular swimming beaches.

Rocks at Caswell Bay beach
(Image: Gareth Lovering under CC BY-SA 2.0)

About Caswell Bay

Sandwiched between the intimate, serene settings of Pwll Du Bay and the rockier Langland Bay, Caswell Bay is probably one of the best swimmers’ beaches in Wales. When the tide’s out, the mile-and-a-half swathe of sand at Caswell is a stunning sight.

Sunset at Caswell Bay(Image: Catrin Austin under CC BY 2.0)

Overlooked by sudden cliffs and a deep wooden valley, it’s been popular since mid-Victorian times, when both moneyed city dwellers and underprivileged orphans took advantage of the excellent transport to enjoy a day at the beach.

The bay’s name is thought to have derived from the wells that are known to bubble up along the beach from the valley’s underground streams.

Caswell Bay Facilities

Caswell Bay is a great hit with families and it’s easy to see why. Not only does it have a huge expanse of open space for people of all ages to swim and play, but it’s also packed with some great facilities.

It’s all accessible by wheelchair, with toilets and showers available, while there are also a few different kiosks selling ice cream, food and any beach paraphernalia that you forgot to bring with you.

There is easy car parking available just 100m from the beach, but you might find it more enjoyable to park at the neighbouring Langland Bay and taking the scenic cliff-top walk to Caswell. The trek is just over a mile but does offers some truly exceptional views over the locale.

Caswell Bay(Image: Chris Jobling under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Who would love Caswell Bay?

As one of the most picturesque beaches in the Gower, it’s tough to think of anyone that wouldn’t enjoy it. However, if you are looking for a quiet, unspoilt day out at the beach away from it all, you might prefer going elsewhere, because it can get busy sometimes.

Looking for something slightly quieter? We’d recommend walking over to Pwll Du Bay.

How to get to Caswell Bay

From Swansea, take the A4067 west and carry on until it becomes the B4953, through Langland and into Caswell. Once you’ve passed Summer Chalet Park on your left, Caswell Bay’s car park will be on your right.

Caswell Bay is also one of South Wales’ few beaches that’s easy to get to by bus. Simply take the 2C bus from Swansea Bus Station and it’ll drop you down to the car park. But beware – the last bus will leave Caswell Bay at approximately 1749.

Looking for a Hotel Near Caswell Bay?

Based in Central Swansea, The Dragon Hotel is just a simple 20 minute drive from Caswell Bay. We’re chosen by thousands of beach-loving holidaymakers every year as a comfortable, great value hotel near Caswell Bay and are a great base from which to explore the picturesque beaches of the Gower.

Want to book a break this summer? Give our reservations team a call on +44 (0)1792 657 100, or visit our great escape offer!

How to Make Laverbread Breakfast – a True Welsh Delicacy

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Described by Richard Burton as “Welshman’s Caviar”, laverbread is a delicacy that’s made principally from seaweed plucked from the shores of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.


It’s washed into a paste, boiled for hours and is, alongside Welsh rarebit, Glamorgan sausages, and Welsh cakes, one of this blessed country’s most popular native dishes.

The first record of laverbread being eaten by the Welsh was in 1607 in William Camden’s Brittanica. Swansea has played a key role in the history of this delicacy, where it was processed and distributed at markets and today much of South Wales’ laverbread is produced nearby in the Gower.

How to make laverbread breakfast

This laverbread recipe was typically cooked as nutritious, high-energy sustenance for pit workers before they started a hard day’s work. It’s really easy to make too.

After collecting the laver from the seashore, boil it for an hour or two and then mince it so that it’s a soft, gelatinous paste. Or you could cheat and buy it ready pasted!

Then mix it with 50g of oatmeal and leave to solidify for around 20 minutes. Once you’ve fried some bacon in farmhouse butter until crispy and put it aside, roll the laverbread into small patties and cook it quickly in the hot pan until crispy.

Blasus (delicious)!

Want to try some authentic Welsh laverbread?

Here at The Dragon Hotel, we’re a proudly Welsh establishment. That’s why, when you stay here, you can include laverbread in our award-winning Macdonald Signature Breakfast. Take a look online today!

Beaches in Swansea – Pwll Du Bay

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Pwll Du Bay Swansea

Here at the Dragon Hotel we love spending the day at the beach. The sand between our toes, panoramic views, and maybe a quick paddle in the sea if it’s warm enough; so we thought we’d share our seaside passion with a series of beach reviews.

Have you read our previous post about Limeslade Bay? Well, here we introduce the second bay in our beach series – Pwll Du Bay.

About Pwll Du Bay

Although Pwll Du translates as ‘Black Pool’, this beach is nothing like the illuminated resort of the north. Pwll Du is a secluded and sheltered bay that is peaceful and unspoilt. It is picturesque and the perfect location for a romantic picnic or bird watching.

Located on the Gower Peninsula, there are uninterrupted views out across the bay, and with sheltered coves this a safe and protected spot. Pwll Du is a popular stop for ramblers who enjoy a walk along the beautiful Welsh coastline. And it’s easy to see why, this is wild Wales at its most scenic.


Due to its remoteness there are no facilities at the bay. The nearest car parks and toilets can be found at Bishopston, Pennard and Caswell. There is also no wheelchair access or lifeguard on duty. This is the price you must pay for peace and tranquillity. Dogs are allowed at any time of year though.

How to Get There

Access to the beach must be taken by foot. It can be reached either by Brandy Cove which is around 20 minutes away, through Pennard or Bishopston Valley, which are both an hours’ walk.

In order to reach these paths you can follow the coastal road west from Swansea, through the Mumbles to Bishopston where you can park your car. Or bus number 14 can be taken Monday to Saturday, from Swansea city centre, to Kittle where the path starts. If you wish to visit on Sunday look out for the 114.

Pwll Du Bay is inaccessible by train. The nearest station is in Swansea city centre.

Pwll Du Bay Accommodation

Does Pwll Du Bay sound like a rural dream to you? Then it may be worth a visit during your stay in Swansea.

Construction in this area would spoil the countryside and the remote appeal of the place. Therefore accommodation is set back a bit from the bay. The Dragon Hotel is only 20 minutes away and therefore is a brilliant location if you wish to explore Pwll Du one day, and the city centre the next.

And if the sea is too cold for a swim, we have an 18 metre heated indoor swimming pool for when you get back. So get your goggles ready!