Last week we spent a truly magical 4 nights at Bluestone, a fantastic resort in Pembrokeshire. If you haven’t heard about Bluestone it’s well worth checking them out, they offer self catering holidays in a range of lodges and apartments in their very own National Park resort. Surrounded by ancient forests with entertainment on tap you get a marvellous mix of their very special brand of free range fun.
This will have been our third family break with them and it was just as amazing as the first visit. We have visited at Christmas and enjoyed the Kingdom of the Elves, spent summer outside making the most of the highwires and campfire fun at Camp Smokey and this year we enjoyed the awe inspiring Winter Lights festival.
Each break has been marvellous and entirely different from the last. This year we explored more of the forest finding the Iron Age fort at the top of the hill overlooking the stream below. We enjoyed the complimentary history walk, learning about the sight and Castell Coch. You see Bluestone has within the boundaries a ruined church in the centre of the site, a hidden Iron Age fort and a ruined castle complete with moat. The last two of which we hadn’t come across on either of our previous visits.
I just want to note that the history walk is so worth booking. It takes just over an hour and is a gentle and easy walk, Terry, the guide is a wealth of knowledge and brilliant with the kids getting them involved and he even passed out word searches he had created himself at the end, as well as some colouring sheets. You can’t visit the Castle unless you are part of a guided tour, so for that reason alone it’s amazing, but the things we learnt about the area and the tips Terry gave us for oher places of interest to visit made it really special.
The main draw for this time of year, however, are the Winter Lights, this has been the first time we have seen them and I was blown away. Our lodge was situated almost at the entrance to the nature trail, host of the magical lights, so we could see them from our windows. The excitement from L was off the charts. It also made it a really easy and pleasant way to actually enjoy the dark evenings before bedtime. The lights are switched on from 4pm so everyone can enjoy them, but the darker it is, the better the effect
If you’ve enjoyed the Nature Walk before you’ll know that towards the bottom end of the walk there is an enchanting fairy village. L loved it when we last visited over the summer and bought the magic home with his very own fairy Smiffle, who saw us at Bluestone and followed us home. Well it’s fair to say the village has grown since our last visit and this time of year it is all lit up which is pretty special. In addition to the permanent fairy features that have been given a sparkling makeover there are also a lot of other light displays, from glitter balls to fluorescent flowers and butterflies, interactive games and displays and even giant animals that are all illuminated.
We enjoyed the walk three of the four nights we were at Bluestone and at least twice during the day, though that may have been three times, I genuinely can’t remember! Each time we noticed something different. The dancing frogs and bubbles at the fairy mill, the teeny tiny toilet house complete with loo roll, a house in a boot, a doorbell to ring to wake the badger or hobbit occupants (I think hobbit, husb thinks badger), a campfire that appeared one evening and a bridge between trees we’re sure wasn’t there the first night. It kept us on our tows and made each experience unique.
As well as the Winter Lights trail there was also Merlin’s Light Show on in the village, a short ten minute marvel that runs on the hour from 4pm. We didn’t manage to time it right for the first two nights but did manage to see it on our third evening. It’s amazing and again a must see. Along with the Winter Lights trail it’s completely free and included in your holiday. When the pyjama gang got us warmed up and the spell cast the lights around the town centre put on an amazing display in time with some music. It is amazing and L’s face was a picture.
We actually caught the light show twice that evening as it was on again as we were driving our gold buggy back to the lodge after watching the amazing Starchitects show at the Serendome. We went to see it on our last night as well because L had enjoyed it so much the previous evening and it was the only thing that cheered him up after he realised I hadn’t booked him in to see Starchitects for a second night. A note to any parent who has taken their child to see the show, do not take them back to the Serendome for food a t the same time the show starts, they will become confused and upset about why they are next to it, can hear it but are not allowed to go and watch it!
Now Starchitects. OH MY WORD!!!! It is honestly the best £8 per person I have ever spent. An hour long show at the theatre in the Serendome it is all about children who go to space in a cardboard box rocket. But at the same time it is so much more than that. With dance, acrobatics and a very clever projected backdrop that moves along with the story it is all about imagination and possibility. L was mesmerised.
From the second we sat down the pyjama gang were busy playing with the kids and chatting to them making them laugh so you weren’t just waiting for the show to start, L was happy and laughing. Then when the show got going we couldn’t even talk to him. Though the Serendome is undercover it’s still open to the elements, so I had bought a thermos of hot chocolate, a blanket and hot water bottle. Any offer of these to L was met with a glare and an angry SHUSH! He was not going to be disturbed.
After the show he was asking us who our favourite character was and telling us all about his favourite parts. He was at that point also asking for a hot drink, now perfectly happy to be distracted, but more than anything he was just bubbling over with delight from the show and quite frankly so were we.
During our stay we also went swimming at the Blue Lagoon three times, enjoyed time just chilling in the lodge with a movie, walked round the lake to see the ducks several times, fed squirrels, played in the adventure centre and checked out the Serendome which was only just being built when we last visited. We even spent some time making a Fairy House Night Light in the Winter Lights Workshop with a very friendly Hobbit. That’s another fab session to book in on if you have a fairy loving child, £10 for each child making a Fairy House but grown ups get to tag along for free and you leave with a special little house of your very own. L has been using his every night since he made it and has added some further embellishments to it on our return home.
Even with everything we fitted in and we really did do a lot, it didn’t feel rushed or pressured in any way. It was really relaxing for all of us and nice to be fitting things in at our pace and on our schedule. We’d pre-planned a food shop to be picked up from the local Tesco, the lodge had a dishwasher and everything else you could possibly need for a comfortable stay. We were in a Skomer lodge this time, larger than the Caldey’s we had used before and it was nice having the extra space and the even nicer having the extra bathrooms with heated towel rails which made drying swim kits a breeze. L loved the Cwtch area on the mezzanine with a giant bean bag and TV, perfect for cuddling up and watching TV together, or sneaking out to in the mornings to watch TV whilst we got an extra half hour in bed!
We had a fabulous week and I’m already looking at prices for later in the year, just in case I can persuade husb that we need another holiday!
Disclosure – we were gifted our stay at Bluestone but paid for all extras including a golf buggy, craft session and Starchitects show. All thoughts, opinions and images are my own.