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Butlins or Center Parcs

(24 Posts)
8reasonstohide Mon 02-Nov-15 21:40:37

Interested to know what the general opinion is about a 3 night break in either Skegness Butlins or Sherwood Center Parcs.

We know that overall Butlins is cheaper even with breakfast and dinner plan thrown in! Also there seems to be a lot more 'free activities' at Butlins than CP. But CP seems 'higher spec' than Butlins.

DH and I cannot decide. We have plenty of time to make a decision but I am torn between the two. DH is in favour more of Butlins but isn't ruling CP out altogether. Cost is the biggest factor for DH as well as getting as damned near to AI as possible whereas overall enjoyment is for me the deciding factor. Also I don't mind self-catering with a plan that we do one nights cooking, friends do the other night and a meal out on the third night.

We would be going as a family of four (DC aged 4 and 11 months) and another couple sharing an apartment, which we have done before to keep costs down.

cestlavielife Mon 02-Nov-15 21:47:02

They are completely different

butlins is loud and brash and fairground rides. Arcades and noisy entertainment.

Cp is cycling in woods. Feeding ducks on the lake. Quieter.

What do you like ?

Lolimax Mon 02-Nov-15 21:50:39

Have you considered Bluestone in Pembrokeshire or is it too far away?

8reasonstohide Mon 02-Nov-15 21:56:25

Bluestone would not be too far for me, but is for DH. He is happy to holiday thousands of miles away and travel for hours stuck in a tiny seat on an aeroplane but ask him to travel more than 3 hours in a car and you'd think we'd asked him to travel to the moon in a ricksaw without stopping!!!

I will look that up.

A bit of both cestlavielife if I am brutally honest. For me the main thing is keeping the kids entertained without me wanting to scratch my eyeballs out or bang my head off brick walls in frustration! Our breaks are mainly centred around the kids but we're all swimming pool bonkers mad. We're not adverse to walking or nature and in my opinion, DH hates crowds, not keen on joining in in activities or shows YET prefers Butlins!?!?!?

Just wanted opinions to see if someone can sway us in either direction because we're so torn on this. I want to go to CP mainly and say at least I have been and liked it/disliked it. I don't dislike Butlins but last year I found it slightly 'down market' but still enjoyed myself.

Lolimax Mon 02-Nov-15 22:00:51

I get about the travelling but it seems a good halfway between the 2. We've just come back and have had a lovely weekend.

mrsmilktray Mon 02-Nov-15 22:02:50

If you love swimming pools go to CP.

8reasonstohide Mon 02-Nov-15 22:06:01

Bluestone looks ace! But over a 5 hour drive away for a weekend isn't going to go down well with DH! sad

cestlavielife Tue 03-Nov-15 16:48:14

there are far more trees in center parcs. swimming is good. it's more upmarket... dress your kids in joules and boden...

entertainment in evening - well there is usually a disco of sorts at cp but not the fairground rides or characters or shows or stuff you get at butlins.

butlins gives me a headache...
CP is more restful. more nature. wooden playgrounds not helter skelters.

SomedayMyPrinceWillCome Tue 03-Nov-15 18:18:22

I've not been to Butlins in Skegness but I imagine it's much the same as the other ones. At Butlins there will be entertainment for the kids from 9am til whenever you go to bed, the pool & slides are good but there can be long queues

rookiemere Tue 03-Nov-15 20:07:21

I've not been to Butlins, but I have been to Haven so I imagine it's similar.

I love CP but literally the only things that are free are the pool and outdoor play areas. It is one heck of a pool though and dependent on the age of your DCs you could quite happily spend a few hours there each day. Do you have bikes as if you bring your own there's generally a lot of cycling to be done which is a lot of fun.

Anything else you will need to pay for - that is disco, panto, archery, bikes etc. etc. The kitchens are well stocked for utilities, so it is perfectly possible to cater for yourself for a weekend ( but more work than having it done for you).

If you are going with friends that enhances the CP experience as it's great for DCs to run in the woods behind the lodges with torches ( again age dependent). Would you plan to share a lodge or be beside each other?

Sorry I'm not much help here as giving you a steer on which to go for.

WhatWouldFlopDo Tue 03-Nov-15 20:12:30

I'd say Haven is halfway between Butlins and CP. It costs less than CP and it's not as loud as Butlins. If you get a nice caravan it's good and there's lots for children to do. I'd look at trip advisor for butlins reviews tbh.

HeadDreamer Thu 05-Nov-15 10:29:08

I love CP when we went there for the christmas wonderland last year. We had a 2 month old baby at the time. It's so peaceful. We don't like crowds. More a outdoor walk, swimming pool family. DD did pony ride, visited santa, roller skates, swimming, looked at ducks, watched the fireworks. It's a great relaxing holidays. We had maid service and all the dishes go to the dishwasher. We just buy ready meals from the market or eat out. Only 'cooking' we did was breakfast.

rookiemere Thu 05-Nov-15 10:40:58

My heads still hurting about the idea that Butlins can be louder than Haven - I can't imagine how deafening that must be, and not my idea of a break at all.

However many love it and I'm sure my DS would love the activities. I'd love to go to CP at Christmas time and see the decorations, it's meant to be lovely.

PittacusLore Thu 05-Nov-15 10:56:28

If you are swimming pool crazy then go to Centerparcs. Its a no-brainer. Swimming is free there and we would spend 5 hours ish a day in the pool there (take a picnic in with you, or buy food poolside). Sherwood is my favourite but we haven't done Woburn yet, which looks like it might be better.

No chance of AI, but Butlins AI is like school dinners anyway. Just plan your meals and get a shop delivered to your villa, get takeaway delivered too and eat out a few times.

Avoid all the overpriced activities, but def hire bikes with pullalong/bikeseat for the week - really worth the cost (not too expensive), lots of fun and makes it easier to get around.

Work out what's free (beach, play areas, nature walks) and cheap (short tennis, badminton etc) as if you are swimming and cycling you only need 1 other activity per day at the most.

You'll be too knackered, and your accommodation will be too nice, to be bothered about evening activities. Get some logs for the fire and take some wine/games/dvds.

Haven is horrible - don't even consider it.

cestlavielife Thu 05-Nov-15 11:09:45

the new chalets at minehead look nice in the pics...but you know what you getting at CP. trees guaranteed. nice beds, nice bed linen etc

HeadDreamer Thu 05-Nov-15 11:16:06

Yes yes to the play areas in CP. DD was 3yo and loved them. I'm sure yours will too. And there's free wifi in our villa and used netflix on the tablet.

We went to Longleat btw.

PrimalLass Thu 05-Nov-15 11:29:57

You could not pay me to go to Butlins. My judgey face would get me a punch in the nose.

8reasonstohide Fri 06-Nov-15 11:40:40

I should have said, we have done Butlins before at Skegness but we have never done CP. So we know what to expect from Butlins! grin

Butlins did surprise me though - I thought it would be loud and brash but actually it wasn't! Or maybe because we're not judgemental and quite down to earth people and are accepting of all walks of life PrimaLass

School dinners - hmm, matter of opinion. There is 2 dining plans and we went with the premier one (inside the big tent opposite Burger King) which is seemingly more up market than the other one beneath the red coats building.

We have a DS aged 4 so fairgorund rides, shows etc is appealing because what makes him happy, makes us happy. The pool, like at CP, is also free but judging by the maps etc does seem larger.

DH has said he doesn't think he would EVER go to CP due to the price and the little that is included despite the huge swimming pool. His boss paid £1500 for 5 days and 4 nights which lets face it, isn't REALLY 5 days because you can't arrive until after midday and leave before midday at CP, which I know is the same at Butlins. But £375 a night is extortionate! A little bot more and you can actually have a 2 week holiday abroad and have it AI too! That's not to say I would never day never! CP intrigues me and I am the sort of person who likes to explore and find out 'what all the fus is about'! But I doubt I will ever go with DH!

Thank you so much for your replies. It is, seemingly, the consensus that MNetters tend to go to CP and dress their kids in Joules and Boden (love Joules, but expensive, no opinion on Boden as never seen Boden clothes!) and are quite judgemental of people who do go to Bultins and maybe even Haven.

But we have decided to go to Butlins. Thomas The Tank, Fireman Sam and other well loved characters, swimming, as much food as we can eat, fairground rides, soft play, soccer school and loads of other activities such as animal encounters and a beach! Butlins it is. My 4 year old LOVES activities, and we love how they are included with the price and when they're this age, it's all about them!

CP - one day! grin

HeadDreamer Fri 06-Nov-15 11:51:13

We paid £400 for 5 nights for CP. It is quite cheap for outside school holidays. And your oldest is preschool isn't it? It's for the winter wonderland in November, midweek. And we had a new executive lodge, with free wifi and maid service. And a top up fee to get a central lodge. That's last year btw. Not everyone pay £1500.

rookiemere Fri 06-Nov-15 12:39:37

I'm sure you'll have a great time at Butlins, sounds like there are loads of kids activities. I've never been to Butlins, probably will never go, but that's not to say that I don't think it's a good holiday destination, just not one that ticks myself or even more so DH's boxes. He likes wide open spaces and ability to eat in different places so finds CP too confining - goodness knows what he'd make of Butlins.

I must admit I do like the CP clothes shop - it's so middle-aged-middle-classed-mummy ! Stocked with White Stuff, Fat Face, Joules and Hunter stuff.

I've never ever paid £1500 for CP. We're looking around £1000 mark for 4 nights at Feb Half term with 3 bedrooms, so £250 per night in peak school holidays.

cestlavielife Fri 06-Nov-15 13:24:26

you can arrive at CP on the day of arrival when you like and can get into the pool etc. (they might say pool only from 2 pm but you can do playgrounds, mini golf, boats etc )

you have to pack up and leave the lodge and park car in car park, but you can stay as long as you like on the final day too. so potentially you get more or less the full days there.

but it sounds like you will enjoy butlins so go for it

PrimalLass Fri 06-Nov-15 14:37:23

Butlins did surprise me though - I thought it would be loud and brash but actually it wasn't! Or maybe because we're not judgemental and quite down to earth people and are accepting of all walks of life PrimaLass

It was a joke hmm

PrimalLass Fri 06-Nov-15 14:40:27

And for CP we paid about £400 for M-F at in the Easter holidays a couple of years ago because no other school regions were off that early. £600 for M-F at Longleat one July. We were there a couple of weeks ago and left at 5pm on the last day.

8reasonstohide Tue 17-Nov-15 22:22:29

PrimalLass joke taken! It is difficult to judge tones of posts than it is face-to-face! grin It is is nice that you paid far less dueing Easter because it wasn't at the same time as other LEAs but unfortunately, these things rarely happen and it is often once in a few years when you find every LEA has their own Easter break. But now that schools can set their own term dates from September 2016, maybe one day we'd be in luck!

We can't go term time, even with a pre-schooler. I am a teacher.

But I am always looking at CP and do hope to go one day. Just hope I don't come back and say I hate it!

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