AD – Press trip
We recently had a fantastic week at Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire. It’s an ideal holiday destination for any time of the year, you can also read our review of a winter weekend at Bluestone. Here are some tips on getting the best out of your trip.
Booking activities at Bluestone Wales
Once our stay had been booked for us, I received a booking confirmation email from Bluestone Wales. The email contained a link, through which I was able to book additional activities and services. For example, outdoor activities and buggies could be added to our booking at any time. This made it particularly convenient to add activities to our order both before travelling and during our stay.
Once we’d booked our break, we started to receive emails about special offers that we could take advantage of during our stay. The last time we stayed at Bluestone Wales, I made the most of the brilliant offer on the Well Spa. I’d hoped to do the same this time, but unfortunately we didn’t have any help with the girls and my husband can’t manage them on his own at the moment, so I was unable to do so.
Arrival and check-in at Bluestone
You are free to arrive at Bluestone Wales any time from 11 am and make use of the brilliant facilities such as the village, restaurants, activity centre and swimming pool. You can then check into your accommodation from 4.30 pm.
Before arrival, you can fill in your check-in details online, so there’s no paperwork to complete when you arrive. We simply pulled up to the check-in window, collected the key-cards and were told where our accommodation was, and given a little map.
Cars aren’t generally allowed on site, but on the day of arrival and departure, you can take the car onto the site, as long as it is parked back in the car-park just off-site by midnight. There are convenient places to park near to the house and unload. I found the whole process very straightforward.
Bluestone Wales Accommodation
I love the lodges at Bluestone Wales. They’re really modern, spacious and homely. We stayed in a Ramsey Lodge with two en-suite bedrooms, one double and one twin. The lodges offer upside-down living, with the bedrooms downstairs, and the open-plan living room, dining room and kitchen upstairs to make the most of the beautiful views. From the master bedroom, there are also patio doors to a little area with a picnic bench, lovely for eating outside on a sunny day.
There is plenty of furniture in all the rooms, so we were able to pack everything away and make the most of the space. The facilities in the kitchen are perfect for self-catering accommodation. We cooked dinner in the lodge on three of the evenings of our stay, eating out on the other day.
Eating and drinking at Bluestone National Park Resort
Bluestone has an excellent selection of restaurants from the laid back Camp Smokey, to the upmarket Oak Tree Restaurant. We had a beautiful lunch in Camp Smokey, rather wishing we’d visited before our last day there. The food was excellent, and I loved the fact that you could toast marshmallows on an open fire for pudding.
We also sampled the excellent pub grub from the Knight’s Tavern. This was another laid back place to eat, with great food choices. I had a vegetarian sweet potato curry, it was great to have some unusual vegetarian options.
Cafe and Convenience Store
There is also a nice little café, the Ty Coffi Coffee House. I loved the fact that all the tables had little tea-pots on them, containing games to keep people entertained. We had some dominoes on our table, which the girls enjoyed playing with whilst waiting for our drinks.
The little convenience store on site is excellent for picking up essentials and would probably have enough supplies for basic self-catering, without having to do a big supermarket shop. It does close at 7 pm though, so I ended up driving to a local supermarket one evening having left it a bit late.
You really could spend a week at Bluestone Wales without leaving the site at all. We ventured out on one day to spend the day on the beach, because the Pembrokeshire beaches are just beautiful. But the rest of the time, we made the most of on-site activities.
We went to two of the Woody Wild Shows, Lola’s Day in the Sun and Buzby’s Bumble Boogie. These are aimed at young children and are by some distance the most engaging and interactive shows we’ve been to with the girls. Please see my full review of the Woody Wild shows.We also spent quite a bit of time in the activity centre. Here, there is a play area for children aged up to 12 years old, with towers for them to climb and big slides. There is also a small soft-play area for children aged up to six years’ old. There is crazy golf, a little arcade with air hockey, a Lego play area and giant connect four – these are just a few of the activities in the main hall.
Also upstairs at the activity centre is the Circus Room. I don’t feel this is advertised well enough, I wouldn’t have known it was there if I hadn’t had a recommendation from a friend. It’s the perfect play area for young children. They can play, climb, balance, hide and even ride on a mini roller coaster. Both of my girls loved it.
We also spent some time at the Blue Lagoon swimming pool. This is a leisure pool with a lazy river, regular wave sessions and some big water slides. There are also some children’s play areas including a rock pool area and a shipwreck themed water play section. Unfortunately, there are no children’s slides and both of mine were too small for the water slides, so we only spent one morning there. I think that when the girls are a bit older, we’ll spend a considerable amount of time in the pool.
The other place we spent some time was the little Bluestone park. Despite the fact that the weather wasn’t kind to us, the park offered enough shelter to make it ideal for drizzly weather. And when the sun came out, we made the most of the swings! There are loads of other activities available at Bluestone, for both children and adults. It is set in a beautiful national park, which is ideal for running, walking and mountain biking. The Bluestone lake plays host to a variety of activities, you can even learn to use a coracle.
Over in the Steep Ravine, there is a high rope activity course and a zip wire. Again, my girls were a bit young for this – and the weather wasn’t particularly kind to us. But in different circumstances, we would definitely have made use of this.
Mobility at Bluestone
My husband is currently not particularly mobile, due to being on crutches. He can’t walk long distances and struggles being on his feet for more than a few minutes. Bluestone is quite a big resort and they do encourage everyone to get around on foot – which I think is great. That said, you can also hire buggies and bicycles and there is a regular bus service.
When we arrived, we realised that he might struggle a bit with getting around, since cars are not allowed on site. We tried to hire a buggy, but they were all hired out. Luckily, despite their no-vehicle policy, Bluestone Wales are very reasonable. We were given a disabled pass so that my husband could use the car on site when necessary. This did make things an awful lot easier. I was really grateful to them for helping us out.
Why Bluestone is a great destination despite the British Weather
I feel the need to mention the weather here. Whilst we weren’t over the moon to have the best part of a week of rain during our holiday, I literally couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be in the rain. There are so many indoor activities that we could have quite happily stayed indoors all day every day. The whole place is also set up to get you outdoors whatever the weather, with activities carrying on regardless.
The local area
I have always been a huge fan of Pembrokeshire, and in my humble opinion it has some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK. My personal favourite is Bosherston, where you walk past some beautiful lily ponds to get to the beach in a secluded little cove. I’ve even seen otters in the lily pools in the past. My husband prefers Manorbier, and this time we headed to Saundersfoot, due to its proximity to Bluestone and the ease of parking and getting onto the beach. There are plenty of other exciting things to do in Pembrokeshire too. Including Oakwood Theme Park right next door to Bluestone, Folly Farm, Manor House Wildlife Park, surfing, windsurfing, canyoning, sailing and boat trips out to see wildlife such as seals, dolphins and puffins at certain times of year.
Bluestone Wales: The verdict
I would both recommend Bluestone Wales and go there again myself. It is great for families with children of all ages, and you will have an enjoyable week whatever the weather. I also have friends that have been to Bluestone as a couple without children. They made the most of the Wellness Spa and used it as a base to explore the beautiful local area. I look forward to returning when my husband is more mobile and my children are old enough to take part in different activities that we can all do together.
AD – Press trip