Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Daydreaming of Tenby

The weather is glorious at the moment, and it's giving me seriously itchy feet. When it's this nice inside, it makes me all angsty to just get outside and do anything, but to just get out. My next holiday feels like forever away, but all I can think about is being by the seaside! So I'm turning that daydreaming into something a little more proactive and recapping on a wonderful weekend away we had in February, at Bluestone, Pembrokeshire.

January is always a very stressful month for me in work, so we always like to book a little get away in February when the work calms down. I've been wanting to try Bluestone for some time now, as we usually head to Tenby at least once a year, but always stay near the centre of town. Bluestone is about a 15 minute drive away from Tenby town, but right next door to Oakwood Theme Park.

Can you spot the roller coasters?

After a particularly hairy drive down in the day, thanks to the horrendous rain, we landed in the early afternoon. Bluestones has a non-car environment, so apart from a small time on arrival and departure where you can drive to your accommodation, you have to leave your car in a large car park at the entrance to the village. Which sounds like heaven until you realise you have to walk from the car park in the rain once you've returned the car...

We booked a massage at the spa for Friday afternoon which was amazing. So relaxing and the staff at the spa really looked after us. Unfortunately, due to a bit of a miscalculation of time by us, we rushed in and out, and didn't have nearly enough time to truly relax and enjoy the facilities as we wanted to. I spied an outdoor jacuzzi which I was desperate to try, but at least this gives me a reason to go back!

As our weekend fell over Valentines Day, we had booked a meal at the 'fine dining' restaurant on site, Carreg Las. It was a lovely meal, and I really enjoyed the food, although it may have been a little on the small side for the husband! His face when I told him this chateaubriand steak was to share was a picture...

(Apologies for the poor lighting and quality).

However, the restaurant was very strange. It was one huge room, with no cwtchy holes for seats at all, and not even an arrival desk. It makes you feel very exposed and a bit uncomfortable. Despite it being this open, we were the last in the restaurant and left completely alone for over half an hour waiting to pay, with all the staff hiding out in the kitchen. I felt very let down by service in what was supposed to be their 'fine dining' restaurant.

We were woken up early in the morning, but in the best way, by the sun rising and the birds singing. Oh, and also by the seductive smell of pastries wafting up from the coffee shop below our studio. So I sent the hunter gatherer off for coffee and croissants while I lazed in bed. Bliss.

All the horrid weather from the previous day had disappeared, but I had one thing to do before we went out exploring, and that was dive in the pool! The Blue Lagoon pool was fantastic, and if I was 7 I would have spent my whole weekend there! Sitting outside in a pool attached to a flume when it's about 4c was an experience! I could talk all day long about the Blue Lagoon, but if you're interested, check the website out here.

Check out the awesome Wild Wood Café at the adventure centre.

After I'd got the inner child out of my system, on came the Hunters and we went out in search of an adventure. Bluestones is an amazing antidote to city syndrome. The car free environment really makes you want to get out and explore, and it must be a brilliant comfort for those with children. Just sitting in our studio looking out the window made me want to get outside and walk over every inch of glorious Welsh countryside that houses Bluestone. Maybe that’s the suffocated office creature in me needing to get out, but it’s more than likely the wonderful setting of Bluestones. With hills and lakes, lazy pathways and heavy woodland areas, it’s got everything.

Bluestone is built like one big village. There are little clusters of big log cabins all over the site, and the largest ones being around a big lake in the centre. There is a village centre where the shops, main restaurants and the spa are based. This is also where we stayed, in a studio apartment. I was a little dubious on this, as there is so much information about the log cabins but very little about the apartments.

The studios from the outside are basically converted terraced houses in the village, which look quite quaint from the outside. However, once inside I was very pleasantly surprised. The bathroom was incredible and relatively modern, but without losing any of it's charm. The main room was much larger than the hotel style room that I had anticipated, with a large double bed but also a comfy sofa area. It was so nice to not be confined to four walls and a bed, as you so often are. We had tea and coffee making facilities, but for a long weekend break, it's a bit of a pain not to have a fridge (I do like my rosé frosty).

I would go back to Bluestone in a heartbeat. There are so many paths and walks on and around the site to explore that we didn't have time to in two nights. I loved the fact that even for us busy bees, there was so much to do on the site that you didn't even need to use the car at all.

What also surprised me is that although it is obviously aimed at young families, we didn't ever feel at a loss for something to do, and not at one point did we get overwhelmed by children, like you do at some holiday parks/camps. Because all the activity points are so spread out across the park, and there are many different places to dine, you never feel overrun. I'd definitely recommend it to both couples and young families alike, so if you’re heading in that direction, give Bluestone a try.

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