Bluestone National Park Resort is set in the beautiful Pembrokeshire National Park countryside. I was asked as part of their Bluestone Blogger programme whether I would like to experience a mid-week 4 day break with my family, and I jumped at the chance!
Bluestone is a 2 hour car journey from my house, and so was a perfect destination for us to travel as a family with a young toddler. Bluestone is very easy to find, you basically drive along the M4 until you get to the A40, and there is clear signing to Bluestone once you get nearby.
The weather was terrible on the day we were due to arrive. One thing I think is great is that you can arrive from 11am onwards on your check-in day and enjoy the park facilities, checking into the lodges after 4.30pm. We decided to delay our arrival however, as it was extremely wet and windy, and arrived at 4.30pm ready to check in. There was a bit of a queue on arrival and we had to wait a little while before we could get our keys, but once we had we drove into Bluestone and found our lodge.
The lodge we stayed in was within Knight’s Rest, which is a little distance away from the main Village area. We stayed in a Grassholm Lodge, which can sleep up to 8 people. It has 1 double and 3 twin rooms, and 3 bathrooms. The reason we had this lodge was because my family were due to join us but unfortunately my Dad just wasn’t well enough to travel.
The bedrooms were a great size, plenty of space to unpack and put your belongings. The lodge comes with a TV which has freeview and a DVD player. There are heating units which once they get going really heat up the place, much needed on our first rainy night! There is also free wifi which was pretty good most of the time we were there. Towels were also ready on the beds, and the showers were fantastic and really powerful. I could have stayed in there for ages!
The lodge is well equipped with a well stocked kitchen with everything you could need such as cutlery, cups, plates, bowls and has a fridge and a freezer. There is also a dishwasher which is great. One thing we felt was that the fridge was a little small, especially for a lodge that could house up to 8 people. We had done some food shopping on the way to Bluestone, and there was plenty of cupboard space to fit everything in. I also felt that there could have been a washing machine in the property – with a toddler who goes through quite a few clothes in a day, this would have been useful! There is a laundry service available from the village, however. In the lodge you are given a bag which has some bin bags, washing up liquid and 3 dishwasher tablets as well. Its also worth remembering that all bathrooms had loo roll in but none spare, luckily we had brought some of our own anyway.
Bluestone is a car free zone so the next day we exchanged our car for a golf buggy (which was £29 for 24 hours) and left the car in the long stay car park. The site is pretty easy to walk around however there are a few hills so you don’t absolutely need the buggy, but I felt that it made our life a bit easier, especially with carrrying bags etc.
What to do at Bluestone (with a 2 year old!):
Blue Lagoon Water Park
Nancy loved this place! It is well set out and very family friendly. Most of the big pool is not too deep, and there is a wave machine, plus two other areas which smaller children can access – a pirate ship area with lots of showers and sprays and the nippers area which had a little bubble jaccuzi type area and other play equipment to press buttons and spray water with little rock pool area as well which toddlers could climb into which Nancy also really enjoyed. There is a river rapid type part as well in the big pool which we all went down together. There was a lot going on at Blue Lagoon and we were able to occupy Nancy for a good hour when we were there. There is also three water slides to go down as long as you are tall enough! I dared to go on one slide, and it was thrilling if a little terrifying when I hit the water at the bottom!
The Adventure Centre holds a lot of activities under one roof, probably something for all ages here! There is mini golf, bouncy castle, rock climbing and soft play, as well as some other adventurous activities aimed at adults using zip wires, as well as a circus soft play area. The main arena holds most of the activities and can appear a bit busy and noisy, but Nancy really enjoyed the soft play in here, especially the slides and the bouncy castle. We then went upstairs to the Circus room, which was a more open soft play, similar to some cafes here in Bristol, and Nancy love this. She made friends straight away with another girl and we must have spent at least an hour in there watching her play! The circus area is next to the Wild Wood Cafe which has a bar and serves food also, with a childrens show played there daily. This place is great and well equipped, if it’s a rainy day then this is a great option for all ages.
The Treehouse is in the centre of the Village and comprises of a little play area where children can walk across wobbly bridges and net walkways, as well as little tree house areas, slide, etc. Nancy really enjoyed this and so did I running after her through tunnels!
There is also lots of activities suitable for toddlers which you can book at an additonal charge, and there is also a creche facility at Bluestone. Some activities are also unsupervised (as in you don’t need to be there with your child), giving you 3 hours to yourself. We were keen to book a session however there wasn’t a session on the day we had planned, so we weren’t able to try these. Next time however, I would book in advance and make sure we had a session!
There is so much space and beautiful views that just going for a walk through the grounds is a great adventure. We saw squirrels and rabbits as well as birds, lots to spot and talk about.
Nearby Places to Visit:
We set off for Tenby on our first morning to get a look at the sea. It didn’t take long at all to get there (under half an hour) and it was such a lovely place. Being off season the beaches were quiet, peaceful and looked beautiful. Nancy loved playing with the sand and the views were amazing. The fish and chips we ate here were really good and there was a lot of shops to have a look at.
Narberth is a small town very close to Bluestone – under 15 minute drive. They have a Museum there which was lovely (£3.50 adult, £2.00 children, 2 and under free) all about the local history and had colouring in and some dressing up costumes and toys as well – great for when it’s a rainy day! We had a look in some lovely independent shops and had lunch at a place called Peppercorn which was really nice and the food was delicous too.
Llawhaden Castle was actually a bishops residence but it is a medieval castle ruin, with beautiful views from the towers. We spent a good half an hour looking at the castle and the views. It was lovely and quiet and was so close to Bluestone (less than 10 minutes) which was great too.
We also noticed that there was a few other attractions nearby such as Folly Farm and Oakland Theme Park, I also noticed a few other castles and near Tenby are zoos and farms so ther is plenty in the area to go out and explore.
Food and Drink
As the lodges are self-catering we were able to bring our shopping with us, and make our own breakfasts in the mornings and we also made our evening meals. As a vegetarian family (with quite a fussy veggie included!) I found the restaurants on site did not have a lot of the variety or choice which met our needs. We did try The Chippy on our first evening, but the fish and chips were a bit cold and not that amazing. We also had lunch in the Tafern, which was good ‘pub’ food (I had scampi and chips) but I did feel the menu was quite limited. The other restuarants were closed at lunch time which was a shame as we had wanted to try the Pizza in The Oaks restaurant. We tried one evening to get into The Oaks as well but it was fully booked for the time we needed. The village shop Newton’s sells the usual groceries and bits and pieces you may need and it was actually not that expensive, and there is also a bakery in the village which is great as fresh bread on holiday is a must.
Would we come back to Bluestone?
Overall, we loved our Bluestone break. It is such a lovely, relaxed place and you really do feel like you’re recharging your batteries when you are here. All the staff were lovely and friendly, and the lodge we stayed in was comfortable and met our needs as a family. There is so much to do here, that a mid-week break simply isnt long enough to fit everything in! We are really keen to come back to Bluestone again, and to try out a few more things such as the Spa and some of the children’s activities as well as explore more of the local area. I love Pembrokeshire, and having never been here before, I definitely want to visit again.
A 4 night midweek break in September 2015 starts from around £500 – see the Bluestone website for up to date information and pricing.
I was offered a 4 night mid-week break in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions written here are my own.