We were incredibly lucky to get the chance to go down and enjoy Bluestone back in May this year and knowing what a fantastic time we had then, we couldn’t wait to whizz over again when we saw that our favourite family get-away in Pembrokeshire, were hosting some very special Christmas Events and had been transformed in to a place jam packed with family festive fun.
The gorgeous landscape of Bluestone with it’s wooden lodges, rolling hills and woodlands lends it’s self beautifully to that of a winter wonderland (although being the beginning of November, we didn’t find ourselves surrounded by snow but instead, rather a lot of rain!) Since our last visit, the site had been transformed. The activity centre was swathed in green and red, the village adorned with Christmas touches and everywhere had a touch of Santa’s sparkle.
Arrival, an Elf Welcome Party and Fish’N’Chips.
We made sure to book ourselves in for the early check in. Being able to drop our things straight in to the cabin, meant we were free to get started on the fun as soon as possible. There was no choice or hesitation for our kids when it came to where first. Before the bags had even hit the floor, they were trying to drag us back out to the Adventure Centre.
When we got there, we were in for a big surprise. The Adventure Centre had been completely transformed. The reception had become like Santa’s Grotto. Twinkling lights and snowy touches were adorned across entrance room, red and green canopies swirled across corridors and gigantic trees dotted about the adventure centre. The kids were full to the brim with excitement and I can’t deny that my husband and I were a little giddy too.
After wearing ourselves out on the giant climbing frames in the soft play, we ventured upstairs for an Elf Welcome Party. A fun kids hour that included good old fashioned party games and dancing. What a great start to the adventures!
After this, we headed back towards our home for the weekend – a Ramsey Lodge in Forest View. A brilliant upside down cabin with two beautiful big bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms on the ground floor plus a gorgeous living space upstairs with a gorgeous view of the lake and village.
Before we made it back though, we did decide to pull in and pick up some freshly cooked fish and chips from the new take out van for a low-key relaxed dinner on the first night. This choice was spot on as we all loved every moment of sitting upstairs in our gorgeous lodge, the kids unwinding and tucking in to our gorgeous hot chips and fresh fish.
Kingdom of the Elves
We made sure that Kingdom of the Elves, Bluestone’s title Christmas experience was our first booking in to the exploration of festive activities on offer. So Saturday morning we could be found eager and excited ready to begin over at the adventure centre. At reception a lively Elf was ready waiting to greet us, she then adorned us all with some bright red elf cheeks and taught the kids how to perform the secret elf high five. Through in to the centre, our group (of about 20 or so) was greeted by a brilliantly cheeky elf called Little Buddy. Little Buddy got the children rounded up, sprinkled us all with some shrinking dust and led us through the magical tunnel in to the Kingdom of the Elves.
The experience worked the children being given a card style passport where they were to go and meet the various Elves that help get Santa through Christmas night across a house.
In each room they would then receive a stamp before moving on to the next. After Little Buddy had explained all this, he handed out the cards and dressed each child in their Elf tunic and we were off. The kids giggled and jumped their way through several rooms, meeting an array of wonderful and brilliant Elves.
Over the various stops, they helped tidy up the lounge with a fantastic cabaret style Elf, kept a gigantic pet cat quiet and learned how to cast a magic sleepy bedtime spell in the bedroom. Their favourite by far however was meeting the Chocolatier Elf and making a tasty choccy snowman gingerbread biscuit! The Kingdom of the Elves experience was just over an hour and a half long and the kids emerged absolutely entranced with the magic created.
Cinderella – The Pantomime
We absolutely loved the Bluestone Panto. Unashamedly our family loves a good pantomime and we go every year to one in Berkshire. So we were quite excited to add this to our itinerary. After the jam packed morning, I was however nervous how it may go after seeing how worn out the kids were from their time in the Kingdom of the Elves. I needn’t have worried. Tired or not, the brilliant performance in true pantomime style had our children (and everyone else’s) entranced from the minute the curtains opened.
Set in the newly built village hall, Cinderella featured a fantastically fun cast that brought the stage to life. The beautiful Fairy Godmother and Cinderella had Youngest’s eyes alight with admiration, Eldest thought Buttons and Prince Charming were ‘super cool’ and the Ugly Step Sisters had my husband and I giggling like naughty school children.
The performance lasted an hour and featured brilliant Panto classics with shouts of “he’s behind you” and fun audience boos and cheers but it also contained more modern nods with a great social media scene (and co-ordinated outfits from the sisters!) that encouraged the audience to tweet with the #BluestonePanto for the interval style shout outs.
We loved, loved, loved the pantomime and the kids especially loved having the chance to have their photos with the stars after the curtains closed.
Story time with Santa
This was our third and final booked activity for the Saturday and the kids were still going strong. Story time with Santa was a special meal located in the Farmhouse Grill. We all got to enjoy a quick Christmas Roast and Jam Roly-Poly pudding before being whisked in by two Elves to a magical room for a special Santa meet and greet experience.
The room was gorgeously decorated with cushions galore for the kids to cosy in to and the North Pole’s famous reindeer faces peeped from the back wall. It wasn’t long after joining the room that the main man himself Father Christmas arrived and the children, all snuggled down to hear a lovely story about toys from Christmas past. The story and a few fun activities down, the children then had the chance to go and have a quick meet with Santa and pass on their Christmas wishes. Making sure the children waiting weren’t bored or restless the Elves kept them distracted with activities to make Reindeer food for Christmas Eve and tags to write down their Christmas dreams. After a lovely meet with Father Christmas and Eldest confusing the situation by asking for an advent calendar for his Christmas present, we tucked our two up and swept them home, exhausted from every part from their day of magical Christmas fun.
Christmas Messy Play
Sunday was a bit slower paced than the jam packed itinerary of the day before. After a fab morning swimming over at Blue Lagoon (every bit as fun as our last trip), we headed over for a Christmas Messy Play session upstairs in the Adventure Centre. Awaiting us was tables of delightfully messy and gooey fun that brilliantly captured our children’s imaginations plus two very lovely and fun members of staff to lead the session.
The tables on offer were: Christmas cooking ingredients (cocoa, marshmallows, sprinkles, dough, flour) Reindeer Poo (straw and glittery chocolate runny mousse!) Penguin Pool (dozens of little penguin models in bright blue water) and Reindeer Food (oats, glitter, raisins, carrot shreds). There was also a fun painting table to transform cones in to bright and sparkly Christmas trees.
We knew sort of what to expect from this activity having done the Circus one before on our last trip but this was a brilliant session that both children absolutely adored. In fact despite being in it’s temporary location of being in the upstairs young soft play room, which drew many of the children over when they’d tired of the messy play – it managed to maintain Youngest’s attention to the very last minute and saw me having to pry her tearfully away from the beloved Penguin Pool.
Jinglebelle Dinner Show
Due to school and work, we planned to check out late on the Sunday night rather than the Monday morning, so we could whizz home whilst the children slept. So before we left, the perfect last activity was the Jinglebelle Dinner Show. A fun interactive dinner show for the family based up in the magical surrounds of the Wild Woody Cafe.
The brilliant characters Jinglebelle, Peter Pan and his Shadow, had the kids up and dancing and running to and fro before getting everyone settled down to enjoy a tasty Christmas dinner. Youngest is full swing in to Princess and Fairy adoration and so she took great delight in jumping up on her chair and calling for Jinglebell every time Pan’s pesky shadow danced his way around the dinner tables. The show was the perfect end to our Christmas stay and we couldn’t have asked for a better start to the festive season.
All in all
Due to the short nature of our stay, there was still exciting parts of the Christmas shenanigans that we managed to miss! Our timings with the Jinglebelle show meant we missed the Village Christmas Light Show and there was also Christmas Songs being performed over in the Village pub the Knights Tafern. Fingers crossed if we return again, we’ll be sure to make these a must do.
We had an absolutely incredible time with our young pair at Bluestone’s brilliant Christmas stay and only wished we’d had longer to stay and enjoy the fun. The accommodation as always was superb, clean and sumptuous. The facilities were spotlessly clean despite the venue being completely fully booked and on top of that, the staff relentlessly wonderful. Every single staff member was genuinely lovely from the friendly staff in the Village Bakery to the entertainer from the Jinglebelle show, who when leaving at the same time as us, went out of his way to pull over and make sure we were OK whilst we were doing our Sunday night checking out and spotted that we couldn’t see anyone at the arrivals desks. These are the things that make Bluestone so special and for us, completely above and beyond the other family holiday resorts found in the UK. Thank you to everyone at Bluestone for such a wonderful and magical Christmas trip!
If you’d like to find out more about Bluestone’s Christmas Holidays, then please visit their website here: http://www.bluestonewales.com/breaks-holidays/winter
Don’t forget you can also get £25 off all breaks with Bluestone by getting your Mumsnet Berkshire & Reading discount code here: http://www.bluestonewales.com/campaigns/mumsnet
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