Saturday, 20 July 2013

Tomos Watkin Brewery and Skidz Karting

Below is my “Days Out” column from The Weekend supplement in the Saturday, July 20, 2013, issue of the South Wales Evening Post.
   




















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Days Out!
With Richard Thomas
...IF THE WEATHER'S GOOD
Hit the race tracks at Skidz Karting in Swansea!
Skidz Karting is Swansea’s only indoor go karting track. With karts and tracks suitable for all ages and abilities, drivers young and old will have a great time trying to beat each others best lap time on the tracks. Measuring 330 meters in length and consisting of an exciting mix of tight bends, sweeping curves and great long straights, the 6 meter wide main track allows for plenty of overtaking opportunities and provides plenty of challenges for even the most experienced go karter. 
Drivers will have to make a one time purchase of a balaclava for hygiene reasons, but these only cost £2 each and are yours to keep and bring back next time. All the other kit, including a helmet, overalls, gloves and a detailed safety briefing are provided for.
WHERE? The address is: Unit 1, Rear of Queensway, Swansea West Business Park  in Fforestfach, Swansea. For sat-nav users the postcode is SA5 4DJ.
WHY? Groups can take part in special events at the track. For groups of ten or more (12 on weekends) there is the Grand Prix. This involves practice laps, heats, semi finals and the final for the fastest eight drivers. Another option for groups of 20 or more (24 on weekends) is the Team Endurance, which includes five minute qualifying then two hours of non stop driving. Trophies are given to the top three teams. There is a maximum of six drivers per team. For children between eight and 13 there are Junior Parties available. Each child will receive either 20 minuets track time or 30 minuets track time depending on the time chosen. There is a minimum of six children on these. If you're looking for a birthday or special gift idea, then why not buy a Skidz Karting gift voucher. They'll make a great gift and can be used as part or full payment for any type of session offered at the track.
WHEN? During the school term the go karting tracks are open daily between 12pm and 8pm, except Mondays when the tracks are closed. During school holidays Skids Karting is open seven days a week from 10am to 8pm. 
CONTACT: Phone 01792 580927. 
HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE? There are lots of different event types  to choose from, so your visit could last from 25 mins to three hours depending on what you pay for. For more information about the events and prices visitwww.skidzkarting.co.uk.
WHO WILL ENJOY IT? Mixed, there are karts to suit most age groups: the electric Kidz Kartz that travel up to 6 miles per hour for four to eight year olds, Sodi Fun Kid petrol karts for eight to 13 year olds, and the worlds most popular kart the Sodi GT4 for adults.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? There is a great track for younger drivers, providing plenty of fun but still nice and safe with a secure pit lane area for safe pit stops. Children as young as three can take part. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. There is also an arcade near the track. 
HOW DO I GET THERE? Skidz Karting are more than happy to help you with your travel arrangements to and from the track. Minibuses are available for 16-36 seats as well as taxis for smaller groups.
WHERE CAN I PARK? There is an on site car park.
LUNCH? Along with two great tracks there is also a games room with driving simulators where you can get some practice before you go on the track, a pool table, air hockey table, and a cafe serving light refreshments to check out. Skidz Karting have also negotiated a great deal for parties  (min of ten people) at the Smoke Haus (www.thesmokehaus.co.uk) on Swansea's Wind Street in the heart of the night life. Stag/hen/birthday boy/girl eats completely free, and there is a free bucket of chicken wings for all to share as a starter, and 10% discount off the food bill.
ANYTHING ELSE IN THE AREA? The Chocolate Factory is unique in Swansea: a real, working chocolate factory offering informative tours for individuals and groups of all ages. With the popularity of the Charlie And The Chocolate Factory film starring Johnny Depp, and the original novel by Roald Dahl, The Chocolate Factory is a fun place to take the kids during their summer break from school. And the tour guide, almost like a real-life Willy Wonka, makes sure everyone on the tour gets a chance to see the different factory equipment and taste all the chocolate. After getting kitted up in the factory’s fashionable hairnets and aprons, the tour begins with a detailed talk about the history of chocolate, from its popularity among the ancient Olmecs and Aztecs of Central America to its discovery by Christopher Columbus and the Spanish Conquistador who conquered Mexico, Hernando Cortes. This is followed by a walk on the factory floor where you are shown the factory machinery and given a demonstration by Gareth John of how they melt, temper and re-mould chocolate into football shaped lollies, chocolate hearts and other bespoke items. For sat nav users the address and postcode is: The Chocolate Factory, Swansea West Industrial Park, Fforestfach, Swansea, SA5 4DL. Visitwww.thechocfactory.com.
...IF THE WEATHER'S BAD
The present incarnation of Tomos Watkin was started in 1995 by Simon Buckley and first operated from a small brewery in Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire before moving to their current premises in Swansea Enterprise Park in 1999. The Hurns Brewing Company acquired the Swansea brewer in 2002 and today Tomas Watkin exports their beers and other beverages to countries around the world, including the United Arab Emirates, China, Singapore, France, and the United States. 
WHERE? Llansamlet, Swansea Enterprise Park. 
WHY? At Tomos Watkin’s brewery groups can take a tour of the famous Welsh brewery and sample their award wining beers and ciders. The tour consists of a three hour visit and starts with drinks and a warm welcome on arrival from one of the brewers who will give you a 20 minuet talk about the history of the Hurns Brewing Company and Tomos Watkin. This is followed by a tour around the brewery which lasts around half an hour where visitors are shown the full brewing process from raw material to packaging the product. During the tour visitors get a chance to look into the vats where 16,000 pints worth of beer ferments every day for export across Wales and around the world. All the staff are dedicated and happy to answer any questions about the process. At the start of the tour chief brewer and tour guide Alex Cunningham hands out samples of the different varieties of malt the brewery uses to make their world famous beer. There is even a chocolate flavour to try. Cameras are allowed on the tour and visitors are encouraged to take as many photos as they want of the brewery, or even make a video of your tour.
WHEN? The tours cost £22.50 per person Monday to Thursday from 6pm to 9pm, there are also Friday tours available at £25 per person from 6pm to 9pm. For the same price as Friday tours, visitors can book a tour any time between 12pm and 8pm on Saturdays.
CONTACT: More information is available at www.tomoswatkin.com, or, you can phone 01792 797280. To book a tour send an email toshop@tomoswatkin.com
HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE? The tour and buffet usually last between two and three hours.
WHO WILL ENJOY IT? All age groups over 18 are welcome. Students and under 30s usually choose to go on the weekends before a night out.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? You must be over 18 to visit the brewery at the above times, but there are special school tours available at other times.
HOW DO I GET THERE?  The brewery is just off junction 44 of the M4 in Llansamlet on the Swansea Enterprise Park. For sat-nav users the full address and postcode is: Unit 3, Century Park, Swansea Enterprise Park, Swansea, SA6 8RP.
WHERE CAN I PARK? The brewery has its own car park. 
LUNCH? After the tour visitors relocate back to the brewery tap for more sampling of the finished products and there is also a cold buffet including sausage roles, crisps, chicken legs, cocktail sausages and other snacks available. After paying for the tour the buffet lunch and drinks are free, and there is no limit on how much you can eat and drink. 
ANYTHING ELSE IN THE AREA? Dylan Thomas is a family pub restaurant offering a full menu with a great range of delicious meals all day, seven days a week. For those just passing through Swansea, the pub offers a great range of hot drinks (lattes to expressos, mochas & cappucinos) and free wi fi. The address is: Swansea Enterprise Park, Llansamlet, Swansea, West Glamorgan, SA7 9AD. Call: 01792 701670

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