Pre mini humans, Phil and I travelled the world. Between us we’ve covered vast areas of the globe, from east to west, and a love of travelling is something we’re keen to pass down to Toby and Martha.
The children have been on a mixture of European and U.K. holidays; mostly with Phil and me but also with my Mum and me when Martha was a teeny 5 months old. This week, Mum and I piled the car full to the brim and headed to Bluestone, in stunning Pembrokeshire, Wales. I’d been invited to spend Monday to Friday there, and with Phil needed at work, Mum valiantly stepped in!
I say we filled the car to the brim – we managed to leave Toby’s Trunki at my parents’ house a mere 400 odd miles from Bluestone. All I’ll say is thank goodness for a supermarket with a clothing range that was only a short drive from the resort…
Free range family fun
I often (half) jokingly refer to our gorgeous children as ‘feral’, but the far nicer term would definitely be ‘free range’. We get outdoors as much as possible, we explore nature, we tell stories of wizards and bears as we walk through the woods, we dig for old broken plates in the garden, we climb on anything that seems capable of being climbed on.
Bluestone really suits this sort of lifestyle, thanks to trails around the woodland and lake areas, a treetop play area, and being only 20 minutes’ away by car from the stunning Tenby South Beach. We did a lot of walking and exploring, which was such a lovely way to spend the cold but beautiful days.
Bluestone Winter Lights
We were lucky enough to be there during the Winter Lights event, which is running until 22nd March 2018. Each evening from 4:30pm and every half an hour until 6:30pm, a light and sound display bursts into life in the centre of the resort’s village. From there, we walked down to the forest and followed a magical trail of gorgeous light displays.
Some of the models had been made by children in the workshops held at Bluestone, which was so lovely to see.
In the village there’s a coffee shop, a tavern, a pub, a chippy – you won’t struggle for food! There’s also a small grocery store which has everything you’re likely to need for cooking in your accommodation, where you are fully stocked with utensils, an oven and hob, microwave, and toaster.
You’re not held to ransom either; we ate out once at lunch time and it was £35 for 2 adult meals, 2 children’s meals, a side dish, and 2 glasses of wine. The portions were really generous too.
In the Adventure Centre where you’ll find the soft play areas and workshop spaces, there’s also the Wildwood Cafe, which serves breakfast, lunch, tea, snacks, and drinks. We only had a quick coffee in there during a play session but it was a lovely space and very magical for the children.
There’s also Camp Smokey which is an outdoor interactive dining experience, but sadly this was closed for the winter so we weren’t able to try it out.
Riding the waves
Toby and Martha love swimming, so it was a given that we would pack their Konfidence swimwear and go for a dip at Blue Lagoon. Bluestone’s swimming complex is exclusive for guests from 9-12, and is then also open to the public until 6pm.
Unfortunately, on our first full day there, we rocked up for a swim at 9am only to find that the pool was closed for a technical issue. We waited around a while, but the staff were really apologetic and by half 9 there was no indication of how long it would take to be sorted, so we left. We returned to a fully functioning pool on Thursday (it had opened on Tuesday afternoon, I believe).
We paddled in the warm toddler area, before heading into the main pool to float around the lazy river. The water was such a nice temperature and the children found it so much fun bobbing around and going outside as the river took them into the brisk Welsh air.
Then came the waves! I thought Toby would be too nervous to stay in the pool because he hates water splashing in his face, but the little daredevil told me he was like Moana and happily rode the waves with his float suit keeping him safe (and Mum and I next to him, just in case!). Martha wasn’t quite as sure, but she was happy as long as she was attached to one of us!
Adventure Centre fun
It wasn’t freezing, but we did need to stay indoors some of the time – during hail storms, for example. The Adventure Centre has a huge selection of activities for children of all ages, from soft play to rock climbing, a bouncy castle to mini golf, baby sensory classes to discovery zones.
We didn’t do any of the workshops or classes, but Toby and Martha did have loads of fun in the Circus Zone, the soft play, and mini golf. They laughed, shared, made friends, ran around, burnt off some energy, and generally had a great time!
Our holiday house
Toby loves it when we have a holiday house to stay in, so our Gateholm Lodge – a 3 bedroom ‘upside down’ house – was a hit!
A short walk from the car park, Blue Lagoon, Adventure Centre, and the village, our lodge on Preseli View was an ideal location. The bedrooms and family bathroom were on the ground floor, with stairs leading up to the open plan living, dining, and kitchen area. We had 2 twin rooms and 1 en suite double, and all accommodation at Bluestone comes with a travel cot as standard – but bring your own cot sheet!
We had a few issues; the stair gates at the top and bottom of the stairs were unsafe, but guest services were very friendly and a maintenance man came out within a few hours to fix them. The freezer compartment in the fridge was broken, the shower door was quite rickety, and the sofas seemed very dated and quite shabby, so my main feedback was that the place needs a bit of a facelift and some shiny new furniture.
That said, the sofa and beds were comfortable, the oven, toaster, microwave, kettle etc all worked fine, and the dining table and chairs were in good condition.
We had a great time!
On Tuesday I was feeling pretty miserable about the break – a long drive on Monday, the issues in the lodge, the pool being closed on Tuesday, and the children having a really challenging day. I was actually regretting the break and that sucked.
We had a lot of fun walking around the woodland areas splashing in puddles, or in Martha’s case landing on her bum in a puddle, and on Wednesday our trip to Tenby beach was simply wonderful. Throw in the laughter and bouncing at soft play, some really tasty food at The Knights Tafarn, running around the dining table in the lodge, splashing and floating at the Blue Lagoon, and the magic of the Winter Lights trail – it was wonderful.
Bluestone is a heck of a long way for us to travel, so I don’t know whether we’d go back there while the children are still so small and easily overwhelmed, but it is a great holiday resort and I do hope that we go back at some point. I’d definitely recommend Bluestone to people who can get there within maybe 2-3 hours, as opposed to our 6-8 hour drive!
** We were invited to stay at Bluestone for 4 nights with our accommodation being offered free of charge. All photos, words, and opinions are entirely my own.
I am a Konfidence Swimologist, which is unrelated to this review, but the children’s swimwear was given to us, and you can get 10% off of your first purchase on their website by entering BUDDS1710 at the checkout!**