Butlin’s has been providing family holidays since the 1930s - so it’s pretty much nailed on that they know what they’re doing.
I visited the Bognor Regis resort over the May half term holiday with my husband and six-year-old daughter Lucy.
Before I visited I’d heard the radio adverts for Butlin’s - where the mum is saying you could spend a month there and never get bored.
Well, it’s true. There’s just so much to do.
One of the best highlights of our visit was the new Splashworld. Featuring seaside-themed slides and rides - such as the Helter Skelter - the facility was clean, bright and so much fun. It also offered lots of space to play, with several pools, including a wave pool, dotted around the place.
We also loved the fairground. You can go on the rides as many times as you like, as it’s all included in the price of your break. Our daughter loved the carousel, the swings, the helter skelter, and tug boat rides. There’s also your usual fairground attractions such as hook-a-duck and camel races.
In terms of shows, Butlin’s offers a great variety. We saw everything from pantomimes to comedy, tribute acts to the Teletubbies. Every one was full of talent. In between acts, there’s the traditional Redcoats to keep the small ones entertained - and they are great. We absolutely loved Sleeping Beauty and Paddington Live, and the best music came from Salute - a Little Mix-themed evening, and The Great White Piano Show, a celebration of Elton John.
There’s also a sports bar and a pub in the pavilion if you want to chill out away from the shows (which are mainly held in the Reds Bar and Centre Stage).
During the day there’s a whole host of activities to get involved with. Everything is colour coded on the guide you get during check-in, so you can see at a glance what is suitable for each age range. There’s tots fun football and the Teletubbies Big Play Date for under fives, Billy and Bonnie’s Wake Up and Go and indoor soft play areas for five to eight-year-olds, a drum workshop and Skyline Active (cheerleading, hula-hooping and jump rope) for 9-12-year-olds and adventure golf and aerial adventures for teenagers. There’s also the arcade, with rides and numerous ticket machines, which are addictive no matter what your age!
We packed every minute of each day with activities, and we still never got round to the outdoor play area, the bungee trampolines, the hotel spa, bowling and adventure golf. In fact, the only time we left the resort was when we ventured to the nearby beach for a few hours.
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The accommodation doesn’t disappoint either. We stayed in the Ocean Hotel - our daughter declared this to be the best room EVER shortly after arriving and discovering a television in her bedroom! But six-year-old delight aside, the rooms really are fantastic. Everything is so bright and fun (like the pow and wham painting above the children’s beds) that it really does get your holiday off to a cheerful start. One bit of advice would be to avoid arriving at peak check-in times (3pm) as we did, because the lifts are scarce and people had lots of luggage.
The beds are comfy and everything was clean (and kept this way on a daily basis). It is classed as one room, but the child beds are tucked away in a separate little alcove, which offers more privacy and there’s no windows in there so the sun doesn’t get through if your child is a light sleeper. Not that it would have been a problem for us - after so much fun during the day and late nights partying at Centre Stage and Reds, we only just made it down for breakfast each morning.
If you go for a dining plan, this will include breakfast and your evening meal. There’s a buffet restaurant in the hotel so you don’t have far to go. The food was always hot, with plenty of delicious dishes to choose from. There’s a child’s menu and an adult’s menu, with different options every evening.
The resort’s new Dine Around feature is brilliant and offers so much flexibility. It allows you to choose which restaurant you eat at, such as Papa John’s or the fish and chip shop, meaning families can move away from buffet options and enjoy a wider choice of menus and eating times.
We also loved the character breakfast, which is included in your stay at the Ocean Hotel. This involved a buffet breakfast, and the chance to have a picture and a dance with Bonnie and Billy, the two Butlin’s mascots.
Lucy LOVED this, and really got into the swing of things, parading through the breakfast hall with the two bears and a stream of other excited children.
Overall, I would recommend Butlin’s to any family because there genuinely is something for everyone.
Three nights (Friday to Monday) in a hotel at Butlin’s Bognor Regis resort during the school summer holidays starts from £719, while four nights (Monday to Friday) is from £870. Both prices are based on four people sharing, and do not include dining plans. The price of the breaks includes use of the new Splash pool, the traditional fairground, live shows from the likes of Stephen Mulhern*, Diversity*, Paddington, Teletubbies and Mr Men Little Miss – as well as a wide range of other daytime and evening entertainment and attractions. For more details go to www.butlins.com (*dependent upon the date of the break).