Finding Our Bolthole; At Bluestones

Finding Our Bolthole; At Bluestones

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?

Drive through check in at Bluestones

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 at Bluestones
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.

Gateholm Lodge at Bluestones

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.

view from our lodge at Bluestones

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.

Zara and Toby in back of bike

 

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.

Bluestones swimming pool

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…

facebook excerpt from Tammymum of Zara crying
…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…

Zara and Toby licking the bowl of 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.

picture of tenby

 

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. 

Me Toby and Zara in park at Bluestones

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.

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43 Comments

  1. January 25, 2017 / 7:01 am

    This looks like a toddler’s dream. TWO soft plays?! The Popple wouldn’t want to do anything else. It’s great that travel cots and high chairs are provided too – that’s always an issue when travelling. I would love to take her here if it didn’t involve a ridiculously long drive from Glasgow. #FamilyFun

  2. January 25, 2017 / 7:57 am

    This looks great, I love a soft play for smaller kids, I’ve just found one with a whole section for under 1s and it’s so quiet that rule is stuck to! It looks so family friendly! #familyfun

  3. January 25, 2017 / 8:36 am

    Blooming brilliant Sarah! Best review type thing I’ve read in a long time, if we didn’t live on the other side of the country I’d be signing us up to this! Xx

  4. January 25, 2017 / 8:36 am

    It looks like the perfect bolthole for a family with little kids. So many places cater for kids between 5 and 16, so it’s nice to see so much attention paid to the needs of families with little kids.
    #familyfun

  5. January 25, 2017 / 9:44 am

    That does look awesome – definitely one to consider for the summer

    #familyfun

  6. January 25, 2017 / 11:47 am

    OMG it looks amazing there! I would love to explore that part of Wales. I am hoping to get over there later this year. Only problem will be when we have to leave, I suspect my two will want to live there too! #FamilyFun

  7. January 25, 2017 / 12:03 pm

    This looks fantastic. A great idea for taking the grandkids away. I love that part of the country.
    #familyfun

  8. January 25, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    Oh it looks amazing – I’ve seen so many posts about Bluestone on IG too and I’ve never heard anything bad about it. The activities sound amazing and how lucky for you to have had a free stay! I’ve never been to Wales but have been so tempted to book a cabin at Bluestone – do you think the teens would enjoy it? #FamilyFun

    • tammymum
      January 29, 2017 / 1:25 pm

      There is wifi so yes ๐Ÿ˜ƒ haha. We talked about taking our teen (when she’s not at school obvs) we think she’d like it, there are activities for the older ones. There’s rock climbing, zip wires etc and she likes all that stuff. I guess it would depend how adventurous they are. However if all else fails – there is a spa!!!

  9. January 25, 2017 / 1:02 pm

    Oh my goodness what a beautiful view from your window! I love getting away with the children to somewhere like this, we usually visit centre parcs but this looks really fab.
    (sick in hands bit must have been mentally scarring! I hope you are over it now)
    #FamilyFun

  10. January 25, 2017 / 2:49 pm

    So much to do!

    Did you come home more exhausted than you left?

    #familyfun

  11. January 25, 2017 / 3:17 pm

    Looks like a great family fun place! I know my kids also would have thrown a fit when it was time to leave the soft play area – what fun. Glad you enjoyed it! #familyfunlinky

  12. January 25, 2017 / 5:07 pm

    Looks brilliant, I love Wales. May have to add this to my list of places to visit this year x
    #FamilyFun

  13. January 25, 2017 / 6:41 pm

    It just looks so amazing there. I totally feel your pain about not having the change of clothes for your toddler after being sick. Well done for powering through! Everything about the trip looks so good though and I’m so pleased you enjoyed it. #familyfun

  14. January 25, 2017 / 8:57 pm

    Looks so child-friendly. I can’t work out entirely if that’s a good thing or not for my sanity levels. No, no, it IS a good thing. Sounds like you had a fun time…the lodge sounds lovely. I’m quite partial to an upside abode…although i can see why it may be a tad tricky with the little peeps. Great write up, really thorough and it feels as though you are giving a very honest account. I’m glad you had a good time #familyfun

  15. January 25, 2017 / 9:23 pm

    Wow what a good review – I really want to take Molly now. It seems like the perfect place to take younger children. Molly would love the fact there are two soft play areas and I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t want to leave either. I’ve just had a child being sick in car incident myself – my sister was the one in the back who had to deal with it though! Ha. #familyfun

  16. January 26, 2017 / 11:56 am

    We have been dying to go to Bluestone for ages it looks amazing and looks like you had a super time – thanks so much for linking this up to #coolmumclub lovely xoxo

  17. January 26, 2017 / 1:32 pm

    Oh you lucky lady! What a brilliant place to go. Perfect for kids by the looks of it. My two boys would love that pool. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime ๐ŸŽ‰

  18. January 26, 2017 / 1:40 pm

    Having trying to approach the holiday subject to Hubby – this seems ideal! the only downside is that im not sure if we could both get last minute holidays if we were lucky enough to be asked.

    Id still actually pay anyway as this looks brilliant! Were you self catering? I love little ladies face of disgust, made me laugh on instagram and again just now! #familyfun

  19. January 26, 2017 / 11:00 pm

    Looks like a wonderful place! I especially like the look of the pool xx #familyfun

  20. January 27, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    It certainly sounds like a great place to visit. #FamilyFun

  21. January 28, 2017 / 8:15 am

    This looks like great fun! I love the swimming pool with all the slides – looks lots of fun! Coming over from #CountryKids x

  22. January 28, 2017 / 8:54 am

    I’ve always wondered what Bluestones was like. Thanks for sharing. P.S. We love Tenby! We love Wales, actually! #FortheloveofBlog

  23. January 28, 2017 / 10:36 am

    This looks so good for my 3yo and 9 months old who’s just getting into soft play! Amazing. Love the snap of them with ice cream bowl faces haha. Thanks for the review, will be looking them up is it (also best Welsh accent) x #familyfun

  24. January 28, 2017 / 10:51 am

    I’ve heard so much about this place – the swimming pool looks amazing! #familyfun

  25. January 28, 2017 / 11:41 am

    That looks like a fantastic resort for toddlers and kids (not sure if it’s been mentioned above but one of your photos is upside down….) #CountryKids

  26. January 28, 2017 / 12:06 pm

    It’s fab that you all had a wonderful time exploring Bluestone as a family, they really do have lots to keep you all entertained. That swimming pool looks amazing and I can see why your Daughter would never want to leave such a fun place. It’s great that you had plenty of time to wear the kids out before bedtime, I bet they slept well whilst they were there!

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

  27. January 28, 2017 / 4:07 pm

    Never heard of bluestones but look like great fun! #familyfun

  28. January 28, 2017 / 6:05 pm

    The pool looks amazing. It’s fantastic that there are places that cater so well for babies and toddlers, they are thin on the ground! My four are now that little bit older, but I did find it frustrating too! #countrykids

  29. January 28, 2017 / 7:20 pm

    It looks fab there. The swimming pool looks amazing, I wouldn’t want to get out either lol.
    #fortheloveofBLOG

  30. January 28, 2017 / 7:52 pm

    We went for a flying visit in December and loved it too. We were there to review their christmas activities but could only do Friday to Sunday and it was nowhere near long enough. Sounds like you still didn’t get to do everything you wanted. We never made it to Tenby despite planning too and that light show sounds fantastic. we hope to go back again x

    • tammymum
      January 29, 2017 / 1:22 pm

      Ah hope you do make it back there to do all the things you couldn’t and def see Tenby it was lovely!

  31. January 30, 2017 / 8:15 am

    Looks like you had a really great time here. But I’m going to be honest – this looks scary. I would seriously mess up that automatic check-in and the sheer size of the place is somewhat off-putting. Weird that the house is upside-down too… But, I have to reluctantly confess, there does appear to be something for everyone there. Thanks! #CountryKids
    p.s. love the “bowl” photo ;o)

  32. January 30, 2017 / 10:50 am

    We visited Bluestone before Christmas last year and fell in love with the place. We’ve been invited back again and visiting March the 6th. Can not wait to go back. I plan to do more things this time. Really looking forward to it. We’re going to be staying in that kind of lodge too. we stayed in a four bedroom one before and it was all on one floor, so this one will be totally different!
    I loved the adventure centre myself haha! #MarvMondays

  33. January 30, 2017 / 9:52 pm

    Such a great review! We went to Bluestones just before Christmas and loved it too. I’d love to go back and experience it all properly, there is just so much to do there, the two days we got there just didnt even touch the sides ๐Ÿ˜‰ Great post, thanks for sharing it on #MarvMondays. Emily

  34. January 31, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    Wow looks so good! We are looking for a staycation place for later in the year with my inlaws so i’m going to google it. I know what you mean about school aged kids usually being well catered for and toddlers being a bit left to it, so it sounds great for my toddler. The pool looks ace too. xx #familyfun

  35. January 31, 2017 / 3:26 pm

    We went to Bluestone in Summer 2015 and we loved it! We didn’t stay in the park very much, preferring to explore Tenby and surrounding areas (who could possibly dislike Tenby, it’s gorgeous!!!), but would definitely go back there! #countrykids

  36. January 31, 2017 / 10:42 pm

    We loved Blustone’s when we visited unfortunately now Monkey is at school its a bit off limits but I recommend it to all our friends as I think its perfect for young families. I love the location too and the beaches near by! Love Tenby especially! Stopping by from #CountryKids

  37. February 1, 2017 / 1:07 pm

    That’s a huge resort and I love all the family friendly activities! The swimming pool looks cool and I really like the idea of using bikes to get around…your pictures are just a true reflection of family holidays from smiles in the bike car to crying leaving soft play. My son would NEVER leave! We used to stay in Tenby in a caravan every year when we were kids, oddly moving to the South West and being raised in Wales I don’t think of holiday there which is silly because it is beautiful and I love the people but I still think of it as home and holidays are not for home…will scrap that thought! #fortheloveofBLOG

  38. February 1, 2017 / 10:24 pm

    Two soft play areas sound amazing. It sounds like you had a great time and always good when the little ones are well catered for. I like the sound of the interactive light display/nature trail and Tenby looks like a beautiful place to visit. #countrykids

  39. February 1, 2017 / 11:49 pm

    So good to hear you enjoyed Bluestone so much – we went in Autumn last year and had a blast, especially in Camp Smokey – so much for kids to see and do
    Popping over from Country Kids

    Laura x

  40. February 2, 2017 / 9:47 pm

    We love Bluestone. It was our first holiday when Alice was a baby and has a place in our hearts. It’s brilliant for children, which makes it equally great for adults. I’m pleased you had fun x #marvmondays