If you were to ask me what I think the most important part of any holiday is, I’d tell you it’s the making of special memories. I honestly don’t think it matters where you go, as long as you make the most of the time you have together as a family and just drink in as much of it as you can, you’ll come away with a treasure trove of stories and experiences to cherish for years to come. We certainly did just that after our midweek stay at Bluestone Wales earlier in May. After what has been quite a stressful and upsetting start to the year, the break away did all three of us the world of good and both LPD and I have been heralding it as one of our most favourite holidays ever – and that’s saying a lot!
I could write and talk about Bluestone forever, I reckon. It is just 100% our cup of tea. And before I share my top five memories from the trip, here’s a bit of an introduction to Bluestone, and why it was the right holiday for us. If you’ve not heard of this resort before, it’s a holiday village situated in the beautiful area of Pembrokeshire, Wales. Much like Center Parcs, it offers midweek (Monday to Friday), weekend (Friday to Monday) or week breaks (you guessed it, starting on a Monday or Friday) with a variety of mainly self-catered accommodation options to house a party of two, right up to a party of twelve or even fourteen in the Dinas Bunkhouse Lodge. The resort is car-free, so after unloading your belongings outside your lodge, all cars are returned to a big car park leaving you to enjoy a lovely traffic free resort which is perfect for those with little ones running around.
1. Swimming at the Blue Lagoon
It’s probably no surprise that our time spent in the pool was amongst the most memorable moments of our stay, and of all the time spent in the water, drifting around the lazy river together was definitely my favourite part. Pickle took the whole thing quite seriously and had a look of the utmost concentration for the most part, but every now and then, he’d crack into a big smile and I’d just beam with joy looking at him. Once you loop round outside and head back into the main pool, there’s a little bubbling fountain and I can still hear LPD and I making a big deal of it (‘Oooh, Pickle, what’s this coming up? Wheeeeeeeee!’)
I loved using our new Splash About wetsuit wrap as it meant I didn’t need to worry about Pickle getting too chilly and staying in the water too long. He loved splashing and crawling about in the toddler pool section which even had a little bubbling jazucci-esque bit. And see that flume in the background? That one was both LPD and I’s favourite!
2. The Beach at Tenby
Being able to drive just a short distance to spend the afternoon chilling on the beach is one of the reasons we will definitely be returning to Bluestone. We debated the various beach options for ages, especially as my lovely friend had visited the area not long before and had some amazing recommendations. LPD seemed pretty set on Tenby though, and as it also happened to be the closest, we packed a bucket and spade and headed for the seaside. We managed to find ourselves a car park and some vague signs that were pointing in the direction of the beach, but as we started to wander alongside a golf course for a considerable amount of time, we were really questioning whether we were heading in the right direction at all.
Just as I about to give up and turn around, we turned a corner and BAM! There it was. And I could hardly believe how empty it was. It wasn’t Pickle’s first time on the beach but he was so tiny last time and certainly wasn’t on the move so seeing him discovering the sand again was hilarious. He kept crawling from one side of the picnic rug to the other, tentatively testing out the sand before realising he wasn’t quite brave enough to fully commit to it yet. Eventually, he built up his confidence and decided that sand is for eating.
After a while, we headed back into the main town, treated ourselves to an ice cream and bought an obligatory magnet (LPD likes to have a magnet from everywhere we’ve been to on our fridge!).
3. Messy Play
Before we arrived, I pre-booked us into a Baby Sensory class followed by a Messy Play session. It made for such a fun filled morning! I often feel a bit selfish that Pickle’s normal classes happen during the week whilst LPD is at work so for us all to be able to take part was a real treat. The Baby Sensory class was a bit of a trip down memory lane for me as I’d almost completely forgotten that we’d gone to try out a session when Pickle must have only been about four weeks old (I certainly wasn’t driving because I remember getting the bus!). To go from a session where he was one of the very youngest to the session at Bluestone where he was pretty much the oldest was very weird! But the class was really well run and even though Pickle tried to make a break for the door a couple of times, it was lovely.
And then the mayhem began…! From being one of the oldest in Baby Sensory, he was back to being the youngest BY FAR at Messy Mayhem. I think the session wasn’t really aimed for babies his age but that didn’t stop him getting stuck in with the rest of them. His leggings haven’t recovered and are still covered in huge paint splodge stains! With paints to play with, water to splash in and ‘nettle-cakes’ to make (with bark, cocoa powder and flour!), there was plenty to occupy him. HIS FACE! He was just having a whale of a time.
4. Camp Smokey and the Nature Walk
Whilst at Bluestone, I loved looking on Instagram to see what other people were up to who were staying at the same time. Partly because I’m inherently nosy (my maiden name is Parker!), but also it gave me some ideas of what we could do. Had it not been for my late-evening social media scrolling, we wouldn’t have known about the marshmallow toasting at Camp Smokey. As soon as I saw the fire pit, I knew we had to try it out! And then I spotted the odd photo of the little fairy village and that sealed the deal: the Nature Walk with a pit stop at Camp Smokeys was a MUST do.
And I’m SO glad we did. We popped Pickle in his carrier, and set off. It was a really lovely walk – not too long, so perfect for little legs, those carrying babies or those who are feeling a bit lazy but still want some fresh air. It’s mainly shaded and there are plenty of places you can stop off for a rest or a drink.
I just loved sitting around the campfire, toasting marshmallows and taking in the forest around us. I loved wandering up to the old iron age fort site. I loved spotting my first fairy house by chance, and then running up to another family to tell them about it in case they missed it. They must have thought I was mad by how excited I was. But I love finding little pieces of magic outdoors.
5. Mowgli Walk
There are so many gorgeous places to walk and visit at Bluestone that we rarely took the time just to sit outside our little lodge and enjoy our immediate surroundings. But after our Nature Walk, I just didn’t want to be inside so took the opportunity to just hang out with Pickle on the grassy verge outside. He thought climbing up the little bank was a hilarious game, using what we call his ‘Mowgli’ walk to full advantage before even having a go at rolling back down – I may have yelped in shock when he first tried to throw himself down the hill but I soon realised he was perfectly safe! Little dare devil. Watching him explore the grass so independently was a delight, and it may not sound like a particularly exciting or unique event, but just having the time, the peace of mind and the luxury of enjoying even just half an hour with no plans, no rushing about and no stress was bliss.
Look at those little socks over his trousers! What a little cutie.
I hope never to forget every last detail of our Bluestone trip. I can’t wait to return as Pickle grows older to see what he makes of it all then. I lost track of how many times I said ‘Oh, won’t it be brilliant when he’s running around here?’ or ‘Ah, he’s going to love that when he’s older!’. This won’t be the last time I write about our stay, but if you’re thinking of visiting and have any questions at all before you hit that all important BOOK button, feel free to leave a comment below. I’m happy to have any excuse to relive our holiday and talk about our love for Bluestone.
Disclaimer: we were offered free accommodation at Bluestone Wales in return for a review. All opinions remain 100% my own and as always, are completely honest. This post contains affiliate links.