Thursday, 16 April 2015

Free Range Holidays at Bluestone National Park Resort

We were delighted to be invited to Bluestone National Park Resort during the Easter holidays for a short break, staying in a 4 bedroomed Grassholm Lodge. After a four hour drive we arrived at Bluestone, went through the efficient drive through reception and were given a map and directions to our lodge in the Preseli View area of the resort. We were able to drive up to our lodge, unload our luggage and then return the car to the car park for the duration of our stay. This keeps Bluestone safe and free from traffic. Guests can hire bikes or golf buggies to get around, but we opted to stay on foot for our stay.

The accommodation was quite honestly one of the best holiday homes I have ever stayed in. It was well equipped, spotlessly clean, spacious, well furnished and beautifully designed with high ceilings with wooden beams, open plan rooms and a balcony at the top of the stairs looking down into the living area below.  With one master bedroom with en suite bathroom, two upstairs twin bedrooms with a family bathroom and one ground floor twin room with a wet room, the property is suitable for up to eight guests.  The living area had comfy seating, a big TV and DVD player and a patio door leading to an outdoor patio area with seating.  The kitchen was big and really well equipped with just about everything you need for a self-catered holiday including a microwave, dishwasher, an oven, a fridge and freezer, cookware and crockery. A wooden dining table comfortably seated up to eight for family meals.  For younger guests, the lodge came equipped with stair gates, a travel cot and a high chair. There is also a safe in the wardrobe of the master bedroom. All linen and towels are included and there is even a pack in the kitchen consisting of a small bottle of washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets, sponge, cloth, extra bin bags and a tea towel. Recycling is encouraged and the kitchen bin is divided up for non-recyclable and recyclable waste.

Bluestone, holiday, Wales

The resort is built around the central picturesque village area where there is a convenience store, a baker's, a pub and some restaurants. There is also a fantastic Tree House play area for the kids to enjoy. A marquee in the village square is the venue for some kids' entertainment and Freddy was very pleased to get a balloon sword from one of the activity's team during the free daily kids' hour.

The Blue Lagoon swimming pool proved a huge hit. Guests can enter for free throughout their stay and get 2 hours exclusive access from 9 am, after that the public can pay to enter. It has a lazy river, hot tubs, wave machine, slides, kids' area, jets and flumes. There is also a cafe area where spectators can sit and watch. Freddy enjoyed splashing around in the pool, using his new found water confidence gained from doing swimming lessons. I sat in the cafe with a coffee and watched him, his sister and his daddy play in the water.

The Adventure Centre has some amazing free indoor activities such as mini-golf, a ball pool, soft play, a bouncy castle, LEGO and a huge wooden play area with slides. It is also home to the Big Four: the Swing, the Drop, the Sky Trail and the Wall. For just £7 each or £20 for all four, kids over 6 can take part in these exciting, fully supervised indoor activities. Unfortunately, Freddy was a bit too young and the girls were a bit too reserved to give them a go.  There are also arcade games in the Adventure Centre to keep kids occupied. It is an excellent all weather facility.

Upstairs is the Wildwood Cafe, which is an enchanted, woodland themed restaurant set around a 20 ft tree. Seating is in a giant tree house, a forester's cottage, a nest pod and a squirrel's drey.  We found a seat in the treehouse and enjoyed a meal of a veggie burger and chips, which was very nice. Freddy enjoyed doing an activity sheet while he waited for his meal of pizza and chips.  The Wildwood Cafe is the venue for the Neverwood Pirate Dinner Show, where families can experience challenges, games, shanties and stories while enjoying a meal.

Bluestone also boasts its own Well Spa Retreat for relaxation with seven unique thermal facilities and a host of treatments available.  The village pub has free entertainment in the evenings such as a pub quiz or live music.

Bluestone, holiday, resort, Wales

The resort is situated in 500 acres of countryside in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. This equates to beautiful scenic views and wonderful walks. We took a nature walk from the lake, through the forest following the stream down to the steep ravine at the other end of the resort. We then climbed the board walk up the ravine and back into the resort. It was absolutely lovely.

I was very impressed with the signs that marked out the nature walk along with facts about the flora and fauna of the area. It added an extra dimension to the walk learning about the trees and flowers.

Freddy enjoyed playing Pooh Sticks on the little bridges with fallen branches, and the kids climbed trees and played in dens.

In the resort stands the old abandoned ruin of Newton North Church. It is now a haven to wildlife and was really interesting to learn about. There is a brilliant living Willow sculpture of a giant caterpillar that Freddy absolutely loved, he ran through it again and again. At Bluestone you are never told to 'Keep Off the Grass', instead you are encouraged to run on it, play on it and roll down the hills!  It's a wonderful ethos.

Bluestone, wales, forests, family

As well as the free activities and entertainment, Bluestone offers hundreds of paid for activities for families to enjoy and has an impressive programme of activities, spa treatments, dining options and pre-school sessions. The activities include everything from kayaking on the lake to taking on the Sky Wires in the Steep Ravine. Many are all -weather activities so rain won't stop play!

Whether you are a thrill seeker or looking to relax, there are loads of suitable activities available. There are activities for children that they can do with or without parental supervision. So if you want some grown-up time, you can send the kids off for an unaccompanied adventure or pop the little ones into the creche.

With the hundreds of paid for activities, plus the use of the Blue Lagoon and Adventure Centre as well as the wonderful forest walks, a stay at Bluestone can be as action packed as you want it be.
For us we had quite a relaxing time, taking in the scenery, enjoying family evenings in the lodge, going for walks and making the most of the pool and the Adventure Centre. We had a wonderful time in a beautiful part of the world.

To find out more about Bluestone National Park Resort visit and start planning your own luxury free range break!


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