We were fortunate enough to be invited to stay at Bluestone recently. This is a park that we have had on our ‘to stay’ list as its tagline is ‘free range fun’ and so couldn’t be more perfect for our free range family ethos. The added bonus was we got to stay here in the first week of December and so had the full festive experience. We can honestly report back from what can only be described as the North Pole of Wales, and we were able to stay from Fri-Sunday rather than Monday due to our work/school commitments.
We eagerly arrived after quite an eventful journey with our carfull. It is a security gate check in and then you use your car to drop off and pick up at your accommodation and then return your car to the designated secure car parks on site to enable a car free resort. We had a slight delay at check in, this was more than made up for with the apologetic and very good customer service at the gate, and then much to our delight we were rewarded for our delay with 2 bottles of prosecco as an apology. I would happily take a 15 minute delay for a much needed drink on arrival anyday, so thank you Charlotte of the check in staff! This also gave me opportunity to read through the complimentary park magazine, map and list of activities.
First the basics- There are various styles of accommodation in the village and all are nicely spread out amongst the facilities. You are able to hire golf buggies to get about, or like us hop aboard the land train which regulary drives around the village, even dropping us off at our lodge.
Our house tour footage will show you the layout and accommodation. Our upside-down living style eco chalet sleeps 6 plus an infant and was really roomy, offering much needed two bathrooms. The kitchen was excellent, equipped with every pot, crockery & utensil needed for a long stay and came with a welcome pack for dishwashing, drying and rubbish bags. I was particularly impressed by their environmentally conscious efforts and was pleased with the adequate recycling bins, nappy disposal and large sized eco washing up liquid that they provided. For entertaining the little ones whilst you get yourselves sorted there is a tv/ DVD player in the open plan kitchen/living/dining area. The dining table perfect for the whole family to sit and enjoy meals together, and we had a highchair provided. Also included is a travel cot and good, sturdy baby gates on both upstairs and downstairs. We had towels and bedding included and if needed you can request additional housekeeping for a fee. Other items there are iron, ironing board and a hairdryer.
Onto the village centre there are several eateries such as Oak Restaurant, the Farmhouse Grill and Ty Coffi, suffice to say there’s a good variety no matter your taste or family budget. We didn’t eat at any of these restaurants as we enjoy self-catering, but we can vouch that we all enjoyed some chips from The Chippy in the village! There is also a well stocked & reasonably priced village shop which really came in handy, guest services (manned by the exuberant Charlotte again), take-out food, gift shop and village centre play park. We really enjoyed the twice daily free Christmas outdoor activities of an advent celebration in the morning and ceremony of lights in the evening, of which the two energetic elves worked a crowd of kids and adults festooned in Christmas jumpers and hats to throw themselves into the dancing and games. The village has a lovely wooden play park area and is close to the walk around lake for getting in touch with nature.
We had a great afternoon down at the Blue Lagoon water park pool. We easily obtained family changing facilities both times and I was really pleased with the cleanliness as I’m a bit fussy with pools! The swimming area itself had one of the sweetest toddler pools we have ever been to. With very clean silver ball-pool balls (pearls), squirty machines and a warm Rockpool area, this lovely warm baby pool was quite my favourite area. The main pool regularly had the wave machine on much to the delight of our Tweens and also a fab lazy river that took you warmly outside and back in again. The big two also reported back with two big thumbs-up on the slides that they constantly threw themselves down!
As the camp smokey area is shut for Winter we headed up to the Wild Wood Indoor activity centre. The Wild Wood Cafe serves reasonably priced refreshments and we had a really nice cafe lunch up in the wooden treehouse in what can only be described as a Mrs Claus’s log cabin style with a festive tv snug den and a computer area to entertain children whilst they allow us to refuel with caffeine etc.
Downstairs from the cafe is a large gymnasium room with a huge indoor wooden play area, with bouncy castles, climbing walls, indoor treetop adventure and crazy golf, with much needed adult comfy sofas and Christmas decoration and cheer spread throughout. One word of advice the slides are quite daunting for little people and nervous adults, so more for the 8 year old of the family!
The Wild Wood I have been told has more for the under 5s out of the Christmas season, as right now Santa’s Grotto and Elf Kingdom are taking over the centre and this we were happy with, as the Elf Kingdom was the most amazing Christmas experience we have ever been a part of.
As you go through elf passport control you’re greeted by excitable elf flight attendants dishing out red cheeks and passports to all. Two got given to take away elf flight suits, a too tall Finlay instead happily received a great big toy elf and Florence a comical elf bib for the flight. The elves very enthusiastically took us through duty free, security and then onboard our flight in a simulator to the North Pole. The comedy delivered by the pilot was cracking for us big kids, on arrival to the North Pole the children took part in games, snowball fights, reindeer dust making and had an experience they (and us grown-ups) will never forget. If you want an insight to this magic then please do watch our Elf Kingdom video.
We didn’t book on the meet the Santa experience, pantomime or other festive activities as time wouldn’t allow for this, so we can’t comment on that part of the Christmas experience.
There are also a whole heap of paid activities that you can take part in outdoors and indoors such as rock climbing, canoeing, bike hire, treetop adventures, archery, mini quad biking and a lovely relaxing looking spa. We will definitely return to Bluestone at a different time of year to experience these outdoor activities, walks and the beautiful coastline of Pembrokeshire and experience more Bluestone free range fun, but for now we have had the most magical family Christmas experience this side of Lapland!
We were not paid to do this review but did receive a complimentary stay at Bluestone Park, and this is an honest and completely accurate account of our weekend. We would, and have, already highly recommended our new favourite national park resort to others.