(Picture courtesy of the Bluestone website.)
So, there we were, all loaded to the max into our new car. This is the one we bought that was a lot bigger than the old one, the one that now wouldn’t need the roof box on the top because everything would fit so nicely into it because it was that much bigger….Except we did have the roof box on the top, because of course, thinking you are past the stage of needing to take the entire contents of your house with you when you go on holiday with children, and that actually being a reality, are two quite different things…. After twice making it to the M5, and having to go back because we’d forgotten something vital, and Mr W cursing my organisation skills (if he hasn’t yet worked out they are dire, he obviously hasn’t taken much notice of me in the last 8 years…) we were finally off. Our destination: Bluestone holiday park in Pembrokeshire.
I will admit that I was keeping my expectations low. Not because I hadn’t heard amazing things about Bluestone, and the area it was in, but because we have yet to have a successful holiday as a family… Usually nobody sleeps, everyone is grumpy, everyone gets
massively a bit frustrated, and by the time we get back, we are more stressed than when we left, and I’m usually ill for some inexplicable reason. But we keep going, in the hope that the next things will be better. Well, I’m ridiculously happy to report that….THIS TIME EVERYTHING WAS AMAZING!
So we arrived at Bluestone at 1pm-it is stated on the website that you can be on site from 11.30am, but won’t be able to access your lodge until 4.30pm. So we had a bag of essential things to hand (yes, I did manage to organise and remember that!) so that we could explore the site with things we needed, until we could get into our lodge. The check in was super easy-a drive through, so you don’t have to leave the car-and I was really happy when they told us our lodge was actually ready, and we could make our way straight there. So we drove down, unloaded, and took the car back to the car park. Bluestone is a car free site, so cars are only permitted on check in and check out days.
It was recommended to us by some friends who had visited, that we hire a golf buggy to get around the site. They said they would’ve found it far too steep to cycle. There are both golf buggy and bike/trailer hire available. It cost £80 for buggy hire, for five days. Prices are variable, and bikes/buggies can be picked up between 2pm-7pm-check the link for more info. For us and the boys, the buggy was a massive highlight! It’s a really fun way to get around, and there are parking and charging points at all the major points of the site. Every evening before bedtime, we would take a little jolly around the site on the buggy, taking in the lovely views, and the boys generally loving every second. They also have storage for carrying all the monumental amounts of stuff you need with you for a trip to absolutely anywhere, which was handy. Now that we’ve been to the site, I’d say that personally, I would have had no problem cycling around it. There are hills, but I exercise quite regularly, and would’ve found them manageable. I also wouldn’t have minded walking with the pushchair either, but if you visit, it’s well worth considering before you go, how much physical activity you want to do while you are there! The golf buggies need to be booked in advance, as often they are completely sold out, and if you decide you want one on arrival, there could be none available.
(Picture courtesy of the Bluestone website.)
We stayed in a Skomer lodge-there are lots of different accommodation sizes available, from studios, to large lodges for big parties. Ours had a large living area, a kitchen diner, and 3 huge bedrooms, two of which were en suite, and one had a bathroom with a large bath and walk in shower in it, right next door to it. It actually sleeps 6, but we went for 3 bedrooms because the boys usually prefer to sleep in their own rooms. But they actually asked to share a room (for the first time!) so next time we can go for a smaller lodge. I loved our lodge, it was clean, and really modern, and I really did like how big the bedrooms and bathrooms were. There was free wifi, which worked really well for general social media activity, but if you want to live stream Netflix/Now TV etc, this wifi won’t work, and you need to upgrade to premium wifi, which is £5 per day. We also had a lovely bit of garden outside, where the boys played football every evening, and it was also a wildlife haven-regularly being visited by rabbits, badgers, birds and field mice! Some accommodation surrounds the lake, all of which had gorgeous lake views. Some was near to the on site ‘village,’ and some was more secluded on the outskirts. If you pay a little extra, you can view on a map where you think you’d most like to be, and pay a little extra to secure a lodge there. We paid £570 for a Monday-Friday stay.
(Interior pictures courtesy of the Bluestone website.)
The village was a real hive of activity. It’s the cutest little place, built to resemble an actual village, and there is accomodation here, as well as a coffee/ice cream house, village pub, slightly more upmarket dining restaurant, a grill, a pretty well stocked shop, guest services, a park, and a spa. It was sometimes a surreal experience to be in an actual working village, where absolutely everyone was on holiday-it made for a brilliant atmosphere! We took a large food shop with us, and I cooked at the lodge most evenings, apart from the last night (I’ll come to that later,) so I can’t speak for the food on site. The shop had a good selection, if you wanted to shop when you arrived (and a brilliant alcohol section…!)
The main on site entertainment is the Blue Lagoon Waterpark pool-a lovely pool, with brilliant changing facilities, not overcrowded, amazingly clean, and with family changing cubicles that were a really good size. There are two baby pools either side of the main pool, and no outdoor pool, although there is an outdoor jaccuzzi, and the ‘lazy river,’ a small river (not a rapid,) that takes you outside, with a very small area to stop if you want to stay outside. There are also some really fun looking flume slides, but we didn’t get to try them because the children needed us to always be there for one to one. Just a little word of warning-every so often they turn a wave machine on in the pool (they give plenty of notice with a very loud whistle,) but the waves are huge! We got out because the eldest isn’t too keen on waves, and I’m glad we did, because some people did get taken a little unawares by the size of the waves!
(Picture courtesy of the Bluestone website.)
There is also a large indoor adventure centre that has a huge soft play area (probably most suitable for 2 and under,) and a large area with loads of ‘tree houses’ to climb up, big slides, ball pits, bouncy castles, and a crazy golf-all the things that children go mental for! There is also a really good café aimed at children, in the building too-the Wildwood Café, where there are also themed shows put on, and character animals to come and mingle with you…!
As well as evening entertainment, there are lots of different age appropriate activities available for children, with an emphasis on free range fun, and getting close to nature. We didn’t try any of the activities, but here is a list to check out, of what is available.
For our final evening, we ate out in Camp Smokey. You take a long, steep descent into the forest (still pushchair accessible,) and reach the rustic, wooden Camp Smokey, where your food is barbecued to order while you wait. It is very basic, fuss free food, and good measures of alcohol served at a reasonable price…! The atmosphere is brilliant. The piece de resistance…Getting to toast marshmallows on the outdoor camp fire for pudding! The children absolutely loved this!!! You can only eat at Camp Smokey between 9am-5pm, as they close in the evenings for ‘shindigs,’ entertainment with live music. Our children still have a total meltdown if they’re up past bedtime, so we didn’t go, but I can’t wait to check this out in the future!
In my opinion, it is best to probably stay on site for a couple of days, but going out to explore beautiful Pembrokeshire for a few is a must. There is an extensive list on Trip Advisor, of all the best things to do in the area, most of which are 15-30 minutes away from Bluestone. We visited Folly Farm-given the accolade of the best attraction in Wales. Like the rest of you will understand, we spend a lot of time as parents, at parks, farms, and other animal attractions, and I wondered how this would be different (keeping my expectations low as ever…!) but this place was too many kinds of awesome! A huge site, with a working farm that you can tour by tractor, there is also a zoo area, with fantastically laid out enclosures for the animals, brilliant playgrounds dotted all over the place, sandpits, real diggers children can play in with adults, go karting, and the best bit-an indoor vintage funfair, with working, preserved vintage rides, blasting out vintage 50’s tunes, which made me want to don a flared polka dot skirt, and pretend I was an extra in Grease. All of this withing beautiful, immaculate grounds. Check. It. Out.
Barafundle Bay is also a must (although this is NOT pushchair accessible.) It is accessed by a steep flight of steps up, a 15 minute clifftop walk, and a steep descent down. Only go if your children can walk it (ours managed it, it took about 25 minutes altogether, and they are 3 and 2,) or if you are willing to carry your children. Totally worth it though-it took my breath away, and I will actually say that it’s the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen in my life.
We also visited Tenby a beautiful town full of regency, colourful townhouses, with beautiful beaches. The list of places to visit is endless.
We were totally spoilt on our holiday by being lucky enough to visit during the only week of the year so far that felt anything like summer-the sun shone from the minute we got there, till the minute we left. We had a shaky start with a 4.30 wakeup from both children the first morning, but then they both slept brilliantly. I loved Bluestone, and I have now fallen in love with Pembrokeshire. I can’t recommend Bluestone and the area enough-it’s gone to the top of my list of favourite places! Go! Just go! We are already planning our next trip with a load of family, for next year…!
I didn’t visit Bluestone with the intention of writing a review, they were unaware that I would be writing one, therefore I have not received anything in exchange for this review. I just had the most fabulous time ever, and wanted everyone to know about it!