We were recently given the opportunity to have a four-night break at Bluestone National Park Resort, in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It looked absolutely brilliant from the website, so we were definitely interested in going along and discovering it for ourselves.
As soon as we’d got our booking confirmed, we received periodic emails in the run up to our break advising us of the various activities and bookings that we could make in advance. It really helped us get excited about going, and gave us a feel for the range of things that we could do there. One of the offers that we took advantage of was to receive 50% of the value of anything pre-booked back in food and drink vouchers, which I thought was a great deal. We booked a toddler class for the children, and hired a golf buggy for the duration of our stay.
The day dawned and it was time for us to set off. It took us just over 3 hours from the Midlands, and was actually an easy journey. On arrival, I loved that check-in was a simple drive-through affair. I’m always the one getting out of the car, traipsing over to the reception to queue to check-in for any breaks, so to simply pull up to a window, state our name and receive our welcome bundle, including those vouchers, was a brilliant and very welcome start to our break.
So, here it is. This is the Bluestone view, from atop one of the hills…
The whole time that we were there, I couldn’t get over these views. It is such a peaceful and beautiful place.
We were staying in a Caldey Lodge, which had a double and twin room, open plan living area and a wet room…
It was very clean, felt modern, and the fixtures and fittings were all to a high standard. There were fluffy white towels provided, and the added convenience of a microwave and dishwasher in the kitchen. There was a DVD player and Freeview, so the kids were happily entertained with CBeebies at breakfast time. I had my free Wi-Fi to make the most of, so blogging and social media were still accessible! I was also impressed that there was a high-chair and travel cot provided, as that was so much easier for us packing up the car, and nice not to have to take 2 fairly large things with us. The only thing that I would have preferred would have been to have a bath, as my two hate showers and the wet-room made for a slippy bathroom floor, too.
Checked in, unpacked, we were desperate to explore, so we went to get our buggy. My top tip for staying at Bluestone?
Hire a buggy! And book it in advance, as otherwise they’ll probably be all booked up on arrival. The resort is sprawling and full of hills, and you can’t have your car in there, so you’d be best to hire either a buggy or bikes. Going out on the buggy was a favourite part of the whole experience for the kids, and they asked to go out for a drive in it all of the time, despite Boo actually falling off it one day (there are no seatbelts, and I’d strongly recommend holding on to your 4 year-olds, even when they do tell you they’re fine and holding on!).
First stop was the Adventure Centre. We actually said ‘wow’ on entering! There was so much in there. A mini golf course, a climbing wall, a bouncy castle, a soft play area, a huge climbing frame and slides, a Lego wall – suffice it so say that the children were very happy and if it had rained every day of our visit, we could have easily spent it all here!
After having a good run around in there, we set off to the Village centre for some food. There are several places to eat in the Village, with plenty of choice and variety. We chose The Granary and their Italian themed buffet. Now, as buffet’s go, this one didn’t feel much like a buffet to me, as you paid extra for starters and desserts and could only choose one main. I had the lasagne, and it was good, and the kids choice was chicken nuggets which were fine. The service in there was very good, and for the children, there was a big play area, with kids TV on and a lovely lady coming round to the tables making balloon models for them (Little Man had a sword, and Boo chose a butterfly – neither made it out of the restaurant before the kids had burst them!).
Boo was obsessed with the Village. It wasn’t even down to that fabulous outdoor play area, though of course, that was thoroughly explored, she just liked hopping in the buggy to go to the Village. She asked for it daily, so we did it daily. A nice stroll around, a visit to the bakery (fresh smoothies, coffees, bread, cakes, croissants – yes we liked it in there!), a nosy in the toy shop. It was simply a nice atmosphere.
And so on the holiday rolled, and our time was filled, and yet felt lazy and slow-paced. The surroundings almost make your feel tranquil and relaxed, which is no mean feat when you’ve two very active and excitable under 5’s!
We spent one of our mornings at the Blue Lagoon Waterpark, with free entrance for Bluestone guests. There is a little baby shallow pool there, with a slide in the middle that Little Man LOVED! I enjoyed the wave machine in the main pool area, though the kids weren’t as confident with that. There are also slides in there and a lazy river. It was all clean and warm, with several life guards overseeing all areas, so it felt safe and fun.
We had booked the Toddler Sense class for the children to go along to. Most of the activities are 0-3, 4-7, and upwards, so having a 1 and 4 year old made it a bit tricky, as we didn’t want to split up. However, when I enquired we were advised that older children are OK to go along to the younger sessions as siblings, so we could confidently book this one in, though it was labelled as for 0-3 year olds. Boo is only 4, so was still able to join in and enjoy it. There was a room full of exciting soft play equipment, and the session included a teddy bear’s picnic, songs and imaginary play. Boo joined in with it all, as did every single other child there. Except for Little Man. So, it’s no reflection at all on the fab class that he basically abandoned it because in the free-play time, he had discovered this….
And he would not really step away from it!
We visited Lake Wildlife several times during our stay, to feed the ducks, spot the teeny frogs hopping about and admire the many birds flying around.
The lake is just near the Village, and as well as crumbs that we had, we were able to buy bags of food in the bakery to go and treat the ducks with. There are also nature trails and gorgeous walks around the resort, which we didn’t find time to do, but I know the kids would love – maybe next time!
Other than these activities, we spent our days out and about exploring, and enjoyed Manor House Wildlife Park, Tenby, Saundersfoot and the National Botanic Garden. There are plenty of places to visit in the area, along with many, many things to do in the resort itself.
So the overall opinion? Loved it. It was wonderful for a family with young kids, and I can see it being a place that we’ll want to revisit when they’re a little older, too, and can take advantage of even more of the activities, such as 4×4 Safari Driving, Kayaking, Archery and the Steep Ravine with it’s zip-wire – so much more to discover.
Wish we were back there now…!
Have you stayed there? What would be your top tips?
Disclosure: We received a complimentary 4 night break to Bluestone in exchange for a review. All words and opinions are my own.