Bluestone has earned itself an unrivalled reputation as the ideal, family-friendly staycation destination here in Wales – but is it any good for couples without kids?
Back in March I spent four nights at the resort (which is situated slap bang in the middle of Pembrokeshire National Park) and I loved it. Here I’ve shared my eight top tips for enjoying a child-free break at Bluestone.
My stay was complimentary for the purposes of this review.
1. Leave the work behind you
Bluestone is made up of 268 timber lodges, as well as cottages and studio apartments set in 500 acres pf green space – the perfect place to unplug, unwind and forget about the office, the laptop and the mobile phone. On the drive down, mentally prepare yourself for a few days away from the grind, and you’ll arrive ready to indulge in a bit of what the Bluestone team like to call ‘free range fun’.
We were based in one of the timber lodges facing the lake:
2. Come with an open mind
When you arrive at Bluestone, you’ll immediately feel as though you’re missing something… that something being a couple of kids! There are prams and pushchairs a-plenty, all being rolled along the winding, tree-lined paths by relaxed and fresh faced parents. Don’t let this put you off; I promise there’s plenty to keep the grown ups busy around here, too.
3. Enjoy the peace and quiet
Because car usage is kept to a minimum at Bluestone, it’s a really peaceful place to stay (you’re only allowed to take yours into the village to drop off bags at the beginning and pick them up again at the end of your stay). We had a two bedroom ‘cabin’ which overlooked the lake, meaning that we woke every morning to the sound of ducks, coots, and garden birds chirping in the trees. I even got to enjoy some breakfast in bed as the sun came in through the window. Thanks, Pete!
4. Get some important stuff done
No, I don’t mean catching up on work emails (I banned that in step one, remember) – I mean spending some time on your hobby, or starting that passion project you’ve been putting off. Whether that’s catching up on a novel you’ve been meaning to read, spending some time drawing or painting, or in my case, finally making a start on planning my wedding next year, it was good to make the most of having an idyllic location in which to get things done. I upgraded to the super fast wifi for the duration of our stay and it made searching for wedding venues, updating spreadsheets and uploading photos to my blog a breeze.
5. Remember to take your camera
…for catching some of those garden birds on film!
There are also newts, frogs and toads to be found – in fact, our stay was slap-bang in the middle of toad mating season, meaning the evenings brought hundreds of them out of the lake and up onto our patio.
I spent lots of time during our stay trying to photograph the various visitors we had, and I’m pretty pleased with the results!
6. Indulge in a few hours at the spa
Bluestone’s fabulous spa is based in an old stone building right in the centre of the ‘village’, and it’s a strictly adults-only affair. Two hours of access costs £35pp and includes the use of a variety of herbal saunas, steam rooms, an ice room and an outdoor hydrotherapy pool. When we visited, we were given a spa ‘guide’ with a recommended order in which to visit each of the rooms which we really enjoyed. My top tip: book an early morning slot and you might be lucky enough to have each of the rooms to yourselves!
7. Then explore the local beaches
After a lovely night’s sleep, some peace and quiet and a soothing spa session, you’ll now be feeling well-rested, relaxed and refreshed. Which means it’s time to venture off-site to see what the surrounding area has to offer. Conveniently, Bluestone is based in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, meaning there are some absolutely stunning local beaches nearby. We took a 30 minute drive to Barafundle – a small beach backed by dunes and pine trees, accessible only by a half mile walk from the National Trust managed car park. As a kid, we visited this beach every summer so it was lovely to be back, and to find out that it’s still as beautiful as ever.
8. And sample the local cuisine
On our way to Barafundle beach we stumbled across The Stackpole Inn, a traditional cottage-pub and restaurant with a gorgeous beer garden. We sat outside with a pint and a ‘walkers lunch’ (like a Ploughman’s) and it really did feel like the first day of spring.
We also made sure we made time for a wander around the town and some chips on the beach in Tenby, because, you know – we’re British!
Just one word of warning – watch out for those pesky Tenby seagulls, this one nearly had my arm off trying to get to my chips!
Our favourite foodie find of the week was the fabulous Ultracomida tapas bar and deli in Narberth. This is the sister restaurant to Cardiff’s Curado Bar and it’s blooming’ great. We enjoyed sandwiches stuffed with Spanish cheese and tomatoes, and washed them down with a couple of orange juice, vodka & cava cocktails.
So was Bluestone a good place for us to base ourselves whilst we explored local area? Absolutely. Within close driving distance of some amazing beaches, great restaurants and cosy pubs, it was fab being able to nip from place to place whilst also enjoying the convenience of staying somewhere with its own restaurants, shops, spa, swimming pools and green spaces.
If this sounds like your kind of mini-break, you can browse Bluestone’s adults and couples breaks (1, 2, 3 or 4 night) by clicking here – they start from as little as £149 per couple.
What do you think? Do you think you’d enjoy a couples escape at Bluestone? Let me know in the comments below 🙂