Wednesday, 6 February 2019

TRAVEL: Why we Fell in Love with Bluestone in Wales

TRAVEL: Why we Fell in Love with Bluestone in Wales
*Advertorial Content - Press Trip
We recently has the pleasure of visiting Bluestone National Park Resort in Wales on a family holiday and we fell in love with the place. If you're not familiar with Bluestone it is a large National Park in Pembrokeshire that is filled with a range of different size lodges, children's activities, parks, woodlands, restaurants, cafes and facilities. Everything you could need for a fun filled holiday is all included within the park, so there is no need to leave if you don't want to. Come rain or shine the whole family can enjoy what Bluestone has to offer, which is exactly why we fell in love. 
We visited between the 28th January and 1st February 2019, so a usually very bleak time of year and one that many may not choose to go on holiday. However, if you don't have children in school then this is the perfect time of year to go away because prices are very affordable and at Bluestone it doesn't matter if the weather isn't bright sunshine everyday. During the five days we were there we experienced rain, snow, bright sunshine and all the weather in-between. But none of that hindered our ability to enjoy the facilities within the Bluestone Resort and perhaps the biggest accolade was that Isabella spent most of the week saying how much fun the holiday is. 

On the first day we spent most of the day travelling down to Bluestone, which involved a flat tyre and a five and a half hour journey. It should have taken us three and half hours, but the flat tyre didn't help and we stopped quite a few times. Just prior to arriving we went to the Tesco at Haverfordwest to pick up our Click & Collect order, however this did require driving past Bluestone (it is about 15 minutes away) and then driving back again. We did drive past a big Tesco in Carmarthen, so if you're coming from the Midlands to Bluestone then I'd recommend ordering from that Tesco rather than Haverfordwest. 
When we arrived at Bluestone it was almost exactly 4.30pm, which is the time we could check-in from and we were instantly impressed at how easy the check-in process was. You drive up to a window, give your booking number and they give you a car hanger to display from the rear view mirror, along with a pack filled with information about your stay. There is a map, key cards, Blue Lagoon swimming passes, pocket guide, safety guide and activity price list, so everything needed to settle in and plan your stay. Other than the day of arrival and departure you aren't allowed cars on the resort, which makes walking around with children so much safer. Once we had dropped off all of our luggage we returned the car to the car park and unpacked everything into our lodge. We were in Gateholm Lodge 26 Preseli View, which sleeps six people and was in the perfect location for easy access to the car park, Blue Lagoon, Activity Centre and Village. However some of the lodges are a really long way away from the facilities, which is why they have golf buggies available to hire. At almost £100 for a week's stay we decided against it, although most people seemed to have them and they did look like a lot of fun. To be honest, if we had been stayed in the Forest View, Bartholomew Rise or Knights Rest areas of the resort I do think we would have had to hire a golf buggy because they are the furthest away from the facilities. We took Isabella's 3-in-1 Micro Scooter with us, which was a saviour for getting around easily and quickly. Although you could certainly take a pushchair for younger children we opted for the Ergobaby 360 and LittleLife Voyager S4 Child Carrier because we were short for room in the car.  
The Gateholm Lodge is an upside-down living lodge with the open plan living area/kitchen/dining room on the first floor and the three bedrooms, shower room and ensuite bathroom downstairs. When we first walked into the lodge it was warm and inviting, but initially the upstairs seemed a bit minimal. There was a modern, well equipped kitchen, dining table with six chairs, one highchair, two sofas, a coffee table and television, all in a very vast space which the girls instantly loved running around in. However after the initial judgement of it being a bit minimal it quickly become apparent how much more relaxing this holiday was going to be. There was a stairgate at the top and bottom of the stairs, so the children were safe and as there weren't any pretty ornaments or lots of furniture filling the space it meant that the girls could enjoy playing without us needing to worry about them breaking anything or hurting themselves. 
The kitchen had everything we needed for a week of self-catering, which was very convenient although I do have to say that the dishwasher in our lodge didn't really work and none of the saucepans were non-stick, so if you're planning a trip there I'd recommend taking your own non-stick frying pan to make washing up a lot easier. It was nice to see that you get a little welcome cleaning pack when you arrive though, which had dishwasher tablets, washing up liquid, a sponge, one bin bag and one recycling bag. I would also recommend taking kitchen roll with you, as there isn't any or you could pick some up from the convenience store in the Village. 
On our second day the weather was pretty rainy, so we got up early and went to the Blue Lagoon Swimming Pool. It was only a short walk away, so we didn't get too wet and when we arrived we were faced with ample family changing cubicles, one of the warmest swimming pools I've ever been in and all the fun additions to excite Isabella and Poppy. There is a Nipper Pool to one side that is filled with little balls, water squirters, a slide, rock pools to explore, basketball nets and a shallow pool. On the other side of the main pool is a pirate ship pool that had water spraying up, falling down and was again somewhere a bit different to explore. The majority of the main pool is on the shallow side, which makes it ideal for enjoying with children and on certain days they cordon off the deep end for the inflatable assault course. The lazy river that takes you outside and back in again was so much fun; we must have gone around it almost fifty times in the week we were there! Then the star of the show for us was the wave machine that came on every twenty minutes; the girls loved being lifted above the waves and it took us back to our childhood too. 
In the afternoon of the second day we visited the Village Centre, which again was only a short walk from our lodge but in the opposite direction. There is an impressive children's play area in the centre, colourful cottages surrounding it (that you can stay in) and then a variety of restaurants, cafes and shops. If you don't want to embrace the self-catering option then there are plenty of places to eat onsite too, all of which looked really nice. We only visited Ty Coffi café for a delicious ice-cream milkshake and babycinnos - highly recommend a visit during your stay. Just opposite the Village area is the Lake and Nature Trial, which at this time of year is transformed into a Light Experience where you'll find delicate fairy houses in the side of the woods, giant butterflies, Rapunzel singing and many other magical experiences. It truly is where childhood dreams come true and magic is brought alive.
On our third day we had beautiful sunshine, so decided to go off site to the beach at Saundersfoot and Tenby. Both are only a short 15-20 minute drive away and are some of the prettiest places I've visited in the UK. Tenby's harbour is lined with the most beautiful pastel coloured houses, where as the vast open beach at Saundersfoot was perfect for paddling, walking and enjoying the rare warmth of the sunshine at this time of year. I can't recommend visiting one or both of these places enough and because they're so close you can still spend part of the day enjoying what Bluestone has to offer. When we got back in the afternoon we headed straight to the Adventure Centre from the car park, which was again a very impressive facility filled with a mini golf course, climbing walls, circus soft play room for younger children, various rooms for the extra activities you can pay for, a large wooden indoor play area, arcade games, bouncy castle, café and shop. It is the haven for rainy days or when your children have lots of energy to burn off. The bouncy castle and circus room were the biggest hits with both Isabella and Poppy, which also meant we could relax watching them enjoying themselves.
The fourth day was our final full day at Bluestone, so we once again headed back to the Blue Lagoon for a long swim and then in the afternoon we were due to have heavy snow. We made sure we were back in the lodge before it was due to snow, however after a lovely relaxing afternoon cosied up in the lodge embracing the stunning view across the resort we didn't really have any snow. We went to bed slightly disappointed that the promise of snow hadn't delivered, only to wake up in the morning on Friday with a beautiful fresh blanket of snow. It made the place look even more magical and meant we could finally play in the snow together. 
The check-out time is 10am, which is on the earlier side and the cleaner was at our lodge at exactly 10am, but you are allowed to use the facilities onsite for most of the day still. We were initially going to head straight off because of the snow, but Isabella persuaded us to go for one last swim at the Blue Lagoon. If she could have lived there I'm pretty sure she would have. So after another long swim and lots of goes around the lazy river we headed out of Bluestone National Park Resort and had a much quicker journey home. 

Our stay at Bluestone was honestly so much fun; the children were both kept entertained without the need to spend lots of extra money, the on-site facilities are seriously impressive and the lodge was the ideal base for all of the free range fun. I can't recommend a stay at Bluestone enough and if you'd like to see more of what we got up to then head over to the 'Bluestone 2019' button saved into my highlights on Instagram and/or watch our vlog on IGTV from our stay there.


Have you visited Bluestone before?


Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)


Helen x
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16 comments

  1. I would love to visit Bluestone one day, we have planned some visits to Pembrokeshire for this summer and excited for the visit.

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  2. Bluestone really does look amazing and looks like you had a great time. One of the downsides to being tied to having one at school is not being able to get to Bluestone as a blogger!!

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  3. we have been to Bluestone twice before and really enjoyed it. I'd love to go again :)

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  4. I love the idea of Bluestone and I hope we manage to make it there one day, it is quite a distance from us. Mich x

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  5. Gorgeous photos. We love Bluestone Wales too, it's SO peaceful there too!

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  6. We have visited several times and I am lucky enough to live ten minutes away! I was brought up in Saundersfoot, I love it here. Kaz

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  7. Oh I'd absolutely LOVE to visit Bluestone. It looks so beautiful and peaceful. I cant believe how much they have to offer onsite too!

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  8. I’m not surprised that you really love that place. Bluestone looks really amazing and have a great and stunning view.

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  9. We have been to Bluestone three times now, it is such a wonderful place to visit, with so much for the kids to do

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  10. We've had so many wonderful family holidays at Bluestone. A highlight of my girls holidays there, is the golf buggy!

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  11. I love your photos, they are so gorgeous and whimsical looking. I've never been to Bluestone before but I think it may be on my list now!

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  12. What a beautiful place. I would fall in love too!

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  13. Love the Enchanted Forest. What an adorable place, looks very well designed xx

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  14. It looks and sounds like you all had the most amazing time. We have been to Bluestone a few times now and we absolutely love it! We never get bored of it and always come home wishing we could go straight back. The lazy river is my daughters favourite bit in the pool too!

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  15. We just adore bluestone isn't it just the most perfect place to visit as a family. We've made so many memories there. And Tenby is just beautiful too. xx

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