Last Monday we set off driving to Bluestone in Pembrokeshire, Wales for a midweek break at their picturesque surroundings. I had read all about Bluestone previously especially from my lovely blogging friend TheBoyandMe her photographs and blogs about her stays at Bluestone had made me very envious of their visits!
A few months ago I was offered a midweek break at Bluestone in a Grassholm lodge in exchange for a review. I was excited straight away, I already by chance had that week off from work and so it seemed perfect timing and a great opportunity for a break away with the kids after the mayhem of Christmas. So off we drove for six hours (seven including breaks) to Pembrokeshire. The journey wasn’t half as bad as I had imagined on my own with two toddlers, and actually felt quite liberating, but that’s another blog and you can read about my ‘Oh shit’ zone here.
We arrived at about 415pm, which was perfect timing for the 430pm check in. En route I had been worried about all that time in the car, and not being able to deal with the check in, but when I joined the queue (not too big) for the check in process, I was relieved and very impressed to see that this is all done in the car, by way of driving to the check in booths. For me, that is worth its weight in gold, drive in, and basically you’re free to do as you please! Of course, if you need to, or arrive earlier you can park up and enjoy Bluestone’s facilities prior to checking in too. You can also for a fee book an early check in via the Bluestone online booking system, which I didn’t have just a long journey I would have probably done! For the record the whole booking system for extras, activities and groceries etc is really easy to use and prior to our visit I was really impressed with the ease of use of their site!
We checked in at 425pm and the barrier to access the lodges has just opened so we drove straight in. At check in they had given directions to Presili View, and so we drove around the one way system to the ‘street’ where our Grassholm lodge was housed and were able park right outside to unload. Being the only adult, it was this aspect that I found difficult; the unloading was easy enough (albeit a little physical!) but it was the fact that I had to then take the car back to the top car park and walk back to the lodge. This meant of course that I had to take the kids, and in the pitch black, when they were cold and fed up of being in the car, was tough. But- we managed. One thing I would say is that the surroundings and set up at first glance at this point seemed wonderful. The site is clean and well signposted, and extremely well organised. Although it felt dark, I felt safe and walking back to the lodge was not too much an effort, I think the kids sensed it needed to be done, and so just got on with it!
Once back at the lodge we unpacked and I made dinner. We ate and bathed and then it was bedtime. The I realised, we needed milk. PANIC! I looked at the welcome pack- the grocery shop closed at 7pm, so we hurried down to the village. I was relieved to see there are 24 hour vending machines selling milk though! What an amazing idea, Bluestone really have thought of everything!
We were all exhausted after the journey and after choosing their own bedrooms (Elsa and Anna’s, apparently!) the kids went to sleep. I enjoyed a dip in the downstairs bath (AMAZING!) and soothed my aching back with a glass of red before bed. We all slept really well, the beds are super-comfy, and it really is a home from home. I will be writing a separate post about the accommodation, so keep an eye out for this!
On Tuesday morning we were awoken to the sound of birds singing. The surroundings of the site are so peaceful, I felt so relaxed. We got up and made breakfast, then decided to head out and explore the area. First we walked down the hill to the village, w spotted the fabulous outdoor play area and treehouse and the cutest array of pastel coloured cottages. I loved it immediately, it’s not huge, or small! It’s just perfectly sized and clearly very well thought out. After a play on the swings and wooden train we walked around the perimeter of the park. Bluestone is quite hilly, but I really like that. Pushing the pram up and down the hills felt healthy and it was good to get some exercise after eating cake and drinking the fabulous hot chocolate that the Bakery has to offer! (Very much recommend, high-five to DadCreek for the recommendation!)
After an epic walk, we decided to head to the adventure centre. We walked there via the Steep Ravine and also has a nosey at Camp Smokey. I spotted the adrenaline-fuelled sports area. The sky wires look awesome too, it’s pretty high! I was a little sad I couldn’t get involved but next time I will definitely be having a go! The grounds of Bluestone are beautiful, and there is plenty to see, in fact we spent a high percentage of our break just walking around enjoying the fresh air, which was just what we all needed!
Once we arrived at the adventure centre, I was amazed at how fabulous the ‘soft play’ area was! Lots of bikes, soft play for toddlers and an adventure zone for the older children. Even a full size Bluestone bouncy castle! The kids went off to play (and run about!) whilst I had fun on the bouncy castle alone (I’m such a child). Then something amazing happened, we spotted the LEGO WALL! We love Lego and so went over immediately to explore and of course build our names on the ‘Bluestone Lego wall of fame’.
We had so much fun in the adventure centre, and it was good to let the kids run about and burn off the excess energy that they had stored up from the day before on the car journey! Gabriel especially loved the soft play and enjoyed climbing, jumping and swinging about on the adventure playground. We played in the ball pools too which Willow especially loved. We visited the adventure zone several times during our stay at Bluestone and at no point was it ‘too busy’ it’s a huge room and there are plenty of huge comfy sofas to chill out on, if the bouncy castle isn’t your Friday night!
After the adventure zone, we took a stroll upstairs to the very cute ‘Wild Wood Cafe’. The decor is perfect for young children, and we really enjoyed the chill out after the busy afternoon. I bought coffee for myself and some lunch for the kids, which they really enjoyed. My only slight gripe with the cafe was the lack of vegetarian options (especially for children) although the staff were lovely and helpful, in fact I sat chatting with two of the waitresses for quite a while as they had admired our pram, that was great and a really friendly touch seen as I was alone with two toddlers (and in desperate need of some adult conversation..)
After the coffee and chat we headed back to the lodge for some chill out time and watched Toy Story snuggled up on the comfy sofa. It started raining and it was so cool to open all the curtains and watch the rain storm from the sofa! We loved it, but were glad we had not been caught up in it! We made some food and I put the kids to bed for the night. They were exhausted from a fun-filled day, but seemed so happy and relaxed. So did I. We all slept so well at Bluestone, the beds were super comfy and the tranquility of the location just made for deep sleeps!
We had a fabulous first two days at Bluestone, blog post two coming soon which covers days 3 & 4 of our stay