You might think that the weekend just before a big house move would be a BAD weekend to go away, but a couple of days at Bluestone in Wales, away from boxes and bubble wrap, turned out to be just what we needed to recharge our batteries.
I mean come on, who could fail to feel reenergised looking out at this beautiful view?
I’ve not done any editing at all to those photos – I wanted you to see how lovely the light was in the evening as the sun started to go down.
It helped that we were staying in one of the upside down lodges, so the bedrooms were on the ground floor and the open plan kitchen and living room space was on the first floor, taking advantage of the view of the lake.
It wasn’t our first trip to Bluestone – we visited a couple of years ago around Christmas time when I made Belle dress up as an elf – but we were keen to come back again in warmer weather to try some of the outdoor activities. Bluestone is set up in a similar way to a CentreParcs style resort, but I actually prefer it to CentreParcs as it’s a lot smaller and easier to get about. The resort centres around a ‘village’, which includes pubs, restaurants, a cafe, shop and spa, plus there are outlying areas for activities. Everything is within easy walking distance although you can hire golf buggies for the duration of your stay if you want to. (Belle was DESPERATE to do this, but they were a bit on the pricey side I felt.)
The best thing to do is to browse the activities before you go, so you can get things booked up in advance. We decided to try our hand at being ‘Woodland Warriors’, which is a version of laser tag played in the forest rather than in a sweaty arcade, which is much nicer. Our team mates were a bit of a mixed bag – half of the party was a group of mature ladies on a hen weekend, and two of them dropped out at the stage where we had to climb some steep steps to GET to the play area. I think they were feeling a little the worse for wear.
I think Belle looks like a natural with a gun doesn’t she?
We really enjoyed being outside/trying to kill each other, although there were a few issues with some of the guns which made it a little frustrating for some of the more competitive members of the party. (I.e. me and Belle.) Still, it was a lot of fun, plus it felt like a good amount of exercise, which is something I normally lack in a mini-break. It helped to relieve any guilt I felt from drinking the previous night’s leftover prosecco at brunch*.
After dying several times over, which is always nice on a holiday, we stopped off to check out Camp Smokey.
Camp Smokey is the only restaurant that isn’t in the main village complex, and it serves things like hotdogs, pulled pork and marshmallows for toasting on its camp fire. It’s set amongst the trees, comes complete with rustic water wheel, and has a lovely, authentic camping feel about it.
As we walked back up the boardwalk from Camp Smokey, we spotted little groups of people down amongst the trees. I’m guessing that a lot of the other outdoor activities take place down here. If you have a look at the activity guide you can see that there are all kinds of things to do, including tree climbing, high ropes, beast hunts and zip wires, as well as unaccompanied sessions for kids where you can leave them with trained staff, have a break and maybe indulge in a spa treatment?
Belle might be a bit older now, but I still remember that wonderful feeling of dropping a small child off somewhere and knowing you have THREE WHOLE HOURS ALONE.
Our very favourite bit of Bluestone though is the Blue Lagoon Water Park. Obviously I can’t show you any pictures taken in the pool as that would be CREEPY, so you will just have to use your imagination.
It’s fairly typical in many ways – it has one of those beach style pools that starts very shallow and has a wave machine. It has an outdoor river run too which goes outdoors. I LOVE this bit as I love the feel of the cool air on your face when the rest of your body is in warm water. There are a few indoor water slides as well, but by far our favourite part is the outdoor slide.
It starts inside, and two people can go down at once. You immediately slide out from the side of the building and the cold air hits you in the face, (or bum, depending on how upright you’ve managed to stay.) You’re dropped into a churning pool, with strong currents, and if you can manage it, you can climb into a separate, still pool for a little rest. Alternatively you can carry on to the second section of the slide, which has a similar set up at the end, and then the third section, which takes you back inside and drops you into a large pool at the end.
It’s basically an outdoor slide in three exciting sections, which makes it brilliant for racing and general fun times.
You can watch a little video here, but I’m not sure it does it justice as you don’t get to see the adjoining pools. You get the idea though:
We came home on Sunday feeling much better from our break and ready to tackle the move. Visiting Bluestone was like getting a little injection of relaxation and positivity and we will definitely be back.
*There wasn’t much to be fair. Prosecco OR guilt. We were guests of Bluestone for the purposes of this review. All opinions my own.