As you may have noticed, since Monday we have been having the time of our lives at the Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire. Whilst I have updated you on our activities and adventures each day, I wanted to provide a full and thorough review now that we’re home.
I’ve broken it down into sections, so that if there is a particular thing that you are interested in, you can jump straight to it using the CTRL + F function on your browser. The sections are as follows:
Food and Drink
Things to Note
I am including photographs to show our experience. We have visited in January so please excuse the lack of sunshine, I did put in an order but they couldn’t provide it all week.
Before heading to Bluestone, I booked a few activities in addition to those that are provided free of charge with your stay.
I knew I wanted to book a spa treatment and I also decided to chat to the call taker about activities for the girls that we would need to book in advance. I spoke to Natasha who was incredibly helpful and recommended some activities for us that she’d tried out with her own children. She talked me through all the things we might want to do, making recommendations without being pushy.
Natasha chatted to me about booking an extra cot, but explained that this would cost us an extra £12.50 and we could just bring our own cot from home instead, so we decided to do that.
She also explained about hiring golf buggies and bicycles and explained that the resort was car free, but we could either bring our own bikes or hire theirs. We were unsure whether we would be able to put Lia in the bike trailer, so Natasha checked for us and confirmed that they weren’t suitable for Lia’s age (8 months).
All in all, I was really impressed with Natasha’s professionalism on the phone, she was able to answer all my questions with either personal recommendations or facts that she had checked with a colleague, I couldn’t fault her at all. Thank you Natasha for all your help.
You can arrive at Bluestone and check into the resort from 11 am, but entry to the accommodation isn’t until 4.30 pm. We didn’t pay for early check in, which is available from 1pm because this was £60 for the Gateholm lodge we were staying in and we thought this was quite a lot to pay for the sake of a couple of hours.
Checking in at the resort was quick and easy. We arrived at around 3 pm, so we headed straight to the Adventure Centre to make the most of the resort before heading to our accommodation at 4.30 pm.
We stayed in a Gateholm lodge which sleeps six people.
The lodges are immaculately clean and fully equipped for you to self-cater during your stay. There was easily enough space for six of us and the upside down living was a beautiful idea. The bedrooms and bathrooms are downstairs and the open plan kitchen, dining room and living room are upstairs. From the upstairs windows, the view of the Preseli hills was breathtaking, even on a dreary January day.
A cot and high chair were both provided, which we thought was a lovely touch. You could also hire more as required. It was genuinely one of the nicest places we’ve ever stayed in.
Food and Drink
I loved the selection of restaurants available at Bluestone, providing everything from a cafe aimed at children in the activity centre to pub grub and fine dining. We tried the Wildwood Cafe, Knight’s Tafarn and the Carreg Las. They all catered well for children with the girls eating everything from cheese sandwiches to fennel parfait and the food was excellent.
There are also several shops and a bakery on the resort, providing everything you would expect from convenience stores. If you need anything over and above that, the large supermarkets of Haverfordwest and Tenby are within a short drive.
My morning in the spa was arguably my favourite part of the holiday because I’ve been desperate to do something like this for months.
On arrival, I had a short consultation before being given a luxurious robe, towel and flip flops and being shown to the luxurious changing rooms.
I spent an incredibly relaxing two hours in the two steam rooms, two saunas, ice room, salt room and the outdoor Jacuzzi. There is also a cafe there that serves food from midday.
The facilities were all immaculate and there were only a few of us in there so it was like having the place to yourself. I felt thoroughly spoilt and enjoyed it so much that I was actually disappointed when it was time to go for my massage.
My disappointment soon dissipated when I had an aromatherapy massage that completely got rid of all the nasty knots in my shoulders and neck.
After booking our holiday, an offer was emailed to me that allowed me to have two hours in the spa for £10 or a treatment and two hours in the spa for £40.
I can’t recommend this highly enough, in fact had I got chance I’d have gone again during our stay.
The Activity Centre caters for children of all ages. I have never been anywhere quite like it, it was brilliant. The big four attractions; the swing, the drop, the wall and the sky trail are aimed at older children than my two but we will definitely take them back to do these when they’re older.
For younger ones, there was a climbing activity area with slides, an area for tiny children with little slides and a ball pool, trikes to ride, a bouncy castle, games, crazy golf, giant lego... the list goes on.
We just loved this area and went back every day. If we’d been there for a fortnight, the novelty still wouldn’t have worn off.
This is one of the most exciting swimming pools we’ve ever been to. There are slides for both big and small people, waves, play areas for little children, a lazy river that goes outside, an adult only Jacuzzi, bubbles, water jets and a cafe.
Both of our girls are really confident in water but the pool caters just as well for people who are nervous. There are lifeguards everywhere, all of whom are friendly, approachable and professional.
We felt really safe in the pool, without feeling restricted. Libby would have liked to have been allowed on the big slides, but I can understand why she wasn’t allowed, she’s still a bit too little.
Even looking at the Waterpark from outside is exciting. When you get in there, you won’t be disappointed.
There are a plethora of activities available for children of all ages both indoors and outdoors throughout the year. We sampled just a few, namely baby sensory, toddler sensory and messy play.
I think baby sensory is fairly standard wherever you do it, but we’d never been before so I took Lia along. It was a great class and the member of staff running it was really friendly. Lia gave her lots of big, approving smiles.
We sang songs with signs, played with toys, teddies, a parachute and props and read to the babies. For Lia, it was lovely to have the one on one attention from me and she had some new experiences such as playing with a feather.
Libby’s toddler sensory was just her sort of thing. Hubby took her, but she came back full of excitement and ready to tell me all about it. They sang songs, played with exciting toys and played with a parachute.
There was some gym equipment set up to encourage balancing and movement. Libby was rather proud of herself for completing the little obstacle course.
The other class that we did was messy play. Both girls went to this together and it was perfectly suitable for them both despite their very different developmental stages.
Everything they were playing with was edible and there were a variety of things to do including painting, non-Newtonian fluid (cornflower solution), glittery things, jelly, custard and water.
I loved the environment at Bluestone. It is just a magical place to be a child. The staff throughout the resort are polite, enthusiastic and genuinely pleased to see you and happy to help.
My girls have both grown up so much during our week there. I think the stimulation of such a magical environment has brought their development on.
Libby has gone from being painfully shy to walking up to other children, engaging them in conversation and playing with them. Lia has gone from making noises to very clearly saying “mum” and having a go at saying Libby (ironically it comes out as blah blah).
The outdoor areas are really exciting for children. There is a brilliant adventure playground and in the woodlands, you might just find a little bit of magic.
One of my favourite things about Bluestone is that whilst everything you could possibly need is on the resort, you are also right in the countryside.
I went for a run and ended up exploring the National Park for two hours. It was truly beautiful but I wouldn’t recommend running round it in the dark like I did towards the end of my run.
It is one of the most stunning areas of countryside I’ve seen, I love the forest, the hills, the mossy paths and the streams. There are even historical buildings thrown in for good measure.
Things to Note
In the interests of a balanced review, here are the few things that I regarded as slight drawbacks at Bluestone.
- There are no washing machines in the lodges and no launderette on site. There is a laundry service, but it has a 48 hour turnaround time. For us, this was really difficult because we use cloth nappies for Lia and needed to wash them but couldn’t be without them for 48 hours. We ended up hand-washing them. We felt that the price of early check-in for the accommodation (£60 for the Gateholm lodges) was a bit too much for the sake of a couple of hours.
- I would love it if there were pet-friendly lodges, it is a great environment to walk a dog in and it would have been great to have brought Pluto. Hubby disagrees and would sacrifice Pluto for the sake of letting the kids run around without the worry that someone might not have picked up after their dog.
- We tried to go to the Aqua Adventures at the blue lagoon on Wednesday evening but the timing of it was incorrectly advertised on the Bluestone website. It is advertised as 5-7 pm, but was actually 4-6 pm so we had a disappointed toddler on our hands when we arrived at 6 pm and we weren’t able to go.
- I was a little bit miffed that the Carreg Las restaurant only had one vegetarian option. It was lovely, but in this day and age you expect some choice in a fine dining restaurant as a vegetarian.
- Four nights wasn’t enough. If I had known how much we’d all love it and how much there was to do, we would definitely have stayed for longer.
We were lucky enough to be invited to provide a review of Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire. They were kind enough to allow us to stay for four nights free of charge for the purpose of this review. For more information about Bluestone and to book, head to their website.