Disneyland Paris Holiday Diaries – Day 1

We left our house at 10am, and headed for Faro to pick up our car which had been in for a service. Trying to fit all our bags and BattleKid’s buggy into a Land Rover Evoque was fun. You don’t realise how used to your own boot you become until you don’t have it. We were soon on our way to the airport which is no more than 5 minutes from the garage, destination – our first family holiday to Disneyland Paris.Disneyland Paris Holiday Diaries blog day 1

We checked in, got rid of our bags, headed through security and grabbed a bite to eat before boarding our plane for our departure to Paris Orly at 13.55. Our flight was on time and we left the warm blue skies of Portugal, me more excited than the two boys put together. I had done a lot of planning and was hoping this trip was going to run smoothly and be enjoyed by us all.disneyland paris day 1 - bye bye Portugal

We landed early but had a trek to get to our bags. However, this was where we came up across our first hurdle of the holiday. I had booked the Magic Shuttle bus when I organised our trip back in June. I thought it would be a regular service, but oh no. Due to the delay in getting off the plane, we’d missed the 17.50 bus and the next one wasn’t until 19.00, a 50-minute wait.

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Paris was cold compared to Portugal and I really didn’t fancy waiting around for 50 minutes so we decided to hop into a taxi. This in itself was easy enough but there was a horrendous amount of traffic on the road between Orly and Disneyland and it took us an hour and twenty minutes to travel the 31 miles. It was stop-start traffic almost the entire way to the turnoff for Disneyland. BattleKid ended up falling asleep for the journey and I had a job to wake him at 7pm so that he didn’t sleep too long.

We finally arrived at the stunning Disneyland Hotel just before 8pm. It was amazing to see it all lit up and decorated for Christmas. Our bags were taken from us, to be delivered to our room for us. We checked in and couldn’t have had a more helpful gentleman, who not only gave BattleKid a badge and some balloons, but explained all our vouchers in detail. He even changed our Fast Pass for that day to the next day as the parks were closed and we’d missed out on using the Fast Pass that day. I was not expecting that, and it was so kind of him.

disneyland paris day 1 - the stunning disneyland hotel by night
The stunning Disneyland Hotel

We went up to our room, put our passports and valuables in the safe, and headed out to get some dinner. The Disney Village was open, and we tried to get a table in a few of the restaurants where we could use our meal vouchers, but they were all full. It had been a long shot but there was no harm in trying. It felt strange walking through the Disney Village as the last time we’d been there we were still just a couple. This time we were there as a family of three.

In the end we managed to get a table in Planet Hollywood before 9pm and opted to just have mains before heading back to get some sleep. Now, Planet Hollywood was chaotic. We were seated within 10 minutes of our arrival and our waiter took our order quickly, but it was very loud and when our meal finally arrived it was lukewarm at best. It was as if it had been sitting ready to be brought to us for quite a while. The food tasted fine, albeit presented a little strangely but none of our dishes were hot.

My lasagne was brought out and I initially thought I’d been given the wrong meal as it certainly didn’t look like lasagne. It tasted lovely but just looked strange. BattleDad had a burger, and again, while it tasted fine it was a little too cool for his liking. After paying up we headed back to our hotel and got one or two pictures of it all lit up before heading to our room for pj’s and bed.

disneyland paris day 1 - BattleKid outside the disneyland hotel where we were staying
A wrapped up BattleKid

Surprisingly BattleKid went to sleep shortly after 10pm, as did we parents. We were planning to be up early to make the most of our first day in Disneyland Paris as a family.

Join me tomorrow when I fill you in on our first full day in Disneyland Paris as a threesome!

Cath x

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disneyland paris holiday diaries twitter day 1

Brecon Mountain Railway – Brilliant for Train Fans

So, you’ve got a train-mad little boy, a nice sunny day in South Wales and nothing planned of a Saturday morning. What do you do? You visit the Brecon Mountain Railway of course.

brecon mountain railway

The Brecon Mountain Railway is situated just a few minutes from Merthyr Tydfil and is a railway with a steam engine to thrill the hearts of any train fan. It is also located just 15 minutes from our South Wales home and was somewhere we had been meaning to visit but hadn’t until last year.

Running from Pant to Torpantau, the Brecon Mountain railway follows part of the original route of the Brecon and Merthyr Railway which closed in 1964. It takes you into the Brecon Beacons, through Pontsticill and along the full length of the Taf Fechan Reservoir before climbing up to Torpantau high in the Brecon Beacons.

On the day we visited the Brecon Mountain Railway, we drove to the Pant Station, parked up and bought our tickets in the office before making our way to the platform. We passed the locomotive running shed and workshop on the way to the platform and the smell was lovely. Grease, oil and engine smells. There is also a model railway as you approached the platform which BattleKid loved.brecon mountain railway - photo collage

brecon mountain railway - photo collage

We waited patiently for our train, boarded and handed the conductor our tickets. The train left Pant Station and started its journey through the stunning Brecon Beacons towards Torpantau. We saw the peaks of Pen-y-Fan and the Pontsticill Reservoir.

brecon mountain railway - BattleKid holding his train ticket ready for the inspector
BattleKid holding his train ticket ready for the inspector

Although it had been sunny when we left Pant, the clouds got thicker as we ascended towards Torpantau. We alighted the steam train and a certain little boy wasn’t too sure about the steam coming from the engine.brecon mountain railway - photo collage

The engine spends a few minutes changing around before everyone gets back on for the journey back to Pontsticill. There, you have 25 or 30 minutes to enjoy the views, have a refreshment in the small café or spend some at the playground, as we did. You can even spend longer there if you want to, and get a different train back. We chose not to.

brecon mountain railway - BattleKid enjoying the views of the Welsh Valleys

BattleKid enjoying the views of the Welsh Valleys

brecon mountain railway - photo collage

Back at Pant Station, we visited the traditional sweet shop and bought some rhubarb and custards for BattleDad, his favourites, before heading home. Although we had only been at the Brecon Mountain Railway for less than 2 hours, it was a fun filled 2 hours. BattleKid thoroughly enjoyed his ride on the steam engine and his time at the playground.

Things to note if visiting the Brecon Mountain Railway

  • There are 3 or 4 train journeys a day, depending on the time of year. There were three the day we visited.
  • Adult tickets cost £14, children cost £7 (up to 15 years of age), and seniors cost £12.50 return. Under 3’s are free.
  • There is ample parking at the Pant Station and it is free.
  • The Brecon Mountain Railway is mostly wheelchair and buggy friendly, although wheelchairs are limited to manual ones and cannot leave the train at Torpantau Station.
  • There are toilets at both Pant and Pontsticill Station and baby changing facilities.
  • There is a tea room at both Pant and Pontsticill Stations.
  • There is a gift shop at Pant, while the Steam Museum (which is free) is located at Pontsticill Station.
  • A children’s playground is located at Pontsticill Station, which we can highly recommend for young children.
  • The Brecon Mountain Railway also holds special days throughout the year such as for Easter, Mother’s and Father’s Day. They also hold Santa Special Trains throughout the month of December.
  • Trains run non-stop to Torpantau and return to Pontsticill for 25 or 30 minutes. Passengers are allowed to stay longer at Pontsticill and get a different train back to Pant station.
  • For timetables and up-to-date news, it is best to check the Brecon Mountain Railway website.

brecon mountain railway- BattleKid enjoying the playground of the BRM

We thoroughly enjoyed our few hours on the Brecon Mountain Railway and would highly recommend it for families as a day out in South Wales. It would particularly appeal to Thomas fans and fans of trains in general.

Cath x

*I was not asked to write this review.

brecon mountain railway brecon mountain railway

 

 

Last-minute Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris as a Family

As you read this post, we are on our way to Disneyland Paris, finally! It has been six months in the planning. Everything from where we should stay to where to eat, it’s been read, reread and read again. As you’ll know by now, I have had help from the blogging community during the last few months. They’ve helped with the initial stages of planning our first family visit to Disneyland Paris. They’ve told us the best places for food at Disneyland Paris, and they’ve also told me which are the best rides for under 5’s, essential when you are travelling with a nearly 4-year-old. But in the last few weeks I’ve been asking them what are their last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris as a family.Last-minute Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris

BattleDad and I have visited Disneyland Paris twice before, 5 and 10 years ago. You see, if you aren’t aware by now, BattleDad was part of the opening crew in 1992 when Euro Disney (as it was called then) opened. He spent a year living in Paris, working as a Cast Member at Disneyland Paris. The last two visits we made coincided with his 15 and 20-year anniversary of being part of the opening crew. And this year he (and Disney) celebrate 25 years!

However, our last two visits were as a couple and we spent our day trips to Disneyland very much fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants. We went on about three rides, ate at the worst places we could have picked because we didn’t book anywhere ahead of our visits, and apart from getting some lovely bits in the shops, they weren’t visits you’d write home about. This time we have BattleKid in tow and this holiday is all about him. BattleDad will be interested in seeing the Star Wars rides and seeing if there are any memorabilia we should get, apart from the mugs we always buy. But other than that, we want to get the most out of Disneyland for BattleKid as we can.

I have a rough itinerary planned out and I am fully prepared to change that, but I wanted to know if anyone had any last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris. So, as always, I turned to the blogging community and here’s what I learned.

Last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris as a family

Jemma from Have Kids Will Travel gave me an awesome tip.

Make sure you use the baby swap facility where one parent goes on the ride (whilst the other waits by the exit with a non-riding child), and then the other parent gets to go pretty much straight on the ride. Was fab when used with the Fast Pass.

Now, this is brilliant. Although we expect BattleKid to want to go on most rides, there may be one or two he won’t, so this will allow BattleDad and I to go on those rides one after the other without having to queue again. I checked with Jemma if it can be used with a nearly 4-year old, and she said yes, for any ride they can’t go on themselves, or one they don’t want to. Genius!

Beth from Twinderelmo said not to forget our autograph books as they are expensive in the park.

Also take your own pens as the characters don’t carry their own!

I bought a packet of cheap pens in my last shopping trip and popped them in my bag in readiness for our trip. Although the autograph book I bought BattleKid has one, it’s no harm to keep that and use ones I don’t mind losing or sharing with other families.

Coral from Way Too Much Luggage says to wear comfy shoes as there is a lot of walking to do. She also said don’t worry about a stroller if your little one doesn’t use one at home as it will make life for your stay easier. The walking shoes and trainers are packed, and we have actually elected to bring BattleKid’s stroller, just in case. We will probably use it on our first day and see how he gets on. If he doesn’t need it, then we’ll leave it in our hotel room for subsequent days.

I was going to bring a bike lock, and lock our buggy to the railing at the ride entrance as suggested by Coral, but Laura from We Forgot The Sperm said this is against park rules and your buggy can be removed. She advises to lock the wheels together instead.

Laura also advised to buy the Photo Pass as they got over 100 pictures in 5 days and each picture in the park would have cost €15 each in the park. Well, I’m glad I added it to our booking as I was unsure about it. Plus, I’ve since read that it’s cheaper to buy before you go. We paid £45 at the time of making our booking, but to buy it in the park will cost you €69.99 (£62.40, at the time of writing). That said, if you were to want to buy just 4-5 pictures, you’d cover the cost of the Photo Pass. Worth thinking about!

Jade from Mummies Waiting, who is also at Disneyland Paris at the same time as us, is a seasoned visitor to Disneyland with her little ones and had these tips for me.

  • Prepare your kids ahead of time by watching Disney vlogs so they get a feel for how busy it’s going to be.
  • Don’t pack too much stuff. Be aware there has been pick-pocketing going on and stealing from rooms (even safes). Lock valuables in your case, and bicycle lock that to your bed.
  • If you like to prepare, bring snacks and squeezy juice to refill your drinks bottles.
  • You can write down what parades and shows are on and when. Then print that as a pocket size card.

Jade even has a rough timetable prepared for their visit and I took inspiration from her and did the same. I also listed out rides in areas we definitely want to do and Meets and Greets in each area too.

Sophie from Sophobsessed said to download the App as it’s so useful. Thanks Sophie, done!

Nat from Awaybies had a few good tips. Firstly, following on from Coral’s advise (Way Too Much Luggage), wear comfortable shoes. She also said to bring your own costumes as they are eye wateringly expensive in the park. We have that covered as it was mentioned in my planning post. We have a Buzz Lightyear costume, a Lightning McQueen outfit and a Kylo Ren one for BattleKid. Jemma (Have Kids Will Travel) also said costumes can get your kids onto the ride of that costume without queuing so that could come in useful!

Nat also suggested bringing some souvenirs in advance and I have one or two items for BattleKid for his “Disney” pack. And we have our autograph book too.

Emily from Twin Mummy and Daddy said her biggest tip is to plan your days. Decide what Meet and Greets you want to do, what rides and what shows. Decide what areas of the park you really want to visit too. She also suggested downloading the app for live wait times, meet and greet times and show times.

Last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris – The Eateries

While I did a post dedicated to the best places for a meal at Disneyland Paris, a few bloggers told me their must-do places for meals. Anna from Squats Make Mama Sassy said Café Mickey is a must while Kate from Five Little Stars said to remember that Café Mickey is no longer a character dining restaurant and she prefers eating at the Rainforest Café or Planet Hollywood in the Village instead.

Caroline from Mum’s Misbehaving said to go for meals early. When it gets busy

You cannot get served and can queue for an hour and a half. It was soul destroying with my 3-year-old who was starving.

She also said Café Mickey is a must and also recommended Buffalo Bill’s Show. We have all our meals bar two already booked so hopefully we won’t have to experience long waits. But we may try Café Mickey for one of those meals if it isn’t too busy!

Booking your meals ahead was also a tip from Coral of Way Too Much Luggage. Emily from Twin Mummy and Daddy also suggested booking meals ahead of your arrival.

Jade from Mummies Waiting also advised booking ahead and I’m happy to say we’ve all but two meals booked. We don’t have lunch or dinner planned for our first day in the park as we have the Characters Breakfast booked for the 9.45am seating. We figured we’d get a late lunch or early dinner, depending on when everyone is getting hungry and just go to one of the walk-in places, most likely in the village around parade time. Hopefully they won’t be too busy then. After that, all meals are booked for specific times!

Victoria from Starlight and Stories said to check your order at any quick service restaurants BEFORE leaving the counter, especially during the lead up to the parades.

Lines get really long, and it’s really frustrating to get outside and realise you only have half your order.

This is a great tip. Victoria has, unfortunately, been caught out many times.

Last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris – Other Blog Posts to Read

As well as all these great tips, many bloggers have written full posts with hints and tips to enjoying Disneyland Paris with kids.

One of the first Disneyland Paris posts I read back in the summer was the 30 Awesome Disneyland Paris Tips and Tricks by Kellie of My Little Babog. She had so many good tips for us when we were starting our planning and I was still referring to it recently.

Emma from Our Fairytale Adventure has a great post with Tips for Visiting Disneyland Pairs with Toddlers. She covers everything from getting your Fast Pass ticket early, to watching out for the scam artists looking to “use” your phone to find lost loved ones, to getting your spot for the parade EARLY.

Kate from Five Little Stars is a regular Disneyland Paris visitor and has a whole Disney series on her blog.

Joanna from The Knights Tribe has a blog post Top Tips for Disneyland Paris. The tips I gleamed from her were to bring a small first aid pack with Calpol, plasters, wet wipes and antihistamines in it. She also said to make sure you find time to just soak up the atmosphere as Disney is a magical place.

Nat from Awaybies has a comprehensive Disneyland Paris Review and Top Tips post on her blog which is definitely worth reading.

And Emily from Twin Mummy and Daddy has some great posts about Disneyland Paris including one about booking your trip to Disneyland, a review of the Disneyland Hotel if you’re considering it, a great packing list guide and also a quick tips post.

Other posts you might find useful if you are thinking of booking a trip to Disneyland Paris include one by Kara of Are We Nearly There Yet, who has a great post for saving money when you are booking a holiday to Disneyland Paris.Last-minute Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris

So there you have it, last-minute tips for visiting Disneyland Paris. As mentioned I’ve read tons of posts about visiting Disneyland Paris but there is nothing like getting tips from those who have been. All that’s left to say is keep your eyes peeled on the blog for our Disneyland Holiday Diaries and all the Disney related posts I will no doubt be writing following our trip.

Have you been to Disneyland Paris as a family? Have you got any tips you’d like to share?

Cath x

Last-minute Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris

Last-minute Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris

The Grassholm Lodge at Bluestone – A Lodge for 8

As you’ll know, we were kindly invited to have a mid-week stay at Bluestone and we stayed in a Grassholm Lodge. This lodge sleeps eight and is very comfortable. All lodges at Bluestone have the look of a log cabin and never fail to impress me. We’ve stayed in a variety of lodges but this was our first time staying in a Grassholm lodge at Bluestone.Grassholm lodge at bluestone

What’s in a Grassholm Lodge at Bluestone?

The Grassholm Lodge has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, an open-plan living room, diner and kitchen. It has everything a large family or group of friends might need for a home-away-from-home stay at Bluestone.

Grassholm lodge at bluestone
Our buggy parked outside our Grassholm Lodge of 24 Knight’s Rest, Bluestone

As you enter the lodge, you enter into a large entrance hall which leads into a small hallway. Off this is a double or twin bedroom (whichever you need) and a large family wet room which has both a bath and shower in it. This short hallway then leads you to the open plan living room, dining room and kitchen. There were two two-seaters and one large three-seater leather sofas, a coffee table and TV unit with TV in the living room area. The dining area had a large wooden table with eight chairs, and a baby’s highchair as we had an infant with us.

Grassholm lodge at bluestone - living room
The living room of the Grassholm Lodge

The open plan kitchen aside the dining area is large, with plenty of space in it. There is everything you need for a comfortable stay in the kitchen from a kettle and toaster, to microwave, dishwasher and full cooking facilities. Included is  cutlery and crockery for eight and enough pots, pans and serving dishes to feed a large family or group of friends. There is also a fridge and freezer for those planning on bringing their own food to eat/cook.

Grassholm lodge at bluestone - kitchen and dining areas
The dining area and kitchen of the Grassholm Lodge

Upstairs there are three additional large bedrooms, one double with an ensuite bathroom and two bedrooms which can either be twin or double bedrooms. There is also a family bathroom with bath and shower upstairs.

Grassholm lodge at bluestone - bedrooms
The four bedrooms of the Grassholm Lodge
Grassholm lodge at bluestone - bathrooms
The bathrooms of the Grassholm Lodge

Outside there is a patio area with picnic benches for times you might want to enjoy the fresh, Pembrokeshire air.

Grassholm lodge at bluestone - outside space
The outside of a Grassholm Lodge at Bluestone

My thoughts on the Grassholm Lodge at Bluestone

This lodge is quite similar in layout to the St. David’s Lodge, which we’ve stayed in once before, minus the playroom. It is large and extremely comfortable. It has everything you need for a comfortable stay. To be perfectly honest, we didn’t miss the playroom as the living room is big enough for two boys to build a train track across. In the living room, the sofas are comfortable and the TV was used once to entertain the boys while us mums visited the spa.

Entertaining and eating-wise, the dining table has eight chairs and has plenty of room for eating at. The kitchen is well equipped and has everything you need for cooking and feeding a large group.

In the bedrooms, there is ample room with chest of drawers and wardrobes for clothes, and all had plenty of room for a travel cot. The beds are comfortable. Two single beds pushed together make a large double bed. I did this in the room BattleKid and I were sharing and we had loads of room to sleep on. That didn’t stop a stray arm or leg making its way across the divide though.

The bathrooms were large too and never felt cramped. My only gripe with the bathrooms is the wet room. I used the shower in it once and despite the underfloor heating being on, it was still soaked hours after I had finished my shower. This wasn’t ideal as the floor remained slippery. With two young boys, one of whom is newly toilet trained, this bathroom, located on the ground floor, is the easiest to access with two toddlers. Needless to say, it was the only shower taken in that bathroom. I contacted Bluestone about this and they have reassured me it is something they are aware of and will be addressing in such lodges before the end of the year.

Also, on our last morning we ran out of hot water. We did stagger our showers during our stay but on the last day, all four adults wanted a shower before travelling home, particularly BattleDad and I as we were travelling by car and plane.

However, after one member of our party had a very long shower, there was no hot water left for the rest of us. BattleDad had a lukewarm shower, while myself and another member of the party had to have cold showers. I mentioned this to Bluestone and they have let me know that the immersion heater holds 200 litres of hot water and if it runs out, it shouldn’t take longer than one hour to regain a hot temperature. I didn’t realise 200 litres of water could be used in 40 minutes, but you learn something new every day. So just be aware that if there are many adults wanting showers one after the other, you need to have quick showers.

One thing we spotted that wasn’t in any of the lodges previously, was a new eco-thermostat for the heating. This clever technology keeps the lodge at your desired temperature, meaning you don’t need to adjust the setting on any of the radiators. You can turn them off if you desire, but it is recommended you don’t. It also detects when there is no one in the lodge and turns the heating off in order to conserve energy. How clever is that!

The Grassholm lodge at Bluestone is the perfect place for a large family or group of friends to enjoy a stay in this brilliant resort. While it has enough beds for up to eight people, there is room in each of the rooms to hold a travel cot. So, if a large group of friends with babies wanted to share a lodge, the Grassholm has enough room for eight adults and four babies! It is large, comfortable and has everything you need. We had plenty of towels for everyone and didn’t want for anything. Well, apart from more blue skies but you can’t do anything about the weather.Grassholm lodge at bluestone

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the Grassholm Lodge and will definitely look into booking it for future breaks at Bluestone with friends or family. Unfortunately it was late when we arrived, so all my pictures are from that evening before our full party descended on the lodge. If you’d like to see inside in greater detail, hit play on the video below!

Have you stayed at Bluestone before? If so, what lodge style was your accommodation?

Cath x

*We received a complimentary mid-week stay in a Grassholm Lodge at Bluestone in return for this review. However, as always, these are my own honest opinions and thoughts about the lodge.

Grassholm lodge at bluestone

Grassholm lodge at bluestone

A Mid-Week Stay at Bluestone – Our Visit and Review

Regular readers of the blog will know that we have been to Bluestone several times in the past. But last week, we were kindly invited to experience a mid-week stay at Bluestone. We have always had a weekend break at Bluestone but since giving up my job to move to Portugal, a mid-week stay at Bluestone suddenly became a very real option.

So, with our new stylish cabin bag in tow, and plenty of warm clothes, off we headed to Faro airport for our return flight to Bristol Airport to experience our first ever mid-week stay at Bluestone.

A weekend break at Bluestone lasts 3 nights and 4 days but was really only the two weekend days for us, as we have always been travelling on the Friday and Monday. This time we were treated to a 4-night stay and enjoyed 3 full days at Bluestone. That said you can arrive early and use the facilities from 11am on the day of your arrival, and on your checkout day you can enjoy them until 3pm. You cannot check into your lodge early though so do be aware of your arrival time and plan accordingly. Check in time for accommodation is generally 4.30pm.a mid-week stay at bluestone

Day 1 of Our Mid-Week Stay at Bluestone

Due to our flight being delayed we didn’t arrive until 5.20pm and we headed straight for the Farmhouse Grill for dinner with our friends who were joining us for this stay.

mid-week stay at bluestone - tasty burger in the farmhouse grill restaurant at bluestone
A tasty burger in the Farmhouse Grill

I had booked this restaurant so that we didn’t have to think about cooking and could start to relax and enjoy ourselves. We had two sharing platters to start and they were enormous! Plenty of food that tasted delicious. Most of us ordered a burger while BattleKid enjoyed the chicken strips from the kids’ menu and L enjoyed a kids’ burger. The main courses were generous and tasty. However, as I’d eaten quite a lot of the sharing platter, I couldn’t finish my burger. In truth, the sharing platter could easily have covered us four adults.

While everyone else enjoyed some amazing looking desserts, I walked (in the rain!) to our lodge to grab some pictures and a walk-around video for my YouTube channel. The sacrifices we bloggers make in the name of our work hey! Shortly after I’d finished, the others arrived back in our buggy for the week, which I had pre-booked, so that we could all get unpacked and get the kids ready for bed. Following a catch up over a cuppa we all headed to bed suitably tired but happy to be back in Bluestone once again.

Day 2 of Our Mid-Week Stay at Bluestone

mid-week stay at bluestone - our buggy outside our Grassholm Lodge
Our buggy for the week helped us practice our Portuguese as Mai is the Portuguese word for Mum!

After a breakfast cooked from our Family Welcome Hamper, we got ourselves ready to head out of Bluestone to explore some of Pembrokeshire.

The Family Welcome Hamper has everything in it to start you off food-wise in your lodge. It can be really helpful if, like us, you are travelling from afar and either won’t get a chance to visit a supermarket, or don’t want to carry fresh food in the car. Including everything you need for a hearty breakfast, a cuppa and a few snacks too, it can work out as a great time saver.

mid-week stay at bluestone - Tiny streets in Tenby
Lovely little streets in Tenby
mid-week stay at bluestone - beautiful Tenby in Pembrokeshire
The gorgeous Pembrokeshire coastline

We decided to visit Tenby as the Battle Family had never been before. It had always been on our radar but somehow, we never got the chance. We were very lucky that the rain and grey skies we had that morning cleared by the time we headed out in the cars.

Tenby is a lovely little seaside town in Pembrokeshire and we had a lovely time wandering around the walled town and around the coastal head. We visited the RNLI boathouse and I visited a Boots for some supplies before we enjoyed fish and chips. Afterwards, we then drove to Barafundle Bay but I had to wait in the car while a certain little boy caught up on his beauty sleep.  

mid-week stay at bluestone - saying hi to the bwbach scarecrows
On our way to dinner at the Oak Tree Restaurant and we stopped to say hi to a scarecrow

Back at Bluestone, we visited the Oak Tree Restaurant for dinner. Unfortunately, we were a little bit disappointed to find it had changed from the last time we had visited.

The Oak Tree Restaurant had always felt a little more grown up than other eateries in Bluestone, one adults could enjoy even with the kids in tow. With an Italian inspired menu comprising fantastic dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, it felt like the ‘treat’ restaurant. This time around it was more of a set Italian menu with just pizza and pasta dishes, geared very much for families. Gone were the starters and variety of main dishes. That said, the food was still really delicious and was enjoyed by one and all. Even my main of olives and a salad (still full from my seaside fish and chips) was lovely. BattleKid certainly enjoyed his spaghetti and tomato sauce, even wearing some of it on his eyebrow. After dinner, and once the kids were in bed, we enjoyed our first board game for ages. And I won!

mid-week stay at bluestone - a salad at the oak tree restaurant at bluestone
My salad was really delicious!

Day 3 of Our Mid-Week Stay at Bluestone

I had been looking forward to this day at Bluestone. Why you may ask? Because as it was her birthday the following week, I had booked myself and S into the Well Spa at Bluestone. I had never visited before and it had been a long time since I’d had a spa day and both us mums were really looking forward to it.

We wandered down at 9am and enjoyed some of the facilities until it was time for our Celtic Combo. This 50-minute treatment involved a back massage and facial and boy was it enjoyable. My therapist Katy found knots in my back I didn’t know existed and the facial felt and smelled lovely.

mid-week stay at bluestone - The Well Spa of Bluestone
The Well Spa of Bluestone, a perfect place for mums to enjoy a few hours of relaxation.

After our treatments, we continued enjoying the facilities, even braving the rain to get into the plunge pool, before having afternoon tea at midday in the café. Once we were suitably relaxed and refreshed we visited the spa shop before going back to reality and our respective children. I cannot recommend the spa enough for mums, dads, couples and grandparents alike. And yes, we saw a few of them in there!

mid-week stay at bluestone - well spa plunge pool
The plunge pool of the Well Spa at Bluestone

After lunch we all went to the Blue Lagoon for some splashy fun. This is by far one of the best places to visit at Bluestone with kids. The boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves in the waves, the lazy river and the toddler pool. It was a struggle to get them out.

mid-week stay at bluestone - the blue lagoon pool
The Blue Lagoon of Bluestone

Back at the lodge we got the Dads to collect a Chinese from a takeaway in Narberth. Despite it only getting a 3.5* rating on Google, the food was hot, delicious and enjoyed by everyone. I really cannot understand why it has a low rating. Again, once the boys were in bed we enjoyed some board games but alas, it wasn’t my lucky night.

Day 4 of Our Mid-Week Stay at Bluestone

I was up at 7.15am to call Disneyland Paris to make our restaurant bookings for our forthcoming visit in December. Yes, you must book certain restaurants that far in advance! Then, once BattleKid and I were dressed and fed, I took him for a walk while BattleDad worked and the others got themselves up and sorted.

We started by having a walk around the lake and although it was cold, it was a dry morning. Around the lake we spotted the ducks, waved to the tractors and the men working on them. We also saw mushrooms, spotted a bug hotel and a scarecrow fishing in the lake.

living arrows - BattleKid looking out across the lake at Bluestone
Strolling around the lake at Bluestone

Then, we went on a Gruffalo hunt in the deep, dark, wood and found him hiding in a tree. We also spent some time watching a squirrel jumping from branch to branch high in a tree. BattleKid wanted him to come down to the ground and he did, albeit a bit away from us.

living arrows - a gruffalo hunt at Bluestone
Result! We found the Gruffalo hiding in the deep dark woods of Bluestone

To finish off our morning together, I took him to the new playground where he enjoyed time on the slide (getting a wet bum in the process!) and the swings. This is a new addition to the Village since our last visit and it is really good, a great place for little ones to run off some steam.

living arrows - BattleKid on the playground boat at bluestone
Fun in the new playground of Bluestone

After our morning together, we returned to everyone in lodge and got ready to head out of Bluestone again. Our destination for this morning was Pembroke Castle for a spot of dragon hunting.

We had never visited Pembroke Castle, and it’s quite a lovely one. The boys enjoyed running around the big map of Wales that sits in the centre of the courtyard, before we enjoyed some cake and tea. Afterwards, we hunted the dragon and found him hiding in a hole in the wall. It’s a big castle, with many rooms and buildings to explore and is a great place to let two little boys burn off some of that never-ending energy.

living arrows - BattleKid having fun at Pembroke Castle
Fun in the sun at Pembroke Castle

On our return to Bluestone we spent a few hours relaxing in our lodge before heading to the Wildwood Café in the Adventure Centre for the Scarecrow Dinner Show.

mid-week stay at bluestone - the room decorated at the wildwood cafe for the scarecrow show at bluestone
The decorated Wildwood Cafe room

There are shows on twice a week in the Wildwood Café and during certain times of the year they have a theme, such as for Easter, Halloween and Christmas. This show is an interactive one that includes a two-course meal and was enjoyed by us all. The room was decorated perfectly for Halloween and the show involved a scarecrow and crow singing and telling stories and the kids really enjoyed it.

mid-week stay at bluestone - the scarecrow show
The Scarecrow Show

Afterwards we joined the Bwbach Parade down to the village before the Bwbach Festival started in the centre of the Village with games and music.

mid-week stay at bluestone - joining the bwbach parade at bluestone
The start of the Bwbach Parade

The boys also enjoyed some time playing in the playground before we hopped onto our buggy back to our lodge in the rain. It was a great way to end our first ever mid-week stay in Bluestone and I think our whole party enjoyed themselves.

mid-week stay at bluestone - meeting the scarecrow
BattleKid wasn’t too sure about getting up close and personal with a live scarecrow

Day 5 of Our Mid-Week Stay at Bluestone

As is normal, check out on your last day is 10am. We were all up early and as BattleDad and I had some errands to run before we headed back to Bristol for our return flight to Faro so we left just after 9am.

mid-week stay at bluestone - a wet departure morning at Bluestone
Time to say goodbye to Bluestone

As mentioned above you are welcome to stay and use the facilities at Bluestone until 3pm, handy if you aren’t in a rush. BattleDad and I visited our old stomping grounds in Wales before stocking up on sausages and rashers in Asda. We also visited Abergavenny for a last cuppa after getting the boys’ feet measured in Clarks.

mid-week stay at bluestone - ~BattleKid taking pictures out the airplane window
Taking pictures of clouds as we return to Portugal after a great week at Bluestone

A Mid-Week Stay at Bluestone versus a Weekend Break

I thought it might be useful to sum up how a mid-week stay at Bluestone compares to a weekend break. We’ve actually stayed at Bluestone for a weekend at the same time in October before, so it’s easy for me to compare the two.

While we’ve always enjoyed our weekend visits to Bluestone, they have always felt a bit rushed. Spending most of Friday and Monday travelling, you only really get two full days at Bluestone. A mid-week break gives you at least one extra full day and it felt more relaxed for us. The restaurants also didn’t feel as full or rushed compared to weekends and the Blue Lagoon wasn’t as busy.

The playground only got busy after the Bwbach Parade but didn’t feel full at other times. When BattleKid and I took a stroll around the lake and into the woods we hardly saw anyone.

Having that extra day meant we could also explore areas of Pembrokeshire for two days while still having a day to enjoy ourselves in Bluestone. Our mid-week stay at Bluestone felt more relaxed and less busy than weekends and given the choice I’d do a mid-week again. That said, Bluestone is enjoyable, no matter whether you chose a weekend, mid-week or 7-day stay.a mid-week stay at bluestone

I cannot recommend Bluestone National Park Resort enough as THE place to go for a relaxed family holiday in Wales. Whether you only have a weekend break, or longer, it is a great family-orientated place to stay. Ideally located for exploring Pembrokeshire and more of West Wales, you can be as outdoorsy as you like, or not. There are plenty of things to do for the whole family at Bluestone and in the surrounding areas, so you won’t be bored. Each lodge really is family orientated and with everything a family would need for a home-away-from-home holiday. I’ll be talking about our Grassholm Lodge in greater detail in a forthcoming post next, but suffice to stay, like all the lodges we’ve stayed in, it was comfortable, homely and had everything we needed for our mid-week stay at Bluestone.

Have you visited Bluestone before? If not, why not check out their website and see the range of lodges they have and availability! And if you are still not convinced Bluestone is THE best holiday destination, then please take a look at this great review from Are We Nearly There Yet, who I think might have also stayed in a Grassholm Lodge!

Cath x

*We were kindly invited to enjoy a mid-week break at Bluestone, receiving complimentary accommodation for the duration of our stay. However, as always, these are my own honest thoughts and opinions about our stay at Bluestone. Please note, we paid for all activities, restaurant visits and the buggy hire for the duration of our stay.

a mid-week stay at bluestone

a mid-week stay at bluestone

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