Those of you who follow any of my social media will no doubt have noticed we spent our last week at Bluestones National Park Resort – you would have been hard pushed to miss it. We like a getaway, rain or shine. The depths of winter, amidst a particularly cold snap did not put us off a week in South Wales, at a resort that has a particular penchant for the outdoors.
Now whilst we enjoy a getaway one thing that generally scares the bejeezus out of me – car journeys. More specifically car journeys with my one and two year old and a short tempered Mr Tammy. I would sooner board a 4 hour flight than subject them to a 5 point harness. We did fair quite well, if you exclude my daughter being sick into my actual hand and the fact she didn’t close her eyes once in the four hours it took to get there. We arrived circa 2.30 to a new age check in. Both Mr Tammy and I were probably too impressed by the drive through check in. Seriously so much easier. Simple things eh?
The only downside was that we couldn’t access our lodge until 4.30. The downside being I had no change of clothes for the sick one and the suitcase was under EVERYTHING in the boot.
Anyway we parked up and headed over to the adventure centre to see what we could throw the kids at. We lucked in. Well kind of. They lucked in. We stumbled across this little beauty…
Soft play designed for the under 5s. No big kids charging around knocking your little ones over. Actually my kids were the big kids – and my boy is a titch. Needless to say they loved it. Granted my daughter was just in a vest and had a distinct aroma of vom about her, but she wasn’t phased.
Come 4.30 we found our lodge and got ourselves unpacked. We were staying in a Gateholm Lodge, which was three bedroom (Hallelujah – no kiddies in our bedroom) and surprisingly big, no, massive.
Travel cots, high chairs and stair gates all provided as standard. The only thing that turned out to be a slight draw back was the house was upside down. Bedrooms downstairs living area upstairs. For normal people probably not an issue, for our newly potty trained toddler who needs a wee every 5 minutes, who also has an obsession with gates and stairs the arrangement proved to be a little more problematic. I am also informed that should you be trying to sleep (ha) downstairs whilst the little people are upstairs – it is probably not going to happen, so I am told. On the flip side though, the view was stunning and looking out over all the wooden lodges looked like we had rolled up to the Shire. The lodges are also finished to an impressively high standard and exceptionally clean and modern – I really couldn’t fault them.
Moving on, the resort is massive – 500 acres to be precise. We were fortunate in that our lodge was well placed to all the amenities but we had hired some bikes. We had great romantic ideas of family cycle rides, with two happy kids trailing behind. Well as it involved toddlers we should have known better… Ultimately Mr Tammy and I ended up going out on separate bike rides but whatever. You can also hire a buggy to get about the park if bikes aren’t your thing. Whilst we didn’t need one, if your lodge was bit further a field or you have small ones, or people with mobility issues then I would recommend one.
We spent the next couple of days spoiling the kids with constant activity. We took them swimming – the pool was huge, with a heated outdoor lazy river, water slides and designated children’s rock pooling area. My underweight scrawny little boy did start to go blue after about an hour so we thought we’d better leave by that point. My slightly more, err, robust girl didn’t seem to have the same problem or inclination to leave however – one of the many things we had to take her away from crying.
We spent an ungodly amount of time in the both soft play areas (yes there are two). I climbed up every inch of soft play and wooden climbing frame. I braved the bouncy castle, tunnel slides and stood as my children ran around in their new found utopia, making sure they didn’t swallow lego or steal trikes off the other kids. In all seriousness as play areas go this is ideal – it is safe, contained, fun and catered to so many ages, from the tiny ones to the bigger rock climbing able ones. So much so I was presented with this face when I dared to suggest we leave…
…we also indulged our precious ones in ‘children’s hour’. At 5pm this is a magical way to skip the witching hour. The kids are entertained with music, dancing and games whilst you sit there marvelling at them playing so well. Unless you’re me in which case one of your children will insist on climbing the onto the stage and threaten to jump off head first. The other will burst into tears if anyone dares to speak to her. We preserved and they both joined in eventually, as best as their age restricted comprehension would allow anyway. My son basically ran about the room shouting things but he was happy and we were out, #winning.
We then took them for a evening stroll in the woods to an interactive light display/nature trail. Another excellent way to kill some time before bed and keep the little ones entertained. Adults too, it was quite impressive.
We also frequented the outdoor park on numerous occasions, nothing, not rain, wind or snow will come between my girl and swing! Fortunately though the park is well placed next to the
pub restaurant and we were able to sway them inside with a promise of a fruit shoot and some ice cream…
We popped into nearby Tenby for a visit, I didn’t have high hopes after a friend put me off somewhat, (#Tenby mate!) but some colourful houses and fish and chips and I was sold. In all seriousness I would certainly go back to Tenby, it was, pretty quaint with a beautiful beach.
Due to the season there were somethings at Bluestones we didn’t get to experience such as Camp Smokey – I would love to go back and toast marshmallows on the camp fire. I would also like to do the zip wires through the trees – whilst this was available during our stay we just didn’t manage to get to it. I would have also liked to have eaten in the Farmhouse Grill restaurant on site that was closed for a refurb. Hey maybe next time.
So all in all Bluestones was truly brilliant. What I loved most was how well catered it was to the young ones. I am not talking your school age kids, they are always catered for. I mean the toddlers, babies and threenagers. Usually they get a soft slide and a ball pool and have to get on it. Not here, there was so much for them, from messy play to soft play there was even a creche and baby classes. There are no cars on site either so you’re little ones are free to roam about worry free. The staff were akin to the staff I met at Disney, but seemingly less high, mostly just lovely. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Bluestones to anyone and would go back tomorrow.
Bluestones – bloody brilliant it was – in your best Welsh accent.
We were invited to stay at Bluestones free of charge as part of their blogger out reach programme but the content of this post is of course, entirely my own.