Mike MacDonagh's Blog

Somewhere in the overlap between software development, process improvement and psychology

A trip to Swansea

I recently took a trip to Swansea in South Wales as I’ve got a lot of family there. Along with spending a lot of time visiting various family members I enjoyed a massive amount of rain! We decided to stay in a hotel rather than with family to make it more of an adventure for the kids so we chose the Oxwich Bay Hotel which is in an amazing location in the middle of nowhere on a beach that would have been a lot more fun if the weather had been better.

Quite frankly the hotel was underwhelming, not well kept up and overpriced. Our family rooms which were meant to cater for a family of four including a baby didn’t even have a bath or a fridge and hadn’t seen a lick of paint in years. I wouldn’t recommend it.

The trip had some highlights though, I was able to take my kids to see their great grandparents, the first time the g-g-parents have seen the baby. I also took them to see my parents, various yappy dogs/puppies and my wonderful sister and her great family. So there was much playing, silliness and general catching up. I don’t travel to Swansea very often so I was surprised by the lack of comments on the evil genius beard I sport these days, but not surprised on the various comments about my growing belly!

We visiting Oakwood Theme Park on one of our days which I remember from when I went as a kid.
Back then the best ride was the waterfall! However Oakwood as since grown up to be a proper theme park with some great rides 😀 The indoor play area was my son’s favourite part of the place I think! He ran around there for hours having great fun 😀

We went on a really wet day, but had a great time despite being totally soaked – even though we avoided the wet rides!


There’s a new rollercoaster called Speed which has a vertical lift to immediate vertical drop, loop, over-banked turn and barrel roll which made my brain feel like it was going to dribble out of my ears like porridge. 7/10 which would be higher if I’d managed to find a more comfortable head position – it really did hurt my head! This ride has the steepest drop in the UK and is the tallest of its type in the world.


We also went on the world famous Megafobia which often features on lists of the worlds best rollercoaster – it’s a brilliant wooden coaster with really tries to lift you out of your seat 9/10 😀

It has a 55 degree drop, and it’s also a fast ride. A CCI (Custom Coasters International) built ride, Megafobia has celebrated its 11th year of existence and has been voted one of the best wooden roller coasters in the world[1]. If you dismantled Megafobia and laid planks of wood end to end, it would reach from Oakwood Theme Park to London and back again!



Vertigo. This involves being winched up to the same height as the big arch and then pulling a rip cord! You free-fall for moment before the cable gets you and you start swinging to a massive height at great speeds. Not the light hearted but it’s an incredible experience and it feels like you’re flying. 10/10 from me, even when it’s raining!

  • Height: 164 ft (50m)
  • Speed: 80mph (128kph)
  • Acceleration: 3g (30 m/s²)

Apparently there’s one that’s 300ft high in Florida 😯



As another part of our trip we went to the Swansea Lesiure Centre – since I was last there as a kid it’s been completely rebuilt and is now cunningly dubbed lc2! It’s got some great slides, a lazy river, bubble pool and large wave pool. Some really goot kiddie and baby pools with interactive features that are a lot of fun. We all had a great time, and I especially enjoyed the Masterblaster, a roller-coaster style ride which blasts riders uphill on jetted water – then lets gravity do the rest! It’s a great improvement on the pool I remember as a kid and I thoroughly recommend it if you’re even in the area. It’s also got a Surf Rider, which is the world’s first indoor deep water surfing ride but I didn’t get to go on that 😦

There is a four-storey children’s Playzone incorporating interactive audio visual elements using projectors, latest computer hardware and bespoke software packages, together with a sensory room for children with special needs, which is another world first. We had a great time there, all the way from me to my 10 month old 😀

LC2 Construction

LC2 Construction

LC2 Main Pool

LC2 New Pool

LC2 MasterBlaster

LC2 MasterBlaster

LC2 Surfing

The "old" pool

LC1 The old pool

The old empty pool

LC1 The old empty pool


3 responses to “A trip to Swansea

  1. jonathanjk September 23, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Maybe because I am a photographer and I read too much into photographs, but if they can’t even align the 2 pictures in the link you provided properly then I have to doubt the quality of service they provide. Bad luck on staying there.

    The bedroom and the horizon are slanted!

    • Alyson June 19, 2009 at 2:09 pm

      As a photographer surely you would have realised that they’ve used a fish-eye lens wide angle lens to get the full view in, which makes the horizon look curved???? How picky can you get…

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