There is nothing like a weekend away to leave you feeling recharged and this weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Swansea*, a Welsh city which has it all in terms of things to do. The lovely team at Visit Swansea Bay had planned a super itinerary and I arrived full of anticipation for the weekend of food and fun which lay ahead. We checked in to a spacious suite at the four star Dragon Hotel which is centrally located, close to the city attractions. Our suite was equipped with a separate lounge as well as the bedroom and bathroom and every amenity needed for a comfortable stay was on hand. The hotel has great leisure facilities including a swimming pool and an AA Rosette Brasserie and there is so much to explore close at hand.
After checking in to the suite, we drove a short way up the coast to the pretty seaside village of Mumbles where we hastened to discover the delights of Verdi's; a traditional Italian style café, ice cream parlour and restaurant with a reputation for delicious gelato. Verdi's has amazing views as it is located on the sea front and there are 30 flavours of ice cream to choose from! We ordered a cookie crunch sundae and an artist's palette sundae and I can confirm that the ice cream is amazing - so rich and full of flavour,
Knab Rock ,
After those indulgent ice creams we strolled along Mumble's Pier - the Victorian pier was first built in 1898 and although the weather was a little damp, we enjoyed the beautiful views across the bay and we found a rugged cove with a lighthouse at the end of the pier.
After heading back to the hotel to get ready, later in the evening we went out for dinner to Grape and Olive which is situated right at the top of the tallest building in Wales and offers panoramic 360 degree views across the five mile expanse of the bay. The dishes are inspired by land and sea and there is plenty of variety on the menu, from comfort food classics to vegetarian dishes, steaks and seafood.
The meal commenced in style with a tasty duo of starters, my dining companion decided on the classic choice of baked Camembert topped with roasted walnuts and served with celery, Granny Smith apple, carrots and toasted bread. This was well presented and served in a generous portion.
I selected the crab and crayfish ravioli; a wise choice as the pasta was light and the rich lobster bisque complemented the filling, while the pea shoots added freshness.
Fish and chips is a favourite of mine, so for the main course I went for the beer battered haddock with thick cut chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce. You just cannot beat this comforting dish and it tasted even better with the tremendous views.
My dining companion indulged in the Tomahawk steak which was perfectly cooked medium rare and served with Café de Paris butter, confit tomato, flat cap mushroom and thick cut chips as well as Bordelaise sauce.
We rounded off our evening with the dessert sharing slate of chocolate and almond brownie, sticky toffee and date pudding, apple and blackberry crumble and winter berry Eton mess served with vanilla pod and peanut butter and caramel ice cream.
Dining at Grape & Olive was an experience and it is renowned for both its great food and exceptional views.
Grape & Olive
The next morning, a hearty breakfast at The Dragon Hotel set us up for the day ahead. My partner had the 'Full Dragon Breakfast' of bacon, sausage, fried egg, baked beans, mushroom and hash brown while I went for the vegetarian breakfast which made a satisfying start to the day. I loved the inclusion of Glamorgan sausage too (a traditional Welsh vegetarian sausage made from cheese and leeks).
After breakfast we went for a walk around the city to do a little shopping and sightseeing. We headed to the Maritime Quarter and we browsed the Marina Market held in Dylan Thomas Square where there were lots of street food stalls including poutine, vegan pies and wood fired pizza! There is plenty to do in the area including visiting the National Waterfront Museum, but it was time for us to make our way to lunch at The Swigg, which serves small plates made with local Welsh produce. The restaurant has a cool and contemporary feel to it, with a stylish tiled bar area flanked by a chalkboard menu and the space is filled with light thanks to the large windows.
We were immediately served water for the table and I cannot emphasise enough how much I appreciate restaurants which do this, as it allows you to feel refreshed on arrival rather than waiting to order drinks. We chose a few dishes to share as recommended by the friendly team - the fishcake with laverbread, samphire and lemon mayonnaise was an elegant dish with flavours of the sea which worked well together.
Welsh rarebit with homemade brown sauce was another treat, and the Gower Gold Ale really brought out the nutty flavour of the cheddar while the brown sauce was tangy and fruity.
A vibrant Tabbouleh salad with bulgar wheat, tomatoes & parsley was a refreshing dish which conjured up summer and it contrasted well with the rest of our order.
We also added a portion of Aspen fries to our meal and these thick cut chips topped with Parmesan and truffle oil were pure indulgence. Small plates make for such a varied meal and I enjoyed the combination of flavours here, as well as the use of local produce which is always a huge plus for me when considering where to eat. It is easy to see why The Swigg was voted Welsh eatery of the year 2017.
Unit 1B Waterfront Museum
Unit 1B Waterfront Museum
After lunch we went for a stroll along the sweeping sands of Swansea Bay. The vast beach is so pretty, with expansive views for miles around. The sea air left us feeling refreshed and it was time to bid Swansea a fond farewell in time for the drive home.
I was so impressed by the diversity of this city, there is so much to do and a really cosmopolitan atmosphere abounds, with something new to appreciate around every corner. A big thank you to Visit Swansea Bay and their partners for creating a wonderful trip which allowed me to experience some of the many highlights of the area. I already cannot wait to return and Swansea has so much to offer as a destination for a holiday or short break, with all the attractions of a city combined with the peace of the seaside to enjoy. You can find out more by visiting:
What do you all think, would you like to visit Swansea for a short break? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.
Until next time,
*I was hosted as a guest of Visit Swansea Bay for this trip. Opinions expressed herein are my own and honest.