Bluestone is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Wales, and although not as well known as Center Parcs in England it offers a very similar experience but typically at a lower cost. This is not to say that Bluestone is a cheap break away, it can be very expensive with increasing costs reflecting demand.
So if you are planning a trip at Bluestone, here are 20 tips and tricks to help save money and time on a future break.
If you book as early as possible, you not only have the best choice of lodges and location but the prices are typically much lower.
Take advantage of midweek term-time prices
Not surprisingly, prices for stays at Bluestone rise significantly when it’s the school holidays. For example, one of our favourite lodges at Bluestone, the St David’s lodge is £1554 for a 4 night midweek break in the August school holidays, compared to £569 when the schools are back in September.
However, even during the school holidays, a break at Bluestone is typically cheaper compared to a break at Center Parcs for lodge accommodation.
During term-times you can often get good deals on long weekend breaks, especially during the winter months. As school holidays differ across different regions of Wales, England and Scotland this can bring savings on your Bluestone trip if your dates are different to the peak dates identified by Bluestone.
Keep checking for last minute deals
I find that you get the best prices by booking as early as possible or if you want to take a chance, you can be lucky and pick up a last minute bargain with a late deal
Sign up for the Bluestone Newsletter to find out the latest offers as they are released
Its worth signing up for the Bluestone newsletter where you get the latest deals and promotions sent directly to your inbox. Also keep checking the special offers page on the Bluestone website.
Book online for a 10% discount
When making your booking, I always book online as you get a 10% discount off the brochure price, plus they offer a best price guarantee if you book direct with them. If you phone Bluestone to make the booking, check what the prices are first online to see if you are getting the best price and not the brochure price.
Repeat booking discount
Once you are at Bluestone, if you book your next trip while you are there you can get an extra £50 discount off your stay.
Use Google Streetview to pick your favourite lodge location
The accommodation at Bluestone is spread out across the resort. This means that some areas of Bluestone will appeal to you more than others dependent on your requirements. Some of the lodges are nearer to the Blue Lagoon swimming pool and the new Serendome, whilst others are closer to the village centre and its amenities.
It’s worth taking a look at the Bluestone map and Google Streetview before booking to decide on the area you like and if you pay the £130 extra for the Bluestone Plus package you get to choose the area in the resort that you would like to stay. In this package, each member also gets free entry into the Spa, saving £35pp and a bottle of wine per person.
One of our favourite areas was Templar’s Court, which was very private and only a short walk into the village centre plus our St David’s lodge was great for kids as it comes with its own playroom.
Arrive early, leave late
Before you arrive, complete all of your details online for a quicker check-in process.
You can’t get in to your Ramsey, Skomer or Grassholm lodge until 3pm or 4:30 for the other lodge types, but you can use all of the facilities on-site – namely the excellent Blue Lagoon swimming pool – from 10am onwards.
It’s worth packing a separate bag with your swim wear so you can spend the first few hours on-site having fun in the waterpark.
The same applies on leaving day, you have to hand the keys of your accommodation back by 10am but you are still free to use the facilities for the rest of the day – which adds a few bonus hours to your break.
Take part in the free activities
Much like Center Parcs, Bluestone has lots of activities available for families to try at extra cost – however some of the best activities at Bluestone are free. The Blue Lagoon swimming pool boasts a wave pool, waterslides and a lazy river and is the centrepiece of Bluestone. Bluestone guests have exclusive access in the mornings before it opens to the public so if you arrive as soon as it opens you’ll find no queues for the water slides and a quiet pool.
The woodland walks in Bluestone are also not to be missed – kids in particular will love the Troll Bridge and Fairy Village. We got to spot lots of wildlife as we walked around Bluestone, there are information boards showing what wildlife you might see. Another free activity that kids will love is the great playground in the village centre and the new water and sand play areas of the Serendome.
Bring your own beach towels
Entry to the Blue Lagoon swimming pool is included in the price of your stay, but towels are not included and cost £4 each, so it’s worth bringing these with you. Also remember to bring a £1 with you for the lockers.
Hire a Golf Buggy
One of the best recommendations we had before our visit, was to hire a golf buggy (£95 for the weekend and it was money well spent). Not only does it provide great fun especially for children to get around this 500 acre resort which is quite hilly, it also allows you to make the most of your time at Bluestone
Apart from your arrival day and departure day where you are allowed to unpack and pack your car, no cars allowed on the roads of Bluestone, they have to be parked at the Bluestone long stay car park which was a 15 minute walk away from our lodge or a 5 minute buggy ride.
There are only a limited number of golf buggies available so it’s recommended to book in advance and you have to bring your driving licence when arrive to collect your buggy.
As the weather in West Wales can be a little wet it’s worth bringing an old towel with you to wipe down the buggy seats if it rains.
For those who don’t want to hire a buggy, you can use the free land train that runs throughout the day between the Village and the Blue Lagoon or many families hire or bring their own bikes to get around the resort.
Take your own bikes
You can bring your own bikes to Bluestone and although the resort is very hilly, there are lots of good paths set up for cyclists which are car free. You can also hire bikes once at Bluestone, including children’s bikes.
This is what you need to bring
When you check in you are given a welcome pack (containing two dishwasher tablets, scourer, cloth, recycling bags, a toilet roll and hand soap in each of the bathrooms) but it’s worth bringing essentials like anti-bacterial spray, kitchen roll, tin foil, extra dishwasher tablets and toilet roll with you. We packed a torch for the girls which was great fun in the evenings looking for nature and walking around the village.
Bring your own food
The lodges are well-equipped for cooking, so I would recommend bringing a food shop with you. Many guests book a click and collect at Tesco Carmarthen which is on route to Bluestone to stock up on supplies.
If you do forget something the well-stocked shop in the village was great. It had a lovely range of Welsh products (Welsh cakes, local cakes, Welsh beer and Whiskey) and it wasn’t as pricey as we had imagined it would be.
Each lodge also has an outdoor dining area and space where you can use a disposal BBQ. You can buy these at the village store in Bluestone but it will be cheaper to take disposal BBQ’s with you.
Book activities and dining in advance
A trip to Bluestone requires a lot of pre planning, not on the scale of visiting Disneyworld but popular activities and restaurants get booked up fast here – so use the manage your booking system on the website to show the family what activities are available and get these pre-booked before you arrive.
We tried to add more activities whilst we were at Bluestone and many of the most popular activities were fully booked.
Download the Bluestone App
Another recommendation is to download the Bluestone app onto your smartphone as soon as you’ve booked your break. I thought the app was simple to use and more convenient than the website to manage your booking and to check opening times and availability of activities and dining. The handy map that comes as part of the app was also really useful in the first 48 hours as you can easily get lost on the winding roads around the resort.
Don’t miss a visit to Camp Smokey
One of the most memorable areas of Bluestone was at Camp Smokey – a rustic woodland hut nestled in the most gorgeous woodland setting next to a stream.
Here you can enjoy roasting s’mores on the fire, dancing to the violin music and meeting Smokey Joe. At the Deep Ravine is the adventure zone where you can take part in activities from tree climbing and high ropes to the sky wire – a series of four zip lines ranging from 20 to 75m long running through the tree tops of the woods.
Choose the right lodge for your party
There are a wide variation of accommodation styles at Bluestone to choose from ranging from small studios and cottages to lodges. You can save money by sharing accommodation with friends and family.
Our St David’s lodge slept 8 people but the range of accommodation options at Bluestone ranges in size from two bedroom cottages to six bedroom lodges accommodating between two and 14 people. Each lodge (Skomer, Grassholm, Ramsey, Tenby, Caldey, Pembroke Gateholm and Dinas) have their own unique layout and style, so it’s worth checking out the layout plans before you book.
The lodges come with digital TV’s, DVD players, dishwasher, microwave, fridge freezer, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, stairgates, one highchair and wifi.
The only kitchen appliance that is missing is a washing machine, but there is a laundry service available at an additional cost if you need to wash your clothes.
Upgrade to Premium WiFi
In the St Davids lodge, we had premium WiFi so coverage and speed was excellent. Although the lodges come with DVD players, they didn’t get a look-in compared to the streaming services such as Disney+, Netflix and Prime available on the Amazon firestick that we took with us.
Check out local activities
There is a lot to do locally, a visit to the gorgeous towns of Tenby, Narberth and Saundersfoot are a must. The stunning coastline and beaches at Newgale, Stackpole and Broad Haven are also worth a visit.
Other local family favourites such as Folly Farm, Oakwood theme park, The Dinosaur Park and Heatherton World of Activities are also popular choices and many of these attractions are Tesco rewards partners which let you turn £5 of Clubcard vouchers into £15 to spend on the entrance fees.