This year, I was fortunate enough to get the chance to take a holiday with one of my oldest and dearest friends. Being someone who lives for holidays I was very excited at the prospect of my first group family holiday.
Before becoming a mother, I loved city breaks. Wondering the streets in search of local food haunts and unique sights were the main things on my agenda. However, now I have 2 and a half-year old daughter who is energetic and impatient; this has slowly but surely led our traditional style of holidays in a different direction. The things I look for as a minimum now are destinations and experiences catering for families with young children and activities designed to amuse us all.
Bluestone was one of the destinations I’d always wanted to visit. I knew a few people who had visited in the past but (pity part moment) I’d never been invited and it seemed more like the kind of place to retreat with friends or extended family. It was really only a matter of time before I went along to the website to check it out for myself. The first thing that impressed me was the standard of the accommodation. There were lots of lodges to choose from, all well furnished and nicely set in the hills of Pembrokeshire. After looking at the prices and seeing that they were really quite reasonable outside the summer holidays it seemed like the perfect holiday to go with toddlers not yet in the main stream school system.
Fast forward to the Friday to Monday long weekend in Bluestone and I can honestly say that our contingency of 3 children (all under the age of 4) and 4 adults, found it thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable. Child-meltdowns and all, nothing could put a downer on the weekend. It’s rare that we get a heat wave here in the UK but we left the rain back in Cardiff and arrived to a blissful summer’s evening. The weather stayed bright and warm throughout the weekend and it only started to rain again the morning we were leaving.
Now on the top 5 reasons why Bluestone was my perfect family retreat:
1 Ice cream parlour
Joe’s ice cream + 2 toddlers = 4 blissfully happy parents and one chilled baby-bambino. Joe’s ice cream is a south-wales institution and sells the yummiest vanilla ice cream, and best of all, its Welsh!
2 Affordable food fit for even the most fussy toddlers
The prices for food and snacks were actually the same as they were in my local neighbourhood and for a bargain hunter like me, I was bowled over as it’s so often the case that once you enter a resort-type environment, and you’re hit by extortionate prices for all the essential things you need; no rip off merchants in sight!
3 Topsy turvy lodges.
We stayed in a Gateholm style lodge. the layout was topsy-turvy so the bedrooms were on the ground floor and the living area and kitchen was upstairs. The living, kitchen and dining area was open plan and we were able move all the furniture one side, giving the kids more room to play while we were indoors. I know it might sound a little obvious for people who live in open-plan homes but I’d never experienced being able to cook, socialise, and keep and eye on the kids all in one space. It was a relief as my husband and I are like nervous bunny rabbits on a constant lookout for Pumpkinella in our victorian style, long and narrow living space. She plays in one end of the room and I rush back and forth between the kitchen on the far end of the house to the living room at the other end.
4 Spa Day
Having paid additionally for use of the spa in the resort for each adult, I must say I was so impressed with the facilities that we found during our visit. We split the baby sitting so the girls went together and the boys then went after. As girls tend to do, we talked each other’s ears off and annoyed all the relaxed spa visitors wherever we went.
5 Toddler-friendly frolics
Need I say more? There was so much for the little ones to do it felt and it was all neatly contained across the complex.
6 The views-oh the views
Lovely peaceful paths take you all the way round Bluestone’s grounds. Everything is sign-posted so that you can only get lost if you’re me (not so easy for this city girl not used to so much nature in one go). The kids absolutely loved the freedom and space. As we were visiting during an off-peak time of the year, the complex was probably only around half full so it felt so open and peaceful.
7 Great nature trails to wonder through
There were so many nooks and crannies around either in the form of paths that led to the different activity areas or an area of woods where more adventurous activities also took place. It really does have everything for the family, even for big people like me ho never want to grow up.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures and are tempted to visit Bluestone, you won’t regret it.