Put your hands up if you haven’t been on a family holiday yet! We hadn’t, until now. It’s one of those things, we’ve just never had the time or money to go anywhere and we’ve been growing our family. When we were invited to Bluestone I literally but their hand off at the offer, and I most definitely wasn’t disappointed. I knew it was going to be an active holiday, but I don’t think I realised just how active it would be. Bear in mind I was 7 months pregnant and on crutches, I must be barmy. But we did it, I survived, and we had an absolutely amazing family break!
Where we eat:
The first place we visited was the knights tafern. After a long long drive to get to Bluestone the last thing we wanted was to get food and cook.
The first thing we noticed was that it was clean, and the staff were really friendly (always a good thing).
The food was reasonably priced and actually tasted really good! The food came out to us so quickly that I barely had time to get my taste buds ready for what was coming! However, one thing that we did notice was that with Mylo being dairy free there wasn’t a lot on the menu that he could eat which was a bit disappointing.
Me and kevin got a curry of the day each which was chicken madras; the boys just had a plate of chips each and Leo had some garlic bread too.
We eat at the chippy on one of the nights when we had walked what felt like a million miles and we didn’t fancy going out to eat and risking tantrums and tears.
The chippy was nice and cheap and not too far from our lodge (we hired a buggy because of me being on crutches with SPD). The staff at the chippy were friendly and they had benches in front of the chippy where you could sit and eat if you didn’t fancy taking it back to the lodge.
One of the days we eat at the Wildwood Cafe; the Wildwood cafe is situated inside the adventure centre overlooking the big play section.
As it was the afternoon that we eat there we decided to just grab some food to share. We bought 2 beef burger meals and a plate of chips; the food was nice, staff were friendly and the food tasted great.
The Oak Tree
The food was lovely at the oak tree, staff were super helpful and accommodating. The oak tree served Italian but I found their menu to be quite limiting, only pizza and pasta was really available. However, we have only ever been to one other place that served vegan pizza (because of Mylo’s dairy allergy) and this was the second place! I obviously tried some of Mylo’s vegan pizza and it tasted lovely!
Mylo didn’t have a great time while we were out as he was teething quite badly so we had a bit of a meltdown in the middle of the oak tree. We decided to take our pizzas away in the end so that we could go back to the lodge and get Mylo some medicine for his gums.
We briefly went to the Farmhouse grill and it was absolutely lovely inside. However, when we got in there to ask for a table they said that booking was essential so we had to go elsewhere (the website didn’t say that booking was essential so bare this in mind if you want to eat there).
Where we went:
The adventure centre is free if you are staying at Bluestone which is fab because you will always find there’s a couple of hours here and there where you don’t have anything planned.
There’s lots to do in the adventure centre including:
- Younger children’s play area
- Climbing wall (my boys weren’t big enough for this)
- Sky trail (my boys were too small for this too)
- Bouncy castle
- Crazy golf
- Lego wall
- Wildwood Cafe (see above)
- Rock climbing (my boys weren’t big enough for this either)
- Also some other little bits and bobs dotted around like shooting and diggers
I booked the Tawny tales because Leo and Mylo love stories so a puppet show was perfect. The boys both loved it; they incorporated snow and bubble machines (bubble machine decided it didn’t want to work during our puppet show). The staff were very enthusiastic and friendly and the show was interactive; the last thing you want is to sit still listening to a story.
The room that it was held in was cosy with lots of cushions on the floor and chairs around the edge of the room; it would maybe have been a bit better if they let less people book on at each time as it felt a bit claustrophobic at times.
Nature trail/the lake
On one of the mornings we decided to take a walk on the nature trail around the lake.
I couldn’t walk too far as I was on crutches at the time and Mylo isn’t a big walker so the trail at the lake was a perfect distance for us. We saw the ducks, skimmed some stones, spotted some Lily pads and took some photos; it was raining at the time but we didn’t let it dampen our spirits!
Shelby’s messy mayhem
I specialise in messy play therefore I may be more critical about this activity than other people.
There were lots to do which I was impressed with, including;
- water play – pump machine, paddling pool
- chalk board and white board
- paints and sponges
- pirate ship with balls (you had to find the coins!)
- mud kitchen with clay, leaves, bark, sponges etc.
- glitter and glue table
- clay table to do moulding/making
I only have 2 suggestions though for this session;
Gloop, cloud dough, shaving foam work really well in messy play sessions as well as being cheap so these are areas that could potentially be incorporated.
My second suggestion would be to cover/remove items/areas that are out of bounds for the children whilst in that session. My boys found some facepaints but they were removed from them because they weren’t ‘part of the session’.
The staff were lovely and the boys enjoyed themselves so it’s still a win in my eyes.
Camp Smokey Shindig
Everyone that I had spoken to beforehand recommended the camp Smokey shindig as a must! Therefore I had to book it didn’t I!
My goodness, I didn’t expect it to be as lively as it was! We all enjoyed ourselves and there were lots of singing and dancing on tables and chairs which meant it got very loud at times.
When I was booking this activity online I thought it was reasonably priced, but when we got there the drinks were quite expensive; it would have been better if 1 drink was included in with the price of the meal and activity.
Another thing about booking online is that you put whether it was for an adult or a child with the children’s price being cheaper. However, when we got there, all the plates were the same size but you’ve obvious paid more for the adult meal.
I’m always pretty cautious when it comes to eating out and Mylo’s allergies but everything was suitable for him except dessert. This was easily resolved though as staff had ice pops to hand (and Mylo absolutely loves ice pops!)
The staff were so helpful and took us back up the steep hill and long walk back in their security truck because I was on crutches. This was extremely helpful for me as it would have taken us AGES to get back to the buggy to drive back to our lodge!
Secret Village Activity
The secret village was an activity lasting around 90 minutes and it consisted of a long walk around the trail to find the fairies. However, it wasn’t in the information leaflets that it would be a really long walk and if we would have been warned prior to booking then I wouldn’t have booked the activity. The walk was way too far up and down hills and steps; my hips were hurting so much about 30 minutes in and my crutches were becoming unbearable but I had to finish the activity for the boys.
The staff on the activity were lovely, they were really enthusiastic and the children all had a fantastic time! The boys even stole his hat!
The secret village activity was an amazing activity for imaginative role play; we collected fairy dust along the way and most of the children loved it. The activity overall was a bit too long and tiring for the younger children so bare that in mind when booking.
Blue lagoon swimming
We went to the blue lagoon swimming pool once we had moved all of our stuff out of the lodge but before we checked out. We had a few hour drive ahead of us and I thought it would be a great idea to get the boys burning off some of their energy off in the pool before getting in the car.
There were lots of positives to the blue lagoon;
• lots of different parts to the pool
• pirate ship with fountains/buckets etc for the little ones
• designated baby/small children area with games and toys in the water
• big pool with waves, bubbles jets, spray machines
• slow river that goes around the outside of the blue lagoon
• flume and slide (we didn’t try those with me being pregnant and the boys being quite small
• small Jacuzzi – couldn’t use that because I was pregnant
• cafe by the poolside
• shop when entering the blue lagoon reception to purchase things like flip flops, tops, goggles, swim nappies etc
• lockers are available in the changing rooms
There would only be one thing I would incorporate, some smaller slides for younger children would be a welcomed addition!
The lodge was clean and tidy and looked absolutely beautiful when we arrived. The interior was modern and minimalistic which was lovely, and the lodge was a decent size; perfect for a young family. There was a cot and high chair available for us which was great, because I hate having to ask for these things as extras when they already know that we will be bringing young children along. The storage space was adequate for a 4 day stay for two children and two adults.
With it being a cold September when we went to Bluestone we tried out the heating plenty of times, it worked so well that I thought I was going to pass out one of the times!
There was a dishwasher, oven, small fridge freezer, microwave, toaster, kettle and teapot. I enjoyed using the dishwasher so much that when we got home I actually ordered one myself!
There wasn’t a bath in the lodge but there was a shower, luckily my boys love showers! The two bedrooms were the perfect size for us as a family of four when we stayed, it would also be a perfect size for our new addition too. This is just my opinion but I found the beds to be a little hard and would have preferred softer pillows on the beds. Because I was pregnant at the time, I valued any sleep that I could get so I’m super particular about my bed and pillows! Keeping with the sleeping topic, the lodge had these fab blackout curtains which really did blackout all of the sun, so that meant the boys didn’t wake up at silly o clock whilst we were away and kept with their current sleeping pattern!
There was a safe located in one of the wardrobes but we couldn’t get into it to put our valuables in so I wasn’t very impressed with just leaving my MacBook open to the elements.
There was only one real problem with the lodge and that was the bin. The bin hadn’t been emptied properly and smelt like cigarette ash in there. Coming from parents who one of them have never smoked and one who quit over 5 years ago, the smell was awful when we opened the lid of the bin!
We went to the park on numerous occasions, we kept going back because the park was just so clean and tidy and is well kept. There was no rubbish anywhere which was a difference to our usual parks in Manchester!
Some of the activities were a bit on the bigger side and aimed at children a bit older than my boys. The baby area of the park was closed off so there was no baby area available; that was a bit disheartening but the boys didn’t let it spoil their fun.
Overall we had a fab time at Bluestone. Don’t get me wrong, we all came back more tired than when we left (isn’t that the way when you’ve got children, bye bye relaxing holidays!).
I love the fact that you can manage the whole holiday online; booking the activities, upgrading your stay, hiring buggies etc. It makes the whole ordeal or booking a holiday hassle free. I love that’s you can add activities whenever you like, so you don’t need to pay everything in one swoop!
We will definitely be going back, and we have the advantage of homeschooling so we can go at any time of the year! We can’t wait to go again!