Dylan Thomas Birthplace scoops major heritage award.

The Dylan Thomas Birthplace has beaten of the challenge of iconic castles and stately homes to win the Special Judges Award for Best Place to Stay in the prestigious Hudson’s Heritage Awards which were made at an award ceremony at Goldsmith’s Hall in the City of London this week (14th March).

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Geoff Haden who restored the Thomas family home and collected the award from Penelope, Viscountess Cobham, the chair of VisitEngland said “This is a huge honour and a testament to the hard work of our staff and volunteers in making this a unique place to visit and stay.

The house is as it might have been when Dylan lived and work there for 23 years and produced two thirds of his published work so no television or radio but a rare opportunity to escape the 21st century play games, read and relax.”

“In fourteen award categories we were the only Welsh based business shortlisted so it was a great honour to pull off this major award against quality opposition.”

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Lady Cobham & Birthplace restorer Geoff Haden with the award.

The annual awards were established in 2011 and are an independently judged national scheme open to historic houses, gardens, museums and heritage sites and celebrate the very best visitor experiences.

The awards lunch was hosted by an independent judging panel of heritage experts including Chairman Norman Hudson OBE, heritage consultant; Lucinda Lambton, writer and broadcaster; Jeremy Musson, architectural writer; Simon Foster, consultant to Channel 4’s Country House Rescue and Ken Robinson, CBE, tourism business consultant.

Sarah Greenwood, director at Hudson’s and publisher of Hudson’s Historic Houses & Gardens said “The finalists in 2017 showcase an amazing range of experiences just waiting for us all to enjoy at Britain’s heritage places. This year they include three World Heritage Sites but also iconic castles, public buildings, unusual gardens and stunning country houses several of which are not well known. We at Hudson’s would like to congratulate them all on setting the standards for others to follow”.

 

Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

Dylan Thomas Birthplace carries Welsh hopes at top heritage awards.

The Birthplace of Dylan Thomas in Uplands, Swansea is the only Welsh heritage attraction shortlisted for a prestigious Hudson’s Heritage Award with the outcome being announced at a presentation lunch on Tuesday 14th March in Goldsmith’s Hall in London.

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The house which has been restored to its condition as a new house when bought by the Thomas family in 1914 is not only up for an award for the Best Accommodation but also for the Best New Discovery Award.

Geoff Haden, the chair of the Dylan Thomas Society, restored the house and now runs it as a tourist attraction and a unique place to stay overnight and soak up the atmosphere of a place where Dylan lived for 23 years says “This recognition is a tribute to our volunteers and staff who have turned this iconic building into a ‘must visit’ destination for groups and individuals and put this important family home on the literary and cultural map.”

The independent Hudson’s Awards were started in 2011 by publisher Norman Hudson to celebrate the high quality experience enjoyed by visitors to a range of heritage attractions and this year there are ten categories.

In the Best Accommodation category the Birthplace is up against Shropshire duo Western Park and Combermere Abbey as well as Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland while vying for the Best New Discovery with the Birthplace are Blenheim Palace, Eltham Palace and the RHS Lindley Library.

Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

A Visit from America…Taylor University students seek out the true Dylan Thomas.

In his last few years, Dylan entertained hundreds of American students on his great but gruelling reading tours of America. He famously wrote a humorous piece on his experiences of the USA tours called  A Visit to America.

Due to his popularity and legacy, we at his Birthplace are too, becoming very used to hosting travelling American college and university groups.

One such group was the one which consisted of students and faculty members from Taylor University, Indiana, USA whom we had the pleasure of hosting recently.

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The group from the English department, are currently on an off campus study tour which combines reading of major British authors (Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginia Woolf, and others) and extensive sightseeing. Most of the trip is spent in London, with the class also travelling to other locations of literary significance. In this case they have chosen to look at Dylan Thomas and his Ugly, lovely town of Swansea.

The collection of culture vultures (as Dylan would term them) naturally acknowledged the importance of 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, the house of his birth and where a near two-thirds of the writer’s incredible works were painstakingly crafted from the snug confines of his tiny bedroom.

We wish them well on their travels and urge them, do not go gentle when exploring the works of Wales’ most renowned writer but to dive in head first!

Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

2017 to be a legendary year for visitors to Wales.

Dylan Thomas will feature as part of Welsh Government’s new marketing campaign as 2017 becomes Wales’ Year of Legends.


The campaign aims to promote Wales’ culture and heritage, and follows on from the 2016 Year of Adventure.

Just three years after the worldwide celebrations witnessed during Dylan Thomas’ Centenary and a year after the highly successful events surrounding writer Roald Dahl comes another chance to highlight the importance that Wales, its people, landscape and folklore has played in influencing some of its finest exports and how it can still inspire today.

Read more on the Year of Legends here

Throughout the year Dylan Thomas Birthplace will be supporting the Year of Legends initiative. Owner and restorer of Dylan’s Birthplace, Geoff Haden, said…

‘Dylan is certainly THE standout literary figure in Wales, and surely is the country’s most renowned. The best way to discover more about him is by visiting the house that birthed him and a near two-thirds of his work!’

Matt Hughes, the curator of 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, where Dylan and his family lived for twenty-three years added…

‘We’ll not only be open for daily house visits, we’ll also be offering expert guided tours of areas connected with the poet, writer and broadcaster around his native Swansea & Gower and to his home from home of Laugharne.’

Visitors to the home of Swansea’s most famous son also have the opportunity to dine and stay overnight, creating their own unique memories and perhaps to find their own inspiration in the footsteps of the legendary Welsh figure.

Take a look at  www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for more details. 

Merry Christmas from Dylan’s

We’d like to wish all of our friends and volunteers a very Merry Christmas and thank you for your support once again this year.

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It’s been another wonderful year at the Dylan Thomas Birthplace with visitors from all over the World coming to learn more about the self-proclaimed ‘Rimbaud of Cwmdonkin Drive.’ Offering hosted visits, dining experiences and overnight B&B and self catering stays – The 102 year old house that witnessed so much creativity offers something for everyone, let alone being the ultimate experience for any fan of the great Welsh ‘man of words.’

But don’t just take our word for it, take a look at what some of our visitors have said via our tripdavisor page!

We’ll close with this beautiful nostalgia filled video to give you an idea of what Christmas was like for Dylan and family.

Best wishes once more to you and your loved ones and we hope to hear from you in the coming New Year.

Don’t forget to visit our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com

A naughty child’s Christmas in the Alpines…

Here is a rather unpleasant character from largely Alpine Christmas folklore featuring on a rather terrifying Christmas card from the early 1900s. ‘Greetings from the Krampus.’ As a boy and even into manhood Dylan was fascinated and had a great love of the grisly fairy tales that he had read whilst growing up, often reading them to his own children. One of his favourite reads was ‘Struwwelpeter’ a book of Germanic origin containing many children’s morality tales, that if weren’t adhered to, would often see something most unfortunate happen to the main protagonist in the stories. 

The ‘Krampus’ is a kind of Christmas Devil who takes away children who have misbehaved throughout the year for them to be never seen again. It is typically portrayed as a black, hairy beast with horns,a lolling tongue, cloven hooves, chains, a birch for beating and a sack or basket for trapping the children. 

The character is not commonly known in Britain but still very much exists in Alpine countries where various traditions are maintained. We know that Dylan was a very mischievous boy growing up, perhaps it may have been different if the tales of the Krampus had been more prominent in British folklore?

Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

Published in: on 23 December, 2016 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Dinner at Dylan’s – A unique experience!

*Christmas gift idea – Vouchers are available*

Just one of the unique things that visitors can do at Dylan Thomas’ Birthplace is sample the very best food that the local area has to offer. Our dinner parties are designed to deliver that exquisite flavour found in our little corner of Wales.

With a piano, phonogram and games table our dinner party guests can relive a typical Edwardian evening before the advent of television. Our sociable evening dinner parties can consist from just 4 people to up to 10 people with the evening starting at 6:30pm with pre-dinner drinks and a tour of the house. Food is usually being served around 7:30pm amidst the splendour of the front parlour. For those who truly want to get into the spirit of the era why not dress up in your best vintage wears?

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What’s on the menu?
Our menu changes with the season, we’ll reflect what is available from our local sellers at the time. We love to ‘buy local’ and support the traders at Swansea Market (where Dylan’s mother would do her shopping.) We are proud members of the Swansea Bay Food Circle. Don’t worry if you consider yourself a ‘fussy’ eater or have particular dietary requirements, our cooks are vastly experienced and will work closely with the information sbgfc-smallprovided by you to deliver a meal that everyone will enjoy.

Perhaps you’d like a starter of some of Swansea’s ‘fruits of the sea?’ – Laverbread (a type of seaweed – don’t worry it is delicious!) and cockles (a sumptuous little shellfish) both residents found in the waters along Dylan’s ‘splendid curving shore.’ or a creamy goat’s cheese from Carmarthenshire (where Dylan had many relatives and spent much time in the summer on the farm of Fern Hill.) Followed by a main course of Gower’s award winning, celebrated salt marsh lamb or beautiful pork with luscious greens followed by a dessert of local recipe cakes, tarts and a delicious platter of Welsh cheeses? – Makes the mouth water doesn’t it!

Here’s what some of our previous guests have said about their evenings…

We stayed overnight after a wonderfully prepared birthday dinner for my wife, Georgina the children, Magi (11) & Maisy (6) thoroughly enjoyed the magical experience of 5 Cwmdonkin Drive. The staff were out of this world and could not do enough for us.

T. Missen

We had such a great time……we are still all talking about it and saying that it was one of our best evenings out in a very long time. We will be back!

PD Swansea

Four of us went to the dinner experience in 5 Cwmdonkin Drive and it was certainly a night to remember. Our host was extremely knowledgeable on all aspects of Dylan. We were given sherry on arrival and then had a comprehensive tour of the house. That was followed by a four course meal using all local Welsh ingredients. The meal was first class. The whole experience was memorable!

M. McGregor

For prices and more information on creating your memorable meal at Dylan Thomas Birthplace & Family Home please call (01792) 472 555 or email info@dylanthomasbirthplace.comWe are also able to provide vouchers – Ideal for a Christmas present!

Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

‘It always snowed at Christmas…’

Here’s a snowy Swansea scene from Dylan’s youth, reminiscent of his wonderful recollections in A Child’s Christmas in Wales.

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The photo, which was a postcard of the time, appears to have been taken facing up Bryn Road in Brynmill, just a short hop from the poet’s home in Cwmdonkin Drive.

Take a look at our website www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com for details on how you can create your own unique experiences including tours, overnight stays and dining experiences at the home of Dylan Thomas, Wales’ most renowned writer!

Published in: on 19 December, 2016 at 7:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dylan Thomas on the Wales Coastal Walk

The launch this year of the completed Wales Coastal Path has produced a new book by Jon Gower as well as numerous newspaper articles. One in Mr Murdoch’s flagship Sunday paper described Dylan as a “…drunkard and sometime poet…” which just displayed the ignorance  of the media who would not want the truth to get in the way of a good story.

The online Guardian has an audio slideshow which has a great piece about Number 5 and the Boathouse at Laugharne featuring the voices of Anne Haden and Jon Tregenna. However, there is nothing about the walks which are on a separate link or pictures of the stunning coastal scenery between the two! It’s still worth a look online

New Dylan book with Birthplace Connections

Jim Parc Nest records the CD insert for A Map of Love by Jackie HaydenRecording the CD insert of A Map of Love at 5 Cwmdonkin DriveNew books about Dylan come along and fairly regular intervals but not many boast a CD insert recorded in the bedroom of Number 5 where Dylan was born on 27th October 1914.

In fact The Map of Love – around Wales with Dylan Thomas by Jackie Hayden is unique in this respect. Even more unique is that the narrator is the Archdruid of Wales – Jim Parc Nest. The book provides little in the way of new information apart from an interview with Frank Jenkins who lived in Laugharne and went to school with Dylan’s daughter Aeronwy. His father had a mobile fish and chip van built on a Rolls Royce which featured in Dylan’s poem ‘Laugharne’

The book is written by Irishman Jackie Hayden (no relation to Geoff and Anne Haden who restored Number 5) who signed U2 when a Sony Record executive and is now an author and broadcaster who has been drawn back to Wales by the magnet that is Dylan. This shows in the chapter Dylan in Music which  illustrates the range of musicians that Dylan influenced.

The Map of Love – around Wales with Dylan Thomas is published by Iconau in collaboration with Fflach and costs £9.99

Published in: on 7 May, 2012 at 9:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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