Travel journalist & blogger Cathy Winston, author of the brilliant Mummy Travels blog, reviews the Bluestone National Park resort in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
How can you not love somewhere which thoughtfully provides useful phrases like “Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod” (translation: “my hovercraft is full of eels”)?
Heading steadily west from London, until we almost ran out of land, upon arriving at the Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire we felt like we’d escaped much further than just off the end of the M4.
Once you arrive, the promise of plenty of adventure and relaxation in the gorgeous countryside is like stepping into a chilled-out, car-free bubble. If this is free-range living, as Bluestone describes it, I love it.
Certainly I’d had enough of the car by the time we arrived. Unexpected delays meant our four-hour journey had taken much longer although, if you’re looking to break up the unending motorway, Bristol and Bath are en route, or detour slightly into the gorgeous countryside of the Brecon Beacons.
But from the second we heard the lilting Welsh accents on check-in, I could feel my blood pressure drop. If there was any faint flicker of stress left, it surrendered in the face of a fantastic massage at the Well Spa, two minutes’ from our stylish little slate-roofed cottage in “the village”, the heart of Bluestone.
Despite being set in 500 acres of National Park, nothing seems much more than a 10 minute saunter away – but don’t let that put you off booking an electric buggy for a very slow joyride past the luxury timber lodges, where most visitors stay.
With a baby in tow, I loved being at the heart of everything but, next time, a view of the lily-covered lake is high up my holiday wish-list. One trip here is not enough: there’s barely time to get a taste of all the activities on offer from toddler sessions in the Adventure Centre, to tree-climbing, high ropes, archery, kayaking and the wave pool and flumes of the Blue Lagoon waterpark. That’s without even attempting to venture outside to the unspoiled Pembroke coast, castles and a nearby chocolate farm. And I only had chance to press my nose longingly against the glass-covered menu at Carreg Las restaurant, drooling over thoughts of local venison and cheese as I kicked myself for not having arranged a babysitter. (Note to self: be more organised when gourmet meals are a possibility.)
Besides, I still need to track down that hovercraft full of eels.
How to get to Bluestone, Wales, without flying:
By car, the resort is around 45 minutes from the end of the M4, just over 20 minutes from Camarthen, one hour from Swansea and around two hours from Cardiff.
By train, the nearest stations are in Narberth, around five miles away, and Haverfordwest, around 10 miles away.
Buses run from both towns, as well as Camarthen, to Canaston Bridge where you can arrange taxis to take you to Bluestone.
Writer: Cathy Winston for Feet on the Ground