Earlier this month we packed up our car and drove for 5 hours to Pembrokeshire. Bluestone National Park Resort in Wales had invited us for an early Christmas break and to visit their 2016 Christmas experience Kingdom of the Elves.
A review of Bluestone National Park Resort
This is my first post about our winter holiday at Bluestone. I thought that I would begin by sharing a review of the accommodation, the resort itself and our visit to the Kingdom of the Elves. In a few days time I will share another post about what we got up to at Bluestone (it rained almost non-stop when we were there and so we spent the majority of our time on site). And I have also produced a little video of our break which features a short tour of our lodge.
Check in and arrival
We arrived at Bluestone at 17.30 in the evening. It was dark, cold, wet and windy. The beautiful sunshine disappeared shortly after we had crossed the Severn Bridge.
Bluestone has an amazing and quick drive thru check in. And in less than 10 minutes we were ready to drive to our lodge and unpack.
Finding our lodge was a little trickier than expected. It was hard to read the map and the road signs in the dark. So we missed the turning to our lodge and had to continue on Bluestone’s one way system until we could take the right turning.
My parents (who were staying with us) were following us in their car. They got lost. They didn’t know which lodge we were staying in and none of our phones had any reception.
When we arrived at our lodge there was still no sign of my parents and I started to panic. And then Mr H uttered the words:
“Honey, your parents have been returned by the authorities.”
My parents had very sensibly driven back to the Arrival Lodge to ask for help. And some kind folk from the security team had accompanied them to our lodge.
Once the car was unpacked Mr H and my Dad drove to the main car park.
One of the things I loved most about Bluestone is that it is car free. You can park in front of your lodge to unload and to pack before leaving. But during the rest of your stay the car is kept in the main car park near the entrance to the resort.
You can hire bikes or gulf buggies to get around. However, we decided to give the gulf buggy a miss as we were looking forward to wandering around and getting some fresh air.
Our accommodation for the week at Bluestone was a Skomer Lodge and our address was 24 Carn Menyn.
The Skomer sleeps 6 people and has 3 bedrooms. It has one twin bedroom downstairs and then another twin and a double room upstairs. Both of the upstairs bedrooms have en suites with showers. Whereas the twin bedroom downstairs is next to the bathroom. This bathroom has a huge bath and open shower (we often used it to dry our wet clothes).
There was a travel cot and a high chair provided and there were fitted stair gates at the top and the bottom of the stair case. Just a word of warning – the mattress on the travel cot is very thin and Little Mister H slept terribly on our first night at Bluestone. On the next night we put a couple of blankets under the mattress to pad it out and he slept much better.
There were fresh towels on all the beds and a supply of extra blankets and pillows. Although, we are a family who likes to sleep on 2 pillows so we could probably have done with more.
Our bedroom had a large window that opened onto a Juliet balcony and it was lovely to look out and see the beautiful autumn leaves on the trees. I imagine that the lodges by the lake have the most wonderful views from their windows.
Our room had a safe for any valuables. There was also lots of space in wardrobes and chests of drawers for clothes and Little Miss H had great fun putting her clothes into the big wooden wardrobe in her bedroom. She also loved to walk in and out of the shower in her en suite.
The kitchen had all the pots, pans, crockery and cutlery we could need. There was also a microwave, a kettle, a toaster, a fridge freezer, an oven, an hob and a dishwasher. Bluestone provides a small cleaning pack which has some washing up liquid, 2 dishwasher tablets, a cloth and some bin bags.
The living room, dining room and kitchen are open plan and you can look into the living room from the balcony above (we had to warn Little Miss H not to climb on the banisters). The living room is equipped with a DVD player and a TV and has a large double door which opens onto a little picnic area.
Upstairs there is another little TV area with a bean bag. The Bluestone website describes this as a cwtch area for the children. Little Miss H was often found hiding up there with her My Little Ponies and watching CBeebies. She loved it and I thought that this little kiddies den was a lovely idea. It was also very practical as she would happily play there while the adults did boring chores like make dinner or tidy up.
Our Skomer Lodge was perfect. There was so much room and the lodge is furnished really nicely. It was also perfectly clean and well maintained. And although spacious the lodge still felt warm and cosy.
My only quibble was that we struggled to find information on how to use the oven and heating. So on our first night it took us a long time to cook dinner and we had to have a play with the thermostat before we were happy that the heating was working. A file containing the instructions to the appliances in the lodge would have been helpful.
Bluestone National Park Resort is beautiful. The grounds are stunning and brilliantly maintained. As it is car free it is quiet, peaceful and relaxed.
I loved the atmosphere of the Village. It did just feel like you were walking into a quaint little Welsh village complete with a local store, a pub and a Village Hall.
Mr H and I went out one night for a meal at The Oak Tree Restaurant. Sadly, it was disappointing.
It didn’t really feel like a proper restaurant and the food wasn’t great. Mr H didn’t enjoy his meal. And although my lamb was cooked perfectly the rest of the dish was a random selection of ingredients that didn’t fit together. This was a shame as it wasn’t cheap. However, all the staff were friendly and I did enjoy a glass of prosecco.
On our last night, we got fish and chips from the Chippy. I thought having a fish and chip take away on site was a great idea. And I did enjoy my battered sausage and chips.
Apart from the disappointing meal, I thought that all the other facilities in the Resort were fantastic. Little Miss H especially loved the Treehouse Play Area, the Treetots Toddler Play Area and the bouncy castle at The Adventure Centre. In fact, the only way we could get her away from the bouncy castle was with the promise of cake.
There was so much to do on site. And my next post will be about all the amazing activities you can enjoy at Bluestone.
Kingdom of the Elves
At Christmas time one of these activities is the Kingdom of the Elves. And on Tuesday we went to help rescue Rudolph and save Christmas.
When we were invited to review the Kingdom of the Elves at Bluestone I was a little worried. Little Miss H doesn’t have the greatest track record with these types of experiences. Last year, Breakfast with Santa turned into breakfast with Mummy and Daddy with Santa in the nearby vicinity.
When we arrived for our visit to The Kingdom of the Elves we were greeted by a friendly elf who took our name. She also asked if any of us wanted rosy cheeks or a rosy nose.
As I love to get involved in this type of activity I opted for the rosy cheeks. Little Miss H flatly refused to have either her cheeks or her nose painted. It looked like we were going to have a repeat of the Breakfast with Santa incident.
But when we started on our mission with Chief Scout Elf to find the missing Rudolph Little Miss H began to relax. She held her Daddy’s hand for a while. But eventually she found the other children’s enthusiasm contagious and she seemed to be enjoying herself.
In Mission Control, Little Miss and the other children were given an invisibility cloak and a magic cuff. I thought that this was a lovely touch. The cloak and cuff are now kept in Little Miss H’s dressing up box and are often pulled out when she is pretending to be a super hero.
After mission control we went through a series of rooms while on our mission to find Rudolph. Little Miss enjoyed helping Elf Mucker tidy up The Barn which had been left in a mess. And I enjoyed the boozy chocolate reindeer droppings that were distributed to the adults.
The Musical Mountain was also a success as Little Miss thought it looked like an iceberg from the Octonauts. And she happily climbed it with Chief Scout Elf. But then she began to get scared.
In the next room, Elf Hocus Pocus was found lying on the floor asleep. Little Miss didn’t like this as she was worried that the elf was hurt. She started crying and went to hide in the previous room with Mr H.
But then Elf Hocus Pocus noticed that Little Miss was scared. She went up to her and gave her a sweet and a hug. She then took her hand and involved her as much as possible.
I was so impressed. The girl playing Elf Hocus Pocus could have easily left Little Miss H. But she took the trouble to comfort her and make a fuss of her. It was brilliant.
It was such a shame that Little Miss H didn’t enjoy Kingdom of the Elves more. Because all the rooms were lovely and I thought that the Christmas Dust Workshop was beautiful.
All the actors involved were enthusiastic and made the experience magical. And Elf Hocus Pocus who was very kind to Little Miss H when she was upset.
Unfortunately Little Miss does get scared by this type of event. But all the other children loved it. And there were even some in our group who had helped to rescue Rudolph before.
Did we love our trip to Bluestone National Park Resort?
Yes, we did. Despite the awful weather, we had a lovely few days at Bluestone Wales. The Resort is beautiful and it looks especially lovely all decked out for Christmas.
There is so much to do on site that you never have a moment to be bored. And Little Miss H had a wonderful time and was quite upset when we left to come home.
I would love to visit Bluestone in the summer. There are so many more activities available in the summer months. And I particularly love the sound of a trip to Camp Smokey.
They had me at roasting marshmallows around a campfire.
Have you ever stayed at Bluestone National Park Resort? Did you love it as much as we did?
Make sure you pop back to read about all the rainy day activities at Bluestone and to watch the video of our holiday.
Disclaimer: We were given a complimentary stay at Bluestone National Park Resort and tickets to Kingdom of the Elves for the purposes of this review. But as always all words, images and opinions are 100% honest and entirely my own.