Thinking of booking a holiday? Read my Bluestone Wales review to find out how we enjoyed our stay. From the Blue Lagoon water park to the activity centre and staying in an all mod cons log cabin – there’s a lot of free range fun to be had at Bluestones on the stunning Pembrokeshire coast.
Last weekend we spent a wonderful weekend at Bluestone Wales in Pembrokeshire. From cycling and swimming to exploring and making daisy chains, we had loads of family free range fun. The weather was absolutely sensational, particularly for May! The sun blazed above us with just a few wispy clouds. The sun sparkled through the towering trees as the chattering birds sang to us.
I’m originally from Canada, and my heart strings were immediately tugged as I saw the log cabins and tall evergreens. Having lived in the UK for decades, I don’t often get nostalgic for my homeland. But with that stunning forest outside every window, I just stood and gazed at it endlessly. Being spring, the forest floor was littered with carpet of bluebells. I was enchanted from the moment we arrived.
It’s outdoor living, with all mod cons. No hardship or making do, just fun from morning until night.
Being a friendly and car-free zone, it felt safe and easy. The kids could run out the door of the lodge and hop onto the bikes to cycle around our little road. They could go out of immediate eyesight and explore. For the whole weekend, they had a freedom that town-living and modern anxieties don’t usually allow them. And man, that was wonderful.
What is Bluestone Wales?
Bluestone is a 5-star holiday park resort in set in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Wales. Bluestone opened in 2008 as an all-weather free-range lodge and cottage park for the whole family. It has outdoor, adventure, spa, waterpark and activities to keep all ages entertained. It’s similar to Centre Parcs if you’re familiar with those!
Set within 500 acres of stunning coastal countryside, Bluestone is a sprawling resort, complete with a lake, mini village and loads of activities. Amenities include an indoor water park, indoor and outdoor play areas, and a zip wire park, spa and entertainment stage at the Village Hall.
Although all the lodges and cottages are self catering, there are restaurants, cafes and even a pub. There’s also a surprisingly well-stocked convenience store.
The village area is in the middle of the site, next to a lake and woodland walks. The accommodation is set out in cul-de-sac groups in the surrounding gentle hills. They’re all colour coded so you can find your way around. The car park is just beyond the housing and is near the indoor adventure centre and water park.
It takes about 10-15 minutes to walk across the whole site, so not far (but you can hire golf buggies if you’d like).
The village has a great play park, bandstand, treehouse play area and toddler play area. There’s an off license, convenience store and a few shops. There’s also a Farmhouse Bar and Grill, coffee shop, ice cream parlour, chippy, Oak Tree restaurant, Knights Tafarn pub and more.
There’s a Wellness Spa where you can book treatments and a Village Hall with shows.
Bluestone Wales – What you need to know
- It’s a car-free zone.
- After the drive through check in, drive to your lodge to unload, then park in the car park.
- On the last day you fetch the car, load up and drive off.
- The site is pretty big, but you can hire bikes or golf buggies to get around a bit easier.
- There is a convenience store on site. The prices are, expectedly, slightly higher than a supermarket, but not too eye-watering. I was surprised to see a good selection of veggie, vegan and gluten free products. Still, it’s best to shop before you arrive and bring food with you. But it’s great for emergencies.
- No food or takeaway deliveries are allowed onto the site.
- There are restaurants, cafes and even a ye olde worldy-esque pub.
- There’s a Tesco not far from the site so you could stop there first, or do a collection shop and pick it up before arriving.
- Only assistance dogs are allowed.
- You can bring a small portable charcoal barbecue, but no gas allowed.
- Check out is quick – just drive out and drop your car tag and lodge keys into the box.
- You can any time arrive after check in as the drive through entry is open 24 hours.
- You can bring or hire bikes, or hire a golf buggy, but it only takes up to 10 minutes or so to walk between areas. Though it is hilly.
- The public is allowed to pay to go to the water park after 11am. It was off season when we went but it could get busier after this time during high season.
- Find out more at Bluestone.
Accommodation at Bluestone Wales
We stayed in a two bedroom Caldey Lodge log cabin. It had the most magnificent views of forest out of every window. Although we had another lodge next door, it was perfectly quiet and we woke to the glorious dawn chorus every morning. Outside was a picnic table and bike racks – great as we had brought the kids’ bikes and hired them for the grown ups.
They have a variety of types of accommodation and you can book for 2 – 14 people. The lodges are dotted around and aren’t too close together. You could also opt to stay in a cottage right in the village – though I much preferred the tranquility of staying on the hills. It was only a few minutes walk into the village and was much more peaceful.
The living area was comfortable and had everything we needed in our home from home. It all felt quite new and was in great condition. Everything was immaculate, but functional and durable so we didn’t have to worry about grubby hands making a mess. I’ve taken the kids on holiday before only to be met by the horror that is white fabric sofas, so it was great not to have to worry about the wipe clean ones at Bluestone!
The open plan dining area, kitchen and living room were all very spacious and it had a tall pitched ceiling adding to the airiness. There was a television with freeview and a DVD player. If you want to bring your Netflix or games console, you may wish to upgrade from the free wifi to premium.
The kitchen is equipped with microwave, cooker, kettle, toaster, cutlery, wine glasses crockery etc… There’s even toast rack, French coffee maker and egg cups.
There’s a corkscrew, veg peeler, knives, scissors and most other essentials. The pots and pans are stainless steel. A set of child friendly plastic dishes are there as well, plus one high chair. If it’s nice out you can even use a portable or disposable charcoal barbecue outside on the picnic table.
There’s a master double bedroom and a twin room. They’re all comfy and have everything you need, from a mirror and chest of drawers, to bedside tables and lamps and wardrobes with hangers. There is central heating and blackout curtains. All bed linen and towels for use in the lodge are supplied, along with hand soap and one toilet roll.
Our bathroom was a wet room with a surprisingly powerful shower. The heated towel rail was perfect for drying our swimming costumes, ready for the next dip in the pool. There’s also a pull out drying line in the bathroom.
Bluestone – What to bring
The kitchen welcome pack had everything above, so there’s no need to pack washing up liquid etc.. We found there to be plenty, but if you need more dishwasher tablets, the shop sells them in singles for 40p, so don’t worry about packing any.
The lodge has all bedding, towels and hand soap (which comes from a local charity supporting adults with learning difficulties), as well as a hair dryer and iron, and a travel cot. You’ll need to pack your own beach towels to take to the Blue Lagoon pool.
I’d suggest bringing a throw. Although the weather was warm for May, we didn’t want to crank up the central heating, though we would have liked a blanket to snuggle under on the sofa in the evening instead of using the duvets. It’s also useful for picnics in the grass.
There’s a stand for disposable barbecues. You can buy them at the shop (about £4) or bring your own small portable charcoal barbecue.
Bring food and drink. There’s an under counter fridge with a small freezer section.
The bathroom has a pull out drying rail, though you’ll likely need to bring clothes pegs to use it. We dried clothes on the heated towel rail.
Then of course clothes, wellies and waterproofs.
Things to do at Bluestone
Blue Lagoon Water Park
Included when you book Bluestone is unlimited entry to the amazing Blue Lagoon water park. It’s a massive pool with a ‘lazy river’ to float around, waves and water slides. We spent hours and hours there, swimming, splashing, sliding and having a ball. There are separate sections for the tiny babies, and you walk in on a gradual beach-like slope so it’s only an inch deep to start.
Listen out for the sirens that signal the wave machine is about to be turned on! Either move to the shallows or get ready to jump the waves! It was great fun.
There are family changing rooms, lockers (bring a £1 coin) and hair dryers.
Bluestone Adventure Centre
The large adventure centre is packed with fun for kids, with sofas for the grownups to chill out on. There’s mini golf, climbing wall, arcades, soft play, adventure . There’s also a restaurant/cafe/bar upstairs for sustenance.
The weather was so amazing that we didn’t actually end up spending that much time at the Bluestone Adventure Centre, but it had a lot to do in it to keep the little ones entertained. I’m sure it comes into its own on rainy days.
Bookable Activities at Bluestone Wales
After you book your holiday at Bluestone, you’ll be prompted with a few emails asking if you want to book extra activities. There’s lots to do there included in the price (like the Blue Lagoon water park and Adventure Centre, as well as a guided walk, parade, pub quiz and live music ), but if you do want to do one of these extras, then apparently they book up fast so it is advised to prebook them.
You can book paid for activities including a dinner show, willow workshop, sky trail, climbing wall, archery, laser clay, kayaking and more.
We brought the kids’ bikes, but hired two adult bikes, plus a tag along bike attachment since my son is only learning to cycle. Well there was so much opportunity to cycle around that he mastered his bike on the first day and we didn’t need the tag!
The site is hilly, which didn’t bother us at all, but lots of people hired golf buggies to get around. We didn’t feel the need to get one at all, but I can see how they would be useful if anyone in your party isn’t quite so mobile or the weather was wet and you didn’t fancy walking between activities.
We paid in advance for the kids to go to the 4×4 Off Road Ranger driving school. They absolutely loved driving their little electric cars around the track and taking their driving test. They joined a few other kids, were told how to drive the cars and quickly set off going around the track and through puddles. There was so much concentration on their little faces and my son was particularly excited by having indicators!
I’d say this was great value and loads of fun. They were even given little driving licenses at the end to take home.
Upon prompting, we also booked for lunch at the stunning oasis in the forest, Camp Smokey, paying a £20 deposit against our meal. However, we needn’t have bothered. I had been under the impression that you needed to book in order to go to Camp Smokey, but that’s not the case. You can stop in at any time and eat, have a drink, wander about or toast marshmallows. It’s a US-style charming wooden restaurant/bar/picnic area.
Booking meant we had to be there at a certain time, which was restricting. The place was never packed and we would have gotten a seat at any time. We weren’t impressed by the food and my vegetable chilli was so spicy I couldn’t even eat it. But I loved the atmosphere at Camp Smokey. The smell of woodsmoke in a large burner for kids to toast marshmallows in permeated the crisp forest air.
We did really like it there, but instead I’d suggest visiting for a drink at the fully equipped bar and buying the kids a few marshmallows to toast. If you want to eat there, there isn’t a need to pre-book and you can turn up whenever suits you. We kept gravitating to Camp Smokey after cycle rides and forest walks.
We loved the freedom to roam and explore. The park felt safe and secure, quiet and peaceful. Having no cars meant we didn’t have to worry about the kids running around, cycling and scooting. Our days were full, but we were never rushed. We each took turns choosing the next activity to do and we just enjoyed spending days of wonder and excitement together.
Bluestone, we loved you. We’ll be back.
On the way home, we took the very short 20 minute detour to find paradise (aka Barafundle Bay). We checked out of Bluestone and had a picnic lunch on the most magical secluded beach.
Powdery white sands met the crystal clear sea. We were pretty much the only people there and it was an enchanting few hours of splashing in the sea. Drive to the Stackpole Quay National Trust Car Park (£5 all day)[not the further Stackpole Court car park] and walk 10 minutes to paradise. It’s worth it, trust me. After all that free range fun and sea air, the kids slept for two of the four hours it took us to drive home.
Disclosure: We were guests of Bluestone in Wales. All opinions are our own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make it possible for me to be a UK travel blogger and food blogger.