At the beginning of the holidays we had the opportunity to spend a weekend at Bluestone near Narbeth in Pembrokeshire. Bluestone is about half an hour from us which makes it easy to reach but is far enough away to feel like we’re having a break. The weekend we were offered came at the end of the first week of the holidays and a weeks annual leave for me so it was good timing.
We’ve stayed at Bluestone before although it was about 18 months ago now but as I knew the layout of the resort I felt happy taking the children alone for the break. The boys in particular were keen to see how the resort had changed since our last stay while I planned to get out in the fresh air as much as possible.
On the friday morning we made a start packing the essentials, food for the next two days, a couple of changes of clothes, toiletries, swimming kits and wet weather gear. I also packed a couple of dvds to watch before bed, a board game and some outdoor toys, kites, scooters and a ball. With it all together the older two helped me load the car so we would be ready to leave late afternoon. Bluestone provides bed linen and towels for use during your stay but I took extra towels to take swimming with us. I also took washing up liquid although there is a small bottle included in the welcome pack in your accommodation along with a spare rubbish and recycling bag and a clothe and a couple of dishwasher tablets. I also took a couple of extra toilet rolls and dishwasher tablets just incase.
Just after 4pm I decided it was time to head to Bluestone, unfortunately as the afternoon had gone on the weather had become rather wet. So I hoped that we would be able to check in and unload at our accommodation then if it was still raining I planned to take the children to the Adventure Centre to let of steam until it closed. Unfortunately the weather became increasingly worse as we travelled along. When we started seeing the brown signs on the road pointing to Bluestone the children all brightened up. As I drove into the check in area we were greeted by a queue of cars waiting to check in, so we joined the queue and waited our turn. After fifteen minutes it was finally our go to check in, the member of staff was lovely and showed us where to find our lodge and how to get there. I explained that we would be leaving on Sunday as I had to work on the Monday, this wasn’t a problem and I was told to let the security guard know in the lodge and they would let me take the car back down to the lodge to reload when we were ready to leave. Bluestone is a car free resort so all cars are to be left in the car park with the exception of arriving and departing.
Our Lodge, a Grassholm was located in Preseli View which is an area just below the car park. There is a one way system in operation around the resort so you have to drive around the majority of the resort and then almost double back on yourself to reach Preseli View. Our Lodge was set back slightly at one corner of the area. I parked up at the bottom of the path and the children helped unload the car which didn’t take that long. The boys took the overnight bags to the bedrooms and I put the food away. Then we put our coats back on and climbed back into the car to take the car to the car park.
By this time it was almost 5pm so once parked up I told the children we were going to head to the adventure centre for an hour. It was also pouring down by this stage and it was a rather wet walk over to the Adventure Centre but once inside the excitement kicked in and the boys wanted to go and play. However I had seen that there was a new Circus Zone upstairs in the Adventure Centre and thought it would be a good idea to head there first so that Erin could have a play before we went down to the adventure play area.
When we walked into the Circus Zone which is suitable for under 5’s we were the only ones there. It meant that we could enjoy the whole area ourselves. I have to say I was extremely impressed by the Circus Zone, there was a mix of soft play, ride on toys and sensory tubes which are all in keeping with the circus theme. I loved the bright colourful decoration too and Erin ran off to explore. I had also asked directions to the Circus zone at the desk in reception as we had arrived and the member of staff had said it was also okay for Rowan to use the room as he was small for his age! So he also headed off to play while the older two and I sat and watched from the sofas.
After half an hour we moved downstairs to the adventure area where there is a variety of different activities from the adventure climbing frame, to the Lego area, crazy golf, an under 5’s climbing frame/ play area, bouncy castle and ride on diggers. There is also the big four, a climbing wall, The Swing, The Drop and Sky Trail. There were a couple of other families enjoying the areas too but there was plenty of room. While the oldest three went off on the climbing frame, Erin had fun on the under 5’s area and bouncy castle although she was desperate to play with her brothers.
All too soon it was time to leave as the centre was closing for the day. So with coats back on we braved the rain and headed back to the lodge. Once back we dried off and I decided to order a takeaway for dinner to save me cooking. In the welcome pack that you get at check in there is a handy list of the places where you can eat in the resort and also a menu for the takeaway in the resort too. Once the boys had decided what they wanted to eat I rang through our order and was told it would be about forty minute wait. The children watched some tv while we waited. Unfortunately after almost an hour we were still waiting for our food to arrive and the children were getting tired and fed up of waiting. So I rang again to find out what was happening but the line was busy. There’s nothing worse than over excited, hungry children at the end of a long day! After another two attempts to get through to the takeaway I was successful, they apologised for the delay and went to check what was happening. Then came back and apologised explaining that due to the bad weather and new arrivals they had been rushed off their feet but our order was on its way. They offered us a bottle of Pepsi as an apology which I accepted. So by the time food arrived over an hour later than initially expected our order arrived. We sat and ate hungrily before heading upstairs for baths and to change for bed. Then we settled down to watch a dvd before bed.
I didn’t know about the children but I was shattered and was so happy to climb into bed that night. Initially Luc and Trystan were to share one of the twin rooms while the younger two were to sleep in with me however within half an hour of going to bed, Trystan had joined us so I had the three younger children in with me! it certainly made for an interesting nights sleep! but we did sleep and we slept well.
Saturday morning the children woke slowly from about 8.30am, I vaguely remember hearing the older two go downstairs to watch tv quietly then I dozed off again and was woken by Erin just before 9.30am. I love the fact that the curtains in the lodges are heavy blackout curtains. It meant that when I opened them I was greeted by sunshine, a welcome sight after a wet start to our weekend. I dressed and went to get the children to go and change too, while they did I made breakfast. We already had plans to head to Llanelli for an event that afternoon and had planned to do our weekly shop at Asda beforehand. But I was determined to take the children down into the village before we headed off for the day.
With scooters in tow we made our way down along the road to the village. The green areas above the village had flourished since our previous visit and it was lovely to see. The boys wanted to play on the adventure playground which is almost in the centre of the village and makes good use of the slightly hilly terrain. Our last visit had seen work beginning on this area so now it was finished it was great and all four children thoroughly enjoyed exploring it. After a play we headed over to the Bakery to buy some bread, there is also a little coffee shop there were you can enjoy a cake and a hot drink. It’s across from the play area so in nice weather you could sit outside while the children play.
I actually felt really sad having to tell the children it was time to head back and get ready to leave for the day, as I could see they would have happily stayed plus as it was sunny I would have loved to have done one of the walks around the resort and explore the woods with them. Walking back up the hill to our lodge took longer than the walk down due to the scooters. It’s also quite steep in places so I for one was very glad to reach the level road into Preseli View. We left the scooters in the lodge and got the few bits we needed for the day and headed to the car park. The boys really didn’t want to leave Bluestone for the day but I promised them another trip to the adventure centre that evening when we returned.
We spent a couple of hours in Llanelli shopping and with family at an event before heading back to Bluestone. This time we had my mum with us, as she was going to spend the night. It was nice to know I would have some adult company for the evening too. Once back we parked up in the car park and then helped my mum with her bags down to the lodge. As it was almost 6pm I decided to put dinner on and distracted the children with the kites I had brought with us. They spent an hour running around the grass flying them and riding their scooters. By the time dinner was ready they were tired and hungry so ate up then Erin wanted a bath while the boys showered. Having three bathrooms we were able to do both at the same time instead of having to take turns! There’s a lot to be said for having several bathrooms when you have four children! With the children ready for bed we put a film on while my mum and I got sorted with showers. We then had a chat about what they wanted to do the following day. It was unanimous, Blue Lagoon for swimming first thing followed by a trip to the Adventure centre. With that decided it was bedtime and after a busy day they feel asleep quickly, this time Trystan was going to share a room with Luc and Rowan was going to sleep in the other twin bedroom upstairs with my mum.
Sunday morning dawned and after another goodnight’s sleep we woke to a very overcast. The older two and my mum were already up when I went downstairs with Erin and had already eaten, so I made myself and Erin something to eat before we all dressed ready for swimming. As part of your holiday with Bluestone you receive free entry to Blue Lagoon for the duration of your stay and also for the day of your departure. The water park which is located just passed the Adventure Centre. The great thing is they have a session for guests prior to opening to the public, which is what we planned to head to. By the time we were ready it was pouring again so we made a dash for it. Once at Blue lagoon we gave the receptionist our accommodation details and the number of tickets we needed. We were then given tickets that you need to get through the turnstiles to access the pool and then to leave again. I find it’s always a juggling act scanning the tickets in individually and getting everyone through but we managed it without too much fuss. We were lucky to find a family changing cubical as soon as we got into the changing area and quickly changed and found a couple of lockers. You need £1 coin for the lockers but this is refundable after you’ve finished using it.
The pool was extremely busy and it seemed a lot of the other guests had, had the same idea as us. I explained to the children that they needed to stay close to us as it was so busy. The older two wanted to go on the lazy river so while my mum stayed with the younger two in the shallow water I took the older two. The lazy river takes you outside the building and the current carries you along. There is also a little spa area outside that you can swim into and relax. Luc wanted to go in there but there were a lot of people already in there so we continued down the lazy river back inside and found the others. There is also a sandy bay area which is for under 5’s and then there are several water slides. Luc wanted to go on the slides and as he was tall enough he headed up to them while we waited in the play area along side the slides, where there is a tower with buckets which you pump water up to and then when full the buckets tip! Erin thought it was hilarious when Trystan and Rowan got soaked and enjoyed pumping the water up to the buckets. Luc had two turns on the water slides before we headed back into the main pool again. As we got back in the whistle sounded which indicates that the wave machine is going to start, this is something the older two love. I’m not so keen and neither are the younger two as the waves can be quite strong and Rowan has been knocked off his feet by some of the waves previously. The pool was packed by the time the waves started so I kept a close eye on the older two. I enjoy taking the children swimming but when the pool gets so busy you can hardly move, it stops being fun and my mum is the same. So we felt it was time to get out. Trystan protested a bit but I explained he had an hour in the water already and it was getting really busy plus the water park was about to open to the public too.
We had to wait for ten minutes to get a changing cubical which was frustrating and I think has to one thing Blue Lagoon need to address, the need for more family changing cubicles. The majority of people using Blue Lagoon are families especially the guests of Bluestone, yes there are couples and individuals too but predominantly it’s family groups. It always takes so much longer to get dressed after swimming too! But eventually all six of us were dressed and we moved out of the cubicle to were there are hair dryers and mirrors to dry our hair before leaving. As we left we were greeted by a large queue of people waiting to get into Blue Lagoon and we were so grateful for having been when we did. You can pre-book your visit to Blue Lagoon online and during holiday periods I would certainly recommend doing so to avoid being disappointed. You can visit their website here
It was still pouring down so we made a dash back to the lodge but were rather damp when we reached it. We warmed up with some hot chocolate and a sandwich by which time the sun was trying to come out. We decided to head down to the shop in the village where my mum could buy the Sunday papers. So scooters out we headed down to the village. The boys scooted off in front and waited by the adventure playground for us. Then while my mum went into the shop the children had a run around the playground.
Then we decided to head up to the Adventure centre for the children to play for a while before we packed up ready to leave. I had wanted to show my mum the Circus Zone but there was a class being held in there and we couldn’t go in. So we headed down to the adventure area where the children let of steam for an hour. After having fun they were all thirsty so we made our way up to the Wild Wood Cafe which you can get too from a flight of steps in the adventure area or via the reception area and up a flight of stairs, the Wild Wood Cafe is across from the Circus Zone. The cafe is decorated like a wood and is fantastic, so much detail has gone into it. There is a variety of food and drink available and there is also a themed dinner show which you have to book in advance. We found a table and mum went to order us some drinks.
By the time we had finished our drinks it was 3pm and time to head back to the lodge to pack up. Walking back to the lodge we were all quiet, I knew the children didn’t want to leave yet but I was working the following day so needed to get ready, we had certainly packed a lot into the short time we had been at Bluestone though. However Bluestone has so much more to offer too, from children’s clubs, Mini Rangers, Junior Rangers and Celtic Rangers to walks, family entertainment, activities on the tournament field, Steep Ravine and activities on the lake like raft building. You can also hire golf buggies to help you get around the resort or bikes for the whole family. If that wasn’t enough there is a range of places to eat in the resort too, Camp Smokey, Oak Tree restaurant, The Knights Tafan, Farmhouse Grill and The Wild Wood Cafe. Then there is the Well Stone Spa retreat. Honestly a weekend stay is simply not enough to experience Bluestone to its full. So I could fully understand why the children wouldn’t want to leave just yet.
Once packed I went to get the car, stopping at the lodge to ask to explain we had to leave early and get permission to take the car down to load up. With this done I made my way back to the lodge where mum and the children were waiting for me. With all six of us loading the car it didn’t take long at all and I gave the lodge a once over checking for anything that had been left and locked up. Back at the lodge I dropped our lodge keys into the departure box and we bid a sad goodbye to Bluestone. Our brief stay had been great fun despite the wet weather, we’d love to return and experience more of Bluestone in future and next time we’ll take dad of 3 with us as he is yet to experience Bluestone.
To find out more about Bluestone including the different accommodation available, to learn more about the activities available and to book your stay you can visit www.bluestonewales.com
Disclosure: We were very kindly given a stay at Bluestone for the purpose of this post however the content of the post is 100% my own honest opinion.