We recently spent 4 days at Bluestone National Park in Wales. We were all very excited about our trip as it was our very first holiday as a family. Here is what we thought of our stay, our review of Bluestone.
The Drive and Check In -
Our drive began far far away in good old Lancashire. We had estimated the journey to take us 5 hours. Once we had packed up the car and set off I realised we had forgotten something very important, the baby monitor! We had to turn the car around and drive back home to get it. This added another 45 minutes on to our journey which I was kicking myself for but better to be late than to not have it.
We then set off again and it was roughly around 11:30am. I was apprehensive about the journey as Noah doesn't usually like being in the car for an hour let alone five but he was wonderful. I sat beside him in the back and we sang, played, read, ate and he had two naps too. He was an absolute star and Mummy and Daddy was very grateful for that!
It was beautiful driving through the Welsh countryside which made the long trip across Wales that much easier but I did feel a sense of relief once we spotted the signs for Bluestone. We wouldn't be in the car much longer!
We arrived at the check in at around 5 pm and it was a rather straight forward affair. The young man at the desk was very polite and informative. He handed me our key card, an information pack and directions to our lodge and off we went.
You aren't able to check in until 4:30 pm but if you arrive early you are able to park up and explore while you wait.
Once we found our lodge we unpacked the car straight away so we could finally relax. Bluestone is a no car resort, which I think is great. You are able to keep the car down at your lodge until midnight the day you check in but for the rest of your stay it is to remain at the long stay car park.
The Accommodation -
We were allocated a Ramsey lodge situation in Bartholomew Rise and it was ideal for us. This sort of lodge is known for it's "upside down living" style and we thought it was fabulous. The two bedrooms and two on suite bathrooms were situated on the ground floor whilst the living area and kitchen are upstairs, taking full advantage of the picturesque views.
Every room in the lodge was very spacious and well kept and I was such a fan of the modern yet rustic styling. It was very easy to feel instantly welcome and at at home.
Inside the lodge was everything we needed and more, from the Royal Doulton dinnerware through to the wet room, it really was luxury living. There was a TV, DVD player, microwave, kettle, toaster, baby gates on the stairs, high chair, cot bed and much more. We were really impressed with what was provided.
The Location -
There is absolutely no denying it, Bluestone Park is absolutely stunning and we were constantly in awe of all the scenery. We aren't usually outdoorsy people but Bluestone has really opened our eyes to the great outdoors and we went on nature trails everyday of our stay. I think the place has converted us and Noah now thinks he is the Bear Grylls of the baby world! Ha ha.
As we were situated in Bartholomew Rise we were close to the lake, shops and restaurants which was a plus. Though being close to them it mean't it was a fair trek uphill to get to the Adventure Centre or Blue Lagoon. That being said the walk wasn't a hassle at all and was quiet enjoyable.
With the lodges being fully equipped to be a soley self catering stay we brought groceries with us with the intention of cooking some nights and eating out the others. This plan was dashed as we had a faulty hob that wouldn't bring to the boil so I was very limited to what I could make.
We ate at both the Tafern, Farmhouse Grill and used the take out service too. I wasn't overly impressed with the takeaway or the Farmhouse Grill's menu or food. The food was very bog standard and the menu choice was limited. Everything seemed to come with chips and the chips weren't very plesent.
The Tafern was the best place for food in our opinion. We enjoyed our fish and chips and we liked the decor of the place. If I was to visit Bluestone again I would probably eat there again but avoid The Farmhouse Grill.
We did want to dine at Camp Smokey as the food looked and smelt delicious when we visited but they stopped service at 4pm each day which was too early for us to eat.
The price of the meals were fair but it all adds up at the end of the week so it does pay to bring your own food (and hope your hob works!)
There are many different activities on offer suitable for all different ages. The Blue Lagoon, Soft Play and Circus Room are all free to use and for me that is Bluestone's saving grace because I felt the activities were very overpriced for what they were.
On one of the days of our stay we booked in for the toddler sensory class. The young lady who ran the session was great, very enthusiastic and interested in the children, remembering the name of every one of them. The session was space themed and Noah did enjoy himself but I think it was a little limited and most toddlers lost interest pretty quickly. I don't think that it was worth the cost of £7 per child and should of been around the £3 mark in my honest opinion. The sheer cost of the extra activities put me off booking anymore and I dread to think how much your stay would tally up to if you had multiple children.
The Pro's -
The lodge was everything we needed and more. Comfortable, spacious and stylish.
The location and scenery was simply breathtaking and created the most relaxing atmosphere.
The staff were a credit to the facility and ever so polite and helpful.
The Circus Room was Noah's dream come true. It was free to use and created a safe environment to play and burn off some energy.
Free WiFi is always a plus.
The Con's -
No child locks on the cupboards in the lodge meant that Noah was continuously pulling everything out of the drawers despite us telling him not to and distracting him with toys.
Our hob didn't work properly so I was very limited to what I could cook. A bit frustrating when I couldn't get a pan of pasta to bring to the boil and had to order from the takeaway service instead.
Late check in and early check out is a bit frustrating. Surely check out should be at the same late time as the check in? It felt like we were missing a day.
The vending machine prices were extortionate and we ended up paying £1.80 per bottled drink which I don't think is really fair.
We were sold out of date yogurts from the on site store. I took them back and they exchanged them for me but my son had already consumed two before we had realised. The pricing in the store can also be a little steep too.
The pool could of been warmer and we did notice signs up which mentioned not allowing your child to swim if they have been ill. I didn't think much of it but the day after their swim my partner and son were both very ill. The illness lasted the rest of our stay and the week after we came home. I was recently informed that the pool had been closed for the entire week before our stay with no notice or announcement. I am wondering if there had been an outbreak of gastroenteritis and that is why they have been ill?
Would we go again?
We would! It was a great little getaway and we all had a wonderful time. We were very lucky to have good weather and it was lovely to be out in all that fresh air.