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Butlins review thread. Non-testers: Tell us what makes the perfect family holiday in the UK and you could win a £200 John Lewis voucher

(141 Posts)
AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 17-Jul-14 11:54:10

This thread is for the ten lucky MN families who are going on a Butlins holiday over the next few months.

Butlins say “We have been providing family breaks for nearly 80 years, and although we’ve changed with the times, many people still believe that we’re old fashioned and run down. We’re looking to change these negative perceptions and show Mumsnetters that we’re a 21st century holiday destination, which offers brilliant family breaks at great value for money”

Testers are visiting the Skegness, Bognor Regis and Minehead resorts – check back to this thread to find out how they are getting on.
We have asked testers to add feedback at least twice - before they go and when they get back home.

Non testers: Butlins would love to know what makes the perfect family holiday in the UK. Everyone who adds a comment will be entered into a prize draw where one Mumsnetter will win a £200 John Lewis voucher, so that they can get stocked up for the holiday season.

Please note: comments may well be used by Butlins on social media and elsewhere. Your MN name will not be used.

Testers – please share on this thread your overall opinion and experience plus your responses to the following questions.

Before you go
- Where are you going? How far it is from your home?
- Who is in your group?
- Have you ever been on a Butlins holiday before?
- What are you looking forward to most? What are the DC looking forward to?
- How was the booking process?
- What are your perceptions of Butlins?
- What made you apply to visit Butlins?

When you are back
- Overall opinions from you and others in the family
- Describe your accommodation
- Describe your dining experiences
- Did your break meet or exceed your expectations?
- What activities have the kids enjoyed?
- What activities/entertainment did you enjoy as a family?
- Was there anything that surprised you about your break/Butlins?

How would you rate/ describe...
- Food
- Accommodation
- Activities
- Entertainment
- The Butlins team
- Things to do for adults
- Things to do for children
- Things to do as a family
- Would you return/ try out another Butlins resort?
- What did you think about the value for money – especially compared to other family holidays?
- Any other comments?

Please also do add a review on Mumsnet to the Self Catering pages.

Thanks
MNHQ

PS We've 'highlighted' the testers posts on this thread so we can see them!

Uzma01 Thu 17-Jul-14 13:40:28

Non-tester: to have something to engage every family member regardless of age would make for a perfect family holiday. So no whining about being bored from anyone!

Non-tester:

As someone who has stayed at Butlins Minehead five times or so for an annual music festival, what I can say goes a long way to making a perfect family holiday is the luxury of being able to use the shower AND the cooker at the same time, rather than having to flick a switch and choose between the two. Also, I like a distinct absence of mildew on my holidays.

HTH!

SholerAndChocolate Thu 17-Jul-14 14:23:49

Before you go
- Where are you going? How far it is from your home?
We're off to Bognor Regis tomorrow, We live about 160 miles away, which will be a 3.5 hour car journey (by the time you take into account 2 toddlers and a baby!)

- Who is in your group?
Dh, dd1 who is 3, dd2 who is 2 and ds1 who is 11 weeks

- Have you ever been on a Butlins holiday before?
I have but the rest of the family haven't. The last time I went I was around 11!

- What are you looking forward to most? What are the DC looking forward to?
The children are a little bit young to be excited. They are looking forward to being away from home for a few days though! I am most looking forward to seeing how different it is and Dh is looking forward to spending 4 days with the family without work interruptions

- How was the booking process?
It was booked for me by Mumsnet, however I did just have to ring and change some details. I'll be honest, I wasn't overly impressed by the customer relations number, firstly there was a message saying the call could take up to 10 minutes to answer, thankfully it was answered after 5 so not too bad, but the lady on the other end wasn't exactly friendly, she was however polite and helpful...so maybe its more my desperation to fill long silences with friendly chat! (The computers were being very slow apparently so there were a many long silences!)

- What are your perceptions of Butlins?
My perceptions are that its a friendly fun place, this is based on my childhood memories! Dh's perceptions are its not very clean and a little 'chavvy'

- What made you apply to visit Butlins?
I have many great memories of visiting Butlins with my aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins when I was a child. It was always an amazing holiday with so much to do. Dh on the other hand was bought up to believe it wasn't a nice place to go (think nose stuck in the air posh boy, thankfuly I've managed to show him the error of his ways in many parts of his life!). I wanted to prove to Dh that actually its lovely and not a bad holiday!

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Thu 17-Jul-14 19:48:00

Non-tester
For me, the perfect UK family holiday has something that all ages can enjoy, whatever the weather. I need to know that if it's wet and miserable outside, there's somewhere I can take the DC that they'll enjoy and isn't torture for adults (ie, not a soft play)

sharond101 Thu 17-Jul-14 21:41:12

Non-tester - the weather makes a huge difference to me on a UK holiday. Also pub lunches, they don't do them the same abroad.

Hopezibah Thu 17-Jul-14 23:41:21

Non-tester: So sad not to have been picked for this as we adore Butlins sooo soo much - If anyone pulls out or can't make it - please do keep us on the reserve list!

Perfect family break is when the kids have got plenty to keep them busy and entertained so that mum and dad don't have to be the entertainment for them.

There needs to be plenty that isn't weather dependent because otherwise the weather can really spoil a UK break.

gemma1787 Fri 18-Jul-14 08:28:17

Non-tester.
I have visited Butlins a couple of times and it is fantastic for my daughter who is 2. I am gutted I didn't get chosen, but regardless, we will still try and fit a stay or a day visit in again towards the end of the year as the entertainment is fantastic.
For me, the perfect holiday for a family in the UK is that there are plenty of things to keep the little ones entertained regardless of the weather. A clean, suitable accommodation is also important, especially with young ones.
A good balance of entertainment for children and adults a like is also a positive for me!

Keepcalmanddrinkwine Fri 18-Jul-14 09:02:44

Non-tester

I have never been to Butlins. My children would like to so I'm watching these threads with interest.

A perfect family holiday in the UK would have to include clean, well maintained accommodation with all the mod cons, access to indoor activities (pool, playroom etc.) for when it rains, being located near attractions and amenities, nice walks and a few good pubs. Spa facilities and childcare would be a bonus!

Madratlady Fri 18-Jul-14 11:19:20

I'm a non tester.

A perfect family holiday in the UK for me is a cottage, somewhere near the seaside. i don't mean a big touristy seaside town with a fun fair and loads of arcades etc, I mean somewhere smaller, quieter, with unspoiled sandy beaches. My favourite childhood holidays were to Bamburgh in Northumberland. Accomodation can be basic as long as it's clean and safe for children. A dishwasher is a bonus! As well as the beach some indoor attractions nearby are a must thanks to the UK weather! We'd do mixture of cooking at home and pub meals, and of course proper seaside fish and chips!

escape Fri 18-Jul-14 13:52:16

Lucky tester here!
Before you go
- Where are you going? How far it is from your home?*
We are going to Skegness, setting off now ( Friday afternoon ) it's about 80 miles away, will take 1hr 50 minutes

- Who is in your group?
Five of us - Mum and Dad , and DD 13, DS1 8 and DS 2, 7 years.

- Have you ever been on a Butlins holiday before?
I have stayed on this site in a caravan 20 years ago!

- What are you looking forward to most? What are the DC looking forward to
I am looking forward to spending a full weekend away from home, with us all together and quality time - not cooking and hopefully some fresh air. The kids cant wait for the swimming/water centre and the football coaching!

- How was the booking process?
Done via mums net so no comments there - haven't had to call them or amend anything,

- What are your perceptions of Butlins?
All positive - although I am worried that I will be encouraged to spend money on every corner that you get with Haven parks..

- What made you apply to visit Butlins?
The kids ask to go every time they see an advert - it's an opportunity to try something new and share our opinions. Prices, whilst industry standard, still seem quite high. I'll be interested to reconcile the costs with the value!

PeterParkerSays Fri 18-Jul-14 14:00:37

I'm a non-tester. For us, the perfect family holiday in the UK involves ice cream, beaches, places of interest to visit - ruined castles, woods etc - and dry weather.

We camp at the moment, as it gives us the flexibility to come and go as we please. Good public transport is also helpful - the option to take a train or ride on the top deck of a bus makes the journey part of the experience.

Non- Tester = I think for the perfect family holiday in the UK there has to be something for everybody, of all ages so nobody is left out or bored. It helps if the weather is nice, although this isn't essential.

Non-tester: for us, a perfect family holiday at the moment would be any family holiday. Other than our two day honeymoon and a couple of single nights away, DH and I have never been away together and we have never had the chance to get away as a family yet due to finances. It's crap. sad

WhoremoaneeGrainger Fri 18-Jul-14 20:32:14

Non-tester: We have been going to Butlins in Minehead and Bognor regularly for the last 10 years. Last time we visited was a nightmare as we requested a specific disabled room in the hotel and when we got there they had re-allocated it to someone who had "forgotten" to book disabled - not good for us at all. However, they gave us a free meals package, but we still had to leave early as the room really wasnt suitable for us.

UK holidays for us need to be in places where there is lots for DD (12) to join in with that doesn't necessarily need parental participation, but in places where we can watch and encourage her to have fun with other children her age. It needs to be clean, with lots of seating (i am walking disabled, DH uses a scooter) for me to rest on. And it needs to be really good value for money, with onsite purchases not costing the earth. Butlins has always fitted that bill for us.

Lindy2 Fri 18-Jul-14 20:37:26

Non tester - a good mix of fun activities and quieter relaxing times.

Bubbles85 Sat 19-Jul-14 11:49:23

Non tester

Something for all the family to enjoy and lots of outdoors fun. Also, not too noisy.

Nottheshrinkingcapgrandpa Sat 19-Jul-14 20:03:19

Non tester here:

There is a bit of an age gap, so a perfect holiday would be one where there is something for everyone to do!

unquietmind Sat 19-Jul-14 20:26:24

Non tester

Easy to get to
Disabled access and disabled friendly
Ability to budget in holiday whether entertainment food or accommodation
Freebies or low cost events
Accommodation that offers for families that don't fit the 2 parent 2 kid offers and rooms (we have 5)

Thanks

CrewElla Sat 19-Jul-14 21:12:30

Butlins would love to know what makes the perfect family holiday in the UK.

We have two toddlers, almost three and just turned one, so whatever makes our lives easier! Picnic lunches, organised play dates, rainy day activities, and meals that appeal to them.

GetKnitted Sun 20-Jul-14 09:03:52

Non-tester: Perfect holidays, no washing up, fun stuff to do and a space to relax inside and out

Butlins is very good on these scores smile

EvilHerbivore Sun 20-Jul-14 10:16:39

Non tester - for us it'd have to be somewhere easy to get too (we don't drive so somewhere doable by trains/buses/taxis) then with local amenities when we get there (same reason!)
Also love it if it were very family friendly - lots of inexpensive places to eat with places that don't mind having small children in, lots of things to do especially beach or parks where they can run around
And clean, simple accommodation with comfy beds!

silverlace Sun 20-Jul-14 17:09:30

Non tester

We always take holidays in the UK, have never been abroad with the children.

The things that make the perfect family holiday for us are:

Having everything we may need available, ready to use and in good condition eg cot, highchair, Stair Gate

Having a safe environment for the children to run round ie no cars, roads to cross

A swimming pool and other sports facilities eg tennis

Reasonably priced extra activities that are well run and children don't spend ages waiting in a queue for their turn.

Well maintained clean accommodation

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Mon 21-Jul-14 14:07:44

Non tester.

The things that would contribute to a perfect holiday are:
- clean safe place to stay, with good customer service in case of any problems
- good facilities on site such as pool (preferably indoor and outdoor, as all weather friendly), play areas for smaller (such as indoor soft play and outdoor playground) that are clean and safe and updated not looking worn
- self catering with a shop onsite that is reasonably priced
- being able to park the car and not have to get it in it again until the holiday is done, which means lots of activities on site as well as good reliable, frequent and inexpensive transport to local activities/places of interest/beach and so on
- restaurant on site that caters to families
- early check in available. I hate waiting until after 3pm to get into the caravan - I'd like to get in by noon to get a short rest after the drive to the holiday park and then still have time for the children to do some activities in the afternoon. Otherwise I feel like it's a wasted day.
- clear information on additional activities on site in the rooms/caravans. We recently stayed at a holiday park where the activities were highlighted, but NO information on cost or times/days that activities were available so not only did it seem hit or miss, but we ended up avoiding participating in all of them, as I didn't want to tell the dcs we would do a particular activity only to find it wasn't available that day or time. Having loads of additional activities is only a bonus if they're actually easily accessible.

AndHarry Mon 21-Jul-14 15:55:06

Non-tester.

Ingredients for a perfect UK holiday:
- packing service
- no traffic jams or roadworks on the way
- beautiful location
- clean, well-appointed accommodation or campsite with clean, well-designed and plentiful loos, showers and washing up points
- well-mannered fellow holiday makers
- space for the children to play safely
- active activities in easy reach
- good food with no washing up

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