After driving all night and arriving in total darkness waking up at Bluestone in Wales was always going to be a bit of a surprise, but when you wake up to a view and glorious weather like this, you know you’re going to have a great time.
Keen to explore more of Britain, I shuffled a few things around in my diary and accepted the invitation from Bluestone to give one of their quaint but cute holiday cottages a whirl for the weekend.
Eager to spend more time with my son and step-daughter, the thought of being outside in the fresh country air dashing about was super exciting, even if I was full of cold; those sniffles weren’t going to stop me!
Automatic check-in was super quick and easy. Keys handed over and directions given, we wound our way around the one-way road system passing the ‘present house’ – as we called it. Original, I know…
Eventually pulling up outside No.13 Preseli View, a three bedroom ‘upside down’ Gateholm Lodge. We’ve all recently binged on Stranger Things so calling the house the ‘upside down house’ didn’t stop all weekend!
Bluestone advertise themselves as a ‘luxury holiday village’ and whilst I would say the houses are spotlessly clean and the beds amazingly comfortable I’m not sure the word luxury quite fits? But that’s just our opinion. The house did exactly what it should do, it provided us with somewhere to sleep, eat and keep warm but we did feel it could benefit from a little updating. Saying that, it was completely silent and we didn’t hear a sound at night which meant we all had some of the best night’s sleep we’ve had in a long time!
Waking first I crept upstairs and started to make breakfast. I’d highly recommend stopping on the way to pick up supplies too. If like me you love a well-equipped kitchen you’ll be happy here. Everything is provided right from a great big toaster down to a simple butter dish.
Wolfing down breakfast we quickly threw on our layers and wellies and headed out to explore for the morning.
Life at Bluestone is centered around the village where there’s a park, a much-welcomed coffee shop, a village pub, a well-stocked shop and a few restaurants.
Testing the cake and coffee… standard.
We walked around and then realised that if we didn’t quickly sort out some way of getting around a tad quicker we’d never get anywhere! With no golf buggies left to hire (boo) we all jumped on bikes (£40 for 24 hours) and quickly worked out where everything was.
There’s a lot of hills at Bluestone and directions and signs are not always clear – even worse at night with minimal lighting, but it’s not so bad figuring it out for yourself.
We rode around the lake…
We discovered the prettiest forest with its very own fairy garden.
Where Lucy and I squealed way too much over finding a tiny fairy swing…
We climbed more hills…
Slid down slopes and generally explored whilst greedily gulping down the fresh air and getting covered in mud.
Lucy’s hair was not this wild before we began…
We then cycled over to the Steep Ravine for something a little more strenuous… Zip-lining!
Our guides, Andy and Niall were fantastic and I really appreciated the effort they made with Coby and Lucy. Cracking jokes, singing songs and general mickey taking – which they loved! Obviously remaining professional and safe they reassured them (more me) especially when we had to do the last final wire. Swinging like squirrels over 250ft long and 60ft high ravines I daren’t look down and needless to say taking photos wasn’t really safe nor appropriate!
I’m pretty sure that Bluestone caters mainly for younger children and there aren’t too many everyday activities for older children, which if I’m being totally honest, was a tad disappointing. To make matters worse… wait for it… absolutely meltdown time…. Our Wi-Fi wasn’t working properly either! Not to worry though, we weren’t there to browse the internet or watch YouTube so it’s no real biggie. Pretty sure if we were there for longer than a weekend it would be an issue though.
Night time is quite peaceful and pretty at Bluestone.
There was only one restaurant with availability for us so we headed over to The Farmhouse Grill completely starving. This is where we probably felt the most disappointed. The food was pretty bleurgh. Two vegetarian dishes to choose from and the one dish that sounded perfect was a vegetable stew….but it had beef stock in? What’s that all about? I settled for nachos with beetroot.
We’d heard fantastic things about the other restaurants and there’s apparently a pizza delivery place too. You obviously just need to get in there and book as soon as you can to enjoy it.
Another thing that baffled me – the shop shut at 7pm. The only shop on site? No chocolate run for me then 😉
Our last day quickly arrived so we dropped off our bikes and went over to the Blue Lagoon for a few hours of fun. We’ve been pretty spoiled when it comes to water parks and if you’ve read any of my previous travel posts you’ll know our children are complete water babies… and dare devils! They thoroughly enjoyed the water slides at Bluestone and we went on one that went outside where it was utterly freezing!! We all fell at one point and got thrown down the next section which was really funny.
Always aiming for complete honesty in my review posts, knowing that some things just aren’t worth mentioning, but with Bluestone I really felt that whilst we did have a good time, I’m not sure we got to experience the real Bluestone adventure? Everything was booked up, Christmas had overrun the place and our children were a tad bored in the evenings. A simple pool or ice-hockey table may have done the trick? Oh…and Camp Smokey, the place where you can apparently enjoy marshmallows around a campfire is shut until February 2018. Maybe I missed that before going, but I don’t remember seeing it mentioned anywhere. I think if we’d have been visiting a different time of year our feelings may differ… and if everything we wanted to do hadn’t been full or closed we’d have maybe appreciated it more than we did. I just left feeling a bit ‘meh’?
Wales however is beautiful. Bluestone is set in one of the prettiest, most rural areas and the views with rolling hills are totally dreamy.