Some of my fondest memories as a child were of holidays. I am not talking all expenses paid trips abroad and jetting round the world. I’m talking stays with my Nanny in Bexhill-on-sea and holidays with my mum and siblings at UK Caravan and holiday parks. They were amazing holidays – no frills, good old school wholesome fun and they created memories that have stayed with me my entire life. I want Alyssa to have this too. Yes, I enjoyed taking her abroad to Tenerife last year but I think it is important to show her that you can have a great holiday right in your own back yard. So, when Bluestone Wales asked if we’d like to enjoy one of their getaway experiences, we couldn’t have been more excited…
So, obviously Bluestone Wales isn’t quite in our back door but it was only a few hours drive away, so we packed up the car and Alyssa, Nonna, Lily, Uncle Ollie, Auntie Vicky and I headed off to Wales – I had only been there once briefly to visit the passport office so this was also going to be my first proper venture into Wales… way into Wales!
When we spotted the first brown sign signalling we were getting close we couldn’t have been more excited! There were squeals from delight from the little girls in the back when we finally announced we had arrived. Check in is fairly painless – queue up in your car with all the other cars and wait for one of several windows to become vacant. The lovely staff will give you your key, a map, a car pass and directions to your lodge and you’re all set. On arrival and departure you are allowed to take your cars all the way to your accommodation and unload/reload and then you must park them in the car-park during your stay (you can take them out from here on day trips!)
Obviously I ran straight in, abandoning everyone and the cars to grab a few pictures of our lodge before the kids (and adults to be fair) descended and effectively moved into the place! There is a great mini porch where we could leave wellies and coats throughout the week (unfortunately we did need them a fair amount) and what was even better was that the outside door was really heavy meaning our littles could not escape out!
You then walk straight in to an open plan kitchen, living room and dining room area. You have all the mod cons including bits and pieces in the kitchen for the children to eat and drink with, a welcome pack with a starter tablet for the dishwasher, a TV which just FYI does have Cbeebies so don’t panic, a DVD player and a high chair. Plus the floor and sofas were wipe clean meaning that they were very child/destructive toddler friendly. There was also a back door which opens onto a small patio, with a picnic bench and room for the kids to play (or in Alyssa’s case roll down the hill!) The only problem with this was that the back door was very stiff meaning it made quite a lot of noise when being open and pulled close which we were very aware of once the kids were asleep.
The bedrooms were all decorated similarly but beautifully. The beds are quite firm just as a warning which took me a night to get used to but were comfortable. Each room has a little wardrobe area and the master bedroom also had an en-suite shower room with toilet as well as a safe and a travel cot. The main bathroom had a wonderfully big bath that both girls were able to hop into and share, a really luxuriously hot and powerful shower and a great nappy bin which actually allowed us to recycle the disposable nappies we used on holiday.
There were some stairs that lead to the upstairs master and mezzanine landing and at both the top and bottom, stair gates were provided, making the whole place incredibly safe and child friendly.
Once we were in and unpacked there was no holding us back. We arrived quite late in the day but wanted to make the most of the final rays of sunshine and blue sky. There are a few ways to get around the site – walking and cycling which is a great option if you’re exceptionally fit or have a spare iron lung. There is the land train which runs every half an hour around the whole site and what we used for the first day or two as the children loved it.
Finally and our personal favourite was a golf cart! After we saw the weather report and due to the fact we had two small children, I spoke to the lovely people at Bluestone who were wonderful and gave us our very own Golf Cart to use for the remainder of the holiday. These can be rented for the week or by the day whilst you’re there and I would say are definitely worth it so you don’t have to worry about the timings of the land train. I’d say especially if you have little people who tire easily as Bluestone is effectively one giant hill, you will want to have one of these bad boys – the only requirement is that someone in your party has a drivers license and you’ll need to take this with you to confirm it when signing out the golf cart.
Needless to say we had a lot of fun and adventures on our golf buggy and when the torrential weather arrived one day that week it helped us get places much faster and a lot drier too!
So, we took total advantage of the various weather situations to enjoy a lot of what Bluestone Wales has to offer. Be sure to check on all the activities available before you go because you can book onto all sorts of activities and courses whilst you are there. However, if you’re on a budget don’t panic as there are loads of free and inclusive activities you can enjoy too!
Obviously one of the big and main attractions is the swimming pool – there is a main pool which has a wave machine and a tide run where you can float outside and under tunnels, where you can also access an outside Jacuzzi. Inside there are several flumes and slides plus two play areas – one with lots of falling water and one for babies and toddlers which is nice and warm. There is also a three story mini-cafe and seating area where family can sit and watch if they don’t want to swim. There is also a cafe and a swim shop in the pool building too.
We spent a lot of time enjoying the pool. There is also a great set of free activities in the sports hall – there is an upstairs soft play gym with some sensory items and a mini baby roller-coaster and is opposite the rather magical tree-top cafe.
At one point we had the whole room to ourselves for almost an hour and it was just great. I grabbed a takeaway coffee and the kids had some snacks in the mini chairs and went to town on the room.
Downstairs there is also an older play area which includes some arcade machines you have to play for, a free mini-golf course, a proper soft play area, a trampoline and a brilliant wooden play area for older children… or in our case young children and their parents!
We were very fortunate considering it was March to have some really sunny weather whilst we were there too and went out to explore!
There was a great outdoor park and play area that the kids loved – there was an older children’s area and a younger one too and something for everyone to go on. It’s a little small if it’s a busy, sunny day but hey it’s a great opportunity to teach patience, right?!
There are also several open spaces where kids can run and play games, random wooden art installations around the park which kids can walk through and touch and a few great walks, including round the lake.
There are some great places to eat and drink around the site as well – especially in the village. There is a tavern, a lodge kind of restaurant and what I have to say is the best chippy I have ever been to. I wanted to take the chips and deep friend Halloumi home with me – delicious!
Of course there are several coffee and ice cream places as well as an onsite supermarket which has a pretty good stock of most things. However, there is also a Tesco Superstore within a twenty minute drive!
As it was our first trip to Bluestone Wales we decided to stay on site for the whole week and there was more than enough to keep us entertained. A real testament to how amazing this holiday was that both girls were incredibly upset when they found out we were going home. When we awoke the next day at home, Alyssa came running in and asked me when we were going swimming and to soft play. I informed her we couldn’t as we had come home and more tears followed.
We had an absolutely amazing time and wouldn’t hesitate to return again – we look forward to another visit in the not so distant future!
*We were sent to Bluestone for the purposes of the review – all opinions are our own.