Bluestone National Park Resort or Center Parcs?| Self Catering Breaks, UK

As much as I love getting on a plane and flying off somewhere exotic, there has to be something said about the ease of just packing everything into a car and heading off on a staycation.

So when we touched down from Morocco, rather than endure the post holiday blues, we set off on another adventure the day after.  This time to Wales.

We’d been to Bluestone in Wales previously, so we knew what to expect.

A great family friendly holiday resort, beautifully designed, prioritising children’s play and outdoor fun with modern and sleek designed accommodation.

We packed the car with all our essentials and packed up all the food left over from the Christmas period too.  You know, tins of biscuits, jars of jam, cans of whatever hadn’t been consumed.  Which by the way was a great idea- it got rid of everything in one hit!  Including the excess milk we’d bought that was taking up freezer space!

The reason I love Bluestone is because you can spend as much or as little as you want when it comes to cost.  There’s no obligation to spend on site if you don’t want to.

In fact you can happily enjoy all the complimentary features with your children and not feel guilty for not spending on the additional activities because there’s just so much on offer that will keep them occupied anyway.

Including the amazing pool which has a wave machine, a toddler pool, jacuzzi’s, a pirate play area with water canons and a lazy river along with many slides to enjoy- the slides not so much for myself or Little London currently, although Mr London Mum certainly took advantage!

Having all these complimentary areas- both indoors and outdoors, worked out perfectly for my pregnant self.  It meant I got the chance to sit and relax when I needed to, whilst making sure Little London was burning off all the energy he possibly could ensuring easy bed times and a tired child come the evenings.

He’s too young to enjoy some of the crazy adventures that are tailored for older children, but again that’s why I love Bluestone.  Every age group seems to have an additional layer of fun targeted for them.  Whether you need something to occupy a newborn or an adult.  It means returning will never be boring, because there’s something different that perhaps couldn’t be enjoyed the year previous.

While we took advantage of many of the classes for our toddling son when we first visited, this time around he wanted to go swimming every day, and seeing his confidence in the water increase was just amazing to witness.

I always compare Bluestone with Center Parcs.  Because for me they are very similar in terms of what they offer- they are both luxury self catering UK breaks.  But the pricing just doesn’t compare.

Occasionally of course Center Parcs can throw in a great deal which is worth considering, but whenever I look to book a break those deals never seem to exist.  And the price of Bluestone is just so much cheaper consistently.

For example, a 3 night weekend break to Bluestone for two adults and two children on the 3rd March would cost from £349.00.

At Center Parcs, the cheapest lodge they have on offer is £529.00.  That’s quite a big jump in my books.  £180.00 spent on activities and eating out at Bluestone would be worth it in my books and you’d be getting everything at the same price as you would at Center Parcs, just for accommodation.

While there are many more Center Parcs resorts meaning finding one closer to home is a bonus, what they do lack is the beauty and the activities that surround Bluestone- in addition to the difference in price.

Being land locked in London I love any escape that means I get to see the sea and enjoy the freedom a good beach has to offer.

One of the best beaches in the UK has to be Tenby beach.  It just stretches for miles and is covered in soft sand.

Maybe the inner child in me comes out when I see the ocean, but it also has the same affect on my toddler.  Being able to feel the sea breeze and run away from the waves together just doesn’t grow old ever.

And if you do venture into Tenby which is literally a 15-20 minute drive, I highly recommend visiting The Salt Cellar.

The food is outstanding and the prices are extremely reasonable for the quality of the meals.  In fact in London our meal would have cost at least double if not triple the amount we paid.

Although winter probably isn’t the best season to visit Bluestone given the amazing natural beauty that exists in the area (and the fact Camp Smokey is shut for the season because it’s outside- which is my favourite restaurant at Bluestone), we found it the perfect time to just escape the cold and dreary grey days personally.

Rather than suffer the January blues we were enjoying ourselves splashing in the heated pool and ignoring the mundane-ness outside if the weather wasn’t playing ball.

And if memory serves me right the price of a midweek Monday-Friday break in January was well under £180.00 for two adults and two children (that was the size lodge we picked).

And if the weather did perk up we ventured outside the resort to explore.  It made perfect sense to us, and certainly helped liven up and enjoy a month where usually there isn’t much excitement going on.

Do you know what I love the most though?

The fact that we’ve still only scratched the surface when it comes to Bluestone and the surrounding area.  There’s still so much left to explore and enjoy for future visits.  That’s when you know you’ve found a staycation gem.

 

thelondonmum

50 Comments

    • I’d love to see how you compare the two. We used to visit center parcs when I was younger and had some great holidays there. But I think Bluestone offers the same in terms of what’s on site so it comes down to pricing for me now.

  1. Oh Bluestone sounds amazing, I have always wanted to visit! I may have a look into a break there in the summer as we’ll have a small baby so aren’t planning our usual abroad holiday. We visited center parcs last christmas and had a lovely time but I would love to try both, especially as the cost is so much more affordable! xo

    • The cost is hugely different. I always think it’s worth comparing, but I’ve never found a center parcs break in recent years that I’d be happy to pay. Sometimes the cost is the price of a break abroad!

  2. I love your photos Donna, makes me want to go back to Bluestone right now. We always have such a nice time there. Your totally right though you really can go there and not spend on top as there is SO much to do!

    • I think the only thing we bought on site was the cake and coffees- which was amazing! We just didn’t feel the need to spend anything at all this time around because we’d bought all our own food and it was nice to just relax indoors after having busy days out swimming and exploring!

    • There is something for staying at a self catering resort as a child, they make great holidays!

  3. What stunning photos! Amazingly I haven’t heard of Bluestone – it looks good! We are center parcs fans already, can’t go wrong there.

    • Center Parcs is a great place to visit, there’s no doubting that. But I recommend you try Bluestone at some point if you can- I’d love to see how you think it compares. For me they’re very similar in terms of what they offer.

    • I’m always really disappointed when I’m looking for a UK self catering holiday and the price comes up extortionate from Center Parcs. I just don’t think I can justify that price for self catering in the UK.

  4. I love the idea of going to Bluestone but we don’t drive. I didn’t realise how big the cost between centre parks and bluestone would be.

    • yep that is something I think that is important with Bluestone having the ability to drive. I’m not sure how easy it is to get to with public transport- I can’t say that we’ve tried. But being able to jump in the car is useful I find.

    • Yeah it’s brilliant when you think what they both offer and then do a price comparison. c

    • We’ve only ever been when the weather has been slightly chilly so June will be perfect!

    • It is so much better for pricing isn’t it? Sometimes I’m shocked but the pricing of center parcs which is a shame.

    • You should give Bluestone a try if you can’t find a price you like for center parcs and see what you think of it. The kids will love it that’s for sure!

    • It is- although it’s not so localish- perhaps a 4 hour drive? But it’s not all that bad at all 🙂

  5. Haha – looks like a great time was so deservedly had by one-n-all especially with everything you’re having to deal with at the mo!! We’re so pleased you were all able to get away. Very impressed with all LondonMum … especially seeing NOT 1- BUT 2- big kids bouncing about & having fun & being ‘athletic’ (was that really you haha??) on a beach is GREAT STUFF! Sea air always does a power of good for all known conditions – even being pregnant ha! Wave running is a great past-time – next time, you’ll have to run INTO them & float on the tides to down ‘ere … (LondonMums extra cargo buoyancy permitting haha.) TENBY? or SANDBANKS? – the LondonMum jury’s still out on that one. Hope all’s going ssooo much MUCH better for you? Onwards & ‘outwards’ LondonMum. WE’RE WITH YOU!
    Let the LondonMums little gurgler May arrival ‘countdown’ begin … cue music … “Sing it LondonMum” (blimey, what am I saying haha??) …2…3…4 “Dah dah, – dah dah, – dah dah dah dah … BOINNNG.” – Oh dear, the Countdown programme theme tune doesn’t really work on posts does it.

    • Don’t remind me.. we’re on countdown with nothing ready!! arrrrggghhhhhh. Newborns don’t need much do they?

  6. This is such a fab post. I am going to share it. I totally agree Bluestone is so lovely I love your photos. They are stunning what camera do you have? I am looking to invest in a new one. xx

    • I am a photo obsessive. We have the Nikon D7200. We have a couple of lenses which helps a lot, so we flit between a long lens one 70-200mm and a 35mm one mainly. I love my camera, it’s like my other baby! lol.

  7. Centre Parcs always seems so expensive, it’s great to find out about interesting and affordable alternatives. Sounds like a great place and I love the photos that you had as well.

    • Definitely try it! I know what you mean about pricing with center parcs. For me it’s out of budget for uk self catering. I never find good deals with them- although others say they do exist!

  8. Loved this post. Our family went to a lot of parks when we were kids and they are some of my happiest memories

    • Same, we used to visit center parcs as Bluestone didn’t exist then and loved those breaks away.

  9. Looks like you had an awesome day, I love to visit there with my kids and their food was so amazing! We want to go there soon.

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