Butlins is the one family holiday that we always do every year. We’ve been going for the last 4 years now with my in-laws for the same week every August. With this in mind it means that we know Butlins well, and all it has to offer. I thought that today I would write a blog post about it, in the hope that it will help other people have a great week. We stayed at the Minehead resort, as it’s the closest one to us. I haven’t been to either of the other ones so can’t comment on them.
I won’t lie. Butlins is the ultimate in holiday cheese. With the arcades, funfair, redcoats and full on entertainment programme it really is like something from one of those comedy piss-take programmes on TV. However, it isn’t all bad. We usually have a great time there, purely because there is so much to do that is included in the price of your holiday.
When it comes to accommodation at Butlins you really do get what you pay for. We made the mistake of going for a basic room this time because the in-laws were cooking for us so we literally did just need a bed. BIG MISTAKE. The standard room was awful. It only has a bath, it looks like it hasn’t been decorated since before I was born and it stunk of damp, especially after a night of rain. I can’t complain about the cleanliness because when we first got into the room it was spotless. It was just dated and old.
On the other hand the in-laws booked one of the posh new chalets that were only put up this year and it was gorgeous. It was spacious, light, clean, modern and inviting. They paid a lot of money for it, but they had 5 people in there so needed something bigger. We certainly couldn’t justify spending £1000 on one just for us three. Instead next year we’ve gone for a gold apartment, which is right next door to them, and looks lovely as well. If you are able to afford a bit more money on where you sleep I would recommend it. I wish we had this year.
I could probably write for pages about the entertainment available at Butlins because there really is so much to do. However I’m going to focus on the things that we spent most of our time doing:
- The Splashpool -This swimming pool is my daughter’s favourite pool. We have to pack our swimming things separately and get there early on the Monday so she can go straight in to the pool. We went every single day this holiday. The pool is pretty big and has three main sections plus an outdoor pool as well. The main pool area has a lazy river that is a loop and flows fairly quickly. It’s just over 1m deep so most children can stand up in it. There is also a wave machine in this section that goes on at regular intervals. Lottie’s favourite part is the slides though. There are 4 of them. Master Blaster (that you go down in a boat), The Black Hole (in the dark), The Space Bowl (where you spin in a bowl and drop into a mini pool) and The Blue Comet (the littlest one but still quite big). The final area is just a bog standard pool that allows you to do lane swimming, it goes up to about 2m deep.
- The arcades – I HATE the arcade with a passion. I think it’s a waste of time and money but it appears that my daughter might be a bit of a gambling addict. She spends all year saving up every 2 pence coin that comes into our house. And then all week begging for more money so she can earn tickets to get some pound shop tat that cost her about £10 worth of 2 pence coins to earn. However, that being said: it did keep all the kids quiet and stopped them moaning for an hour every evening. We managed to save over £20 worth of change for Lottie so she was able to go with a few bags every evening. Then, on the final night daddy got the joy of queuing with her for over an hour to exchange the 1200 tickets she had collected for a squishy and some slime (that I really want to bin already!)
- The science zone – The science zone opened on the Thursday that we were there and it was really good. Everything in there is also included in the price of your holiday as well so totally free. We went in thinking we would only spend about 20-30 minutes in there. We were in there for nearly 2 hours and then Lottie didn’t want to go but we were heading out for a birthday lunch so had to go. In there Lottie made a bath bomb. She loved this, and it smelled of candy cane. She now wants to try making them at home! She also spent time using the Virtual Tee app exploring the human body. There was also an astronaut challenge which Lottie completed. In this memory recall, reflexes, fitness and logic was tested. The highest score was 30. I think Lottie got 19, which we thought was quite respectable. There was also a buzzwire challenge as well. Neither Lottie or I have the patience or the co-ordination skills necessary for this so we were epic failures at it. We did see one lady complete it but she spent ages doing it.
- The evening entertainment – This is so varied that there really is something for everybody, and lets face it most things are entertaining after a few glasses of wine Whilst we were there we went to watch the wrestling (with some bloke who was apparently in Love Island once upon a time), a Spice girls tribute, a Taylor Swift act, Abba and the Greatest Showman. They weren’t bad. In fact I really enjoyed the Spice Girls and Abba. My nephew LOVED the wrestling. It was quite sweet watching him so mesmerised by it.
- The kids activities – There are LOADS of activities for the kids. Some of them have to be paid for separately so we didn’t do any of these. These include bunjee ropes, climbing and a zip wire. We stuck to the free activities. Lottie enjoyed her fencing session, which lasted for half an hour. She was a little sad that this is the last year she will be able to do it as its aimed at the younger kids. She also went to arts and crafts and did some craft there with her daddy. She’s done this a few times and really enjoyed it. Our nephew went along to the football with muni hubbyand seemed to enjoy what was on offer. I think we saw circus skills, magic workshops and drum sessions advertised as well.
- The funfair – This was another popular place to visit, and again it’s included in the price of your holiday. It’s no Alton Towers or Drayton Manor but it’s still fun. There are quite a few different rides to enjoy. These includes Swinging Chairs, a Merry-Go-Round, a mini pirate ship, Dodgems, Waltzers and a Helter-Skelter. We went every day we were there and spent at least an hour at a time there. The queues aren’t huge either. Some rides you can pretty much walk straight on to, others there is a queue but I don’t think we queued for more than one go.
We enjoyed our week there, and are going to go back next year. I think it’s probably an annual thing now until Lottie leaves home, or decides she’s too grown up for a week away with her embarrassing parents. I would recommend the week. I don’t think I could manage more than 4 nights but those nights are fun.