Earlier this month Bluestone Wales invited us to experience their eco-friendly 5* resort situated in Pembrokeshire. Bluestone offers luxury wooden lodges and cosy cottages in a modern holiday lodge set in the picturesque landscape of West Wales, the only coastal National Park in the UK. It’s a family resort with a ridiculous amount of activities to enjoy. We explored Bluestone Wales as part of our UK road trip, we also did numerous theme parks around London which can be found in my highlights on Instagram. We travelled from Rosslare on the Stena Line by car and drove from Fishguard to the resort which took about 30 minutes.
We did a massive shop in the nearest Aldi store when we left Fishguard, a tip given to us by Bump & Roundabouts. We got pizza’s, snacks, fruits and vegetables, lots of ice-pops and drinks for both adults and kids. It saved us an absolute fortune as we ate al fresco twice and were able to bring fresh sandwiches, rolls and snacks out with us when we ventured out of the resort to explore Wales.
During our stay at Bluestone Wales, we stayed in a detached Grassholm Lodge and it gave me kitchen envy from the moment we arrived. It’s self-catering two-storey accommodation like I’ve never seen before. It was a home away from home except newer, cleaner and way prettier. It was perfect for us as a large family, it had one double room, three twin rooms, three bathrooms and the kitchen/living room area was open plan and very spacious. We had a state of the art cooker, oven, dishwasher, fridge freezer, ensuite bathrooms, free WiFi, walk-in showers, cable TV (so Joe didn’t miss an episode of Love Island, the holiday could have and would have been very different if he missed it), hoover, mop, towels, a travel cot, dishwasher, stair gates, microwave and patio for al fresco dining. I’m sure I’m missing loads but you get my drift, it was fabulous.
Bluestone Wales advertise themselves as a free-range fun family resort. And that it is but a number of the activities book up quickly, sometimes before you even arrive at the resort and they can prove costly for a larger family, like us. However, there are a host of free things to do as well. They have a state of the art playground for children, lots of wooden tree houses to explore, a smaller kids playground, a lake to picnic by or feed the ducks, a nature trail, bug hotels, an indoor adventure centre with mini-golf, a soft play area and a massive wooden adventure centre. They also have a separate large soft play for children under five and a massive water park.
As well as the above facilities there are more complimentary activities to avail off at Bluestone Wales. In the village, there’s entertainment most evenings from live music (although it was a bit depressing one night), to pub quizzes and every Sunday and Thursday there is a parade and festival to enjoy. You can also take part in a guided tour walk at 10am every morning from the Booking Office.
Camp Smokey was one of our favourite things to do at Bluestone Wales. There are combined dinner and entertainment shindigs and shows deep in the forest but numerous people advised us before heading off to visit during the day as it would be too expensive, with lots of food waste as three of our kids are four and under. It’s a set menu and works out at £18.95 per adult and £14.95 per child. We ventured out during the day marshmallows in tow and ate as a family for £55 including drinks. The kids got to explore the forest, we toasted marshmallows and the food was delicious with no waste. It was a lovely calm atmosphere with after a day of exploring, I believe the Shindig is very upbeat and hectic as the whole camp does be fully booked which wouldn’t suit one of our children who doesn’t like overly loud music and we didn’t want to miss parade and festival on our last night took place in the village at the same time.
Just outside Camp Smokey, there’s little rivers and trails for kids to enjoy and you can watch all the older kids do more adventurous activities like tree climbing and zip lining high up in the forest trees. We also brought marshmallows with us so it saved us a small fortune, another great tip given to me by a reader.
My main and only real fault with the resort is the swimming pool, The Blue Lagoon. It’s deadly in fairness think The National Aquatic Centre except better. It has a wave pool, a baby and toddler area, a lazy river that goes outdoors and six different water slides. However, they have a strict 1:1 rules for anyone under the age of 5. A blogging friend mentioned it to us before travelling and we thought sure it’ll be grand, surely it’s not so strict but it is. We all marched in on the first and second day at the resort and nobody bat an eyelid but on the third day the rules were enforced and one of us had to stay in the kids area with two of the three smallies at all times while Kayla went down the waterslides solo for the guts of an hour and another adult played in the main pool with one of the kids. It was a bit shit, to be honest. In all the years with my kids, I’ve never encountered rules like it. We go to The National Aquatic Centre regularly, my kids love the water and we’ve never come into any difficulty with them. If I thought for a second we couldn’t manage them I’d never have brought them swimming in the first place. That said if you have only two kids or kids over the age of five they’ll have the time of their lives in there.
Bluestone Wales is set on 500 acres in the beautiful Pembrokeshire countryside, it’s huge. There’s so much to see and do and with four smallies we opted to hire an eco-friendly Buggy Car for the week for £92.50. It sounds very expensive, I know but we got to explore Bluestone in full, there was whining in the heat, we could nip from place to place in minutes and our Out N About never left the car once. It worked out about €25 a day and we would get one again in a heartbeat.
You can also rent bikes, the Big Kid got one for £8 and if and when we go back we’ll bring all the kids bikes and scooters. The resort is car-free meaning no car is allowed on the resort except to do bag drop-offs and again to pack up when leaving. There’s no fear of the kids wandering or walking ahead of you here. The resort is very safe (with exception of the boardwalk to camp smokey and the lake) and that is one of many reasons of why we loved it so much. There’s also free guest transport at the resort, a little blue train type bus. When you see the train you just wave down the driver and he’ll stop for you. We only saw this train twice during our four days at the resort.
Paid activities at Bluestone Wales include everything from wall climbing, messy play for babies and toddlers, puppet shows, game nights and archery just to name a few. We were told by many to prebook and I didn’t, so we missed out on a few of the activities we really wanted to do. The big kid did the wall climbing and Nature Detectives. It was heaven for her with all the bugs, in fact, she sobbed when she realised she had to place her collection of baby frogs into the bug hotel afterwards. Full on hysterical tears. Nature Detectives was £8 for just over an hour. All kids were kitted out like little rangers and were guided around the forest in search of bugs and magical creatures. It was my worst nightmare. Frankie tagged along as the two smaller girls were sleeping and he really enjoyed it too. It was an educational experience and the kid’s made nature crowns to take home afterwards.
There are four reasonably priced restaurants and a pub on site but as you know my kids are not the sit-down and keep quiet type so I tend to avoid them that’s why we opted for Camp Smokey and we got a chipper on the resort one night. Yes, they have their own fish and chip van on the resort priced like any other chipper. Kids can venture to the playground if you are in the beer garden and there is an option to bring plastic glasses into the playground if you want to have a drink while the kids play. Bluestone Wales also have a little shop in the village that opens until 8 pm which is handy if you’ve forgotten anything but I wouldn’t recommend you to do your weekly shop here as some things are far more expensive than your average supermarket.
Overall it was one of my favourite holidays, my kids were in their element every hour of every day. The resorts facilities really took us by surprise, Bluestone Wales is exactly what it says on the tin, free range fun and adventure for everyone. Like we had to break up a few fights between the kids but way less than normal. I really appreciated the time to reconnect as a family after a few shitty months and only wished we had chosen to visit Bluestone after our theme park road trip in London to wind down. I also want to point out we had amazing weather, it hit the high twenties every day there but I strongly believe it’s an all-weather resort. Lots of the activities are indoors and the kids would absolutely love to do that nature trail in the lashing of rain with a pair of wellies.
Bluestone Wales lived up to my expectations minus the few downers I mentioned especially with the swimming pool rules but we will 100% go back and we will pay for it ourselves the next time. We loved the freedom to explore, the tranquillity of the resort and it’s something Ireland has yet to offer.
Disclaimer: Our accommodation at Bluestone Wales was complimentary in return for an honest review of our experience at the resort. The value of our midweek self-catering accommodation in July was £539 for two adults, three children and one baby in July. The accommodation we were gifted sleeps up to eight people and a baby. All images and words are my own.
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