top tips for holidaying in bluestone on a budget

I’ve published several posts on this blog about our holidays to Bluestone and how much we love it there. I am often met with responses along the lines of “oh it looks lovely, I wish we could afford to go”. Well my friends, the beauty is, you CAN afford to go, it is very easy to go to Bluestone on a budget.

Top Tips for Holidaying in Bluestone on a Budget

Timing is key

rainbow and blue skies over Bluestone Wales

As with all holidays timing is everything. You’re holidaying in Wales; do you really need to book it for the middle of the Summer? Chances are it will be raining then, as it will be in January, but you will pay a premium for that Summer rain. If your children aren’t in school yet you can make even more savings by going during term time. Our mid-week stay in a four bedroom lodge commencing on 31st Jan 2017 came to a grand total of £249. If you split this with another couple you are looking at less than £125 each. You may even get to see a rainbow and blue skies – who needs Summer?!

Eating in/out

coffee and cake in the coffee shop in bluestone

Bluestone lodges are self catering and they provide absolutely everything that you need to cook three decent meals a day in your lodge (and more if you want!). The nearest supermarket is quite a while away but the village store is well packed and could easily provide you with the ingredients for healthy meals for a week. Yes, the store is a little more expensive than your average supermarket, but it isn’t ridiculously so.

You will also be pleased to know that eating out isn’t as expensive as you may think. For example, you can grab an adult’s pizza for £7.95 in the Oak Tree restaurant.

I know we’re talking budget, but if your children fall asleep in the pushchair it’s rude not to treat yourself to a coffee and a cake at Tŷ Coffi, right?

Free entertainment

free entertainment at bluestone buzbee character

While there is plenty of fantastic, bookable entertainment at Bluestone for the little ones there is also plenty of free entertainment. During our stay we met and danced with several characters, watched the light show and spent many a night relaxing in the lodge with the TV and free wifi. Evening entertainment includes pub quizzes, bingo and live music.

Free activities

circus zone free soft play at bluestone

Activities is one thing that Bluestone is not short of, both paid and free activities are aplenty. Swimming in the Blue Lagoon is quite possibly the most popular and is free throughout your whole stay. There is also a fab soft play area for the little ones, an outdoor park, the adventure centre which has crazy golf, slides, a bouncy castle and so much more! If you are fancying something a little more chilled out you could join one of the free guided walks and take in the beautiful surroundings.

Yes, Bluestone can be expensive, but Bluestone on a budget is definitely possible too!

happy toddler with big smile bluestone on a budget blog post

Aria loved Bluestone on a budget and I’m sure that you will too!

*Disclosure – we received a complimentary midweek stay at Bluestone in exchange for blog coverage* 

Following our first ever family holiday to Bluestone Wales in 2015 we decided to take not one, but two holidays there throughout 2016, and I am going again on Monday – I think it is safe to say that Bluestone is fast becoming our favourite family friendly UK holiday resort.

Our favourite UK family holiday resort Bluestone Wales blog post photo with header text over - Ramsey Lodge with father and daughter walking away

The first visit to Bluestone in 2016 was a real family affair, we went along with Spencer’s parents and brother. We stayed in a Grassholm Lodge which was really quite lovely, and what we already knew from staying in one the previous year with my parents and sister. Our second visit came just before Christmas, as it was a complimentary stay for this blog review the offer came quite late, which meant that no one else was available to come with us, so off we went, just Spencer, Aria and I.

It was lovely to go away as a threesome and meant that we experienced a different style lodge, this time we stayed in a Ramsey Lodge, the home of upside down living. The Ramsey Lodge looks quite similar to the Grassholm Lodge from the outside, but appearances can certainly be deceiving! With this lodge you walk in through the front door to be greeted with two en-suite bedrooms, then you head upstairs to the kitchen/dining/living area. It took a little while to get used to, especially as we were bringing the pushchair in and out and little room in the porch area meant pushing it into the bedroom at times.

Anyway, I digress. Why is Bluestone my favourite UK family holiday destination I hear you ask. For one it holds a lot of special memories for us. Aria’s first ever holiday was at Bluestone, we celebrated my father-in-law’s seventieth birthday at Bluestone and Aria took some of her first steps at Bluestone (she actually took her first ever steps as we were about to leave the house to head to Bluestone, meaning that we arrived at Bluestone a lot later than planned, but she perfected her walking right there in Bluestone).

scenic mountain views at Bluestone Wales


Why do I think that Bluestone would be the perfect destination for your family holiday? Because they have everything there (well, not quite but almost!). They offer a wide range of activities suitable from babies right up to the older generation. They have a free swimming pool, an on-site spa, an on-site pub, golf buggy hire, soft play, an adventure centre and so much more.

We have stayed at Bluestone in April, October and December so have seen a wide range of seasonal activities. During the warmer months there are plenty of outdoor activities such as hunting for bugs, when it gets a little colder children can come indoors and enjoy messy play (very messy in Aria’s case) and crafts. At Christmas time the whole family can transform into elves and take part in a secret mission, and even go to visit Santa in his lodge, if you manage to wake him up of course.

Kingdom of the elves Christmas time at bluestone toddler sat on floor with red painted elf cheeks

Food wise there are plenty of choices on site. They have several eateries serving a wide variety of food, from pub grub right up to Italian/Wales fusion dining. One of my favourite places to eat has to be the Wildwood Cafe, purely because it is magically stunning. There is also a coffee shop on site serving the most delicious coffee and cakes, along with snacks and a village shop where you can pick up your own food and cook it yourself in the impressive kitchen in the lodge.

wildwood cafe in bluestone tree in middle of cafe with fairy lights - mother and daughter kissing

If that isn’t enough for you there is plenty to do off site. Just a short drive away from Bluestone you have several large attractions including Oakwood Theme Park, the stunning Tenby town and beach and Folly Farm.

As you can probably tell we love Bluestone – and I think that you would too!

*We received a complimentary stay at Bluestone in exchange for an honest review*

I’m hoping by now you aren’t fed up of seeing Bluestone related posts, this is the last one I promise! I’ve reviewed the lodge and told you exactly what we got up to on each day, today I am going to share my overall impressions of our holiday at Bluestone Wales.
Grassholm lodge at Bluestone Wales
If you are considering booking a holiday at Bluestone but aren’t quite sure, these are a few points to bear in mind.

  • While our lodge wasn’t too far away from anything some of them are, there are also quite a lot of steep hills around the place.
  • There is a free bus running throughout the resort at regular intervals.
  • You can also hire a golf buggy for the duration of your stay or just a day. If you do decide to book one I strongly recommend booking it in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Think about what you want to do during your stay and book in advance as things do get fully booked – the website is very easy to navigate making booking activities in advance simple.
  • The staff are very friendly and helpful.
  • Bluestone isn’t just for families, it would be perfect for a holiday with friends or a couples holiday too, read how Porcelina enjoyed her stay as part of a couples holiday.
  • The check in process is very easy, we checked in on-line to save time. When we arrived it was a drive through system, we simply gave our booking number at the window and were handed information leaflets, key cards, etc.
  • Check in at 4pm is too late for my liking, this combined with the early check out of 10am means that you pretty much lose two days.  That being said you can use the facilities at Bluestone before you check in and after you check out.
  • Aside from the noise created by us in the lodge it was very quiet, we didn’t hear any noise from our neighbours.
  • Despite it being fully booked while we were there it was quiet and not too busy anywhere, though phase three is currently being built so this may change.
  • After midnight on check in day the resort is completely car free, this is a great idea as you can let your children run around without worrying.
  • On check in we were handed an activity guide, this is a timetable of all of the activities taking place that week, both paid and free. This is a great idea and came in handy.
  • If you are wanting to go for walks you can pick up maps free of charge from the adventure centre, there are a variety including nature trials and geo caching.
  • The village shop stocks a wide variety of objects and isn’t as expensive as you may think, it is very convenient.
  • There is free wifi in the lodges and throughout the resort.

 

A gigantic fairy lit tree, a dragon’s egg, baby sensory and a beautiful sunset. Read on to find out what we got up to on day four of our stay at Bluestone Wales.

On our last day at Bluestone we decided to have a lazy morning followed by lunch at The Wildwood Cafe. We opted to take the scenic route to the adventure centre which is where the cafe is based, passing the Steep Ravine. I took a photo and walked on, that looks way too scary for my liking! 
The Wildwood Cafe was on my list of places to visit, I had seen several photos of this 20ft tree and really wanted to see it for myself. He was pretty impressive, as was the whole cafe. There were fairy lights a-plenty and various coloured lights shining in the room. Aria was quite mesmerised by all of the lights.
Apologies for the photo overload, it was such a photogenic place! 
I ordered the steak and onion sandwich, it came with crisps but I didn’t want those so ordered a bowl of chips on the side. Spencer ordered the burger. My sandwich was amazing, the onions were caramelised (they let me know this at the bar when ordering) and they were so nice. Spencer assured me that his burger was also very tasty despite not being the most aesthetically pleasing. He was disappointed that the bun was bigger than the burger and that there wasn’t an option to add cheese.
We had a little time to pass between the Sensory class that we had booked in for Aria and our lunch so decided to walk our lunch off. While out walking we stumbled across this giant dragon’s egg, we’re assuming that this is part of one of the bookable activities.
Still passing time Spencer had a play in the adventure centre, we then sat and had a drink while giggling at this sign. Bluestone seems to host many a funny sign.
We then took Aria to the Baby Sensory class that we had pre-booked. I don’t know much about sensory classes but was a little disappointed. I had expected the room to be darker with a lot more pretty, colourful lights. In reality there were a few fairy lights on the ceiling, a couple of flashing balls and two floating fish lamps in the corners of the room. The lights in the cafe were more impressive. Lighting aside Aria did seem to enjoy the class, she was very interested in watching the other babies. The one part of the class that I didn’t like was that they gave each baby a present to unwrap, once unwrapped they were allowed to play with it for a few minutes before it was taken back off them, Aria wasn’t bothered as she is too little to understand but the class was suitable for babies aged 0-13 months, some of the older babies were very upset when their present was taken off them, as I would be! 
We bought Aria an owl puppet from the Adventure Centre, I wanted to buy her a present from her first ever holiday. Back at the lodge Gracie and Olly had fun playing with the puppet, Aria wasn’t that impressed by it though! 
As it was our last night we all took a stroll down to The Knight’s Tafarn for a family meal.
I ordered the chicken goujon burger with cheese & garlic croutons, chips and coleslaw. It came back with mint mayo rather than coleslaw but I quite enjoyed this the last time I had it so didn’t complain. For pudding I had a delicious chocolate orange pot.  A few people had fish and chips and complained that the batter was too greasy. My sister was sick later in the evening, as was my mam earlier in the week following her sausage in batter. 
Much to Gracie’s delight we stopped at the Treetops Adventure playground on the way back to the lodge. I had the pushchair so didn’t enter the main part of the playground, there were steps and obstacles everywhere. I did go into the smaller part for a little bit but didn’t stay for long as Aria was restless and wanted to be moving constantly which isn’t ideal in a small park covered in wood chippings. 
This will be the last of my ‘what we did’ posts, check out was at 10am the following morning so we woke up, packed and left, after getting my last mocha and brownie from the bakery of course! (caramel shot this time). There will be one final Bluestone post which will be my overall impressions of the place so keep your eyes peeled for that.
It was quite fitting that I captured the sun setting on our final day at Bluestone.
Bluestone, you’ve been a blast, thanks for having us.

Bluestone Kingdom of the Elves

A walk in the wild, a cheeky duck, a picnic at a lake and a Welsh Italian. Carry on reading to discover what we got up to on day three of our stay at Bluestone Wales.
quirky sign in woods stop reading this sign and keep walking

girl with baby in wrap under yellow rain coat stood in woods
On day three we all went our separate ways. Spencer and I decided to ditch the pushchair and use the KangaWrap so that we could go on an adventure! With Aria safely tucked in under my bright new raincoat from Primark we headed to Camp Smokey to start our adventure.
camp smokey sign at bluestone wales
camp smokey bluestone wales barbecue with smoke rising into woods
Camp Smokey was a hub of excitement. There were people chilling and drinking beer while waiting for their freshly cooked barbecue food. It smelt amazing and killed me to carry on walking, but we had a picnic with us and had already made plans to finish our walk at the lake with said picnic so on we went.
person mid zip wire in woods
bluestone wales tree top activities
We watched people swinging from trees and having a great time, I was secretly very grateful to have Aria strapped to me and therefore an excuse not to get involved, I’m not the biggest fan of heights! It did look like a lot of fun and something that I was I had the guts to do.
pretty path through woods
Once away from the buzz of Camp Smokey we explored the woods and discovered some of the most beautiful, peaceful places.
straight row of trees edging woods
bluebells in woods
close up image of bluebells and buttercups
wild stream in woods
wig wam made of twigs in woods
into the wild activity at bluestone wales
We stumbled across these intriguing wig wams and signs which we assume are part of the ‘Into The Wild’ bookable activity.
wide eyed baby girl in mother's arms
Following all of this walking we were all a bit tired and hungry so stopped off at the lake for our picnic. Aria was the first to be fed, who could deny that face?
man bottle feeding baby at lake while having a picnic
When we eventually got around to eating our bagels the cheekiest ducks came so close to us that we thought they were going to steal them, thankfully a load of children appeared just after I took this photo and the ducks were more interested in them which meant that we could relax and eat our food without the fear of a duck stealing it from us!
close up image of a duck
girl standing with duck at lake
After the picnic we headed off to the lodge for a couple of hours, with a bakery stop in between of course, that day I had an orange shot in my mocha which was amazing.
While back at the lodge and reunited with my cardigan (the strangest thing happened, I lost my plain old cream cardigan while we were out walking, my parents later went out for a walk, they didn’t know that I had lost my cardigan but my mam found one on the floor and was convinced that it belonged to me, she picked it up and it smelt like baby which convinced her further, and, as luck would have it, it was mine!) we convinced my parents to look after Aria that evening so that Spencer and I could go out. We were both itching to eat at the Oak Tree Restaurant. The Oak Tree Restaurant is an Italian inspired restaurant that uses all Welsh ingredients.
salmon at the Oak Tree restaurant bluestone wales
crab risotto with pan fried cod and kale in rich tomato sauce at oak tree restaurant bluestone wales
chocolate fondant with glazed banana and roasted hazelnuts at oak tree restaurant bluestone wales
Spencer had Salmon from the specials board, I had the brown crab risotto and pan fried cod with tomato sauce and kale. We both chose the pudding from the specials board which was a chocolate fondant cake, roasted hazelnuts, glazed banana and vanilla ice cream, it was pretty amazing.
As well as serving high quality, delicious food the restaurant had a lovely atmosphere, the staff were very polite and formal but the atmosphere remained relaxed.