To ask about Butlins...

(134 Posts)
bertiebassett Sat 25-Aug-12 17:47:28

I want to have a short break with just me and DS (aged 4) before he starts school. I noticed that Butlins have some good deals on first week in September...but....
Is Butlins (Skegness) ok? I'm a bit of a snob used to quite high standards...

Feel [embarrassed] to ask this really!!!

bertiebassett Sat 25-Aug-12 17:48:12

I mean blush !!!

BlackberryIce Sat 25-Aug-12 17:53:34

It's as good as anywhere surely?

creamteas Sat 25-Aug-12 18:00:33

When my DC were younger, we did Butlins. They loved it.

They were happy, so although it wasn't what I would chose, I could relax and enjoy it too.

So I would say go for it.

The one in Bognor is a shithole. Maybe the Skegnesss one is better though.

PenisVanLesbian Sat 25-Aug-12 18:04:20

yabu to ask here.

It's not as good as anywhere. What does that even mean? A two star hotel is not the same as a 5 star hotel. And Butlins is about as much fun for a holiday as Hull bus station.

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 25-Aug-12 18:06:33

I hated it at the Minehead one. The accommodation was clean and functional enough but the food (premium) was canteen slop on a plate. Activities were very busy, the pool was barely open unless you were paying for extra activities and every where you turned they were asking for money for activities.

Have you heard of Gulivers world? There is one in Warrington that has a hotel ( new so clean and its getting good local reviews) just opened and there is a theme park and a splash zone place nearby that might be just right for a four year old. My two DS's love it but we have family in Warrington so stay with them when we go.

dlady Sat 25-Aug-12 18:09:52

We went 3 years ago. We stayed in a Silver s/c apt and it was really nice. We also had breakfast and evening meal and that was fine too. There was plenty to do on site, we only left a couple of times to go to the beach.

QueenSconetta Sat 25-Aug-12 18:11:40

You get what you pay for I think. We stayed in a hotel at the one in Bognor and it was fine. There was so much to do.
However if you want good seats at the shows etc then that might be a challenge if its just you and DS. We found it was really only possible to get good seats if one of us kept the table and one of us entertained DD.

It was very busy but we enjoyed it.

BlackberryIce Sat 25-Aug-12 18:12:52

Well according to MN. Cornwall and Cotswolds are crap!

Skeggy is the more most updated one, we go a lot with my compulsive cleaner sis and even she hasn't moaned.....minehead otoh is a bit if a hole.

MammaTJisanOlympicSumoWrestler Sat 25-Aug-12 18:15:40

Minehead one is lovely. We get a free pass and visit quite a lot in the holidays.

BeeBee12 Sat 25-Aug-12 18:15:58

Butlins is fantastic.Go fir premium foid though and its really nice.Kids love it and to me there is nothing more fun than the kids having fun.We are going again soon and I cant wait.

Honestly, we hated it.

My well-meaning PIL pursuaded us to try in in place of our usual Centre Parcs long weekend and we were so disappointed we only made 2 nights then found a B&B near Alton Towers for the remainder of our break. We went to the Skegness one.

I suppose it depends on your expectations and what you like though. The accommodation (self catering chalets) were actually very comparable to Centre Parcs internally, but without the privacy, great views and soundproofing (you could easily hear neighbours). The beach was actually very lovely, but not visible from the concrete jungle park. The resort centre was basically flashing lights and arcade machines, although the one children's show we did see was very good. Our then 7 year old also loved the disco and our young toddlers liked the shabby Bob the Builder rides.

So not all bad, but wild horses couldn't drag me back!!

It's butlins.

Imo it was better than Minehead.

You do need to be aware tho that half the pool is currently closed due to refurbishment.

BlackberryIce Sat 25-Aug-12 18:21:37

Burkina sounds popular then, if this thread is anything to go by!

BlackberryIce Sat 25-Aug-12 18:22:35


NovackNGood Sat 25-Aug-12 18:27:01

I've never been but, it's's not going to be high standards at all is it.

Vagaceratops Sat 25-Aug-12 18:28:45

We love it - use our CC to book a 'free' weekend every year.

Its not Mark Warner, but if you go in with high expectations you are going to be disappointed. Premium food is a must imo, but if you are looking for something to keep your DS entertained you would be hard pushed to find better.

numbertaker Sat 25-Aug-12 18:29:28

Went back for first time since childhood, hated it.

Debeez Sat 25-Aug-12 18:29:44

I suppose it's down to what kind of holiday you expect.

We love Butlins. It's affordable and so geared up towards the children, all the entertainment was included, swimming and games and the like. We had a lovely time. Saying that I don't mind staying in more basic accommodation which I know can put people off.

reddaisy Sat 25-Aug-12 18:37:21

We went to Butlins in Bognor and it is an absolute disgrace. We left early and we were staying in supposedly gold accommodation. We got offered a free return trip and we turned it down. I would rather have no holiday than go back. It was like living in a ghetto.

reddaisy Sat 25-Aug-12 18:39:38

A travelodge is basic, Butlins accommodation should be ripped down and rebuilt. If I was you I would book a travelodge somewhere nice for a few nights and do daytrips to the seaside. That would be far better imo.

Vagaceratops Sat 25-Aug-12 18:44:11

Bognor's hotel is very nice.

gimmecakeandcandy Sat 25-Aug-12 18:57:06

The ocean hotel at Bognor is really lovely, I would recommend it if you stayed there rather than the chalets. Your child will love it.

DeWe Sat 25-Aug-12 19:29:27

Butlins Skegness is our favourite site, although we go more often to Minehead now, as we need a 6 berth, and at Skegness that means someone sleeping in the Lounge.

Don't go for Silver accomodation over standard. It means you get a toaster and a microwave but little more, for about £200 per week more. You can hire them for about £50 for the week from Butlins confused

It's great for the children. they're Bob the Builder land if they're small, and the funfair if bigger, the sea shore (at Skegness it's private for Butlins only), the swimming pool...

We've been every year at Easter for nearly 10 years now and they all look forward to the next year's visit from the time we leave.

We do our food shop at a local supermarket, which is cheaper than on site.

Morph2 Sat 25-Aug-12 19:35:58

we're going for a 5 night stay first week in sept.... will let you know. It cost £278 for the 3 of us (DS is 2.3) including standard food for 5 nights which is good (booked through the sun). I've got an open mind due to reading varied reviews. A friend i spoke to said she'd gone as a mystery guest and was actually quite suprised. She said for our age kids all of the stuff you would want to do is included in the price

reddaisy Sat 25-Aug-12 19:43:59

I agree about the hotel in Bognor being v nice! But you would still be at Butlins!

birdofthenorth Sat 25-Aug-12 19:46:44

Perfect for a four year old. We go most years. Minehead is nicer -slightly more modern, as well as nicer weather- than Skeggy, but Skeggy is fine too. We go in the Gold Apartments which are nice except for the could-be-comfier sofas. Bring kids and adults DVDs (adults for after dc are in bed obv!). Swimming pool is great, kids entertainment is great, Bob's Yard rides are great for a preschooler. Your DS will adore it. The food is getting better each year, too.

RubixCube Sat 25-Aug-12 19:48:55

I liked Butlins in Bognor.But the chalet was crap it was just a bedroom with little bathroom joined on it from what i can remember and it cost quite a fair bit aswell

McHappyPants2012 Sat 25-Aug-12 19:52:36

The kids enjoyed it, but I couldn't wait to get home for a rest.

ChestyNut Sat 25-Aug-12 19:53:39

We used to go as children to the Skegness one every year and I loved it.
Lots of happy childhood memories made there smile

CrapBag Sat 25-Aug-12 19:54:13

I went to the Minehead one at an adults only weekend this year. I loved it so much I have booked our family holiday there for next year. My kids will love it. It was lovely, not a hole at all. The only thing is I would avoid the basic accomodation. We have got a good deal with the gold apartment.

People are far too snobby on here sometimes. A real hole is Pontins. God that place was a dive. Butlins has had loads of money put into it and it shows.

freddiefrog Sat 25-Aug-12 20:00:12

I went to the Minehead one about 10 years ago.

It was shit.

Other people I know have been since and say its much improved though

WelshMaenad Sat 25-Aug-12 20:06:37

Have you looked at Haven? Golden Sands is near skeggy. I was right snot nosed about haven etc but with small people, we thought we would give it a go, we've been twice now to two different parks in Cornwall and had a great time. It seems cheaper than butlins, and easier to self cater. We have had deluxe/deluxe plus caravans and they've been lovely. For the two of you for 4 nights 3-7 sept at golden sands it would be £169 for a deluxe caravan.

I8toys Sat 25-Aug-12 20:07:02

Been to Skeggie for the last 5 years at Halloween - not longer than 4 nights. It is what it is - kids love it but it is challenging. It is better since they opened the Sky Bar - pay extra to sit and watch shows. You go for the kids not for you - that's all you need to know. Its not a holiday! Don't go catered - do self catered gold. Do not eat with the masses!
Without Sky Bar we would not go - the queues are ridiculous!

lovesmellingthecoffee Sat 25-Aug-12 20:08:14

The children loved it much more that Centre Parcs, and Disney Land Paris. loads to do and very child friendly.
We went to Skegness and Bogner and both were great, family activities such as fencing and archery included in the price. Caberet style shows in the evening, in our four holidays we saw wrestling, a 'Madonna' concert, shaolin Monks. and Peter Andre (he really loves the kids)

EXtremly good value holiday

bertiebassett Sat 25-Aug-12 20:09:35

Wow this post seems to have generated a wide range of replies. I guess Butlins is like marmite then (you either love it or hate it!) smile

bertiebassett Sat 25-Aug-12 20:12:30

So is the food bad then? I wouldn't want to go self catering (I need a break from the kitchen!)...

I8toys Sat 25-Aug-12 20:16:35

It is cheap and value for money and the kids love it, great for pre-school, school age and for teenagers who can go off and spend time at the fair. Adults not so much unless you like the X Factor reject types and pub singers.

Been to Disneyland, Centreparcs uk and abroad and if we didn't go back to Butlins for a weekend this year - the kids would ask why are we not going to Butlins.... I want to see the wrestling etc etc

I8toys Sat 25-Aug-12 20:18:42

Re eating - believe you have fixed times for eating? I may be wrong as I've always gone catered.

Were going Easter next year my younger two want to go and tbh it's about them on that holiday so I'm expected to be tired and bored but long as they are not then I'm happy

I8toys Sat 25-Aug-12 20:19:34

Meant self-catered!!!!!! Sorry watching Lemon Le vida loca and distracted!!

Yes there's a 2 hour time slot breakfast and dinner but we are half board but in apartment ( adapted bungalow ) do means we can eat lunch /snacks

JustSpiro Sat 25-Aug-12 20:21:59

We've been to Bognor Butlins at Easter for the last 4 years.

The accommodation is great, the public areas & loos could do with a bit of updating but have never found them anything other than clean and functional.

The food, even in premium is not that special, but is not bad at all (and the breakfasts are brilliant), but you can self cater anyway.

For a four year old, the entertainment and facilities are spot on - can't fault the Red Coats at all. This year DD lost her teddy bear. The two redcoats at the session it was last seen arranged for a letter from 'Billy Bear' and a foot high Billy soft toy to be delivered to our room the following day to keep her company!

DD is nearly 8 now and we are giving it a miss next year as she is a bit between age groups for how the activities are pitched, but will probably go back the year after when she's old enough for the more 'grown up' stuff.

gimmecakeandcandy Sat 25-Aug-12 20:22:42

The food is fine, if you stay in the hotel do the food option at the restaurant or whatever accomdstion you stay in just do the food, it's fine for a few days. Not top end restaurant class but it is fine!

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 25-Aug-12 20:23:36

I may well have been unlucky but I went for a break from cooking. The food was not as advertised, I should make comment that I took photos, spoke to the restaurant manager and got a food refund as it was so bad.

Breakfast the machine that said orange juice was orange squash, the staff were serving due to a vomiting outbreak and used solid spoon to put heaps of mushrooms in boiling water all over the previously nice looking crispy hash browns, them heaped beans over the top.

Dinner was meant to be many choices. It there was a casserole type thing which was meant to be one meat and I'd put money on it having been another. DS1 is autistic and likes his foods not to be touching. I said no to beans and the women said oh go on he can always leave them and coverd his scampi and chips in them rendering the whole meal in edible. This must be standard policy because when I mentioned - not angry at the time to the restaurant manager he said that special needs need to be addressed prior to booking!

infamousfive Sat 25-Aug-12 20:24:24

Not quite sure how people can call Butlin's cheap. We paid over £1000 for a 4 night stay at Bognor in the shoreline hotel in June. This included breakfast and dinner (2 adults and 2 small childen) so still had to shell out for lunch. Some of the entertainment was included but still had to pay ££££'s for bowling, go-karting, wall-climbing, achery, golf etc etc.

I didn't find it cheap at all. We did have a good time but having just checked how much it would cost to book again for next year I've been put off, over £1200.... Probably cheaper if we went self catering and didn't stay in the hotel but for me a holiday isn't much fun if I still have to cook and clean!

JustSpiro Sat 25-Aug-12 20:26:53

Typical food in the evening - 1 or 2 pasta dishes, salad bar, fish and chips, some kind of roast or similar, stir fry, Annabel Karmel kids meals. Puddings - gateaux, cheesecakes, hot pudding with custard and fruit and cheeses plus a soft ice cream machine.

Breakfast - full English, cereal, pancakes or omelettes, croissants and pastries, porridge, toast, fruit...

To put in another way - my DH is a chef and fairly picky - in four years (1 basic, 3 premium) he has never found a reason why self-catering would be better.

The Ocean hotel in Bognor is lovely.
My nearest Butlins is Skegness, but I prefer Bognor.

I've been going to Butlins nearly every year since I was little. It's much less fun now I'm a grown up, but my kids love it so I have to keep going!

Agree with the Marmite comparison. grin

I8toys Sat 25-Aug-12 20:28:32

I find its cheap because we didn't fork out for extras - with shows and free craft activities and funfair the kids were entertained.

We paid £300 for 3 nights silver self catering at Halloween this year so we booked a year in advance at butlins last Halloween and are premium members.
Its not our main holiday though but just a getaway cos its No2 son's birthday on halloween.

CrapBag Sat 25-Aug-12 20:41:10

I don't think it is cheap at all. We were lucky and our break for the easter week next year is about £240 for the Monday to Friday in a gold apartment. We won't need to pay extras as the DCs are young.

If you want a cheap holiday then the Sun deals are good. We always book a Haven one through The Sun, been to a couple in Weymouth and they have been lovely for the bargain price of under £100!

TheArmadillo Sat 25-Aug-12 20:51:55

went to minehead one about a month ago. All fully open now (though I think at least one of them still has a partly closed pool). They've done a lot of work on them I think.

Accomodation basic, we self catered and then could eat out if we wanted but didn't have to.

Went for long weekend (fri-mon) and couldn't fit in all the free activities, let alone start on the paid ones. Kids had a fantastic time, me and dh were exhausted but enjoyed it - more for the kids, than whole family like our usual holidays so wouldn't go for longer than a long weekend.

there was plenty even for the 2yo to do (have a seperate fun fair for the tinies, and they do under 5s discos everynight as well as the soft play, shows, swimming pool). Ds (7yo) got to try out archery and fencing for free (though they do charge £5 per session for 8yo and upwards).

So much to do, multiple shows on in the evening (they have 3 stages/club areas for family at minehead then another adult only nightclub). Loads of staff everywhere who are really helpful and friendly. E.g. 3 level softplay had staff member on each level supervising.

balotelli Sat 25-Aug-12 20:57:00

PenisVanLesbian I presume you have many happy holidays in Hull bus station?

I happen to live in Hull and the bus station is rather nice!

I have also been to Skegness Butlins every year for the past three years and will be going again in three weeks.

It is AWESOME especially for kids. The only problem we ever have is fitting it all in. Compared to Centre Parcs then Butlins id much much better. The entertainment for all is miles better. The accomodation isnt a luxury lodge in the forrest but what 4 year old gives a crap about the accomodation they just want to ride on the fairground all day and play in the soft play area and watch Barney singing and dancing on stage which is what happens at Butlins and why we love it.

My SIL wont go to Butlins ad 'you get a better class of person at Centre Parcs'!! you get a DIFFERENT Class, one that wont talk to you or make any effort. at least at butlins they are friendly and non judgemental.

We for one family will be going to Butlins for a long time especially when the pool opens next year but for now I am off to book a weekend break at HUll Bus STation.

Cloudbase Sat 25-Aug-12 20:57:32

Okay, I was a bit of a snob about Butlins since a hideous visit to Pontins in 1983!

My DM and I took DD5 and DS 4 to Bognor Butlins in the first week
Of the summer holidays. We stayed in the Ocean Hotel. It was £800 Mon -Fri.

The hotel was lovely, modern and spotless and easily comparable to other good 3* hotels. We ate at the restaurant for the new Wave hotel (only opened in May this year) and the food was fantastic, fresh, plentiful and really well laid out. Adults were £16 and kids £8 for a buffet but the amount, quality and variety of food made it great value. Some of the other buffets on site were less so though. I also read really bad reviews of the chalets.

The facilities are great for kids - massive soft play frame attached to a Costa Coffee in the middle of the main area, plus kids shows on twice a day, plus puppet shows and the pool/flumes bit -all free. Didn't do the evening entertainment as we had to stay with the kids but we took my Bones box set as TV's in each room have in built DVD players. You can also borrow DVD's from a library at reception. They also had a very nice Spa at £19.50 for 2 hours (sadly couldn't go)

I loved it and the kids can't wait to go back. I think in recent years Butlins have had to really raise their game to compete with Centre Parcs and I, for one, was pleasantly surprised.

Morph2 Sat 25-Aug-12 20:58:28

We went to a haven site (booked through the sun) earlier in the year but DS wanted to keep going on the little rides in the arcade all the time which were £1 a time so soon mounted up. We've booked butlins this time (through sun again) and although i know they still have the little arcade type rides i'm hoping that because there is bob the builders yard that DS will get his ride fix from that.

PenisVanLesbian Sat 25-Aug-12 20:59:32

All of the people at Butlins are friendly and no judgemental? I doubt that somehow.
You might enjoy it, fair play to you. I'd rather stick rusty nails in my eyes and tour the piss filled corners of ALL of the north of Englands large bus stations.

Different strokes and all that.

We have done centre parcs and do enjoy it ,as for the kids downside other than pool and tiny soft play nothing else free

But happy give Butlins a go for a change it does look like there is more free stuff to do and to be fare there special needs department been very helpful

GothAnneGeddes Sat 25-Aug-12 22:26:31

Penis - you are living up to your name here. Saying why you don't like it is one thing, hyperbolic snobbery is another.

Op - I loved it as a kid. According to my Mum it's still good, but whereas in the past, most of it was free once you got in, now there's quite a few things you need to pay extra for.

Guiltypleasures001 Sat 25-Aug-12 22:36:33

Butlins minehead..fag burns in the sheets the food was inedible, the whole place was expensive and awful, and the bar staff were love bite covered teenagers. The cabins stank and hoards of drunken idiots male and female marauding around in the early hours keeping everyone awake, never again.

topknob Sat 25-Aug-12 22:40:06

We went to Bognor only 3 weeks ago for a mid week break and we all had a fab time, spent way too much money and the kids really enjoyed themselves.

I must point out, Butlins is not cheap at all, those of you thinking it is have not recently been at all, the cost for a summer holiday break for all of us was over £1k ! Food not included.

To balance out 10 years ago Butlins minehead yes ok basic accomidation was very basic and did need new matress

But my then 5 year old was taken very poorly , was ran out to local hospital then picked up by staff ,
3 hrs later turn for worse and ambulance called staff were fantastic . Rest time there they popped in checked on kids and member even came to hospital to see how was and brought gifts and more so food for me

I am a take it as I find it person also the same for people

Some hate some love it and will see after Easter next year which camp we fall in

Topknob we going Easter holidays mon-fri for £500 half board for 4 of is which I thought was pretty reasonable

Babyroobs Sat 25-Aug-12 22:47:17

We went to the Skegness one an I thought it was awful but it was quite a few years ago. The chalet was dirty , the food was awful. It may of course be quite different now if it has been refurbished. There seemed to be goups of loud aggressive teenagers roaming around which made me feel quite uneasy. Maybe we were just unlucky. I've had a couple of good day trips there , but I would never stay there again.

topknob Sat 25-Aug-12 22:53:30

There are 7 of us theHuman smile

PenisVanLesbian Sat 25-Aug-12 22:57:31

Wheres the snobbery in saying I think Butlins is shit? please do point it out.

topknob Sat 25-Aug-12 22:59:53

penis Please advise why you feel this, genuine query.

PenisVanLesbian Sat 25-Aug-12 23:06:30

because I've been, and it was beyond hideous.

Growlithe Sat 25-Aug-12 23:07:53

Butlins Minehead. I cried when I got into the accommodation. Dirty, cobwebs everywhere. Horrible concrete block, felt like a run down council estate. Entertainment full of drunken yobs annoying everyone. Made the best of it by getting off site as much as we could. This was 8 years ao though, things could have changed. I'd never go back though

topknob Sat 25-Aug-12 23:08:10

but for what reason(s)?

PenisVanLesbian Sat 25-Aug-12 23:11:25

do we have to write an essay to have an opinion now? hmm
Accomodation like something out of Tenko, filthy, broken down, cold and cheap. Terrible food, overpriced attractions, hideous "entertainment", leching redcoats and clientele like the cast of shameless.

topknob Sat 25-Aug-12 23:20:01

penis no not at all, just wondering what your reasons were #stroppy.

Things have changed alot over recent years, of course no where is perfect and cannot meet everyones stuck up requirements.

topknob Sat 25-Aug-12 23:21:12

this bit especially point out exactly what sort of person you are clientele like the cast of shameless.

topknob Sat 25-Aug-12 23:21:36


Growlithe Sat 25-Aug-12 23:22:20

Agree Penis clientele like the cast of shameless.

It's got to be experienced to be believed.

LittleDragon Sat 25-Aug-12 23:22:31

I absolutely love Butlins. The Skegness and Minehead ones are the better sites tbh. I found the standard food brilliant. The parks are all upgraded in the past 3 years or so and there's always plenty to do.
The only problem I had with them was the long queues for the shows and to get in the food court if you wanted to be one of the 1st.
I was at Skegness over Christmas and new year and it was brilliant.

ShiftyFades Sat 25-Aug-12 23:24:08

We went to Minehead with DS (3.5 at the time) in May this year.
I chose it because: Fireman Sam shows, Bob the Builder shows and Thomas the Tank engine show.
For DS (Sam is his absolute favourite) it was the most fabulous time, ever.
For us: the smile on DS's face was worth every penny.
We stayed in Gold self catering apartments.
The staff were lovely. We ate in restaurants in the evening (4 nights)
The accommodation was better than I expected (I had very low expectations)
The only bad bit was the upstairs "show room / stage" (can't recall the name). We only went in there once (meet and greet with Sam on our first night) and the stench was vomit inducing. They sell shite hot dogs or something and because there's no ventilation the smell ends up being: sweat, smelly feet, spilt beer and rotten food sad
We just didn't go back into that room. There was no need as the main shows (listed at the top) are in the Pavilion's main stage and that's fine.

I can see how it'd be costly for an over 7 / teenager, but for a little one it is absolutely fantastic grin
Even had to have a lunch time nap every day as he just did so much.
Pool was great and open all day until about 5.

I was pleasantly surprised by Butlins and wouldn't hesitate to take DS there again.

PenisVanLesbian Sat 25-Aug-12 23:24:46

Points out the kind of person I am? If you mean not covered in tattoos, shaven headed and pierced wearing england shirts and drinking cans of tennants, then yes, and fairly happy with that.

And if if makes me stuck up to not want to eat slop and sleep in a prison cell style chalet covered in fag burns, cobwebs and dog hair, then sure, call me that too!

How about you let people know what opinions they are allowed topknob, and we'll go from there?

freddiefrog Sat 25-Aug-12 23:26:13

My experience of Butlins was as per Penis and Growlithe. Horrible place.

It was 10 years ago though, and friends who have been since have said its improved.

Once bitten twice shy I guess.

I'm not a lover of butlins/centre parcs/pontin type holidays where it's all under one roof type thing, ive never found it any cheaper than renting a cottage for a week

crappypatty Sat 25-Aug-12 23:28:03

Great for kids, a cheaper way to do skegness sc is to stay in the caravan site across the way.

It was a five minute walk but only cost £367 for a 7 days during whit holidays, passes were included.

topknob Sat 25-Aug-12 23:28:12

I haven't at any point said you can't have an opinion I have merely pointed out what a snob you are !!!!!! Holidays parks have varying seasons, when did you go?? Which park did you attend? how long ago was it?? none of this has been said yet you feel it is fine to cast aspersions on other people who visit the place and pay a lot of money to do so.

Depends doesn't it. If your idea of a good time is slot machines, drinking all day, shabby funfair and queuing to use a swimming pool, go. The evening ents aare a laugh for kids, but you will have to queue for about two hours to see anyone decent and then bundle to a seat. If you usually chill out by the pool at a spanish villa, you will hate it.

PenisVanLesbian Sat 25-Aug-12 23:31:02

You still haven't pointed out what is "snobby" about not liking a filthy crappy overpriced holiday park. Its not snobbish dearie, its reality. Most folk don't. Knock that chip off your shoulder and cop on.
I cast aspersions only on those who I actually saw there, no-one else, so don't put words in my mouth. How much you pay to go is no-ones business either.

Are you on the payroll or something?

seb1 Sat 25-Aug-12 23:32:35

Can it be any worse than centre parks aka hell on earth grin

ShiftyFades Sat 25-Aug-12 23:39:41

Should add that my pre-child holidays were all 4/5* ones in far flung places like Singapore, Vegas, Jamaica and such like.
But I chose Butlins because I can't afford to go abroad my DS would rather watch Fireman Sam, meet him and meet Norman.

I dot expect to make it my lifetime holiday favourite but until I go back full time, this type of holiday will have to be adequate.

We are going to a caravan park on the Isle of Wight soon, I'm keen to compare it to the hustle and bustle of Butlins.
Fwiw, dH doesn't want to go back... But he's dreaming of WDW... I'm the realistic one hold the savings account in our house wink

topknob Sat 25-Aug-12 23:44:46

penis no not at all, I just point out the obvious ! And I did clearly point out where you were a blatant snob ! How long ago did you visit and which park?? You seem not too keen on letting us know that information.

JustSpiro Sat 25-Aug-12 23:44:52

I think you're being a little unfair PVL - it may have been your experience that it was a 'filthy, crappy overpriced holiday park', but clearly not everyone thinks so (and I should add that neither DH or I are 'covered in tattoos, shaven headed and pierced wearing england shirts and drinking cans of tennants' ).

It's not everyone's cup of tea - granted. Personally I quite like the fact that it's not too 'right-on', and don't have a problem with my DD being off her face on late nights and candy floss for 4-5 days of the year grin.

We have friends who went to Minehead and visited us at Bognor and said Bognor was better - cleaner, newer and more activities and entertainment on offer.

The first time we went we stayed in the most basic 'chalet' type accommodation. It was very basic and a bit dated, but it was spotlessly clean, warm and comfortable and tbh you don't see much of it anyway. We had two years in a Gold apartment and this year stayed in a Deluxe apartment, both of which were lovely.

The queuing is a downside, admittedly. If you want to get decent seats for the main evening entertainment you need to be queuing from about an hour beforehand which is a pita, but if there's more than 1 adult it's easy to take it in turns and they often have Redcoats wandering up and down occupying the kids with magic trick, hula hooping etc so it's bearable.

Growlithe Sat 25-Aug-12 23:47:30

topknob I'm not a snob but I wholeheartedly agree with Penis

I went to Minehead in July 2004 in a 'Silver' bungalow. The accommodation was in a concrete block, and was dirty inside.

We were self catering, but with view to eating out. The best food we could get was 3rd rate over priced 'pub grub'. Other than that it was chippy food.

We had our 8 month old DD with us. Admittedly an older child may have had more to do but as said before we didn't want to hang around because people were loud drunk, and obnoxious, even around their own children.

Things ay have changed now, but there are so any other holiday options within the price range I'm not taking any chances.

OP - have a look on Tripadvisor for recent reviews

nokidshere Sat 25-Aug-12 23:48:08

We were at but ins in mine head two years ago. Premium Gold accommodation with food included. Cost for two adults and two children for 3 nights was just short of 900 quid.

It was gruesome!!! Rooms were small, grubby and dirty. Walls so thin you could hear everything. Food was edible at best.entertainment was dire - the carpet in the place where the stage was was so disgusting you could feel your shoes sticking to it. And after 8pm it was full of loud, drunken stag/hen do's leaving puke all over the place for the next morning. Lovely -NOT!!!

omfgkillmenow Sat 25-Aug-12 23:52:58

Ive been to butlins in skeggy. It was ok but, the first apartment we had had an ant infestation and we had to move apartments. The second apartment was fine. But they did lock the gates to the beach at like 6 or 7pm which means no late night strolls along the beach. The water rides were ferociously busy, so much so we couldn 't be bothered waiting in the half hour queue and there were no spare seats at the outside pool, i got into a big fight with a guy who was "saving seats" for his family who still didn't appear half an hour later. Its cheap and cheerfull, but if you can at all afford it, go for centreparcs instead.

omfgkillmenow Sat 25-Aug-12 23:57:08

@seb1 i have been to centreparcs Whinfell like 7 times and always found it great..we go a girly spa break in cheapest month (jan) its like £40 a head for accommodation, and a kids break in june which is £100 a head for the 4 days but the pool is free and you can stay all day theres supermarkets in penrith you can stock up and the parcmarket isnt that dear!! Maybe you just don't have waterbabies like mines are...

We went to Butlins for second time this year. We found it super clean, super fun and spent next to nothing while we were there.

I really do think it depends on what you want and what you do. We saw people throwing money into slot machines.... fine if you like it.... not for us.

Swimming was brilliant - didn;t really do flumes but loved the different pools and found changing areas very clean (I am a bit germ phobic - it was clean!).

I was made redundant so cheap was important for us. We took some easy to heat up meals i cooked double of the week before. Did this most nights but had fish n chips (£3.50 each for small fish, chips, drink and a side) and the buffet which was expensiveish but a real treat.

Entertainment was constant... and we loved it. DD aged 3+11 months LOVED it. Saw brilliant shows, loved all the music and had so much to do that me and DH were really happy too. Very relaxed - for example watching shows in skyline tent, sippin gon drinks while DD danced on the dance floor about 3 mteres away

What i was most pleased about was the amount pof planting adn greenary on site. I suspected it would be plasticy and tacky but it wasn;t.

If you want alazy, adult holiday in the sun - its not for you.

If you want some real fun with DS and enjoy watching him smile all week - it may be for you.

try it.... we did and loved it.

JustSpiro Sun 26-Aug-12 00:10:10

I think mumble and a few others make a good point that half the fun of Butlins is seeing your DC's have a great time.

Although it is geared towards kids rather than adults - that is what makes it relaxing. Entertaining them is so effortless as there is always something going on, and it's laid out so that parents can enjoy a coffee/drink whilst still being able to keep and eye on them whilst they are occupied by someone else (i.e. the Redcoats).

It's a shame to read of other people's negative experiences, having always had such a good time there ourselves. I wonder if it's just the difference between sites or we've been exceptionally lucky?

GrassIsntGreener Sun 26-Aug-12 00:14:58

No complaints with Skeggy Butlins exactly but it wasn't something I'd rush back to. Dd (3 at the time) loved it and yes the children were well catered for, but it was all so fake.

Just constant noise and lights and forced entertainment everywhere. At Skegness in the main complex you are surrounded by it. Our best day was taking a nice stroll along the front and dd playing in the sand despite the wind and rain. We go to beaches a lot, almost fortnightly in the summer and most definitely prefer ones without all the commercial stuff.

omfgkillmenow Sun 26-Aug-12 00:17:30

I can't believe these people comparing centreparcs to butlins!! Butlins you stay in a block of flats essentially, at centreparcs you have a villa. Having been to both I would say that yeah, I would go back to Butlins but was a 7 hour drive for me and that was the killer, it was half the price, not the same standard but still fun and the kids had a great time, my teens went to the fairground a half mile away at night time had a blast. Centreparcs is pricey by comparison, but then you cannot compare the two. Centreparcs has serenity and the feeling of total security. Butlins has fun and shows and a pool but not nearly the quality and cleanliness and calmness of centreparcs. Aslo at butlins there is more of a "laddish" type whereas centreparcs is all families or couples or in our case girls out for a spa break. Butlins does have a spa, we went and it was ok, but not the AQUA SANA but then it was like a tenth of the price so there was no complaints. I got may haircut at the butlins spa and it was a good job, and not expensive at all. depends what you are looking for. Butlins isnt as clean, but its not FILTHY by any means and the redcoats really work hard, you see them during the day at the kids shows then nighttime serving food, so you cant fault them. I think the price says it all, and what to expect. Ok Butlins bhad its downsides but it was £275 or so for a week, I could barely live in my own house for that so who am i to complain?

justaboutiswarm Sun 26-Aug-12 00:18:06

We loved Butlins. You just have to put aside your snobbery and watch your kids having a ball.
It's the cheapest winter holiday I know in the UK by a long shot.

GrassIsntGreener Sun 26-Aug-12 00:18:27

I'll add that we love caravan holidays and really rate Haven. There isn't as much going on but still plenty, and the evening acts aren't as good but still entertaining and not as loud as Butlins in our experience - Butlins was far too loud at night for the audience dd hated the volume and she's a loud thing!

Growlithe Sun 26-Aug-12 00:38:25

I love watching my kids having a ball. Every holiday we've had since we've had them has been geared towards it.

Just don't want to see them having a ball amongst a load of lager louts, worrying that if our child looks the wrong way to one of their children my DH will have to sort it out

gimmecakeandcandy Sun 26-Aug-12 06:50:43

So is Skegness better than Bognor?

Been to Bognor as like the hotel - but skeggie doesn't have a hotel does it?

I not covered on tattoos or have any piecerings or a drinker and still looking forward to Butlins well my kids are and long as they enjoy all that matters . And to be honest a week sat round a villa with a pool Is not my idea of heaven either . I laugh at those that say we been yo Spain/Portugal etc and then instead of exploring the area they spend all time at villa or on a beach .horses for courses and all that

Most holidays are to suit my children though we did mange one in Wales involving Romans and castles that everyone enjoyed

On and Centreparcs in Jan the pool can be full of older teens whe are intent on being silly and pushy and swearing we did that last year and infact the staff eventually had to intervene due to behaviour and language .. Infact said we would not ho back that time of year

December is calmer

OHforDUCKScake Sun 26-Aug-12 07:47:03

We went to Haven last year and in comparisson, Butlins this year was absolutely brilliant.

Haven was awful (but we had fun), Butlins, theres so much to do. I say do it!

VirtuallyHere Sun 26-Aug-12 08:11:47

I took my son to the Bognor one for the first time last year as a last minute break while his dad was working (as prices were around 30 pounds a person per night) and he loved it. Sadly their deals weren't as good this year so we went back again this year for about 300 pounds. It wouldn't be my idea of a good holiday but he loves it. Seeing his excitement all day makes my holiday so we will be back again next year for a couple of nights (I'm not sure I could bear any longer). Food wise the first year (shoreline hotel) I found the food very disappointing but this year at the wave hotel I thought it was a lot better. Next year though I think we will just try a couple of their restaurants in the evening.

justaboutiswarm Sun 26-Aug-12 08:14:00

ooh dear. wasn't like that in skeggie.

i saw more drunken louts on holiday in a camping barn in the Lakes.

TooManyDaisies Sun 26-Aug-12 08:19:15

I went to butlins in Skegness once. For an external conference so not by choice or with children. It was HORRIBLE. Just full of neon and arcade games and concrete and greasy food. And the beach....? "Bracing" Skegness got that tag for a reason!

Don't go. Go to a good hotel or b&b by the sea (somewhere south for best chance of sun?!) and just spend time together crabbing, playing, etc.
Just my suggestion! (you literally could not pay me to go back to butlins. Oh, ok you could, but it would have to be a LOT!)

HecateHarshPants Sun 26-Aug-12 08:20:45

It's bloody foul.

My kids loved it grin I hated every minute.

Dingy, dirty, run down

and they learned more new words in that one week than in the year before and after wink

balotelli Sun 26-Aug-12 08:37:45

Skegness has been completely refurbished over the past few years including an multi million £ swimming pool which opens next year.

Yes it is a bit bright and loud and tacky but in a fun way. The staff are always happy, ploite and helpful, the accomodation is fine and the food is good , there are 8 restaurants to choose from.

I have never seen any drinking from cans of tennants there but if you always look for the bad then you will find it. I happen to be shaven headed and often wear and football shirt and have tattoos. I am also vegan, university educated, run my own business, am happily married and bloody love Butlins.

But then I am a happy person who doesnt look for the shite in life, takes people as they come without being too judgemental and am not always wanting better.

sleepdodger Sun 26-Aug-12 08:56:07

Skeg is love or hate
I hated

PenisVanLesbian Sun 26-Aug-12 10:37:39

How am I being unfair? I described MY experience and MY subsequent opinion, the offence taken by those who are insecure about their holiday choices is all their own, I made no extrapolation not any judgement on anyone who chooses to go to these places.

PenisVanLesbian Sun 26-Aug-12 10:39:24

and if for some reason you'd rather spend more on 5 days in Butlins than I do on 10 days in the South of France, that is entirely your prerogative.

reddaisy Sun 26-Aug-12 10:46:44

I understand that kids love Butlins and I said upthread that I hated every second of my stay there and turned down a free return trip.

What I don't understand is why so many posters put their children's enjoyment above their own. I will never go on a holiday that is solely about the DCs enjoyment again as I am the one that works hard to pay for the holidays and I deserve a break that I enjoy too. I am thinking about a Eurocamp trip next as I think we will all enjoy that and it probably won`t cost that much more than Butlins.

reddaisy Sun 26-Aug-12 10:49:32

And our local theatre often has touring Bob the Builder and other novelty shows on throughout the year so I take the DC there as I can endure 90mins of pain for them!

PenisVanLesbian Sun 26-Aug-12 10:49:47

it will cost less, probably.

giveitago Sun 26-Aug-12 10:53:44

Oooh we're so skint that we went to Bultins in Bognor - I was a bit skeptical. But it was fine for that sort of break - good value and no drunk people streaming the place etc. And it was much cleaner than the 'villa' we had at center parcs.

If it's a bargain, try it.

BeeBee12 Sun 26-Aug-12 11:09:06

I get a million times more fun out ofwatching the kids get excited at butlins thsn doing adult stuff.I love it.

i love it, we go every year, to bognor, i used to work and live there ten years ago so its like coming home for me, its clean, the staff work hard to give the kids a great holiday and the shows are fab.
we met katy from i can cook this year and the girls had an amazing time. free funfair, beach, swimming pool, entertainment... what more could you ask?

balotelli Sun 26-Aug-12 11:21:59

For me Seeing my DC having as much fun and pleasure as DC can manage is what a holiday is all about. I had plenty of self indulgent holidays before DC and will have plenty more when DC can do their own thing without us.

Butlins is all about fun, smiles, good food, bright lights, entertainment, trying something different occasionally and meeting/mixing with all walks of life. If thats not your thing then please dont go and ruin it for the rest of us. Stay in your gite with your pinot and brie and leave the happy kids and familes to us shaven headed tattooed northern low life. grin

JustSpiro Sun 26-Aug-12 11:23:17

I enjoy not having to rack my brains to find something to occupy DD with every day and seeing her enjoy herself, not having to shop, cook or clean for 5 days, being able to have a couple of glasses of wine of an evening without having to think about taxi's or who's driving.

TBH the first time we went MIL treated us and I did think it would be like the seventh circle of hell, especially during the school holidays, but was pleasantly surprised. We've always booked for the following year whilst still there which does make it a lot cheaper - usually about £500 for Mon-Fri in the Easter Hols, in Gold or Deluxe with Premium Dining.

The sort of holidays I would really enjoy are not child friendly so will have to wait until DD is a bit older. DH and I both work and have busy social lives - he does lots of sporty stuff, I get up to London regularly to meet friends and visit galleries and exhibitions, which is my 'thing', so having a 5-7 days family time where DD's entertainment is a priority doesn't bother us, and perhaps because we only have her, it's much easier for us to go somewhere with everything on hand.

I suspect if you have 2 or 3 children that will play together and make their own entertainment, it makes villa type holidays a bit less hard work (in some ways at least!).

PenisVanLesbian Sun 26-Aug-12 11:31:27

Theres a lot of snobbery going on from the the Butlins folk, not against them. hmm I've never been in a gite in my life, but thanks.

If you can't understand the simple fact of someone not enjoying a horrible experience without resorting to insulting them, just because you had a different experience, you need to try harder.

"Butlins is all about fun, smiles, good food, bright lights, entertainment, trying something different occasionally and meeting/mixing with all walks of life."

In my experience which is as valid as yours, none of that is true. Butlins was about boredom, frowns, bad food, neon lights, no entertainment, trying something different but never again...and having someone vomit on me and a red coat fondle my arse.
So yes, I will go to the South of France, thanks all the same.

PenisVanLesbian Sun 26-Aug-12 11:33:06

and adding grin to your incredibly rude posts doesn't make it funny.

Penis: someone actually vomited on you shock
That's worse than the poo in the pool at Bognor.

PenisVanLesbian Sun 26-Aug-12 11:37:49

yup. Down my back, standing at a bar. That alone would put one off.

Lovecat Sun 26-Aug-12 11:54:20

We went to Butlins in Bognor for a midweek break when DD was 3 (4 yrs ago). Will never go back.

I have never seen so many people chain-smoking and swearing (generally whilst manning a pushchair) in my life - I didn't think I was snobby til I went to Butlins (we did Pontins when I was a child and we loved it) but that was awful.

Our accommodation (silver apartment) was actually loads better than the damp gulag we stayed in at Centerparcs, so we were happy with that, also the food in the pub and the hotel restaurant was really, really good (rest of the time we s/c or ate out), also the children's activities were great and DD loved the free rides. Pool was freezing cold so we only went once, which was a shame as it looked like a good complex, just too bloody cold!

However, I found it depressing and largely because of the people there. We saw fights break out most nights, the showbar place was filthy, packed to overflowing and stank - we just about got a table one night for the panto show and had to leave it was so horrible - DD couldn't see a thing so she wasn't upset - and the canteen, which we had to walk past to get to the pavilion, looked like hell on wheels - massive, massive queues (I hate to have a set time to eat so could not have been doing with that) building up an hour before they were due to be let in to eat and, walking back afterwards, looking in the windows and seeing piles and piles of plates still heaped with food being chucked by the cleaning staff - the food looked grim but we couldn't work out if it was being left because it was awful or because the helpings were so massive people couldn't eat it all (and waste depresses me too). Having to walk past a massive amusement arcade (another pet hate) to get anywhere also irritated me.

So it's not for me. DD liked it but not enough to want to go back - she lives in the pool normally and it was too cold for her - so thank God we never have to return!

And Bognor appears to be caught in a wind-tunnel - we went up the coast to Brighton for a day out and it was so hot compared with Bognor we couldn't believe it!

JustSpiro Sun 26-Aug-12 12:55:32

I can certainly understand after those stories why you wouldn't want to go back.

It's a shame it's obviously so hit and miss on occasion though, as that's not been our experience at all, although I must admit I do tend avoid waterworld like the plague.

giveitago Sun 26-Aug-12 13:53:08

It sounds then like it's very hit and miss. I was nervous about booking but we had a great time.

But my views were based on a childhood experience that Lovecat mentioned - my df took us home within 24 hours because he heckled a
comedian because he was being xenophobic (talking falklands war here - way back when) and then we got heckled by the entire audience. So just upped an left and I do remember the accomodation being dark and dank.

Next generation on I found it great for my kid. I din't like it much but kid did and that's what makes a good break in my opinion.

picklechops Sun 26-Aug-12 17:59:59

eeeks! we are staying in the wave hotel at bognor in two weeks. I'm really excited about it as it sounds so family friendly but the reviews here really are mixed.

has anyone used the creche facility? Hoping DH and i can sneak off to the cinema one afternoon whilst DS has some fun.

bertiebassett Sun 26-Aug-12 19:17:13

Well....I'm afraid I've changed my mind now....there were too many negative reviews!

I've booked Centre Parcs instead grin

reddaisy Sun 26-Aug-12 20:11:40

You will never regret not going to Butlins! Have fun at Centre Parcs.

giveitago Sun 26-Aug-12 20:30:23

OP - good for you - you will like it I'm sure.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 26-Aug-12 21:18:11

Hi there

As this isn't really an AIBU, we've moved it to the 'UK Travel' section.


ShiftyFades Sun 26-Aug-12 22:17:12

Didn't use the crèche. Not something I'd be keen to do as DS is quite clingy and it's only work if I did settling in sessions I think. If I dumped and ran I'm pretty sure they'd be on the phone asking me to collect him wink

I admit do like centre parcs especially at 4 he be happy with pool and park , ( I do find Elverden better as is smaller )

pekapakou06 Sat 08-Dec-12 20:25:05

It's butlins fgs it's aimed at families, living in ghetto are you for real?

ive been to butlins and never had a issue with it my toddler would be bored at center parcs i think she loved butlins though plenty for her to do the accomadation was clean and the staff where friendly

matt645 Thu 31-Jan-13 16:01:43

It's ok but gold accommodation is a must IMO, avoid the canteens and eat in the bar and restaurants.

The kids love it and that is why you go in the first place isn't it?

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