A few months ago I received a very exciting email asking if my family and I would like to go to Bluestone national park resort for a 4 night mid-week stay.
I, of course, jumped at the chance and so a few weeks ago we packed up the car and headed west for a little family holiday.
For weeks before we went it seemed that everyone I talked to had been there for a holiday, and had nothing but good things to say about the place. So our expectations were pretty high before we went, and I was thrilled to find that the place absolutely lived up to its reputation.
My husband and I decided it would be lovely if we could take his parents away with us for the holiday, so we ended up being a party of four adults and two children.
There are three different types of lodge at Bluestone that sleep six people, and we were given a really lovely Gateholm lodge for our stay.
What’s particularly fab about these lodges is that they’re upside down. By which I mean that the bedrooms and bathrooms are on the ground floor and the kitchen and lounge/diner are on the first floor. Rhys thought this was hilarious, and the rest of us just thought it was lovely because from the juliet balcony in the upstairs living space we had gorgeous views of the resort and surrounding countryside.
The little balcony is actually a really nice touch, as it meant that if someone was sitting on the little picnic table outside the rest of us who were inside could still chat with them.
The lodge itself was lovely, it felt really spacious so we never seemed to all be on top of one another.
It had a double bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and two twin rooms, and then a separate family bathroom. We did find it a bit odd that the main bathroom just had a shower while the en-suite had a bath and shower. Not that it mattered, the children just used the en-suite for their bath each evening, it was just not what we would’ve expected.
Bluestone as a whole is designed to be extremely family friendly, so all the lodges come with stair gates, a cot and a high chair. We didn’t need any of these things for our visit, but I think it’s great that they come as standard so you don’t have to worry about sorting them. If you need additional cots or high chairs then you can request them before you arrive.
Upstairs in our lodge was the open-plan living space. The lounge area was lovely, with enough sofa space for all of us and a large tv with freeview and a dvd player. We did have to be careful though because the ceiling sloped down by the tv and heads were bumped once or twice!
The kitchen area was well equipped, and tucked away in a drawer were nice, clear instructions on how to use the oven and the dishwasher.
We were pleased with the cooking facilities in the lodge as we actually ate all our meals there, rather than heading out to any of the eateries on the site.
Saying that, we did get chips from the chippy one night which were really tasty!
We arrived at Bluestone in the afternoon on the monday, and were able to check in quickly. The staff who greeted us were so friendly, and really helped set the tone for our holiday. I can’t fault the Bluestone staff at all, everyone we passed gave us a smile and a cheery ‘hello’ and you get the feeling that nothing would be too much trouble for them.
Every morning of our holiday was spent at the amazing blue lagoon water park which we all absolutely loved.
It’s free for guests at Bluestone, and in the mornings it is only open to people staying on site. In the afternoons though it’s open to members of the public so I would imagine it might get a bit busier then.
The pool itself was lovely and warm, and there was plenty there to keep all of us entertained. There is a little toddler pool area which Nerys enjoyed on the first day, while she was still finding her confidence in the water. After that she spent all her time in the main pool, laughing as we jumped with her in the waves and happily floating around the lazy river.
As for Rhys, well he was thrilled to discover he was tall enough to go on all the flumes! So he spent most of his time with Daddy and Pops, whizzing round and splashing into the water at the bottom.
Once we were all swum-out and wrinkly we would head back to the lodge for some lunch.
Then we spent our afternoons exploring the resort.
Honestly, it was just beautiful.
There are several nature trails you can follow and lots of little details to look out for as you go.
One afternoon we decided to head through the woods to visit the site of an iron age fort, which Rhys was really excited about. It was all so pretty, with bursts of bluebells here and there and ever-so-tall trees everywhere you looked.
One of my favourite parts was the little fairy village that’s been built into one area of the woods. It’s such a sweet idea, and so much fun for little ones to go and knock on the doors!
Part of the way along the nature trails that weave their way through the woods we came across the steep ravine. If you like to get your adrenaline pumping then this is the place to go!
Rhys was too little to attempt any of the activities but we had a good nose around at the zip wires and tree-top obstacle course.
I have to admit I was a little bit relieved to not have to get up there, I’m not that great with heights. But for the more adventurous types it would be so much fun!
Then a little bit further along the track you come to Camp Smokey.
This would be the perfect place to come and get your breath back after you come back down to earth. You can enjoy a meal here while watching other people climb around above your head. And you can even toast your own marshmallows over the fire if you want!
The other place we spent a fair bit of our time while we were on holiday was the village. This is the heart of Bluestone really, with several places to eat, a couple of shops and a lovely play area for the children.
What’s really fab about this play area is that it’s right next to the pub beer garden, and just across from the coffee shop. So the adults can get whatever kind of drink they fancy and then sit and watch the children run and play.
We decided to pop into Ty Coffi for a treat one afternoon, after I heard someone mention how amazing the milkshakes they sell were.
There were quite a few flavours to chose from, including strawberry and chocolate if you want something quite classic. I went for something more interesting and had mine made with the welsh cake ice cream. With marshmallows and cream too.
So, so good!
The children enjoyed their ice creams too, although next time I think I would encourage them to go for a little tub rather than a cone. The cones were a pretty generous size!
There was so much to see at Bluestone, we didn’t actually leave the site at all.
I think if we lived further away we might have been tempted to go for a day out to Tenby or one of the other local beaches.
But we only live about an hour away so felt we could always do that another time, so decided to just enjoy the things Bluestone had to offer instead.
We were there for four nights/three whole days and at the end of it still hadn’t done/seen everything.
There are parts of the resort that we didn’t get to fully explore and the children didn’t do any of the additional activities that were on offer, mainly because we just wanted to spend as much time together as possible.
So we swam at the blue lagoon, we wandered round the village and played in the park, we explored the woods and took a walk round the lake and we visited the indoor adventure centre.
We had a truly wonderful time at Bluestone.
It was one of those strange weeks where you felt like you’d been busy but also like you’d really been able to switch off and relax.
We ate all our meals at our lodge which was lovely and laid back. I even made pizza with the children one afternoon while we were there which we all enjoyed.
There is so much I could say about this place, and in fact there will be another post coming soon full of things to know before you go.
For now though, I’ll just say this.
Bluestone, for us, absolutely lived up to its reputation. The atmosphere was so warm and welcoming. There was plenty to see and do and we all came away talking about how we can’t wait to go back. If that’s not a sign of a great holiday then I don’t know what is!
Disclosure – We were given a four night stay at Bluestone for the purpose of this review, but all words and opinions are my own.