Butlins – Changing Perceptions

Butlins skegness

 My twins doing the obligatory Butlins photo shoot :)

I’m sure you are all well aware by now, if not by the gorgeous shiny red badge that has been displayed proudly in the sidebar of my blog for some months now, then maybe by the post I wrote ages ago informing you all that this year I was chosen, along with some other families, to become a Butlins Ambassador for the year 2013/14. Which basically means I get to experience an all expenses paid for Butlins break/holiday with my family and then to come back and give my very honest opinion about it, things we like, things we don’t like etc.

Right now I’m smack bang in the middle of my break at Butlins Bognor Regis. Butlins have three resorts in the UK – Bognor, Minehead and Skegness! Bognor is probably the closest to us in Hertfordshire and down on the South Coast which is a beautiful part of the Country, hence why we chose this particular resort for our little break. We are enjoying our time here and that’s the reason I haven’t blogged this week….. we’ve been far too busy having fun!

I will however be writing up some review posts in the next week or so but first I wanted to talk about Butlins in general.

A couple of weeks ago, as part of my Butlins Ambassador programme, we (my fellow ambassadors and I)  had a meeting with the Butlins team at their Skegness resort. There were a lot of Ambassadors that couldn’t make it due to other commitments but I was determined to be there no matter what, even though Skegness is a long, three hour drive from where we live. Just having a handful of us at the meeting meant we got to know each other a bit better which was nice!

What was great about this meeting was that I was able to take my family with me. Not to the meeting itself, but to enjoy a weekend of fun at the resort, experience and enjoy all the facilities and get to know Butlins before we took our proper break, and it was good to be able to see two resorts in my year as Ambassador and maybe compare the two!

Now, I have never been to Butlins before so I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I’d heard great things to be fair, by friends that have been in recent years, but I also carried a little scepticism with me…. visions of tackiness and loud scary families blighted my expectations a little! I was worried that I wouldn’t like it. I’ve been on British holidays before, to ‘child friendly’ resorts and I haven’t enjoyed them. Not really. Yes, they’re ok for kids and granted I probably haven’t stayed at the right places but my experience so far is of cramped accommodation, facilities not up to scratch, dire food and second rate entertainment.

No so at Butlins! I honestly and truly say I had no need to worry. Butlins is definitely up to scratch!

Skegness is all about self catering. We were staying in the Gold Apartments. There are Gold, Silver and Bronze types of apartments, depending on requirements and of course, budget. There is no real difference in the standard, just a few little extras in the higher ranking apartments like hairdryers, fresh towels daily etc, or distance from the main entertainment areas of the resort… obviously the closer you are, the busier and noisier it is. The Gold Apartments are situated the furthest away in the quiet area. If you prefer, and you don’t want to pay too much, they also do ‘Rooms’ which are still very comfortable and are very similar to those you’d find in a nice hotel. And not forgetting the adjacent caravan park if the traditional holiday park is what you’re after :)

I cannot tell you how surprised I was when I stepped foot in our apartment. It was lovely. It felt very home from home, it was spacious, the decor was up to date, fresh and clean looking, the three bedrooms were all decent sizes and it was very well kept. Yes I was very happy and the kids loved it!! I didn’t manage to take any photo’s of the apartment before we messed it up (hehe) but you can check out the Gold Apartments here.

The restaurants on site were all very good and varied, the entertainment for the children was constant and top drawer, I was surprised by the extent of what was on offer actually, shows and activities on all day long.

Butlins kept on surprising me if I’m honest. And that’s exactly how I wanted to feel. I wanted to feel bowled over by Butlins, I wanted it to dispel any negative preconceptions I held and to prove to me that it wasn’t a tacky, past it,  British holiday destination that a lot of families still believe it to be.  And I’m so happy it did just that. Butlins wants YOU to feel like that too.

Butlins is changing. It is developing and evolving, but still doing what it does best and that is providing safe, quality entertainment for all the family along with ensuring everyone has a comfortable, fantastic time and break from the norm. I think it’s well on it’s way to becoming the top choice for not some but ALL parents for a UK break.

At our meeting we discussed many aspects of the resorts, the Butlins team wanted lots of feedback from us Mums about what we really want from our family UK break. There were Ambassadors at the meeting that had already had their break so it was good for them to feed back on all the things they liked as well as things that they felt could be improved upon. We heard all about the exciting plans Butlins has in store for the future and the fabulous developments that are going to happen, which I can’t mention right now but they are super!

There is a stigma attached to Butlins. But gone are the days of the hi de hi campers two week summer holiday that parents of yester year would’ve undertaken back in the 60’s and 70’s. People today are more likely to want short breaks in the UK and then maybe take their main summer holiday abroad. Parents want to get away with their kids over the weekend or during half terms and school holidays, or mid-week if they have young children, where they can relax and unwind themselves and have their children thoroughly entertained.

The dining packages that Butlins offer are a great incentive in themselves as this ensures that Mum doesn’t have to do anything if she doesn’t want to… this appeals to me for sure and the two different pricing options suit most budgets. Of course you can self cater if you like OR you can eat as you go at one of the many restaurants. The on site Spa’s also provide some much needed ‘you’ time and there are countless amounts of organised kids activities for all ages. The many shows and big events for all the family to enjoy cannot be compared to anywhere else, they are utterly brilliant.

I think with the growing popularity of places like Center Parcs though, people have forgotten how good Butlins can be.

I’ve been to Centre Parcs and in all honesty I think Butlins is better for families. And I’m not just saying it, for very young children especially there is so much more on offer in terms of entertainment throughout the day. Everything is close by at Butlins and they seem to have thought of everything!

Here at Bognor we are staying in a very lovely hotel, there are three here to choose from so if it’s the thought of self catering accommodation that puts you off, then it doesn’t have to. This hotel has top notch facilities and all geared towards children. There’s even a huge games room where, whether we like it or not, kids love to play on the very many games consoles. I was blown away by this room actually, it was amazing!

And what about the beaches?!

Oh yes, this is one little trump card that Butlins has up it’s sleeve if everything else fails! All the Butlins resorts are situated at the seaside and for me, this sums up perfect memory making moments for kids as they are growing up. Spending time on the beach, paddling in the sea, whatever the weather (yes I mean it) is fun and magical for kids… it’s what THEY would choose I’m absolutely certain!

You really do get the best of everything here at Butins. For families it’s just a no brainer.

I want parents to look and look again at Butlins next time they are planning their next UK family break. I realise that a lot of Mums especially believe it to be unfashionable or a bit uncool, or that the type of person here at the Butlins resorts is not the type you want to be mixing with (I’m sorry but I know people that think this) but I can assure you that whilst, in some cases, you may have had this experience in the past, you are not likely to experience this now.

With the introduction of much higher standards of accommodation, facilities and high calibre of entertainment (the shows here have been compared to West End productions in terms of quality) I can absolutely and categorically declare that Butlins is ACE!

This year has definitely changed MY perception of Butlins and I’m sure if you were to take the plunge and give it a try it would change yours too.

This post is written as part of my Ambassador role for Butlins but they do NOT ask or tell me what to write. All words and views are my own.

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Comments

  1. Butlins sounds a wonderful place to visit….I’ve been reading about it recently….I just wish there was a one closer to us :)

  2. Awww such a nice and honest view of the place. I think that they are really awesome and in the know on how to handle families. I wish that one day we can go to one of their resorts. #pocolo

  3. I am looking forward to going in a few weeks – just wish I could find more out abut Skegness.

    • Mummy Endeavours says:

      Well the apartments in this post I’ve written about are in Skegness. I’m writing up a post about the beach at Skegness and about our time there when we had our meeting! I thought the Skegness Butlins was brilliant so you’ll have an amazing time x

  4. I have not been to Butlins since I was a young girl and we always went to the one in Ayr in Scotland. Loved it, but being the child all we cared about was the amusements and the Arabian derby, haha. Sounds like the place is still just as fab as I remember. #PoCoLo x

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