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Recently, we took the City Sightseeing Oxford Tour to see what the city had to offer families with young children like ours.  There is good reason why millions of people flock to the City every year.  With over a thousand historic buildings, fascinating museums, theatres, restaurants, shops and open spaces, you can pack in a lot of adventure.

City Sightseeing Oxford Tour – The Details…

The City Sightseeing open top buses provide a brilliant way to get around and discover all of Oxford’s major attractions and some beautiful hidden gems too.

The bus tours last for about an hour, and buses depart from the Rail Station every 10-15 minutes.  Tour tickets are valid for 24 or 48hrs and you can hop on and off when and where you like along the route.

The bus tour encompasses 22 perfectly placed bus stops, making all of the great attractions easily accessible to its users; Oxford Castle, Ashmolean Museum, Christ Church College, Magdalen Bridge and Radcliffe Camera just to name a few.

The buses offer an easy to use audio guide (in 13 languages) and some a live guide too.  A kid’s commentary is now available and is suitable for children of all ages.  City tour tickets also include a FREE 30 minute walking tour and offers discounts for local attractions and restaurants.

Destination Summer: Discovering Oxford as a family

Oxford has so much to offer, and the City Sightseeing Tour provides a great way to explore the city.  We took some time before beginning our trip to read the tour guide, to make sure we made the most of our day.  Our tour began at the Rail Station, where we boarded our first open top bus of the day.  It wasn’t long before we were passing Oxford Castle and Westgate Shopping, and onto our first desired stop at St Aldgates (Stop 7).

Walking in the footsteps of Alice in Wonderland…

Alice’s Shop had appealed to me straight away having seen it on the tour guide and I’m so glad we stopped there.  The shop is where the real Alice in Wonderland bought her sweets 150 years ago and was written into one of the Alice books, Through the Looking-Glass.  It is now a gorgeous little treasure trove of Alice in Wonderland gifts and memorabilia, with items priced to suit everyone’s budget.  Such a lovely find!

The shop where Alice in Wonderland bought her sweets 150 years ago

Harry Potter filming locations…

Across the road, is Christ Church, one of the filming locations of Harry Potter.  This was absolutely on our must visit list.  We walked through the beautiful Christ Church Meadow which is currently in full bloom and looking incredible.  Sadly, the walking tours inside Christ Church didn’t start until 2pm, so we wandered around the grounds for a while before heading through some charming cobbled streets towards the Radcliffe Camera.

Radcliffe Camera as seen in the Inspector Morse television series, set in Oxford.

Radcliffe Camera and the History of Science Museum…

Probably Oxford’s most photographed landmark, the Radcliffe Camera forms part of the world-famous Bodleian Library complex.  Only students and scholars are admitted, but you can still take in the fantastic views and stroll through the nearby Bodleian courtyards.  The free 30-minute City Sightseeing walking tour can be picked up close by at Stop 8, on the High Street.

There, we boarded our next bus to continue the tour along the High Street.  The bus passed over the Magdalen Bridge (here you can hire traditionally crafted punts, rowing boats and pedalos) and past the Oxford Botanic Garden, which is the oldest in Great Britain and home to over 8,000 plant species.  We shall definitely visit here on our next trip to Oxford.

We decided to stop off at Stop 13 for the History of Science Museum.  The museum displays fascinating scientific instruments and hosts family-friendly events for children.  Free family trails are available in the Entrance Gallery for all ages.  Most exciting for me, the museum houses a blackboard used by none other than Albert Einstein which can be seen in the Basement.

The museum is based in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building (1683).

From the museum, we took a nice stroll past the Sheldonian Theatre and along Parks Road.  We stopped for a quick picnic pit-stop and were soon on our way again.

My dream house….

Towering skeleton dinosaurs and the famous Oxford Dodo…

Next stop, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.  Trevor and I visited here with Jack when he was still in a pram.  I couldn’t wait to see the boys faces when they got inside.

I love everything that there is to love about this museum.  The Museum of Natural History houses the University’s scientific collections of geological and zoological specimens.  The museum itself is a Grade 1 listed building, renowned for its spectacular neo-Gothic architecture which is absolutely striking.   The museum tower is a favourite nesting site of Swifts, which return to the UK every summer after their long migration from Africa.

The central court displays the Iguanodon and T. rex skeletons which tower over you, the Oxford Dodo, insects, minerals, and the first dinosaur to be scientifically described – Oxfordshire’s Megalosaurus.

The museum is free to enter, and hosts a lively programme of research and public events for all.  Free family trails are available in the centre court, suitable for all ages.  The boys absolutely loved their time at the museum.  The dinosaur skeletons were a big hit as expected, as were the dinosaur footprints outside.   They stayed well clear of the brown bear (it looks so real) but loved watching the real bees.  I absolutely suggest a visit here.

Back on the bus, and off to the Castle!

Travelling back in time at Oxford Castle and Prison…

Before heading into the Castle, Daddy was punished to the stocks and set upon by the kids for reasons unknown.  After about 2-hours (just kidding), he was set free and we headed inside for a tour of the Castle and Prison.

Led by costumed character guides, the tours reveal fascinating stories entrenched in the building’s 1,000 year history.  The tour begins with a climb up the Saxon St. Georges Tower for panoramic views over Oxford and continues underground into the 900-year-old crypt.  It is said that spirits and ghosts make their presence known here in the dead of night.

The tour also includes a visit to the 18-century Debtors Tower and Prison D-Wing.  Here, your mugshots are taken and are later available to purchase from the gift shop.  After the tour you can re-visit the castle’s prison where you can explore at your own leisure.

Before leaving site, we made an attempt to climb the mound.  We got half way to the top before heading back down again as it didn’t feel particularly safe to me.

Sadly, I feel that the tour wasn’t ideal for younger children.  Apart from trying out the punishments following the tour, not much else seemed to keep them entertained.  Personally, I liked learning about the history and would love to do one of the After Dark Tours sometime.

Food, glorious food…

Food was definitely in order following our..

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Butlins Bognor Regis was our staycation of choice recently.  It was our first time at the Bognor resort, and it won’t be the last.  In recent years, we have chosen to stay at Butlins Minehead, so it was nice to try somewhere different.  If you are considering a family trip to Bognor, check out our honest review…

Butlins Bognor Regis

The Butlins resort, is located in the traditional seaside town of Bognor Regis, down on the south coast in West Sussex.  Located directly on a pebble beach, and bordering the South Downs National Park, the resort is perfectly situated for those who love an outdoor adventure too.

Butlins has everything to offer.  From the Great British seaside, traditional arcades and fairgrounds, live shows and entertainment, family activities, right through to great accommodation and food options.  It’s all there.

We had only booked our break two weeks previous to our stay, having stumbled across a fantastic 40% off deal.  Our Monday to Friday stay (including Food Court Dining) cost us £375.  We used £145 in Tesco Vouchers (which we accumulated over a year) and so only had a remainder of £230 to pay.  Personally, I think that’s an awesome deal.

Butlins Bognor ~ Wave Hotel accommodation

Our holiday started early on the Monday afternoon, when checking-in at the Wave Hotel.  Both clean and modern looking, we were impressed with the nautical themed hotel.  The hotel offers free parking, daily housekeeping and a 24 hour reception team.  To the side of the reception, there’s a Café​ with a large lounge area for relaxing and games room directly opposite.

We were really pleased with our room which was located on the 2nd floor.  The room offered plenty of space and had everything we could possibly need; bath/shower, tea making facilities, iron/board and hangers, hair dryer, mini fridge, Wi-Fi and a personal safe.

The boys were super excited about their room, and spent 20-minutes in there whilst Trevor and I unpacked all the luggage.

One negative…

To keep this post as honest as possible, unfortunately I feel the need to share our findings come bedtime.  We had all had a very long first day, and the boys were all too happy to hop into bed.

I pulled back all the bedding on the bottom bunk and found a used plaster on the underneath of the duvet.  Grossed out, I called down to Reception.  A cleaner was sent up immediately to rectify the issue.

Between calling down and the cleaner arriving, I also checked what would be Jacks pillow.  The pillow itself (beneath the cover) had an unpleasant looking stain on it and so I asked the cleaner to change that too.  She tried telling me that the pillows are routinely washed, and I questioned how that had made it back into circulation.  I had to be quite stern in my request for a new one as the cleaner was adamant that is was clean.

To be fair, that was the one and only problem we faced on our holiday.  Overall, we found the Bognor site to be very well maintained.

Butlins Deck Restaurant ~ Premium Dining

When we booked the holiday, we paid for Food Court Dining but on arrival was upgraded to Premium Dining.  Thank you Butlins!  The site didn’t seem overly busy, so I guess it was a business decision to operate just one buffet style eatery.  Nonetheless, a very welcomed upgrade.

Both the Premium Dining and Food Court options include breakfast and evening meals.  The Deck Restaurant offers buffet style dining, including a roast carvery and two live food stations.  The food stations are manned with chefs who will cook certain foods to your request (grill/omelette AM and grill/pasta PM).

There are plenty of food choices available which rotate each day.  The food is plentiful, fresh and topped up constantly.  Jack is fairly fussy, and there was always something on the menu that he could enjoy.  Jack and Hudson both enjoyed choosing their own food from the children’s food area.  The kids food is served at a lower level and therefore perfect for little ones.

Butlins Daytime Entertainment

Whether your family are the adventurous type or a little more easy-going, the Butlins entertainment schedules are filled with fantastic family shows and activities. You’re guaranteed to find something for every member of the family.

Most of the entertainment onsite is included in your holiday price, and only some activities are chargeable (ie some Fairground games / Pottery painting / Driving School / Spa etc).

At check-in, a schedule of activities is provided along with some tickets to certain evening shows.  There is a booking office where the staff can help you find suitable pre-bookable activities during your stay.  We chose to do pottery painting (£8 per child) and Mini Bows (archery style fun for 2-4 year olds) which was free, and fantastic!

We genuinely had the most brilliant time from the moment we arrived, as you can see…

Butlins Evening Entertainment ~ Live Shows

As always, Butlins pull out all the stops for their live performances.  From the entertainers to their costumes, the stage, sound and lighting effects, everything is done to perfection.  We saw three shows on Centre Stage throughout the week and each one was absolutely fantastic.

First of the week was Paddington Bear.  The show is full of upbeat fun, and of course involves a Panto baddie and all the ‘He’s behind you’ classics.

Sleeping Beauty, another classic family favourite was a brilliant pantomime.  Full of amazing costume changes, a fire breathing dragon and some hilarious panto wit.

The Jersey Quartet are a fantastic tribute act to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, featuring performers who have been in the musical The Jersey Boys.  With end to end smash hits such as ‘Sherry’, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘Beggin’ ‘, and ‘Working My Way Back to You’, they had the crowd singing and dancing throughout.

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Stikets is the home of personalised clothing labels and name stickers, perfect for labelling all of your children’s belongings.  We were recently invited to review some of their Basic Packs for the boys, and here are our thoughts…

The Stikets ordering process was simple and didn’t take long at all.  The labels and stickers are completely customisable, and can include two lines of text (for example you could use – name, class name, school name, contact number) plus an optional icon to suit your child’s interests.  Further, the labels can be customised with a large choice of background colours, patterns and font types, making them completely unique.

Stikets Basic Pack includes 142 labels:

84 all-purpose adhesive labels for objects (36 minis, 24 small, 20 medium, 4 big labels)
8 shoe labels (4 pairs of shoes)
2 small bag tags
48 small Iron-On Clothing Labels

The Basic Pack costs just £19.99 and shipping is free.  Additional packs can be ordered with a £6 discount, great for families with multiple children.

Stikets name labels and stickers are available in any size and shape, either as iron-on labels or as stickers to be stuck on any surface.  ID bracelets, hanging loops and luggage tags are all available too.  Various pack options cater for all your needs.

The Small Iron-On Name labels shown below can be purchased separately if preferred.  Great for ironing onto all types of clothing, they take just 8-15 seconds to press, and can be washed up to 60ºC.

In my opinion, the Basic Packs are well worth the money and fab for school, clubs and travel.  These labels will help identify your child’s belongings quickly and save you from having to replace lost clothing.  The labels and stickers are of very good quality and I love the vibrancy, they make the labels standout on the boys’ clothing really well.  Furthermore, the stickers and labels are extremely resistant to the dishwasher, washer and dryer ensuring that they last well.

GIVEAWAY TIME!!  

Stikets have kindly offered one lucky reader the opportunity to win a Stikets Basic Pack of Labels and Stickers.  You can enter the competition via Instagram here.

Good Luck – Lisa x

* We were gifted with the Stikets Basic Packs in exchange for our honest review.  However, all photos and opinions are my own.

** Competition is open to UK Mainland residents only.

*** Competition closes at 9pm on Sunday 31st March 2019.

The post Review & Giveaway: Stikets Labels and Stickers appeared first on The Love of a Captain Blog.

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We’ve created a family bucket list of nine things we would like to do this year; places to visit, adventures to have and new things to try.  A totally doable to-do list, and one that wont cost the earth.

Climb Beacon Hill – Since Trevor and I first started dating, we have said that we would like to climb to the top of Beacon Hill.  An impressive hillfort near to us, in Burghclere, with lovely views over the North Wessex Downs.  It’d be great to finally do that this year, and with the boys too.  Bonus!

Geocaching – This is something I love to do but not so much Trevor – in fact, he hates it.  We did manage to find a couple of hidden geocaches last year with the boys and they were beside themselves with excitement, having found some ‘treasure’.   This year, the Geocaching app will be a permanent feature on my phone.

Explore London – There are so many things I have always wanted to do in London.  The Tower of London, Madame Tussauds, The London Eye, The London Dungeons, Trafalgar Square, Selfie Factory, The Science Museum and The Post Office Museum, just to name a few.  It would be great if we could see more of London this year.

Bowling – We did this a few years ago, but the boys were so young and so unimpressed.  However, we walked through a bowling centre this week to get to a soft play area and the boys were going mad watching people bowl.  Like fist pumping and whooping, kinda mad.

Visit the seaside – shamefully, we still haven’t spent an entire day at the beach.  Bad, I know.  We only live about an hour from the coast so its a bit silly not to have really.  West Wittering comes highly recommended, and Bournemouth seems to be a destination that everyone seems to love.

Get drenched in a splash park – Because why the hell not?  Remember running through a sprinkler in the back garden as a child?  It was pretty awesome right?  Well sprinklers just got mental, in the form of splash parks and I’m all for that.

See the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta – Because it looks awesome!  I’d love to see this with the boys, and I’m pretty sure they would love to see it too.

Explore more of Cornwall – Trevor was born in St Austell, Cornwall and each year we try to visit there to see family and friends.  Each time we go, we say that we would like to explore some more of Cornwall, and never do.  That’s our Cornish mission for this year.

Visit Cliveden Gardens – Cliveden has always appealed to me, yet I’ve still not been.  I would love to take the boys to explore the grounds, trails and of course the maze.  Cliveden is one of the National Trust properties and we have been considering getting a NT family pass this year.  The snowdrops at Cliveden are set to bloom anytime now and It’d be great to see them.

So there we have it, our nine for 2019.  What’s on your bucket list this year?

Lisa

The post Family Bucket List – 9 things to do in 2019 appeared first on The Love of a Captain Blog.

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We were recently invited back to Marwell Zoo for their wonderful Christmas at Marwell experience, in exchange for this review.  We were lucky enough to have been invited last year too (read our previous post), and so were extremely excited to be contacted again this year.

Marwell Zoo

Marwell Zoo is set within 140 acres of beautiful Hampshire parkland and is about 40 miles away from us in Berkshire.  We are no strangers to Marwell, we have been many times as a family and absolutely love it.  With so much to do there, we find it excellent value for money.

As well as its amazing animals, Marwell has many attractions available to its guests; Wild Explorers – an African wilderness exhibit, Lemur Loop, Road and Rail Trains, Adventure Playgrounds and most recently, the new Tropical House, where guests can experience face-to-face encounters with a diversity of wildlife and exotic plants in a tropical climate.

Roarrrr….
Christmas at Marwell

The theme for this year’s Christmas at Marwell experience is Peter Pan’s Neverland, which is reflected wonderfully throughout the whole experience.  

On arrival to the Marwell Hall entrance, some friendly elves greet you and welcome you into an enchanting winter wonderland where visitors can enjoy some festive refreshments.  Here, children can check whether they are on Santa’s Nice or Naughty List using an interactive screen.

Christmas Activities

After guests have enjoyed their refreshments, some more friendly elves arrive to take you through for some gorgeous story time with Mother Christmas in Pirate Cove.  She reads, sings and dances to stories from Neverland, and the children and adults are encouraged to join in.  It’s a really magical experience and Mother Christmas certainly knows how to charm her audience.

After that, the boys headed off to the elves workshop for this years crafting activity, which was to create their own Christmas present bag.  The boys absolutely loved doing this and actually did a really good job.  Plenty of helpful elves were at hand to capture family photos for you or to simply assist the children with their crafts.

Meeting Father Christmas

Before long, it was time to meet the big man himself, Father Christmas.  Jack was beyond excited to meet him, but little brother Hudson preferred to greet him from afar.  Both boys were given really lovely gifts from Father Christmas, having made the Nice List.  They all spoke for a while about Christmas before we posed from some professional photos.  I love that there’s no sense of urgency when meeting Father Christmas at Marwell.  The children get to spend some good quality time in his company.

We said our goodbyes and headed out to see the photos taken by the professional photographer.  We paid £15 for 3 photos which were printed for us, and also sent to us digitally by email.  There were loads more photos that I would have loved, and wish there was an option to purchase them all digitally.

The Christmas experience itself lasts for about 75-minutes and is truly wonderful.  Christmas at Marwell is a magical experience for all the family.  Experiences can still be booked for some dates throughout December.   An experience not to be missed!

Lisa x

*We were invited to the Christmas at Marwell experience, in exchange for our honest review.  However, all thoughts and images are our own.

The post Christmas at Marwell 2018 – Our Review appeared first on The Love of a Captain Blog.

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I had the pleasure of dining at the Giggling Squid in Windsor recently, with a lovely view looking out directly onto Windsor Castle.  The Thai food restaurant opened in Windsor in July 2018 and is one of the latest restaurants in the ever increasing Giggling Squid chain.  Here’s what we thought of our visit…

Giggling Squid Windsor

We were greeted with a lovely welcome by the staff and were shown to our table by our Waiter Harry.  On arrival and early into the evening, the restaurant was already full with dining guests.  A promising start and good indication of a well liked restaurant.

I was super excited to see the interior decor for myself, having already fallen in love with it on Instagram.  The quirky Thai food restaurant features beautiful floral decor, light and spacious dining areas and a nice charming atmosphere.

We were provided with menus and served some prawn crackers to enjoy whilst we chose our food.  Should you visit a Giggling Squid restaurant, GET SOME PRAWN CRACKERS!  They are gorgeous.

The House White Wine was our beverage of choice and tasty it was too.  Dry and fruity, and very easy to drink.

To start, we chose the Moo Ping, Watermelon salad with pork floss, and Pork Ribs to share.  We were both unsure of what to expect but were seriously impressed.  The portion sizes were good and the food tasted lovely, fresh and flavoursome.

Service was really quick, and before we knew it, our Mains were being served.  I had chosen the Sticky Chicken Stir Fry with a side of Jasmine Rice and my friend opted for the Thai Red Curry, with some Sticky Rice.

My Stir Fry was to die for and I could quite happily eat that dish every single day.  Just looking at this picture now makes my mouth water.  I’m told that the Thai Red Curry was really good too.

The Molten Chocolate Dessert, and Prosecco and Muddled Berry Chessecake, seemed to jump out at us from the menu and boy I’m glad they did.  They were both yummy, but that cheesecake was something else and the winner for me.

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The Mid Hants Railway, known as The Watercress Line,  is a preserved steam railway in Hampshire, operating steam trains across four authentic stations.   Recently, we were invited back to The Watercress Line to enjoy a Day Out With Thomas for the purposes of review.

We are big Big BIG fans of Thomas in our house, and so this event is always much loved by us.  The Watercress Line pulls out all the stops to make this event a success and its easy to see why it always proves so popular.

Ropley Station is our preferred station to start with.  Parking next to the station is free and easy.  There is a huge field that can accommodate hundreds of cars, just a short walk up a small hill.  On entering the event, children are provided with a Thomas Passport to complete during their visit and a certificate (for signing by Sir Topham).

Towards the station entrance is a convenient buggy park, where you can leave your buggy should you want to, and here, children can choose from a selection of Thomas and Friends temporary tattoos to start their adventure.

Just inside Ropley Station, is the Station Masters Office.  There, the children can meet Sir Topham Hatt, have a little chat and a photo, and get their certificates signed.  Opposite Sir Topham’s office, is the Gift Shop.  Packed with Thomas and Friends goodies suitable for all ages, and reasonably priced too.

Out on the Platform is where the magic comes to life!  Thomas, Toad and Diesel all run regularly up and down the line for the duration of the day.  Visitors literally squeal with excitement as Thomas pulls into the Station, and I’m not just talking about the children.

You can jump aboard all the trains for a quick ride down the track or choose to travel between the four stations, where you will find further activities for everyone.  The boys absolutely love riding on the trains, pointing out the signals and waving at everyone as we pass them.

There are plenty of activities, rides and shows to keep everyone entertained throughout the entire day.  These are all included in the ticket price.  We always like to take a packed lunch with us, but there are cafes located at the stations should you prefer.

The boys also love to play in the Imagination Stations located at Ropley and Alresford.  Trevor and I always joke about leaving the boys in the play area whilst we grab some lunch.  They would play there for hours, happily!

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Willow and Wild Box ​is a personalised, monthly subscription box for 3 – 8 year olds, delivered straight through your letterbox.  Packed full of craft, gardening, cooking and outdoor activities, your creative explorers can play and learn about nature.

With the School Summer Holidays upon us, and with plenty of free time on our hands, being invited to review the latest monthly subscription box came at the perfect time.

Jack was quick to check out the contents of the box when it arrived in the mail and I was surprised at how much there was inside.  Packed full of nature activity ideas, I could already tell this box was going to be a hit with the boys.

Inside the latest Willow and Wild Box…

– Spinach & Sea Holly Seeds

– Laminated growing & cooking card

– 12 colour watercolour & brush set

– Nature Journal booklet, sticker & string

– Collecting ideas sheet and bag

– Lighthouse & fish colouring sheets

– Paper plate, Ribbon & Google eyes

– Fish stickers

PLUS a 28 days of nature inspired activities pull out.

Here’s what we got up to…

On the day that the box arrived, we had friends over for a play date and so we ventured outdoors together for our first activity.  We had four very eager and excited 3-year old boys wandering around nature collecting, using the equipment from the kit.  We must have hunted for a good 40-minutes before heading back indoors to talk about what we had found.

The following morning, we decided to make some paper plate jellyfish as suggested in the activities pull out booklet.  Included inside the Box were all the bits and pieces needed to make them and the boys sat brilliantly, doing so.

Mummy had to help with the hole punching and ribbon threading, but it was a lovely crafts activity to do as a family.

Over the next few days we visited our local woods and lakes in order to complete and tick off some of the other tasks in the booklet.  It was lovely watching all the boys having fun whilst learning all about their natural surroundings.

We hunted for bugs and fed the ducks, we searched for painted rocks and the nearest Geocache, and gathered logs and stones, before enjoying a little picnic and finishing with some tree bark art.

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Bluestone National Park Resort, a free-range holiday resort, full of adventure for all the family.  From the moment we arrived, until the moment we headed home, Bluestone exceeded all our expectations.  We switched off from the digital world and enjoyed some magical and unforgettable family time in the heart of Pembrokeshire.

As this post goes live, my brother and his young family are enjoying their own adventure at Bluestone.  We truly loved it that much, that we’ve recommended it to most of the families we know.

In July, we travelled to Wales for a mid-week break at Bluestone.  We were expecting great things having read all the reviews and still now, we talk about our holiday all the time.

Bluestone National Park Resort In a nutshell…

Bluestone, Wales is a 500-acre woodland resort that is set in the UK’s only coastal National Park.  Bursting with wildlife and with over 100 exciting indoor and outdoor activities, the Blue Lagoon and their award-winning luxury Well Spa, Bluestone caters for a wide range of tastes and ages and it’s your choice how active – or easygoing – your break is.

Arrival at Bluestone and our Lodge…

Guests can access the resort and use the facilities from 11:30am on their arrival date.  The rooms however, cannot be accessed until much later in the day.  Times vary dependent on your booking.

On arrival we were provided with a welcome pack which included two key cards, site maps, an activity planner, a list of onsite facilities (inc opening times) plus a safety guide.

We stayed in a Caldey style lodge, which sleeps a family of four.  The single floor lodge was spacious inside and featured a double and a twin bedroom, a wet-room (no bath) and an open-plan lounge, kitchen and dining area.  To the back of our lodge was a paved patio and picnic bench and bike rack.

The self-catering lodge had standard WiFi access, and some modern appliances; hairdryer, kettle, toaster, oven, microwave and dishwasher.  Crockery and cutlery is available for all your cooking needs.  Towels and bedding are provided, and a maid service is available at extra cost.  An iron and ironing board can be requested from the office.

Minimal supplies are provided (one toilet roll, two dishwasher tablets, small container of washing-up liquid).  You will need to top them up so do consider taking them with you.  Alternatively, they are available in the Village Shop onsite.

You can drive your car down to your lodge when you check-in, in order to unload your belongings.  Your car must then be returned to the main car park (free) and left there during your stay.  This ensures that the site remains car-free during your stay and therefore perfectly safe to roam with your little ones.

Getting around the resort…

Cars are only permitted on site when checking-in and checking-out, but you can still get around the resort by hiring a golf buggy, bike or using the free bus shuttle.  We chose to walk everywhere and enjoyed finding all the hidden surprises around the site which we may have otherwise missed.  However, I would definitely recommend hiring a golf buggy if you aren’t up to lots of walking, because the resort is HUGE.

The Village…

The Bluestone village is central to the resort and has it’s own pub, a village shop and gift shop, restaurants and play areas; Treetots for under-6s and Treetops Adventure playground.  There’s also the festival parades that bring the village alive twice a week to enjoy.

The Well Spa is also located within The Village for those looking for a little pampering, as is The Village Hall, for all your shows and pantomimes.

The Adventure Centre…

The Adventure Centre has it all.  For the little ones, a soft play area, bouncy castle, The Circus Zone, and Baby Sensory and Messy Play Sessions.  For the older children, there is a huge climbing area, the Sky Trail and The Wall.  The whole family can enjoy the Mini Golf together and a small arcade area.

There is also a gorgeous enchanting Cafe onsite should you get peckish.

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