As the sun set on our very first night, I knew we’d made the right decision. We’d waited so long to go on our first family holiday, and it seemed like everything aligned itself perfectly to give us the best experience we could have possibly dreamed of.
There was no stress of flights, no problem of forgetting anything or figuring out how we’d bring all the baby things we’d need because our first family holiday took place in Wales. All it took was a three-hour drive (which en route saw Little London peeing on the floor of a service station, walking into the gambling area meant for over 18’s; resulting in a lot of paperwork for the man in charge, and then he went through an alarmed door to play on the grass), and we were staring at our beautiful home for the week. A beautiful lodge that caters up to 8 people.
Nestled in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is Bluestone. The perfect base for the whole family to enjoy. With that in mind the in-laws were invited along with my brother-in-law and his 9 month old twins (however, Bluestone have a range of accommodation that can cater for the individual or for a group of 14). With the stresses of everyday life, trying to get whole families together can be one hard task, but Bluestone couldn’t have made it easier.
With three complete bathrooms there was never a squabble over who was showering first, and with baby gates already installed downstairs and upstairs it meant we could all let Little London wander around freely without panic (door handles were too high for him to reach and the kitchen counter posed the same problem). Two travel cots were also supplied (no mattresses but there were plenty of soft blankets to make up mattresses), and should we have needed anymore we were able to order them. I actually popped our travel cot into the car as we had space, so we didn’t need any extras. Two high chairs were also supplied. *Fist pump*
Even though my parents were unable to make the break, I loved the fact that Bluestone is perfect for the older generation as well. The downstairs bedroom would have been perfect for my 81-year-old Father and the golf cart buggies; that can be hired, would have been brilliant for him to get around with ease (even though he’d vehemently refuse to admit he would need one).
With everything in the lodge we could possibly have wanted- including a dishwasher we all just sunk into the dark leather sofas and discussed our plans for the week ahead. Because that’s the thing, Bluestone has so much on offer you just don’t want to miss out. Plus being located in such a beautiful part of the country it would be a shame not to go and explore the area.
So that’s where we started. We jumped into our cars (parked in the car park after we unpacked everything outside the lodge as Bluestone is car free) and drove to nearby Tenby. After all we didn’t want to miss the natural beauty on the doorstep.
With the sand between his toes, Little London just ran for miles, he had the whole beach pretty much to himself and the glee was written all across his face. With every footprint in the sand, his smile just grew that bit more. Regardless of the fact he was eating snot from his runny nose he was just in heaven. The landscape was breathtaking, the sand was milled so finely that every time he tripped he landed with a gentle bump. The sun broke through the clouds and just revealed how stunning a location we were in. With a beach baby on our hands I’ll be sure to take him to more beaches in the future, but for some reason I don’t think many will give the same expanse and freedom that the Tenby beach had to offer him.
Back at Bluestone the smile didn’t come off any of our faces. It has something for everyone, from the young (yes, including babies) to the old, and being an all-weather resort it means boredom will never set in. There are loads of activities you can pre book online or sign up to once you’re at Bluestone. Not to mention all the free ones!
Being a bit of a neat freak at home, I jumped at the opportunity to let Little London indulge in a bit of Messy Play. It’s an activity we paid extra for, but as a once in a blue moon treat I couldn’t let the opportunity pass our Son. A bit wary at first it didn’t take long for our little boy to cover himself in paint, chocolate water, moon dust and jelly. His fingers squelched through the tables of gooeyness and I’m pleased to tell you he was the last one standing. He stayed the whole time and just thoroughly enjoyed getting mucky. All I had to do was rinse him down to the best of my abilities before leaving the room and escape the clean up!
Not wanting to miss out on fun experiences ourselves, we booked Little London into a morning crèche and took to the tree tops on zipwires. If you’ve yet to see my YouTube video on Bluestone, check it out here to see us in action. It was exhilarating, exciting and even though I zipline pretty much any destination I end up, I actually learnt how to safely get around the course by myself (everything is double checked by professionals but we were in charge of clipping on and off securely).
While we were ziplining, the in-laws were looking after the twins as my brother-in-law wasn’t keen on the idea of a crèche. They went on a free hour guided historical walk, and I’m gutted to have missed it. They were raving about it when they got back, full of fun facts about smugglers and ghosts.
With adrenaline coursing through my veins, I went to pick up Little London from the crèche. I was a bit apprehensive because he wasn’t familiar with the ladies running it. But I needn’t have worried, he’d had a blast. The crèche is fully equipped, and even has cots! Again make sure to watch my YouTube video for a small tour. I received my very first painted picture from my Son and even got to delight at his artistic icing skills. Such a lovely touch when picking him up.
Feeling guilty for putting him into a crèche (as you do) we spent the afternoon playing in the circus room which is a free soft play room for the little ones (there are various child play areas for different age groups, both indoors and outdoors)…
…and swimming in the Blue Lagoon.
(Swimshorts come in a pack of two, c/o Vertbaudet)
A rather compact indoor swimming centre, it housed everything we’d possibly want. With family changing rooms, with either toddler harnessed seats or changing tables inside, it was easy for us to just get ready and dive in. There was an enclosed baby and toddler section of the pool which Little London loved with squirty machines and toys, and the adult part of the pool (which you can still bring your child into) cut some serious waves when the sirens went off! Keeping to the shallow end saw Little London jumping into the waves as they slowly calmed down towards the edges. With a lazy river that runs outside as well, with little stop off smaller pools, there was a lot to keep us occupied! With the Grandparents in tow we were able to pass on the baby and ride the flumes. There’s a light tunnel flume, two dark tunnel flumes (all scary) and then my favourite. The flume you can go down together. Not knowing what to expect, it was a pleasant surprise to be whooshed at great speed and come out at a little stop off point; where a private outside circular pool awaits you, absolutely beautiful especially when the sun is setting. Before continuing down the flume and getting submerged into the bubbly water.
Navigating our way around Bluestone couldn’t have been easier. It’s was pram friendly beyond my expectations. There was no place I couldn’t get to.
And that included navigating our way to toast marshmallows and drink hot chocolate (or beer) outside by the fire at Camp Smokey.
Quite possibly one the best all-family treats we did, we all revelled in the heat of the fire and the ability to just breathe in that camping smell..
Being a holiday where self catering is an option and with babies all on different nap schedules eating out wasn’t big on our agenda. Even though we could get takeaways delivered to our lodge in the evenings or pick up food from the village shops in Bluestone…
…we preferred to try the local offerings such as fresh crab as we can rarely get something so fresh (and local) back in London without great effort. But on the few occasions we ate within Bluestone we weren’t disappointed. While the menu looked unappealing at the Wildwood Cafe, we were actually really impressed by the freshness and presentation of the dishes we ordered, to the point we went back. And the barbecued food at Camp Smokey hit the spot after indulging in our inner Bear Grylls (hanging out by the smoke pit).
With five restaurants on site however there is a range of cuisines to try, which use locally sourced and produced ingredients whenever possible. Plus there’s also a village pub which saw some Father and Son’s bonding time sessions in the evenings from my father-in-law, Mr London Mum and my brother-in-law.
To round off our midweek break at Bluestone, Mr London Mum and I took the opportunity to wind down at the spa on the sundown and spa package.
At £75.00 we were able to pick a 50 minute treatment each, and enjoy the celtic spa experience from 3pm-7pm. We also got a glass of bubbly each and some nibbles to eat. Picking one of the Well Spa packages definitely offers the best value and I highly recommend it. Unlike other spas, Bluestone must make sure they don’t have too many people on the premises at once, because I felt like we had the run of the place. Even though there were other guests it never felt like you were squeezed in anywhere. (This was further confirmed after speaking to the in-laws who booked the lunch and spa and my brother-in-law who booked the early bird and spa). Watching the last of the sun disappear from the outside hydrovitality pool was romantic and therapeutic. The treatment I chose with my experience was the aromatherapy massage and it was just epic. As a stay at home Mum to a toddler it was exactly what I needed to ease my aching muscles and clear my mind. Diving in and out of the celtic spa experience therapeutic rooms with Mr London Mum meant we were able to just absent-mindedly chat about life (while sweating profusely). Something parents rarely get the chance to do. Trying to see how much ice we could each deal with in the ice room brought out our childish competitive sides, and probably isn’t something to actually try!
I would recommend Bluestone as an all generational family holiday destination. It’s the perfect getaway for your first family holiday, and then yearly! I already know that every time we go we’ll be experiencing something new. We only scratched the surface of things we could have done while we were there, and that’s just inside the grounds of Bluestone. Not mentioning the abundance of things to do just outside it as well. The natural beauty of the area lends itself to being explored and learning all about the heritage and culture of the area.
Knowing the beauty of the location upon which it sits, Bluestone have endeavoured to make sure they are environmentally responsible. They efficiently use energy and use renewable energy where they can. The blue lagoon and the adventure centre are heated for example by an on site biomass energy centre which burns produce from local farmers.
You’d think a place like this would be really expensive, but actually if you’re looking at breaks mid-week and out of holiday season some of the deals are bloomin’ fantastic. A mid-week break in the 8 person lodge we were staying in, for example, can be as low as £489.00. That’s between the 8 adults staying at the lodge, and only a deposit is needed to secure the booking.
If you need further convincing of just how family friendly and brilliant Bluestone is, take a look at this…
…yep. that’s right. A 24/7 milk dispensing vending machine. And yes, we did use it 😉
(Disclosure: We were offered an 8 bedroom lodge to stay in at Bluestone for the purpose of this review).