After a wonderful half term holiday away together, here is an honest Bluestone Wales review about the accommodation, activities and overall opinions of this beautiful national park resort!
This May, in typical last-minute fashion, we booked at Bluestone Wales national park resort for a 5 day short break, our first time away as a family of 6! I had only recently heard about Bluestone and all of the opinions about it were very positive, comparing it favourably to Center Parcs and describing it as being a fantastic place to take a family of young children. Well, they were right! We had an absolutely brilliant time, jam packed with activities and a good dose of fresh air and nature right on our doorstep.
Our accommodation was amazing! Every lodge on the site is very well presented, appearing in every way like a nice hotel room but on a much larger scale. The kitchen and bathrooms were modern and immaculate with a fantastic living room space with a high-ceiling which made the whole area so spacious, light and airy. We had plenty of spare space and nothing felt crowded. I was impressed that no houses overlooked each other, so even though our neighbours were close, we couldn’t see what each other was doing so it still felt secluded and private.
My only wish was for a washing machine, especially when the kids had got muddy or wet for the umpteenth time, but I understand with a short break system that it might not make sense to install them in every lodge. There is a laundry service available, but we didn’t make use of it this time.
The park is set on a large site which is fairly hilly so we definitely needed to hire some bikes to get around. They had a large range on offer, from toddler bikes with training wheels through to adults bikes with trailers or baby seats on the back. We had a slight problem with our baby being only 4 months old, in that he couldn’t go in the trailer yet so we either ended up pushing him in the pram or jumped on the fantastic little golf buggy that we hired. (There are many of these around and although I thought it was a bit of a lazy option at first, I’m SO glad we got one later on in the week!)
In the centre of the park is a quaint little village which must have existed here originally and has been simply built around. It makes a lovely focal point and is where all of the shops and restaurants are situated. It’s not too big however, which is just right.
It is also home to a wonderful outdoor playground which incorporates a little stream and lots of natural wooden and willow features, which has been designed really well.
We used the grocers and bakery most days and ate at the restaurants, as well as using one of them to order food to be delivered straight to our lodge on nights that the kids were too worn out to sit still at the table! This was a great additional service and I’m very pleased they offered it for free.
The Adventure Centre is a huge place which we visited often during our stay, with a brilliant range of things for kids and adults to do. Miss 6 was really keen on trying “The Big 4”, which is an activity challenge consisting of wall climbing, a high ropes course (which she is pictured doing above), the swing and the drop. All required some nerve and bravery and she absolutely loved every one of them, wanting to do it all over again!
There are also lots of similar activities happening outdoors and in the woods, with zip-lines, tree climbing and adventure games being amongst the things on offer. Be aware that many of the really active events are for ages 6 and up, with some being for 8 and up only, such as the high ropes course through the trees.
It’s also really important to note that even though there are a myriad of wonderful activities to get involved with, these must be booked before you arrive in order to avoid disappointment as it gets SO booked up. We were lucky to find a few spaces, but next time we will be booking the activities at the same time as our stay I think!
Nearby the activity centre lies a beautiful forest with enormous trees that tower over it and it feels almost magical to walk through! There’s a lovely nature trail along a path as well as the truly wonderful Camp Smokey, which was probably our favourite place in the whole of Bluestone Park.
This is a lovely little spot in the heart of the forest, right underneath the zip-line (which makes for a great viewing point!) where a fire pit burns ready for marshmallow roasting and evening shindigs. Food is served here and some fun kids activities such as panning for gold also occur. We came back here a few times to enjoy the atmosphere and good music, and to roast a marshmallow (or 20!)
Another lovely activity that the girls enjoyed was a fairy and hobbit walk to some magical places through the woods and over a troll bridge. This was very special indeed and much talked about afterwards! The staff at Bluestone are so enthusiastic and extremely good with children. They enjoyed every minute of it.
Of course, probably the biggest highlight of all was the Blue Lagoon water park, with its large pool, lazy river, wave machine and curly slides! The older girls absolutely adored the slides and thought they were the most exciting thing they had ever experienced. There was also a baby and toddler pool off to one side, with a rock pool area to climb and splash in, as well as water machines to crank and tip over. This was a perfect spot to bring Miss 3 and the baby to, as it meant I could keep a very close eye on her inside the gated off area whilst keeping hold of him.
The highlight for me was a trip to the Wellness Spa, situated centrally in the village, where I received a wonderful aromatherapy massage and then enjoyed the steam rooms and hot tub all by myself for a few hours- ah, bliss! This spa has won awards and is a really lovely spot for a little escape from it all at the end of a busy day of play.
As if all of the excitement within the park itself wasn’t enough, we also ventured outside Bluestone to the local Pembrokeshire coastline, which is about a 25 minute drive, and found some truly stunning beaches to explore! Our favourite spots were a tiny little cove at Stockpile Quay where we threw rocks, followed by a beautiful 10 minute walk along the coastline to find the hidden gem that is Barafundle Bay. The weather was simply perfect and the children were thrilled to build sandcastles, climb the rocks and collect shells to take home.
We cannot wait to return to Bluestone again next year to repeat our fantastic holiday experience and to build on it by trying out even more that is on offer. The kids are so excited to go again and I hope you will love it if you visit too! Do share your own thoughts about Bluestone via Twitter or over on our Facebook page.
Visit the Bluestone Park website to make your booking today!