We LOVE Bluestone and have been going since Matilda was 6 months old and so we wanted to share some of our stay and tips for making it cheaper and to get more out of your stay!
For those of you who do not know what or where Bluestone is, its is a holiday park in a lovely party of Pembrokeshire in South-West Wales. Its a all weather resort, with an indoor activity pool, indoor activity centre, woodlands, outdoor activities lake and the new for 2019 huge umbrella covered area Seren Dome which has activities, food places, bar, free play areas and an amphitheater. I wont go into it too much as I have added a link at the bottom of the blog which takes you to the website with all their information.
So I will get straight to our hints and tips:
- RENT A GOLF BUGGY AND DO IT BEFORE YOU GET THERE! Do not think your stay will be fine without one...we went on a number of occasions thinking we were the clever ones not spending out on hiring a buggy to get around the resort......WRONG..COMPLETELY WRONG...there was me lugging the children and all our swimming stuff and bags up the hills to the pool or activity centre..carrying the toddler when she could go no further and then once we had finished the activity spending out on lunch or snacks at the cafes as they were starving (NOTE: THE FOOD IS EXPENSIVE) and then there are these families jetting past me with all their bags on the buggy, kids laughing and waving......I started to realise they knew something I didn't, so the next stay we hired a buggy for the last day - and OMG how silly we had been - you can literally get all around the park in minutes!!! You can pop up to the pool and then get your tired children and pop home and grab snacks, you can pop on the buggy and go explore and not have to stop every few minutes for a rest and have to heave around packed lunches with you everywhere, as you can literally jump on and get back to your base in minutes! For our first few stays, we had to plan activities and the day around how long it would take us to get from A to B but with the buggy you can fit more in and do more and spend less! So yes the cost of the buggy was £90 for the week - but this saved me literally £100s in food and snacks, and saved us from not seeing and doing everything with a toddler and baby in tow! We could book the girls into activities at almost the same time and pop one to one place and one to the other....basically if you do not hire a buggy you will regret it!
- TAKE YOUR OWN FOOD AND DRINKS! As already mentioned the food in the cafes in the pool, village, activity centres, serendome and pub (drinks are normal priced) are expensive - to be honest everytime we go I have been a little annoyed at the price of the food and how it isn't very good...but as I am on holiday I did not want to cook or make lunches and spend time getting to and from the lodge whenever we all needed food, however, renting a buggy changed all of this! It meant we could take all our own food for lunches and some of the evenings and pop back quickly when we needed to fuel up and also with the buggy it was easy to transport snacks and drinks for the children wherever we wanted to go! Literally this will save you £100s of pounds again. So if you haven't booked before, buggy hire and own food - saves you loads!
- EAT OUT TOO BUT PLAN IT - Of course you are on holiday so you dont want to be cooking everything all week! Our recommendations would be the pizza restaurant (they do eat in and take out) which are really nice and they do offers during the week but make sure you know which day they are on. And the main restaurant The Farmhouse Bar and Grill is nice for a family meal out. You are meant to book but if you are out of season then you can normally walk in. The pizza restaurant also does breakfast which is really nice, so plan in a breakfast during your stay too! So I would plan the number of times you want to eat out and where, I promise it will save you money. We spent £400 less than we would normally this holiday by not having to purchase snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinners each day! (all comes back to having the buggy and own food at the lodge lol - I have mentioned this before havent I) We had some wonderful customer service when Matilda became overwhelmed and wanted to be on her own in a quiet corner of the Farmhouse Grill, one of the servers asked her to come and help her and let her lay all the tables with her and sat talking to her while we finished our dinner! I have to say Im not a fan of the fish and chip van there or the food in the pub (unless its cheesy chips) but the atmosphere of it being family friendly and the other guests make it a nice place for a drink and a snack.
- VISIT CAMP SMOKEY - Make sure you take a walk into the woods and visit camp smokey as often as you can and roast marshmallows and explore the woods and play in the streams and if you can go down to the party they have during peak seasons as its a great place to chill and is something a bit different
- BUY WET WEATHER GEAR - We haven't normally taken wet weather gear for all of us before, but this year the forecast said rain all week! We were lucky it did in fact not rain all week but it was wet and muddy and you know what, not even the hubby cared, we all had wellies and water proofs and we splashed in the rain and the mud and went on scarecrow hunts in the rain on the buggy and loved it! We have them for January when we go again for the fairylights in the woods! We did not get expensive stuff and it did the job!
- PLAN YOUR ACTIVITIES - the activities can range from £4 to £31 for the children so have a look at what is suitable for their ages before you go, also double check on some of the activities if you need a paying adult to do it too - for example the tree top high ropes you need to be 10 plus BUT an adult also has to get up there with them and pay to do it too! (and if your anything like me with heights that is not happening) Agree with the children what activities they will probably do and if you can, book before you go if your going within school holiday times as they get booked up and you will be disappointed that there is no space when you actually get there. We have not booked when we go in term time and haven't really ever had a problem with any activity being fully booked.
- GO SWIMMING! Its free and its a nice pool for all ages to have fun in. Take advantage of the guest only swim times if you are going in the school holidays as it does open to the public during the days, and go later on the in the day in the winter months so its exciting for the children to go outside on the lazy river in the dark!
- VISIT FOLLY FARM - it is not far away and its a great day out if you have not been before! Best on a dry day but there is plenty to do if it is wet.
- IF SOMETHING IS WRONG - TELL THE STAFF - If there is something wrong in the lodge you are staying in let them know. They are great at customer service and will always try to resolve it for you.
- TAKE MORE PEOPLE WITH YOU If you can take grandparents, aunties, or any family or friends you can, its just one of those places that you can all relax together and enjoy time. We went with my mum and dad and although my dad is quite poorly I think he managed to enjoy his time with us all and he even came down to camp smokey with us...and I even got to have two hours in the spa all by myself...no kids, no work, no phone and just my book and a seaweed spa session...if you do have family with you, then I defo recommend checking out the deals in the spa!!! Literally when you go you will see majority of people are there in group, dont get me wrong we have been on our own plenty of times with just the children, but it is great to share this sort of place with family and friends xx
We have been going to Bluestone for the last four years and always return once or twice a year. We like it because it is relaxed, quiet, completely family friendly, close to nature with lots to do and above all affordable to stay there. We tend to receive early bird offers and go outside of the school holidays which makes it even more affordable, and if you go once and want to go back you can get a discount booking your next stay straight away. Once you have been on holiday there you also get early bird emails around August for the next year, which meant we got to book a trip in January for only £200 Monday - Friday and as a family of five we rarely find any breaks for for this amount!
If you want to check out all Bluestone has to offer check out their site here: https://www.bluestonewales.com/