Archive for the ‘Dragon Posts’ Category

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.


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.


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

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:


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)

What to Do in Swansea if Your Golf is a Washout

Monday, January 6th, 2014

It’s every golfer’s worst nightmare. The golf break you’ve planned for months turns into a washout.

We’ll do just about whatever we can to ensure that your golfing break at the Dragon Hotel is as enjoyable as it can be. But there are some things we can’t control and the occasionally wet Welsh weather is one of them.

However, there’s plenty to do in and around Swansea when bad weather stops play. Here are some wet-weather alternatives:

Skidz Karting


For over 50 years, we’ve helped many thousands of golf groups to enjoy the best breaks possible. And over the decades, we’ve learned one primary thing about golfers: you boys love competition. Getting on the golf course is all about teeing off with your best mates and see who comes up tops.

Although the wet weather may have curtailed your golfing hopes for the day, there’s still plenty of scope for getting your competitive side out in Swansea. Skidz Karting in Swansea is absolutely perfect for that reason. Groups of lads can turn up and battle each other in a number of different races – from half hour sprints to endurance races with qualifiers spanning three long hours. What’s more, the lucky winner gets to take home a trophy to lord it over his mates too.

Visit Swansea’s museums – or The Chocolate Factory!

Swansea’s positively foaming with plenty of museums and interesting educational areas where you can learn all about the local area and its culture. From Swansea Museum and the National Waterfront Museum to South Wales Miners’ Museum and the Dylan Thomas Exhibition, there’s more than you could shake a cultural stick at.

We’re also aware that some golfers aren’t quite such culture vultures. That’s where The Chocolate Factory comes in. Sure, it’s a factory, but it’s about chocolate. What’s not to like?

A day out at the cinema

Taking a trip to the cinema is the perfect rainy-day outing. In Swansea, you’ll find two of them in the centre of town, both of which are in walking distance of the Dragon Hotel. Plus, if you’re getting a bit fed up of your mates’ banter, it gives you 90 minutes of precious respite.

Partake in some retail therapy

Swansea’s great for shopping, with a number of great department stores, high-street names and cool independent boutiques to help you get kitted out in the latest gladrags. After all, when you’re going out in Swansea only the best clobber will do. What’s more, everything’s pretty compact so you won’t get very wet making your way from one shop to another.

Shopaholics love Oxford St and The Quadrant shopping centre, where all the big brands can be found, while more conscientious shoppers find that they can get stylish, more individual fashions and keepsakes in Swansea Market and the arcades dotted around the city centre.

Start your drinking…

Golfers love golf, we know that. We also know that golfers love drinking. So if your golf has been rained off for the day, why not start a session off early? Get some early drinks down you at the famous Wind Street, or visit some of Swansea’s more reputable pubs and bars. Of course, we recommend that you drink responsibly…

Looking for a golf break that suits you and your mates down to the ground? Take a look at the exciting golf packages on offer today at the Dragon Hotel. For more information, or for custom breaks completely tailored to fit you, call our team today on 01792 657 100.


Golfing in Swansea… Royal Porthcawl Golf Club

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

The 1st Green  Looking Out To The Bristol Channel.1

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: Royal Porthcawl, regarded as one of the UK’s finest courses.

Where is Royal Porthcawl Golf Club?

Head Eastward on the M4 from Swansea and leave at Junction 37 of the M4. Join the A4229 towards Nottage for nearly 3 miles then take the third exit onto Fulmar Road. Follow the road round and follow signs to Royal Porthcawl Club.

How it plays out

With its holes facing a range of different directions, the strong wind coming in from the Atlantic plays a very important role on each of the Royal Porthcawl’s 18 holes – particularly because the course isn’t protected by many trees or dunes.

Over the first few holes, all par 4s, you’ll be down on sea level playing some terrifically raw links golf. However unlike most links courses, Royal Porthcawl isn’t particularly flat. There aren’t many easy holes here. The 14th is perhaps the toughest: a par 3 with a tiny green and a breeze that’s often impossible to predict.

Over the course you’ll head gradually uphill where you’re afforded some truly stunning views of the Bristol Channel. Your prize for climbing up after the 17th is a downhill 18th with Devon and Pembrokeshire in the background, on a good day.

Why you’ll love it

Hole 10

Royal Porthcawl is perfect for both amateur and professional golfers and has hosted many of the game’s most distinguished competitions – from the Walker Cup and the Dunlop Masters to the Home Internationals and the Coral Classic. It’s easy to see why it’s so popular.

Next to Rest Bay, one of West Wales’ most renowned beaches, Royal Porthcawl is in a stunning location. The lower holes offer engaging, if frustrating, links golf while the middle few holes are further up and resemble heathland. The course is known as the ‘thinking man’s’ golf course: perfect for the golfer who likes to play with every club. There’s no one size fits all approach here.

Golfers also love the clubhouse and the course for its relaxed, convivial atmosphere. It’s perfect for visiting
with a group of lads who want to really test their technique and boost their golfing experience.

Why you might not

You may have gathered by now that Royal Porthcawl can be a slightly unforgiving course. It’s visually stunning and offers a wide range of holes for golfers to pit their wits against, but it can be a struggle if you’re visiting on a bad day.

However, this is Wales’ best rated golf course for a reason – even on a bad day you won’t fail to acknowledge the stunning scenery and varied play. We recommend.

Looking for a hotel near Royal Porthcawl Golf Club?

Are you looking to play at one of Wales’ most well-renowned courses? At the Dragon Hotel, we’re a popular, modern option for golfers looking fo accomodation near Porthcawl Golf Club. Let us build your golfing holiday online today – call +44 (0)1792 657 100 or visit our golf page today.

Hole 2

The Festive Factsheet to earning those Christmas Calories

Friday, December 13th, 2013


Christmas is a time for giving, seeing loved ones, relaxing and, of course, eating. The average person in the UK manages to eat around 7000 calories on Christmas Day alone – that’s three times a woman’s daily recommended intake.

However, there are plenty of extra-curricular calorie-combatting activities that the average Brit gets up to in readiness for the big day. We wanted to take a look at how many calories you actually burn in the days and weeks of preparing for your festive feast.

Go on, take another roast potato or honeyed parsnip – you deserve it!

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What’s on at Swansea’s Winter Wonderland?

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Christmas Swansea

Swansea’s Winter Wonderland is back, and it’s better than ever. Until the 5th January, revellers from across South Wales will descend upon the grounds outside the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea Bay.

When you wrap up warm and head down to the Bay, you’ll find that there’s plenty to do and see at the annual Wonderland, including:

Ice skating

At Winter Wonderland, there’s not one but two most-excellent ice rinks so that both young and old can slide and skate their way across the frozen floor. Anyone under 1.35m tall can sharpen their skating skills on the children’s rink and the Admiral Rink is perfect for revellers of all ages.

You can buy tickets from Tourist Information in Plymouth Street, or by booking online. And if you’re not skating, you can sit back on a rink-side seat with a warming cup of mulled wine and watch your loved ones slip and slide all over the place.


Perhaps the most spectacular part of Winter Wonderland is the funfair which has more rides and attractions than ever before, including:

  • The carousel
  • Snow storm
  • Fun House
  • Children’s rides
  • Simulators
  • Games and Stalls

The best of the lot, however, is the brand new Sky Ride – a spectacular chair ride that takes you 60m into the air above Swansea. Check out this video of the Sky Ride from when it operated in Cardiff.

Santa’s Grotto

Until the 22nd December, when he’ll take a trip back to Lapland to ready himself for a reasonably busy Christmas Eve, Father Christmas is residing in Swansea in his grotto at Winter Wonderland – so why not bring your little ones along to meet him? For £5, children can meet Saint Nick himself, receive a festive present and get a picture with the big guy.

As the most respected hotel in Swansea City Centre, there have of course reports that Santa is staying at the Dragon Hotel in between his shifts at the grotto. We cannot confirm or deny the rumours.

The stalls

As well as the rides and attractions to be found at Winter Wonderland where you can browse, buy and play. From hot and cold food and speciality fare to chic stocking fillers and classic fair games with great prizes, there’s all sorts to do and see.

If you’re heading down to Swansea to sample the festivities during the most wonderful time of the year, why not stay overnight? At The Dragon Hotel, we offer great rates on overnight stays and a classy, comfortable four-star experience. Talk to our team today about exclusive online deals.

(Image © City and County of Swansea

Your Guide to Swansea Christmas Market 2013

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Christmas Swansea

Have you visited Swansea’s Christmas market? Whether you’re one or two stocking-fillers away from finishing your well-constructed Christmas shop or have a long list of presents yet to buy, it’s an absolute haven for festive shoppers of all ages.

The colourful, exciting market on Oxford Street, just a few minutes’ walk from the Dragon Hotel, is perfect for buying those extra-special gifts for your loved ones. Whether you’re visiting from the local area or from further afield, it’s perfect for getting in the festive spirit.

What’s on offer at Swansea market?

With 39 different stalls – painted in a spectacularly seasonal green and red – offering all sorts of wares, foods and gifts, there’s every chance you’ll find what you’re looking for. There you’ll find:

  •     Arts and crafts
  •     Homewares
  •     Jewellery
  •     Speciality foods
  •     Christmas accessories
  •     Decorations
  •     Gifts

Heck, even if you’ve done all your shopping you should head on down. With all sorts of lights, trees and Christmassy smells, the atmosphere’s sure to get you feeling merrier than a night in with Home Alone, Die Hard and other classic festive flicks. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to catch local school choirs singing some of your favourite carols.

What’s more, you can get your photo taken with a life-size snowman amid plenty of the white stuff in the innovative snowglobe.

When is it open?

You can visit the market 7 days a week between 10AM and 5.30PM and on Thursdays until 8PM. There’s also reduced parking rates of £1 in St David’s multi-storey car park for late-night shoppers on Thursday nights.

However, if you’re one of those who likes to leave your Christmas shopping down to the very last minute, beware! The last trading day is on Sunday 22nd December.

Will you buy the golden ticket?

To add a little more excitement to an already-exhilarating time of year, anyone who shops in the city centre markets could win £1,000 worth of presents by entering the special golden ticket competition. All you have to do is fill in your details on a ticket – available in many shops and stalls around Swansea – and post it into one of the few golden post boxes around Swansea city centre.

(Image © City and County of Swansea

Why is Free WiFi More Important than a Comfy Bed?

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

In recent years, many travellers have started rating free Wifi as one of the most important aspects to look for when finding a hotel to stay in. This is even more prevalent for business travellers who need access to the internet in order to check their emails, do work online or simply Skype home. The need for WiFi has driven the majority of hotels and B&Bs to have some form of internet available; here’s why most people think WiFi is more important than comfort:

Short term stay

If you’re a business traveller then chances are you won’t be staying in the hotel for a very long time. However one or two nights on a hard bed is nothing in comparison to one or two nights without the internet. Depending on how far you have to travel and the amount of meetings you have to attend, by the time you get to bed you’ll probably be too tired to notice the bed.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to use your phone’s data to do the work you have then you’ll be cursing yourself for not finding somewhere with WiFi. When people stay for longer periods than this then comfort starts to play a bigger part; however, many people have claimed to have stayed at a ‘less ideal’ location for the added benefit of an internet connection.

More important than breakfast

A study carried out by found that WiFi in the rooms was more important than a complimentary breakfast – not just for business travellers, but for those staying for leisure as well! In this day and age, people are constantly connected to others through the internet; without it, people start feeling lost and are happy to get breakfast elsewhere as a compromise.
People use their laptops and tablets not just for business use, but also to plan trips and activities. Staying in a comfy room is great, but if you can’t find out what’s out and about with quick internet access then the holiday could be jeopardised.

The future is tech

When it comes to traveling people no longer seem to be so focused on having a comfortable room, instead they want simple amenities such as power outlets and WiFi. This doesn’t mean that hotels will be cutting their budgets for fluffy pillows in order to put the internet in every room, but it does mean that the way we stay is changing.
Expect to see everyone from five star hotels down to low budget B&Bs starting to provide the internet as a free service. Many chains across the UK have already started doing this, making it very easy to find free Wifi Hotels in Swansea, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Birmingham and other major cities. This will make your choices when looking for hotels much easier, as you can pick on other merits like comfort and location as you know that WiFi will be provided as standard.

The Dragon team go on the sales offensive!

Friday, November 29th, 2013

“Whose silly idea was this” text Colonel Whitticase at 6.30am while sipping a latte waiting for the troops to arrive at the three Swansea Park & Ride depots.

Our mission was to spread the word about The Dragon Hotel to the good people of Swansea so we filled our tanks with mince pies and targeted commuters on their way to work by attacking them while they were half asleep!

We operated in three teams:

  • Team 1 – Tara & Justin dubbed themselves ‘Team Misbehave’ and were the first to finish sharing their mince pies (we can’t decide if they were at the busiest park & ride or if they simply ate them all themselves!)
  • Team 2 – General Garcia and Beautician Byrony AKA Beauty & the Beast had a splendid time with the help of Scott and team at the Fforestfach Park & Ride despite not many takers for mince pies. They boarded the buses for their campaign which resulted in General Garcia joining the conference call late………………whoops!!!
  • Team 3 – Rudolph & Prancer, fortified with lattes along with their mince pies, force-fed their targets by getting them in a head lock as they mounted the buses. It was a pretty effective tactic.

The word was certainly spread and we have a number of new BFFs in all the Park & Rides. Our mission was completed with a few visits to some car dealerships on the way home to spread the Christmas Cheer.

At the time of writing, we are sitting at 4,319 covers for Christmas and hope this campaign will boost our enquiries for those last few spaces remaining. If you’re looking to book somewhere to stay over Christmas give us a call on (0)1792 657 100 and find out what deals we can sort for you.

Cheryl as Rudolph Bryony in the Park & Ride Depot