Tag Archives: Bluestone Wales

Our Bluestone Wales Holiday – May 2015

In May this year we were lucky enough to go to Bluestone Wales for a break (Monday 11th May – Friday 15th May). We were delighted to be selected as ‘Bluestone Bloggers’ and offered a break to review. We loved our time in Pembrokeshire and were sad to leave, here’s what we thought of Bluestone Wales.

The Journey
We live in South Manchester and drive down to Devon and Cornwall several times a year, we are not strangers to a long journey and this took around 6 hours. It was a bit of a schlep and I’d be unwilling to drive all that way for a night or two, but for a Monday-Friday break it was tolerable. We drove over the Severn Bridge into Wales and I’ve put a clip on YouTube of the crossing. As long as you’re prepared for the journey with activities, drinks and snacks you’ll survive.

Arrival & Check In
Bluestone Wales was pretty easy to find, following the brown road signs we got there without getting horribly lost. We drove up the long driveway and up to the welcome gate, there was no queue (it was around 6pm) and we were given our lodge keys and welcome information pack and we drove straight to our lodge, unpacked the car and took the car back to the car park. We found check in really quick, simple and efficient. Though I think there might be queues if you arrived at peak time.

We were allocated a ‘Ramsey Lodge’ which sleeps four people and has two en suite bathrooms. The bedrooms and bathrooms are downstairs and the living areas are upstairs, which makes the most of the stunning views at Bluestone. The living area had a well equipped kitchen, dining area and lounge area, all open plan, all modern and stylishly designed.


We didn’t spend that much time hanging out at the lodge though, I think I cooked two meals there and everything I needed was available in the kitchen and pretty straightforward to use. We were supplied with a few essentials to help with the washing up. Everything was clean, modern and much nicer than home, sad to say.

Downstairs in the bedrooms, the small boy was delighted to have his very own bathroom which was a wet room. His bedroom had two single beds in it which were very comfortable and with really lovely bedding which felt quite luxurious. In the master bedroom there was a comfy double bed, again with the same luxurious feeling bedding and lovely furniture, this room had patio doors which you could open if you wanted, we didn’t because it wasn’t that warm, but it was a nice touch.


The en suite had a shower over the bath which I didn’t use. The small boy did as he prefers baths, but we enjoyed the wet room, it was nice to have a choice and with my disability it was easier for me to shower in the wet room. The floor does get slippy, so do take care.

The accommodation got a really big thumbs up from us, it was by far one of the best places we’ve stayed. The lodge was far superior to other lodges we’ve stayed in. It was clean and well maintained with everything we needed, apart from a hair dryer, though these are available to hire, but we took our own.

Village & Restaurants
Having stayed in similar lodge based holiday villages, we were pleasantly surprised with the layout of the village. We were used to large noisy bio-dome type places; but the Bluestone village was set out like an actual Welsh village, with narrow rambling lanes, shops in traditional looking buildings, with a smattering of places where you could eat and drink.


Over the stay we tried a few different places, our favourite was the Knights Tafarn which was a child-friendly pub. The food was hearty and they had a good selection of drinks, as well as colouring activities for the kids. You could sit outside if you wanted, it’s a good spot to sit with a pint while the kids play havoc in the huge playground next door.

One night we went to the Farmhouse Grill. We were expecting quite lovely things, the specials board outside listed some great sounding dishes made with local produce, so we booked a table and got a bit dressed up. We were pretty disappointed with the meal, we ordered the kids macaroni cheese which arrived looking good, but when we dug into it there was a thick black solid layer of cheese underneath the top layer, indicating that it was re-heated, which you do kind of expect, but serving a child a thick layer of burnt cheese is disappointing. My meal was ok with the sweet potato fries a highlight, but hubs ordered the fillet of sea bass off the specials menu. He loves eating sea bass fillets and has them all the time, however this was riddled with bones and clearly hadn’t been checked at all before cooking, after three mouthfuls and 8 or more bones he gave up. We complained to the waitress who said it was meant to be full of bones (it wasn’t), so we complained to the manager who didn’t charge us for the sea bass or the kids meal. We left feeling disappointed but I think the manager handled it well, which is all you can ask when mistakes are made.

Getting Around
Bluestone is set in a small valley with a lake at the bottom of it. We were very lucky that we were less than 5 minutes walk from the village centre, which meant that the playground, spa, shops and pubs were all within easy reach. Lots of people hired golf buggies to get about in and we did enquire but they were all booked up. I was easily managing about 8k a day and because I’m not great on my feet I was starting to struggle after day 2. The small boy was finding all the walking we did quite hard work too, if we went again we would pre-book a buggy for the duration of the break, but it wasn’t terrible without it. There was a free bus which ran through the village and up to the car park, activity centre and Blue Lagoon. The bus was a godsend and the driver was really lovely.

Building Work
At Bluestone they are busy building some new lodges which they are planning to open this summer. Our lodge backed on to the fenced off building site, which in some ways was brilliant for our digger loving son, especially as there was a viewing platform nearby where you could watch the diggers at work. We were given a call before we went to warn us that building work was taking place so we were prepared for it. I suspect if we had been unhappy we could probably have been moved, but we were fine with it, especially as for most of the time during the day when they were working we were out anyway. I made a little vlog (be gentle, I’m not a natural vlogger) about the building noise at Bluestone Wales.

The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a fabulous addition to Bluestone, it is open to the general public, but if you go before 11am it is open exclusively for Bluestone holidaymakers. It’s free to use, you just have to flash your lodge key and they issue you with a pass for your stay. It’s a brilliant pool with a wave machine and two water flumes, as well as an outdoor jacuzzi and a lazy river that meanders outside, plus a wet play area for little ones, there’s plenty to enjoy and it’s well worth a visit. The changing areas are good and there is a cafe by the pool where you can grab a drink or a snack. We went every day!


The Activity Centre
The Activity Centre is located at the top of the village. I took the small boy there for a morning and we enjoyed the huge soft play centre, which was free to go in. Later he joined the ‘Bluestone Buccaneers’ where he and his fellow pirates got to dress up and go on a pirate adventure, exploring Bluestone looking for buried treasure. He really, really, really loved being a Bluestone Buccaneer. The activity centre has a good range of activities for children and adults alike, I would have liked to have tried a few more out but there just wasn’t enough time.

The Well Spa
Both hubs and I managed to separately grab some time in the spa, located in the village centre it was minutes from our lodge. I have devoted an entire blog post to the spa, so you can read more about my experience and thoughts about it here. But yes, in short, I’d move in if they’d let me!

Well Spa

Things To Do in Pembrokeshire
The area around Bluestone is absolutely stunningly beautiful, with seriously breathtaking beaches and lots of family activities you can get involved in. Again, I’ve written a separate blog post about what we did while we were in Pembrokeshire which you can read here, but highlights were the stunning beaches of Tenby and Saundersfoot and a rainy day visit to Dylan Thomas Boathouse.

Overall Thoughts
Bluestone was hands down the best holiday of that kind we’ve ever been on, and we’ve been on a large number of them. The accommodation, pool, spa and activities were spot on, the village was well designed and the shop was well stocked and the playground was by all accounts lots of fun. The problem with the meal was handled well and the on-site customer service team were lovely and very helpful.

What we commented on was that although judging by the full car park the site was obviously very busy, with most of their 300 lodges in occupation, it all felt quite quiet and peaceful which is exactly what you want in a holiday. Overall there were no real negatives about Bluestone, nothing we couldn’t live with and nothing which left us with a bad impression. We’re saving up for a return visit as soon as we can. We have very much fallen for the white sands of Saundersfoot and the calm clean air of Bluestone Wales.

Note: We were invited guests of Bluestone Wales and were not asked to pay for our accommodation. All food, activities and travel expenses were covered by us. All images and opinions are our own.

Things to do in Pembrokeshire

We have recently returned from a short family holiday at Bluestone Wales which is located in Pembrokeshire, a stunning part of the world with beautiful, lush landscapes and pristine sandy beaches. It’s just gorgeous and we hope to go back again soon. I’ve pulled together a list of things to do in Pembrokeshire, or rather some of the things we did which are worth a look if you’re visiting Pembrokeshire or Bluestone Wales.

The Beaches
There are some simply stunning beaches in Pembrokeshire. They are renowned for being clean and having soft pale sand. We always feel that if the sun is shining there is no better place to spend an afternoon than on the beach building sandcastles, paddling in the sea, beach combing and looking for sea glass. Within 20 minutes drive from Bluestone Wales you can find the stunning beaches of Tenby and Saundersfoot. Both have harbours and a good selection of shops, cafes and restaurants.

I have to say that both South Beach at Tenby and Saundersfoot were the most accessible beaches I’ve ever found. As someone who struggles to walk on uneven surfaces these days, having a wooden path down to the shore was a godsend. Well done Pembrokeshire!

Things to do in Pembrokeshire

Just a few minutes drive, or half a mile walk from Saundersfoot is Wiseman’s Bridge where you can find the Wiseman’s Bridge pub which serves very good pub grub with an even better view. It’s a great place to while away a few hours over an evening drink and a nice meal, their kids menu is good too.

Dylan Thomas Boathouse
This was a bit of an unexpected find, but well worth it, I wrote a blog post about our visit to Dylan Thomas Boathouse in Laugharne. It’s a slightly longer drive from Bluestone Wales, but well worth it for the views alone.

dylan thomas boathouse

The Coastal Path
We both used to be keen walkers, so we had a small jaunt along the coastal path in Tenby, which is well signposted and beautiful, especially at this time of the year. We couldn’t walk for long because the small boy was tired and we were tired of carrying him, but a little was better than none at all.

The Blue Lagoon
Although this is located within the grounds of Bluestone Wales, it is open to the public each day, so if you’re staying nearby you can still enjoy this lovely pool. Sporting a wave machine and two water flumes, as well as an outdoor jacuzzi and a lazy river that meanders outside, plus a wet play area for little ones, there’s plenty to enjoy and it’s well worth a visit. The Blue Lagoon is the only pool the small boy has been upset to leave!

The Well Spa Retreat
Family holidays can sometimes err on the side of hectic rather than relaxing. I managed to spend a morning in the spa while the boys went swimming and enjoyed the playground. If you can manage to slip away for a few hours, then it’s well worth a visit to the Well Spa. I’ve blogged about my blissful morning there. Truly. Blissful.

Well Spa

So those are some of the things we did while we were in Pembrokeshire. There are tonnes of other attractions and things to do, but the sun was shining and the beach was calling, maybe we’ll get round to exploring a few more things next time we’re there!

The Well Spa Retreat at Bluestone Wales

I’m not a person who likes to treat myself much, I rarely buy clothes, or spend hours browsing posh beauty counters, I’m not one for a new pair of shoes each month and a matching handbag. My treat to myself is getting everything waxed every month and occasionally going for a pamper. Whilst on holiday in Bluestone Wales I booked myself in for four hours of pampering in The Well Spa Retreat. It was incredible.

I’d spent a long time (weeks, months maybe) looking at the website and examining in detail everything The Well Spa offered. I knew I wanted to do the “Celtic Spa Experience” and I also fancied a treatment, my favourite treatment being a facial. After being forced to make my mind up the week before we went to Bluestone Wales, I opted for the “Early Bird & Spa”, which was breakfast, three hours in the Celtic Spa Experience and a 50 minute treatment.

Well Spa

I arrived at 9am on the day of my treatment and was asked to sit in the “Cwtch” area (cuddle in Welsh) and complete my health and safety form. I was then given a bathrobe and a towel and shown to the changing area and told where to go for breakfast. The Well Spa changing area is large and open plan, there were no private changing cubicles, but at a push if you’re shy you could change in a toilet cubicle.

I put my swimming costume on, wrapped myself in a big snuggly bathrobe and went to find breakfast. There was no breakfast menu on the website for Caffi Mor so I wasn’t sure what to expect. On the tables were individual bottles of britvic orange juice and a box which contained a croissant (with butter and jam), a pain au chocolate, a pot of creamy yoghurt and an apple. The waitress came along and took my coffee order and I was left to munch my big continental breakfast in relative peace. It was a very lovely breakfast, I was very full by the time I’d eaten it all, I’m a sucker for a croissant so it was perfect for me.

After breakfast I had about half an hour before my treatment, so I had a very quick look around the Celtic Spa Experience, I would go back in after my treatment for a few hours of relaxation. The Celtic Spa Experience is a selection of thermal rooms you can use and spend some time in relaxing and unwinding. The Well Spa has six rooms including, the Red Brick Sauna, the Herbal Steam Room, the Marine Steam Room, the Hot Slate Sauna, a Salt Inhalation Room and an Ice Room. There are also Experience Showers and The Sanctuary Relaxation Room as well as an outdoor Hydrovitality Pool.

I didn’t want to get too hot and bothered before my treatment, so I had a quick sauna in the very lovely Red Brick Sauna which was a nice temperature for me, bearably hot, it was probably my favourite room so I did go back in a few times.

The time came for my treatment, so as instructed I went back downstairs to the Cwtch room and waited to be called. This was by far the least fun part of my experience. Having unwound a little upstairs in the spa I was in a fairly draughty waiting area with the most awful pop music blaring loudly at me. At one point I sat with my fingers in my ears for a few minutes to stop the aural assault. Thankfully Ruth my therapist arrived after about ten minutes and took me to my treatment room. I may well be showing my age, but I’m not sure why places, especially places which should be quiet temples of relaxation feel the need to blare out loud pop music all the time. Silence is underrated.

Ruth showed me upstairs to the Opal Treatment room and we had a little chat about what I was expecting from my facial. I had opted for the ESPA  Re-Hydrator Facial as I’d been told a few months ago that parts of my skin were quite dehydrated and the previous day I’d managed to burn my face a bit in the sun, so hydration and pampering were the order of the day. Ruth wrapped me up on the treatment couch, made sure I was comfortable and began the blissful and relaxing treatment. The 50 minute Re-Hydrator facial is an intensive and regenerating facial for dehydrated skin leaving it supple and nourished. My skin looked and felt fantastic after it and continues to feel good a few days later.

After the treatment I retired to the Sanctuary Relaxation Room for a few minutes, had a drink of water and returned to the Celtic Spa Experience for a proper look around. I visited each thermal room in turn, here’s what I thought of them…

The Salt Inhalation Room – This was a room with two curved seats in it, it was slightly colder than room temperature and I wasn’t really sure of the benefits of it, though it did seem quite popular on the day, it wasn’t for me, my old bones prefer heat.
The Red Brick Sauna – A good sauna which runs at about 65 degrees. It was a great temperature for me, comfortable and I kept going back for ten to fifteen minute sessions.
The Herbal Steam Room – A lovely steam room with herbal steam, running at around 45 degrees this was a very pleasant room to spend time in, again I returned to this room a few times.
The Marine Steam Room – I thought I’d love this room, the marine steam smelt incredible and the sign suggested it was a 45 degree steam, but it was much hotter than the sign suggested and I couldn’t tolerate it for more than a few minutes. I did ask a member of staff but she didn’t know why it was incredibly hot in there, I heard several other people complaining to each other about it too.
The Hot Slate Sauna – This is a hot sauna, running at 85 degrees I really enjoyed it but couldn’t tolerate it for as long as I would’ve liked.
The Ice Room – This is a cold room, it’s about 10 degrees and there’s a big bowl of ice you can rub all over yourself. I didn’t linger, but understanding the benefits of an ice room, I popped in for a few minutes at the end.
The Experience Showers -Three showers of varying temperature and power, these were very pleasant and refreshing, especially after a session in the Hot Slate Sauna.
The Outdoor Hydrovitality Pool – This is probably my favourite thing. It was a lovely hydrotherapy pool on the roof top, it was incredibly peaceful and I enjoyed floating in the pool and enjoying the jets of water even in the slight drizzle, in fact I think the rain added to the experience. I wasn’t cold, it was just blissful.

Well Spa

The Well Spa Retreat is so lovely, it was pretty quiet, it wasn’t full of people, at other places I’ve been they’ve been full of large, noisy groups which I feel aren’t conducive to relaxation, this was just right for me. Peaceful perfection.

I only have two words of negativity about the spa, the first was the blaring pop music in the Cwtch room (it was like being trapped in Top Shop in my swimming costume); and the second is the slate floor can get quite slippy, especially when it’s wet, I think it would be good to offer people the use of spa slippers.

My four hours in The Well Spa and my Early Bird Experience cost just £75 which I thought was incredibly good value. The facial treatment alone should have cost £70, a two hour spa visit is £35 and the breakfast was plentiful and good quality. I’d love to go back, it was probably the most restful spa experience I’ve ever had. For more information about The Well Spa Retreat at Bluestone Wales visit their website.

Note: I paid for my visit to The Well Spa in full.

Collecting Sea Glass in the UK

For the past 15 or so years we’ve holidayed along the stormy beaches of North Devon. During that time I’ve enjoyed beach combing and seeing what treasure I could find. A few years ago I found my first piece of sea glass and I was hooked. Since then I’ve searched beaches all over the UK with varying success.

Collecting Sea Glass in the UK

Sea glass is shards of glass, usually from smashed bottles or jars. The glass has been tossed in the sea until the edges are smooth and the glass looks frosted. It can take between 10 and 50 years for the sea to turn a broken bottle into sea glass. So each piece I find is something to treasure. Something special which I know has been years in the making.

We’ve recently returned from a family holiday in Bluestone Wales, which is near the beaches of Tenby and Saundersfoot. I wasn’t really holding out much hope of finding much when I first set foot on the beaches. They were both beautiful soft sandy beaches. I’ve always found beaches with a little more rock and shale to be best for sea glass.

Sea glass

South Beach at Tenby is a stunning, clean beach. Admittedly I was very tired and didn’t beach comb for long, but I managed to find one or two pieces. I must stress that finding sea glass can be an incredibly hard task; most of the time I’ve left a beach either empty handed or with just one or two pieces in my pocket. I was pleased with what I found at Tenby.

The following day we went to Saundersfoot. Again this was a lovely clean sandy beach. There were lots of shells, so it was a very pleasant beach to comb. I walked up the shoreline and after a short while began picking up pieces. Then more pieces, and more, to the point where I had to take my hat off and carry everything I found in it.

In total I found over twenty pieces, in clear glass and green. I was very lucky to have found a couple of pieces with a pattern on them which I think is pretty special.

The problem with sea glass is that because collecting it is becoming increasingly popular there are fewer pieces to be found. Additionally you may just be picking up glass that’s been in the sea for a bit and not glass which has been formed and rubbed into true sea glass. I admit some of my pieces are more sea glass like than others, but I will be adding all of these to my collection.

I have a rule about collecting sea glass. If I find some which is still sharp then it goes in the bin. It is too new and I don’t want anyone cutting themselves on it. If its edges are rounding but it’s not yet mature enough for me, then I’ll pop it back in the sea for another collector on another day.

Collecting sea glass is a real labour of love. It gives me an excuse to hit the beach in all weathers. To wrap up against the winds and stalk the shore for treasure, or to swan about in a sun hat for a while. I’ve got a jar I put my sea glass in which I look at daily and remember the family holidays we’ve been on and fun we’ve had. I often wonder what the story is behind each little piece of frosted glass in my collection. My sea glass collection isn’t valuable, but it has value to me. It is my treasure.

Which beaches do you think are best for collecting Sea Glass in the UK?

Collecting Sea Glass in the UK