A Family Holiday at Bluestone, Wales
Bluestone National Park Resort
I first heard about Bluestone through other bloggers and after reading some fabulous reviews I immediately wanted a family holiday at Bluestone. We have been to Centerparcs and understood the concept to be very similar, which we liked.
With all the fabulous things on offer it left me only one option – to book a break. I booked a break in our half term holidays in a 3 bedroom lodge called the Gateholm. We asked my sister in law if she fancied joining us. That would make a party of 7 in total (3 adults and 4 children aged 1, 2, 5 and 6). I did wonder if this idea was a little bit crazy!
We decided to ask for an upgrade to a 4 bed lodge in the end as we knew it would be that bit easier if Pud has his own room without having to be in with us. He is getting rather large for a travel cot now and having the option of putting him in a bed with guards was appealing. So we were now to stay in a Grassholm lodge.
I want to tell you all about it as this is a place I can see us returning to time and time again. It is perfect for families who like us like adventure and the outdoors.
What and where is Bluestone?
Bluestone National Park Resort sits amongst the beautiful woodland of Canaston Woods in Pembrokeshire, South Wales. Situated only 20 minutes from the coast it makes the perfect destination for a British holiday.
On arrival you check in and take your car to your lodge. Unpack and then at some point that same day you take your car to the car park where you leave it until it’s time to go home (or you want to travel off site). Between arrival and departure days no cars are allowed on the small roads around the resort. This makes it perfect for walking or cycling with little ones. Pud was trying his balance bike for the first time so getting around was made so much easier without having to dodge cars.
Bluestones opening introduction on their website is this
“At Bluestone National Park Resort we believe in deep breaths full of the scent of pine, in muddy boots and free-range kids.
We believe in the regenerative power of raindrops, drinking in a sunrise, open starry skies at night and in those glimpses of in-between time, that bring the chance to stop, stare and be still.
For me it was all about kicking back with family and immersing ourselves in having #freerangefun. It was a 4.5 hour drive for us but in my opinion it was absolutely worth it.
Who is Bluestone for?
The resort is for anyone really. However it is primarily geared up for families with both younger and older children. Many of the activities are for aged 6 and upwards so be sure to check out what is on offer before you go to avoid disappointment.
It is rather hilly throughout the resort which is fine if you’ve got an able pair of legs but if you are disabled then it may make sense to invest in hiring a buggy for the duration of your stay, which in my opinion was rather pricey. You can also hire bikes if you’d rather not take your own. There are bike and buggy parks at every venue in the resort.
We had the Grassholm 4 bed lodge (1 double and 3 twin). It was amazing. It definitely ticks the luxury box. It had ample space for 2 families. The kitchen was large and well equipped with everything you need for a home from home. It had 3 bathrooms (2 with a bath and shower and an ensuite shower room). I also like the that the porch was large enough to store 2 pushchairs, 7 pairs of wellies, 7 pairs of shoes, a balance bike and a scooter!
The Village Centre
This is where the booking office, restaurants, village shop, tree houses and coffee shop were. We didn’t really spend too much time here as we were busy at the other main areas. We did visit the well stocked shop a few times though. The shop had a large variety of groceries and wine. The prices were a little more costly than the average supermarket but in my opinion were reasonable for an onsite shop.
We decided to take turns cooking as we thought it would be easier and cheaper to eat in. We did eat in the Wild Wood Cafe twice for lunch though. We found it to have a reasonable menu with an average price. The food was delicious and the setting overlooking the adventure play area was fab.
What we did.
The Blue Lagoon
You can use the indoor pool as many times as you like for no extra cost. The main pool had a gently sloping decline into the water, perfect for letting the smaller ones splash around. They also had 2 other separate areas designed with young children and toddlers in mind. One area was gated so they can’t escape with very shallow water and numerous things for them to play with. The other area was slightly deeper but still shallow enough for my 21 month old to walk around in. It was very importantly lovely and warm in here.
There are also a few big flumes of which children need to be 1.1metres tall, so we had one very disappointed 1.09 metre 5 year old! It was such a shame as she’d been so excited about them. She couldn’t understand why she couldn’t go on them when she can swim perfectly well. Pud loved the lazy river and trying to escape our clutches to play around.
Outdoor play area
There is a small outdoor playground in the village centre on artificial grass (no muddy patches!) which kept them busy for a while. Suitable for all ages.
The indoor adventure area.
This is huge and it certainly lives up to creating adventure. The climbing wall and high ropes do have an age restriction of 6+ so it did cause a little upset when we said she couldn’t do this. There is also an area specifically for toddlers too, of which Pud decided the ball pit was far too much fun to explore the rest of it!
Out of the vast paid activities we picked the following:
Into The Wild
An outdoor experience down at Camp Smokey. You pay for the kids but not the accompanying adult. Camp Smokey sits at the bottom of a steep ravine and looks spectacular. Pops and her cousin did this with my OH whilst my sister in law and I took the little ones to the large indoor play area (no extra cost). They had to attempt to be camouflaged, met a little owl, toasted marshmallows over an open fire (supervised of course) and made a little raft to sail down the stream. They both had so much fun even though Pop’s cousin decided it was too much of a dirty affair to attempt to be camouflaged. The activity ran for 90 minutes and was well worth the cost of £12.50 each.
Spooktacular Halloween Party
This was a seasonal event being Halloween. It was held in the indoor adventure area and for the duration of the event the kids were kept entertained with plenty to do and plenty of sweets on offer too. The staff were brilliant with the kids. This was again £12.50 each.
The girls absolutely loved this but the boys were a little envious as they were too young. Again the instructor was fab and kept his enthusiasm going throughout the experience. To start off they take the little jeep around a course that is fairly flat and straightforward. After passing their ‘driving tests’ they moved onto the other track which has hills, a bridge and tunnel. The constant giggles said it all.
What we would like to do next time.
Stretching around the resort is a nature trail, I do love my walks amongst nature but sadly we just didn’t have time to do this. There are also so many activities to do, by the time we visit again Pops will be 6 so the opportunities are endless.
What we liked.
Pretty much all of it! We definitely want to return.
I like the fact that there are no fast moving vehicles on the road so kids are free to run or cycle around.
I love the fact that there is plenty to do without spending any more money, but there are plenty of activities if you do want more.
I love the setting of the resort, amongst a beautiful woodland.
I loved the luxury of the accommodation.
I love the friendliness of all the staff we met.
I love the fact that there are so many places to visit nearby. We spent a day in Tenby. Ran around the beautiful beach and had a nosey in all the shops.
What we didn’t like
It is really hard to think of something to criticise but I feel like I should mention something.
On our last night there was a halloween festival. It was rather late at 7pm with a parade. We arrived at 7pm to walk in the parade but it had already started so we couldn’t see the large scarecrow that was supposed to be at the start. The parade led down to the village centre where there was live music. However most of the activities consisted of using items made in the daytime activities of which we hadn’t done. There wasn’t much else for us to do. It would have been brilliant if just for the purpose of the festival the coffee shop stayed open late so we could get hot chocolates.
The big question Bluestone or Centerparcs?
Due to the similar concept of the holiday many people ask which is better. Honestly, the holidays are very similar. Accommodation was very similar. The level of activities and facilities were equal in my opinion. I found Bluestone more relaxed and a little more personal. Even though it was half term it didn’t feel overcrowded. The price is a big difference. For the same time period it would have cost us an additional £400 to stay at Centerparcs in equivalent accommodation.
Having stayed at both Centerparcs and Bluestone I have to say they both have their merits and pitfalls. We have two Centerparcs resorts about 2 hours away from us. Bluestone was 4.5 hours away. But Bluestone is better value for money. Bluestone has so much to offer with so many places to see within a short drive.
A big thumbs up from us.
Tip: It is advisable to check and book activities and dining options before your visit. Some of the popular activities and dining times get booked up quickly.
Check out what Bluestone has to offer you.
*Please note we payed for this holiday ourselves, all opinions are our own. We were however gifted the upgrade in accommodation for the purpose of a review.