We are huge fans of a self catering holiday. As a family on the ‘larger side’ it is usually the most affordable option for us. It is also the easiest option, as despite our children getting older now, and being out of the bottle stage (and not too far from being out of the nappy stage), we still seem to take a ridiculous amount of things with us when we go anywhere.
We couldn’t wait for our visit to beautiful Bluestone Resort in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It is not an area of the UK that we’ve previously explored and everyone who I mentioned Bluestone to, had no end of good things to say about it.
The resort is set in acres of gorgeous open space – everywhere is green, and there are so many places to explore. There are no cars allowed on site, except for dropping off your luggage on arrival and picking up on departure day. Navigating the park is instead done on foot, bike or by golf buggy – more about that later on. It means the Resort is super safe for little people – although you do still have the golf buggy and staff vehicles to watch out for.
From where we are based in Wiltshire, Bluestone Resort was around a 2 and a half hour drive – over the new Severn bridge, which is around half an hour from us.
When you arrive at Bluestone Resort, you check in via what looks like a drive in. It was very quick and easy and the member of staff who checked us in was very knowledgeable and pleasant.
We managed to locate our lodge easily using the park map provided and were pleasantly surprised at the size of the accommodation. We stayed in a Gateholm lodge which has an ‘upside down’ layout. As you enter the lodge there were three bedrooms down stairs (a double and two twin rooms), a family shower room and an ensuite off of the double bedroom with a bath with a shower.
Upstairs (both top and bottom of the stair had gates, such a relief with young children) was a large open plan living/dining/kitchen area, with windows showing the stunning views around the resort and countryside.
The kitchen was well equipped with everything you might need, and the living area was comfortable with a tv and DVD player. The whole lodge was spotlessly clean and well maintained. As standard we had WiFi included although you had the option to upgrade it for a fee if you needed.
Outside the lodge was a grassy area perfect for the kids to play on, and a patio area with a bench – I imagine it would be perfect for a summer break.
Our lodge was a long way out from the facilities – the first morning we walked to the swimming pool and it took us a good half and hour with three little sets of legs in tow. We are a family of walkers, being the owners of a very energetic springer spaniel, but we didn’t realise exactly how far we would be walking. We made the decision to hire a golf buggy on our second day and it was the best money I’ve ever spent. The kids thought it was the best thing ever – and I had some much driving it around the Resort. Whenever we stopped we would plug it in to charge it, and it really saved our legs (and ears from listening to tired children). I would highly recommend pre booking one as I imagine they sell out quickly during busy periods.
In summary, the lodge was spacious, warm and comfortable – and so peaceful. It really made for the most perfect tranquil break, and when you are at Bluestone you really feel like you are in your own little world.
Things to do onsite at Bluestone:
Obviously the first thing to mention, goes without saying, and that is that the Resort is set in such a beautiful, tranquil area. As a family we live to be outdoors, exploring and there were plenty of way to do that at Bluestone. We went for a walk in the forest, where there were little fairy houses, gorgeous streams, and so many different trails to explore. The Resort like to provide ‘free range fun for all ages’ and it definitely delivers.
The Resort is also popular due to the Blue Lagoon Swimming Pool. This was the one part the kids were most excited about – all three children are water babies. Entry is included with the price of your holiday and repeat guests get exclusive access between 9-12 each day.
I have to say we have never spent as long in a swimming pool as we did at the Blue Lagoon – for starters it was lovely and warm. There is something for everyone, from a lazy river, a toddler area with a pirate ship to water slides – I have to say they suited thrill seekers Ell and Izzie better – and made me realise how much of a wuss I have become with age.
The changing areas were incredibly clean with members of staff constantly checking them and sweeping out any extra water. There was plenty of family changing areas too.
There is also the Adventure Centre, which is indoors, has soft play and the most amazing wooden treehouse style climbing structure for older children – although Mason who is two gave it a good shot with the help of Daddy. They also had a Lego wall which Ollie loved.
In addition to this there was a lovely outdoor play area in the village, which all the kids loved. The kids had lots of fun trying out all the equipment, whilst Mummy and Daddy supervised and enjoyed a coffee from Tŷ Coffi.
A lot of the activities are included in your stay, but before you arrive, Bluestone have a fantastic website, where you are able to log in to your booking and add on extras, such as the aforementioned golf buggies, or activities. Unfortunately both the boys were a bit young for the majority of the activities, and I knew they would be unhappy if Izzie did things without them, so we didn’t actually book anything this visit. There were so many options though that you can read more about here, from baby sensory, to zip wiring. There really is something for everyone, with there even being a Spa on site (next time I am definitely trying it out) and even a crèche.
There are several places within the Resort to eat, giving you a break from the ‘self catering’. We actually brought food with us for breakfast and one meal, and then ate out for one meal each day.
We loved the Farmhouse Grill – using local produce and with a huge variety on the menu it was very kid friendly and a lovely treat not having to cook. The portion sizes were very generous – although I slightly regretted ordering the spicy burger as the chutney was just too much for me and I had to swap with Ell – delicious though. The kids all cleared their plates – which never happens with my cooking. The staff were polite and attentive and nothing was too much trouble, with them even bringing out colouring to keep the kids entertained.
Our favourite meal out was our lunch at Camp Smokey. We had a lovely wander down into the woods (it’s a fair trek down) and found Camp Smokey nestled at the bottom. It was an indoor but outdoor dining experience, with a basic but absolutely delicious menu. I liked this as I get totally bamboozled by big menus. The kids all had hotdogs which came with roasted new potatoes and they went down a storm. Ell had a burger which looked amazing and I went for a ‘chilli dog’ – a hotdog covered in THE BEST vegetable chilli I’ve ever eaten – so much so I’ve tried recreate the recipe at home.
The highlight of our meal though was the pudding. Camp Smokey have an area where you can toast marshmallows and make s’mores over an open fire. It is safe for children with supervision, and we all absolutely loved doing it. I would say it was one of the highlights of our trip.
There were other places on site to eat, and you can check them out here. We definitely needed longer as there was so much more to explore and try.
We ventured out of the park into the surrounding area twice to explore. Bluestone is in close-ish proximity to some gorgeous beaches, and little towns.
We were lucky enough to be recommended to visit Fresh Water West, which after a bit of googling, we found out was a filming location for Harry Potter – it was where Shell Cottage was constructed and where Dobby the house elf was buried after he died in The Deathly Hallows Pt 1 (sob!!).
It was an extremely blustery day when we visited and we almost got blown away – we climbed poisbsly the biggest sand dune ever – it looked like you would fall off the edge of the world from the top and the view was just stunning. I would love to visit in the summer as I’m sure it is even more beautiful then. We had some seriously funny moments including Izzie getting soaked by a wave – you can see it in our vlogs that are linked below.
We spent our last day after checking out of Bluestone in beautiful Tenby. We had possibly the best fish and chips I’ve ever had at Park Road Fish and Chips- Izzie polished off a child portion which was more than big enough for most adults!
We then had a wander down to the beach for some ice cream, but we definitely didn’t have long enough to explore.
We had such a lovely midweek Autumn break at Bluestone Resort, although it was definitely not long enough. We will be back – hopefully in the summer as I imagine the park and surrounding area would be even more stunning then.
You can check out the vlogs of our stay here:
DISCLAIMER: We kindly received a mid week stay in a Gateholm Lodge at Bluestone Resort in exchange for a honest review. All opinions and photographs are as always my own.