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After our honeymoon in the Bahamas last year, and with a three night trip to Amsterdam planned for September, my husband and I decided that we would look more locally for a holiday this year. I had thought about going to stay in a cottage in Cornwall or Wales. I’ve been to both before – Wales when I was a child, and Cornwall both when I was younger and more recently – but not since my love for walking really took off. So when Bluestone Wales got in touch and offered us a trip as part of their blogger programme I couldn’t have said yes quicker!

We were offered a lodge in the resort for four nights so we chose a date in May, which happened to coincide with my husband’s birthday, and got packing.

Bluestone Wales

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The Resort

Bluestone Wales is a luxury holiday park located in the Pembrokeshire National Park. The drive from the London area couldn’t have been easier – we just picked up the M4 all the way into Wales and then followed the A48, into the A40 and straight down into Bluestone. The park operates a no-car policy, meaning you park up near your lodge on the day of arrival and drop your bags, then you take your car back to the entrance where there is a free long-stay car park. You can then choose to walk everywhere within the resort (perfectly do-able at about half a mile from one side to the other) bring your own bikes, or hire bikes or a golf buggy for the duration of your stay. We chose to hire a golf buggy, purely for the novelty factor!

On site is a village “corner shop”, a gift shop, bookings office (for restaurants, spa and activities), two restaurants, a pub, a cafe, fish and chip van and a spa. There’s even a little dairy vending machine stocked with milk and Welsh cheese in case you have need a midnight cuppa and a snack! On the boundaries of the site are Camp Smokey (which has activities and a smokehouse/barbecue and bar), the Tournament Field (more activities), the Adventure Centre (yet more activities) and Blue Lagoon (a swimming pool complete with lazy river and slides). There’s also a nature trail, lake, and plenty of green space. Also just off site is the Oakwood Theme Park – you can see the tops of the rides from the Adventure Centre!

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The Lodge

The lodges are all wood constructions, Scandinavian in feel. There are a few different sizes and styles to choose from, or you can stay in a cottage in the Village centre if you want to be closer to the action. We stayed in a Ramsey Lodge, which features unique upside down living (the living room and kitchen upstairs, while the bedrooms and bathrooms are downstairs), perfect for couples with its one double and one twin room, both with en suites.

Before you leave for your holiday you can pre-book packages for your arrival, like flowers, champagne, etc. I pre-booked a birthday cake and balloons for my husband and couldn’t have been happier with what was waiting for us!

The lodge was clean and spacious, with modern bathrooms and kitchen, plus all the utensils you’d need. We brought certain items with us – kitchen paper, toilet roll, oil for cooking, etc. You get a welcome pack when you arrive, which has two spare bin bags (one for recycling, one for waste), a small bottle of washing up liquid (enough for a few days) a washing up sponge, cloth and a couple of dishwasher tablets. You also get one toilet roll in each bathroom. I’d recommend bringing spares with you, but you can buy pretty much everything you’d need in the village shop.

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Eating Out

Of course this topic would be next! We chose to book our restaurant visits on our first night to avoid disappointment. The Oak Tree Italian restaurant is quite small so can get booked up pretty sharpish! We booked the Farmhouse Grill for the Tuesday night (my husband’s birthday) and the Oak Tree for the Thursday night (our final evening). 

  • On the Monday night (our arrival) we ate at the pub, which served up really nice pub grub, and on the Wednesday evening we had fish and chips from the chippy! I had ham, egg and chips with a watercress salad, which was really tasty and went down a treat after a long drive.
  • The Farmhouse Grill does exactly what it says on the tin… really nice steak and burgers! The chips are something else and I would be happy just sticking my face in a bowl, and they also offer lobster as a side to your steak (unfortunately they were all out when we ordered, but I had prawns instead!).
  • The fish and chip van was great – they have everything you’d expect of a chippy: choices of battered fish, sausage in batter, pies, mushy peas, curry sauce… I chose cod, chips and curry sauce (yes, I know – weirdo!). Needless to say, I ate a lot of chips on this holiday! I have to admit, I preferred the chips from the pub and Grill House to the fish-shop chips, but they were still really good.
  • The Italian was a lovely final meal. We started with a bread board, and then I chose a braised lamb main, which was melt-in-the-mouth good. Unfortunately my husband’s order got mixed up and he had to wait a while for his food, but that shows that it’s all freshly cooked and they couldn’t have been more apologetic and took the cost off the bill at the end.
  • Smokey Joe’s is the smokehouse and barbecue at Camp Smokey. It’s open during lunch hours and into the early afternoon. We went down there on the Thursday lunchtime and had south American style piggy dogs and chilli burgers. This was a real treat after a nice long walk! I also had to have smores afterwards which you can heat over the fire pit – purely for the experience of course!

For most breakfasts and lunches, we just bought groceries from the village shop and ate in the lodge or on the go, except for our last day where we had breakfast at the Ty Coffi. They offer some fairly basic but good breakfasts with grilled sandwiches, muffins, yoghurts, pastries and fruit. They also have ice cream and cakes on offer… which looked amazing but unfortunately we didn’t try. Definitely next time!

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Activities

We booked the trip as an exploration holiday, planning to walk most days, so picked up a map from the booking office and set our own routes. But one activity we did decide to do was archery. Unfortunately my husband really badly broke his wrist about seven weeks before the holiday so was unable to take part, but the rest of us took up our bows and arrows and got to shooting. The instructor took the hour-long session really well, giving us games to play to practice our accuracy and precision. I was fairly middle of the road the whole way through, until the final game where I won a single arrow draw.

We took a few lovely long walks, including one around the perimeter of the resort and past Blackpool Mill and through Minwear woods. We also did a lovely route through Camp Smokey and up towards the Nature Trail. On walking around we spied many other activities that we’d like to try next time we go (we’re already talking about going back!). For example, the high wires, tree top adventure, wall climbing, more archery, some kayaking and probably a dip in the pool. We might take our mountain bikes next time too, and who knows… maybe even pop into the spa for a treatment or two. There’s definitely something for everyone!

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Local Area

On our last day we decided to drive to some local sites after checking out of the resort. Our lovely waitress at the Farmhouse Grill on Tuesday (Carol) told us about a beautiful local bay called Barafundle Bay, so we put that first on our list, and then we headed down to Tenby shortly after.

Barafundle Bay is a gorgeous private bay, about 30 minutes’ drive from Bluestone, with soft sands and the cold Atlantic sea. It’s about a half mile walk from Stackpole Quay, and is owned and maintained by the National Trust. The walk was spectacular and well worth the £5 to park (free for National Trust members… we just haven’t renewed yet!). There were a few really large jellyfish washed up on the bay – sadly dead, but amazing all the same. The scenery really was stunning.

Tenby is a lovely little fishing town, again about 30 minutes from Bluestone. The town is steeped in history with a walled shopping street. As you walk down towards the harbour It’s almost like a little peninsula – the bays just seem never ending! All the buildings along the sea front have the most gorgeous pastel colours, it really is a site to be seen! You can walk around Castle Hill and see St Catherine’s Island and Fort from the shore. There’s also a lifeboat station where you can walk in and see the lifeboat being worked on. We had a lovely lunch at a pub called Cube, but there’s also a cafe called the Fat Seagull where you can get “XXL” scones for a tasty cream tea. We spent a while looking for traditional Welsh gifts for family, but eventually found a lovely little gift shop called Cwm Deri Vineyard and Estate up Upper Frog Street where you can pick up Welsh beer, Welsh cakes, fudge, crackers, jam, pate, etc.

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Final Thoughts

We loved our little trip to Bluestone Wales and will definitely be going back. It will also be going on the list of places to go when we have kids as there’s just so much for them to do as well. The only thing I can compare it to is Centerparcs, because of the forest park feel to it, but from what I’ve heard Centerparcs is very expensive on the activities, and also heavily branded. This had none of that feel to it – all the shops and eating places were original to Bluestone (not a Starbucks in sight!) and the activities were really reasonable.

The only negatives I can think of are that the bedrooms were very warm (and we went when the weather wasn’t too hot and the heating was off!), and the shop could maybe have been open a little later for nipping in after a long day of activities/walking. Everything else was bang on – the staff were all lovely too, which just made it even more relaxing.

Stay: A four night midweek stay in a Ramsey Lodge in May for four adults costs around £250, rising to around £450 for a full week. Check availability via their website. Summer prices are a lot higher, because of demand during school holidays, so if you can go off-peak then I’d suggest you do!

Extras: Activities are around £10-15 per person, depending what you do. We payed £14 per person for the archery. Golf buggy hire is £80 for midweek, or £150 for a full week. You can pre-book online, but be careful because sometimes not all the options show up – I originally paid for a full week buggy hire even though we were only going to be there four nights! The birthday cake and balloons were reasonable, and personalised to what you specify when booking.

Photos taken using my Canon EOS 1200D DSLR* and GoPro HERO BLACK*. Credit to my brother for the fantastic duck and chaffinch shots!

Disclaimer: We received our stay in the lodge at Bluestone Wales for free, but paid for all other elements of our holiday. As always, my opinion is my own and not affected by items or services gifted to me. To find out more about my policy on this and other matters, see my Disclosure page. * Affiliate link. Affiliate links do not affect the price that you pay, but any commission earned helps me to pay the costs of running this site. To find out more about my policy on this and other matters, see my Disclosure page.