Family time over Christmas is so important, and with time being such a precious commodity in modern life it can be hard to fit in the special events and occasions which make memories.
We were recently invited to spend a weekend at Bluestone National Park Resort in west Wales in order to enjoy their Christmas extravaganza of the Kingdom of the Elves, and it was without a doubt the perfect thing to start off our celebrations over the festive season.
We have been to Bluestone twice before, and as we'd had a mixed opinion of the accommodation from the first stay, I was more than a little nervous. All of that trepidation was quashed the minute that we arrived and checked into our Caldey lodge; clean, comfortable, warm and homely with minimalistic decor and attractive colours throughout. The Caldey lodges are one of the most popular on site, and having now stayed in both a Ramsey and a Caldey, I do prefer the single-storey layout of the Caldeys with their twin room, master king-size room, and open plan living area and kitchen space.
It should be noted that the bathroom is a wetroom style shower room without a bath, so if families with younger children need a bath then it might be wiser to investigate one of the other lodge styles.
We arrived on Friday afternoon around 3pm and were allowed to explore the Adventure Centre before being able to access our accommodation at 4.30pm. The Adventure Centre is a wonderful play resource at Bluestone with free crazy golf, soft play, bouncy castle, Lego area, and a few other age-restricted activities which can be paid for like the aerial assault course and the climbing walls (6yrs+). This is also the place where the Kingdom of the Elves is held, and the Wildwood Cafe is upstairs which offers snacks and light meals perfect for lunchtimes. Additional entertainment opportunities are available in the woodland area which has outdoor adventure activities, and in the Blue Lagoon waterworld swimming pool. We took advantage of the swimming facilities on the Saturday morning and spent a pleasurable two hours in there enjoying the outdoor lazy river, slides, and overcoming a childhood fear of wave machines!
These are great facilities which help fill the weekend, but we were visiting for the Christmas aspect! To extend the festive fun that was on offer with the Kingdom of the Elves, I also booked the Storytime with Santa session in the morning (which includes an all-you-can-eat style breakfast in the Farmhouse Grill). Priced at £15.00 for children and £7.50 for adults (including the food for all), the 45 minute session includes an interactive storytime with Father Christmas, two small craft activities, and a present from Father Christmas (The Boy received a very good quality glove puppet). This is excellent value for money and I would thoroughly recommend that visitors over Christmas book this because it really helped to make the weekend something very special.
And finally to the pièce de résistance, the Kingdom of the Elves.
Some of Santa's elves have relocated to the quietness of west Wales where they have created a wonderland that demonstrates to visitors exactly what happens when a letter arrives at the North Pole. Through a series of six workshops, children can join the elves as they receive a letter, create the perfect present, polish it, wrap it and then celebrate the completion of the task in a present party. At the end of the two hour long journey, the children receive their elf ears to accompany the apron that they were given at the start of the workshops.
The Boy was completely and utterly engaged and animated during the two hours, although he did start to flag in the final twenty minutes or so. Santa's elves are excellent and do their utmost to involve all the children in the process of making the present for Charlie, the little boy who wrote the letter. There was a moment or two of tears when The Boy actually thought he was going to be turned into an elf, but he soon calmed down; the excitement of the situation was quite a lot to deal with!
A trip around Kingdom of the Elves runs from 7th of November to the 4th of January, and tickets for each member of the party are included free in every 2,4 or 7 night break to Bluestone this Christmas.
I received free accommodation at Bluestone in order to review and feature the Kingdom of the Elves, my opinion is honest and unbiased.