“I’m sure it won’t be what we think?”
That was my (cheeky) friend’s take on our holiday! 🤷♀️💁🏻♀️😳 She never did say what “we” think!!!
Tbf I probably have had similar ideas to the ones she was alluding to; we all watched Hi-de-hi afterall!
But we’ve had so many recommendations that we were really excited to be going. Add into that that we both loved Hi-de-hi anyway!!
I’m here tapping away because Butlin’s didn’t disappoint (or for that matter remind me of Hi-de-hi!). In short, we had a brilliant time and were really impressed. And we think you might be too 😁👌.
My plan is to tell you stuff chronologically and put tips/things to remember in bold. But before I do this I must shout out to the brilliant customer service. Without exception we were really impressed with the staff, they really lived up to the Butlin’s tagline of “our true intent is all for your delight.”
The check in process was slick with a very friendly lady ushering us forward with her clipboard, to speed up the process for the people that had just arrived behind us.
We arrived at 1.30pm (you can use the facilities from 1pm). Arrive at 1pm if you can and head to the pool as they advise – we had a lovely quiet swim 😁.
We were told our accommodation would be available from 2pm* but we got straight in (don’t you love it when that happens 😁).
*we needed three bedrooms which meant a gold apartment, other apartments may have later check in times, so best to check your details re timings.
The accommodation was clean, practical, comfortable and spacious. It boasted a flat screen tv in the lounge and master bedroom and a dishwasher and DVD player.
If you’ve ever stayed at Center Parcs it’s hard not to make comparisons (you might need a CP “swear jar”). However the fact that you will want to make comparisons means in itself that they are comparable. And the fact that your Butlin’s break probably came in a couple of hundred pounds cheaper than CP*, means that you will be quite happy with your lot! Especially as so much is included in the price!
*this was the case with our price comparison at the time of booking, although we did book during a Butlin’s promotion.
The only thing I’d do differently was re the heating which was via convection heater so the air was quite dry. This sort of heating would probably be the same in most places but I really wished that I had packed my humidifier as on the first night my littlest had an awful cough. She had a virus as it turned out and was fine on the second and third night. But if you are holidaying in the winter, take a humidifier if you have one and you or your littler ones have coughs.
If you’re holidaying in the summer, you can make more use of this grass!
Wow! The facilities are definitely as good as CP (10p in the jar!). Missing only the cabanas! You also need to bring your own inflatables! If your kids are of a certain age / swimming ability you will want these; you’ll still want weak swimmers in touching distance but they made the lazy river and rapids less stressful.
There is a cafe poolside but it only seemed to serve cookies/flapjack etc and hot/soft drinks. The cafe wasn’t open on our arrival day but was on the Sunday and hopefully it would be later in the season.
Staff were very friendly and helpful – we loved our swim and lost track of the time. A friendly lady on reception advised us re available shops and restaurants (we also took advantage of the vending machines outside the pool to avoid hungry children meltdowns!). Remember your £££ for lockers and vending machines if required/desired!
Sensory overload! One thing that really struck us was how much was included and there to be stumbled on.
The kids had a great time on the first night at a disco / music / kids’ entertainment session in the pavilion. Felt like real quality and they literally had a ball! And no queuing required!
Butlin’s is unashamedly and blatantly about the kids. It is all there out in the open, not tidied away and loads of it is free!
The following morning we enjoyed the Teletubbies – littlest was star struck. Biggest pretended to be too cool. Middlest tried to hide his joy.
Plan your entertainment using the Butlin’s app and/or the leaflet in your check-in pack.
There are fab little rides in the little children’s section which were enjoyed by our 1, 5 and 6 year olds. Complete with seatbelts so our littlest could enjoy her first ever fairground ride!
No significant queues 😁😁😁.
Some queues in the bigger kids’ section but nothing too long. Boys enjoyed the Carousel and the Pirate ship. And we enjoyed not paying!!
Friendly staff. Again. Nice lady nicely asked my husband to sit behind my middlest on the carousel – thank you ❤️❤️❤️.
My Ergo carrier was a life saver. Turned out that my littlest had a virus and it was our hero as she had two lovely, snug naps in it on day 2. I would write a blog post on my ergo as I love it so much! However why would I when the lovely Everly James has already written an awesome one! Check out her post here…..
Back to Butlin’s….
At this point I have to mention the queuing. There are some very long queues! We found them to be okay although we did join them early. If you have two grown ups you can tag team queuing and entertaining the children.
If you are without a b-line pass (more on those later!), I recommend getting there half an hour before the “doors opening time” at least to remove the stress. And this was out of season in February.
Also buy food before you go into the Pantomime etc, as once inside there is just a drinks bar. We found the cheapest sandwiches in the supermarket style shop. Everyone seemed to be thinking the same thing as it was busy in the shop! It felt like Butlin’s were prepared for these busy spells though and they had plenty of staff on the tills.
This was a saving grace when we ended up with two overtired boys towards the end of day two. Very relaxing; the boys loved it! £6 for one hour which felt like a reasonable price.
As we were holidaying in February I hadn’t really considered the proximity to the beach.
It’s so close! This Butlin’s has a fantastic location – I hadn’t appreciated this at all and really want to see it in the summer now. We had some unseasonably warm weather and were able to get a taste for what it will be like in Spring / Summer.
The access between the beach and Butlin’s site is open from 9am until 5pm every day.
We are now very tempted by these! Basically a pass to queue jump!
They work for the queues for the shows and swimming.
For example – On our second trip to the pool, we walked by someone queueing outside the doors at 9.15am! It didn’t open until 10am!! Anyway, I got an urge to join the queue (🤷♀️) and asked them what they were queueing for. We decided that we definitely should join in! We were so glad that we did because oh my goodness they were right, people were queueing further than the eye could se by 9.30!!!
The extra queuing felt worth it as we got straight into a cubicle, and straight into the pool. The kids had a really good time, enjoying the rapids one at a time with OH and another slower flume in a green boat together with OH.
A b-line pass would mean that you don’t need to worry about queues for the pool. You turn up when things open and go straight in! Turn up for the pantomime and go straight in! Tempted?! Same here! Just trying to work out if it’s worth it with our kids, who aren’t guaranteed to make whole shows etc yet.
Once in the pool the queues were not too bad at all for the flumes, and the facility as a whole didn’t feel crowded. N.B. I don’t think that your b-line pass would work on the flumes.
We intended to try Ludo’s the Italian but it was fully booked. It looked lush – next time maybe!
Book your restaurants when you work out what you’re doing when!
We ended up at “The Beachcomber” pub. There was no need to book and we had so much food! All’s well that ends well!!
We bought the big kids meals by accident. Massive!! There was enough to feed us all and we love a bit of carb!!! We did however have our own meals to. Your standard pub grub, in a relaxed, family friendly environment.
My husband was in a bit of pain from the three apple crumbles which were included in the kid’s meals and again massive!
All in all very decent and kids happy. The staff were lovely with us all and the children.
I’ll add in here a shout out to the Burger King team who again were so happy to help.
We debated whether to just go back to the apartment after our Sunday night tea, but this felt a bit miserable on our last night. So we ended up going to enjoy the tail end of the tots‘ disco and the start of a quiz show. The quiz show was really funny and the boys really enjoyed it. However we snuck off before the end, which was a reflection of the boys always wanting to get onto the next thing as there was so much to do! We had promised some arcade time and nothing could compete with that for long!
On the last day the boys enjoyed some more snooker and all three enjoyed the softplay. Another great activity included in the price of your holiday.
You can only stay onsite until midday on you last day; I suspect that this is due to the size of the site (not quite as sprawling as CP. 10p.).
The area for the tinies was very nicely and pleasantly policed by the staff, which was a real plus and often lacking in softplay venues. More lovely staff. I can’t remember ever having such a consistent positive impression of a holiday park’s staff!
We definitely want to go back and are really tempted to try another Butlin’s holiday park. We were especially taken by the proximity to the beach, accommodation, entertainment and last but not least top notch customer service!
I loved stepping out from the apartment knowing that the sea was behind those trees!!
We both feel like there is more to discover; for example we never did any of the free activities e.g. fencing for 5-7 year olds. You book these at booking points around the site – we never got around to booking anything. There was so much on everywhere!
So we definitely never had time to turn our attention to any of the paid activities e.g climbing wall, cinema and football lessons.
So yes, we really want to go back. So if you’re wondering whether Butlin’s is for you I would guess that it probably is! In fact I reckon you’ll love it 💗