I’m Dreaming of a Blue Christmas – A Festive Visit to Bluestone, Wales
We’ve always liked the thought of a pre-Christmas break so
When the chance to head to Bluestone came up – we literally jumped at the chance.
We’ve been once before when Miss Marnie had just turned two a few years back – and we took my mum along too for a much-needed break.
This time however we’re looking forward to a mini-break just the 3 of us. Going a few weeks before Christmas did cross my mind as being a little crazy.
But, to be honest it has given us something to work towards – by doing as much as we can beforehand, means we can head away and take a breather – so when we get back we’ll we relaxed and ready for the big day itself.
I say relaxed because if memory serves me right Bluestone is all about the slower pace of life. They call it ‘free -range’ living – and its just that. Free roaming in the Welsh air that brings you a little back to life.
I remember when I first booked Bluestone I was worried about booking a ‘package’ style holiday. You know where you are trapped on a site with entertainment, themed dinners and no escape!
But, I now know that is not totally the case. Yes, there is on-site entertainment (but its ran well and Miss M loved it), themed dinners (but in a very casual way) and as for escaping you simply won’t want too.
Yes, you can escape to nearby beaches at Tenby or Saunderfoot, Folly Farm (highly recommend) or even a little further to Pembroke and the Tudor Castle. But, there is so much to do on the Bluestone site itself that you can fill your days without filling them if you see what I mean.
Again, I found the online booking easy – you could quickly see all the types of rooms and dates clearly. I booked us into the log-cabin style Ramsey Lodge again. We loved the upside-down living last time – the family space is upstairs and the bedrooms and bathrooms are downstairs – and knew the space was perfect for the 3 of us.
Then after booking you are confronted with a whole list of extras, which can seem very daunting at first. Especially if booking in for dinners and activities feel you with dread – as it did me the first time.
But, I now know this is the way to alleviate any holiday stress. As it means you can plan your time and what you want to see and do. Which in turn made it all the more enjoyable and relaxing. Weird, but it really does.
The Christmas programme – that honestly is so vast and varied – meant I had to sit with my diary open just to ensure I didn’t miss the things I knew we’d all enjoy.
For our 4-night Monday to Friday break I have spaced out 5 activities – so one or two each day and then plenty of ‘free-range’ time, which I know will be spent in the fabulous Blue Lagoon – the all-year round, indoor waterpark – that Miss M still talks about it now. This season it’s being taken over by Jack Frost. The Frost Lagoon means ice slides, a snow cyclone and the chill of the lazy river.
Or, in the play park, indoor Adventure Centre or at Camp Smokey – a rustic, woodland diner which was quite new when we first went and Miss Marnie was too little to walk the steep wooden trail downhill.
As for the special ChristmasLand activities – Bluestone really has festive fun sorted. I’ve booked a visit to Santa’s Cottage (including a chocolate master class, a story and photo opportunity with Santa and Mrs. Claus), The Snow Owl Christmas Show (a shadow puppet production), a Festive Toy Chest Breakfast (with a story from Buddy the Elf) and a Christmas Craft workshop. Phew.
And, this is besides the Kingdom of the Elves: Rescue Rudolph (an hours guided adventure around a series of magical rooms) that is included in all breaks booked now (and taken) until January 2017.
I also remember Children’s Hour – where each evening from 5-6pm there’s a free session for kids includes singing, dancing, and other kid-friendly crafts. For December and January these are of course are all Christmas and winter themed with light shows, Elf parties and games.
This hour also means we can sit back watch on and enjoy a glass of something cold – and more so this year as Miss M is a little older. Although, be warned there is a little adult participation involved! Which I’m now over the embarrassment of – having kids really changes you!
It really does – I mean I never thought I would want an active holiday a few weeks before Christmas. But, I know this is just the break we need to unwind, spend some quality time together (before the rest of the family descends) and yes, and build up some excitement for the weeks ahead.
- Book a buggy if you’re not up for walking everywhere. Not only are they fun and a novel way to get around – although nowhere is very far (within 5-10 mins to walk.) There’s plenty of buggy parks and recharging points around the resort. Costs from £80 – and remember to take your driving license.
- Don’t be put off with the booking system. Go through each section and decide what you’d like to do before adding to your itinerary. Booking in for meals is really to ensure you get the time you want – as they do get busy (although am sure you can just turn up but you may just have a wait which with little ones isn’t easy!)
- The handy downloadable guide is so well done that a little pre-holiday swotting up means you can truly make the most of your break.
- Take beach/pool towels for the Blue Lagoon. We forgot ours last time and had to buy some at the pool (only a few pounds each each) but still a bit of a pain – as how many do I have at home?
- Take flat shoes or trainers you will be walking a lot and especially if you visit Camp Smokey (as it’s down some wooden broad walks in the heart of the woods.
- Be sure to use the Adventure Centre All indoors – so perfect if rain strikes. This is where the messy play sessions were held – but there is also an indoor rock climbing wall, mini golf course, climbing frames, bouncy castles, a soft play/sensory room and for the grown-ups free Wi-Fi and a bar.
- Don’t overdress. It was very relaxed at Bluestone – I wore jeans, flat shoes, casual Tee’s and cosy knits most of the time. Leave your brollies at home too – as there are big umbrellas already in the room for you to use.
- We didn’t use it last time – but may this time as its means I won’t be backed up with washing before Christmas – there’s a laundry and housekeeping service available.
NB:Bonita is heading to Bluestone as a guest, but all views and opinions are her own. Bonita can be found blogging over at Mamas VIB why not go and follow hger over there.