When I was a kid, the family used to go on loads of camping holidays. And I mean the whole family – grandparents, cousins – the lot – would pack up and go and sit in the sun (ahem – rain – it is Wales to be fair).
Here’s the thing, we didn’t have one of those fancy caravans – we had a bloody trailer tent. Me and my sister used to be so embarrassed about it. Urgh! Just look at the bloody thing!
We’d get there, and my dad would start winding it up to open up and me and my sister would go hide so no-one realised it was ours.*
*DISCLAIMER: I know my mum would like me to point out we were “lucky buggers” who went abroad a lot too.
What and where is Bluestone?
So when I was a kid, holidays in Wales involved campsites based just off motorways and if you were posh, a weekend in Barry Butlins.
So a couple of years ago, I started hearing about Bluestone – this AMAZING holiday resort in beautiful Pembrokeshire when a friend of mine went with his family for a weekend.
I feel like I’ve heard about it loads since then too, but apparently it’s been around for about 8 years.
It’s a luxury resort in a beautiful Welsh national park. It’s a frankly a bit like a Centre Parcs, but loads cheaper – log cabins with a big swimming pool, indoor adventure centre and a million activities.
I went with my sister (Francesca), her boyfriend (Phil) and their two little kids Oliver (6) and Rosie (4).
Phil works in London in the week, so he picked me up at lunchtime to get to Bluestone at 4:30 which is the time you can check into your cabin (you can go earlier though to use all the facilities).
Here’s the problem, getting out of London is an absolute nightmare on a Friday so took us TWO HOURS to get 8 miles – so didn’t get to Bluestone till about 8:30 and met my sister and two incredibly excited kids there.
Bluestone is a car-free zone so you have to park up, get all your stuff out and then dump your car in the main carpark out of the way. It’s so nice to not have cars everywhere – the whole place feels kind of idilic.
There are however loads of golf buggies around which you can hire. When I tweeted that I was going, somebody got in touch and said I should definitely hire one. I noticed it was £30 for the day (it’s cheaper if you hire one for longer) so thought, nah – will walk.
But then we got there, not only were the kids instantly obsessed with getting one, but because the resort is so big and the weather was a bit dodgy, we got one and we thought it was well worth the money in the end. Felt sorry for people shlepping it back from the swimming pool in the rain while we breezed past.
If you didn’t want to fork out for one – I’d suggest bringing bikes (or you can hire them there) to get to A to B easily. That buggy was the highlight of the kids’ trip!
The cabins are really impressive – clean, modern, warm and super comfortable. You get a welcome pack with cleaning products and are given everything you could possibly want including towels.
There are loads of activities you can pay to do from Spa experiences to medieval archery. I noticed they were dangerously cheap(ish) – well, compared to the cost of Centre Parcs, with activities being around £15. Which sure, isn’t THAT cheap – but affordable.
But hey, I’m LottyEarns so was obviously going to make the most of all the free activities – of which there are plenty.
The kids were absolutely obsessed with the massive pool – The Blue Lagoon. I didn’t take any snaps (because who can be bothered to the their phone to a swimming pool) but have a nose of the pool here.
I kid you not – I spent hours in that bloody pool pruning up as the kids went around in circles on the lazy river. Rosie was just too small to go on the slides, but they both adored the place.
The changing rooms had hair dryers too – so you didn’t have to shlep all the way back to your cabin with wet hair which was a nice touch.
My sister forgot to bring swimming trunks for Oliver, so had to pick some up in the pool shop which were £12. I have no idea if that’s cheap – but suspecting you can get cheaper pairs in Asda!
The indoor adventure park is also awesome which is helpful because frankly – it’s rainy in Wales. It’s absolutely huge with free crazy golf and a giant play centre with workers in fancy dress running around and playing with the kids.
Oliver had a bit of a nasty fall (nobody’s fault) but the staff couldn’t have been nicer to him, and he got a ice pack for his bruised ear.
What’s Pembrokeshire like?
Ok – disclaimer, I’m from South Wales originally (although lived in England for 11 years) but its without doubt the best place in the world! Ha!
I consider myself to be pretty well travelled and have been to some of the best beaches in the world including Hawaii, Australia, Spain etc – and frankly – they aren’t as good as the ones you’ll find in South Wales. Sure, they have more sun – but warmth is overrated anyway!
If you do go to Bluestone – I’d recommend at least one trip. Tenby is the obvious one with stunning beaches and a lovely little shopping town (loads of little boutiques).
St Davids is also a great place to visit and is the smallest city in the UK and if you fancy driving about an hour – go to Swansea and the Gower where I am from because those beaches are actually voted the best in the world by people who aren’t biased like me.
Also right next door to Bluestone is Oakwood Park, which is an awesome theme park, and Folly Farm (half farm/half theme park) is 10 mins down the road.
Money tips if you’re going
- Stay as long as possible – The longer you are there, the more you get for your money. You can’t get into your cabin till 4:30 on the day of check-in and have to be out by 10am on the day of checkout – HOWEVER, you can get there way earlier and stay later to use all the facilities. Arrive 11am and hang out in the pool etc and don’t leave till 3pm.
- Buy food before you go – You know what, the supermarket isn’t that expensive (big tubs of ice-cream were £2 for example), but of course it is cheaper to pop to a supermarket before getting there. There is a fridge and small freezer in your cabin. Also, cooking your own dinner and breakfast will cut the cost of your holiday massively.
- WIFI – You don’t have to pay for WIFI. It’s pretty decent, but it won’t let you stream anything, like YouTube. So if YouTube is a must (there is a TV though) you can pay for better WIFI.
- Keep and eye out for offers – Before booking, make sure you check out Bluestone’s offer page to see if you can bag a discount. Booking online for example will get you 10% off.
- Avoid school holidays – Not surprisingly, it costs a load more to go in the school holidays – so if possible avoid those peak times
- Get as many of you in a cabin as possible – The more of you in the cabin, the cheaper it is as an empty bed is a waste of money. You can even invite guests to hang out (you need to let Bluestone know so they’ll let them in). Who knows, maybe Grandma and Granddad will buy dinner?
- Make the most of the free activities – There are loads of really awesome looking paid activities (keep an eye out for offers on them), but there are loads of free things too, so your not missing out. There’s of course the big pool and activity centre – but also the village with shows going on and the parks, and trails etc. There’s no chance of getting bored.
I’ve picked a random date – Jan 27th for 2 kids and 2 adults for a weekend and found a cabin for £228 for three nights, which I think it pretty cheap – that’s £76 a day for the whole family, using the Blue Lagoon etc.
If you go peak time – July school bank holidays, the price unsurprisingly goes up to £338 – which is which is £112 a night, which again I don’t think is too pricey.
***Prices change of course depending when you book – these are just what I found at time of writing.***
Getting the kids to leave Bluestone wasn’t easy – there were a few tears as they had such an amazing time.
It is a special place and you feel a million miles away from the ‘real world’ – there’s absolutely no chance of getting bored either.
It’s great for children, but I also know adult families who get together and go to the spa and eat and drink – there’s something for everyone.
I also think the price is really reasonable, with very basic caravan parks in the area not being a lot cheaper.
We’re going back in March for Oliver’s 7th birthday (it’s what he wants to do) – so says it all really!
Have you been to Bluestone? Let me know what you think of the resort in the comments.