Thursday, 21 November 2013

No longer a Butlins Virgin!

A couple of weeks ago, I had planned on attending a meeting at Butlins in Skegness as part of the Butlins Ambassador Programme. For various reasons, this was cancelled (postponed) and at the last minute, we were offered a pass to take our family for the day. William, my husband, has broken his foot and given the rather rainy weather forecast, he decided to give it a miss. Sam decided to stay at home to 'look after Daddy' so I got the opportunity to spend some quality time with Harry - which I was really looking forward to.

Butlins in Skegness is only 23 miles from where I live so it seem madness that I was, until Saturday, a 'Butlins Virgin'. How can that be? I have to admit that in my head, I still had the 1970s picture postcard images in my head - and I suppose that this was how I expected it to be. Skegness was the original Butlins resort - it really is a fundamental part to 'Skegvegas'! Read on to find out whether I was right....

We only had a few hours in Butlins - and decided that we had to prioritise. We didn't take our swimming things but with hindsight, given the weather I really wish that we had. The plan was to have a couple of hours looking round and enjoying the fairground. I also didn't really see the accommodation, only from the outside...

We got there and I headed to 'Guest Services' - a good way to get your bearings and really get a feel for the place I think. The gentleman behind the counter was super-helpful. He told us what was going on - and which areas he would suggest for a 5 year old boy. Harry is a little bit 'in between' areas I think - he is small for his age so many of the rides in the Fairground Area he was too small for - but he took some persuading to go to the 'Bob the Builder' fairground area as "Bob is for babies' (his words - not mine!).

I absolutely loved the fact that you could get a free wrist band for your child where you could pop on your phone number - I usually put a business card in my children's pockets when we are out for the day, but on this occasion I forgot so this was a welcome addition. Harry had been a little clingy since we walked in - I think that it was because we entered via the Skyline Pavillion and it was large and a little noisy. He is not usually that clingy but perhaps it was because he didn't have his big brother with him.

We started off in the main Fairground. This is looking a little 'tired' to say the least and we were disappointed to find that quite a few of the rides were closed (according to one staff member this is because of staff breaks). Had we been there for a whole day, then of course this would have been less of an issue. Harry decided to go on the train and the lifeboat swing boat - he enjoyed both. I was very pleased that we didn't have to queue as it was absolutely freezing with the wind coming off the sea. We had intended going back to try the Carousel but the rain prevented this later in the afternoon.

Harry decided to go into the soft play area - for which I was greatful as an opportunity to defrost. I did wonder whether Harry would be happy to go off and explore on his own as he is usually with his older brother - however, he was more than happy to play on his own and he soon started chatting to another couple of children. One thing I would like to point out is that the 'exit' area was manned by a Butlins member of staff - who as we left checked that Harry belonged to me as he was walking about a metre in front of me. I liked the fact that they were obviously doing their best to prevent children from wondering off.

And the heavens opened - and when it rains in Skegness in Autumn - it really does rain! The arcade area (and there seem to be many arcade areas so mental note to bring lots of 2ps next time) soon became packed with people - so we decided to move onto the Bob the Builder Fairground area which is specifically designed with the under 5s in mind). Due to the rain - it was quite busy in there but even so we didn't really have to queue to go on any of the rides. Harry enjoyed them all - he got the last run of the cars before they closed due to the weather - I have to admit that it was quite amusing watching the children getting wet - they were not impressed! This area though I feel is also in need of a bit of an update - but I believe that this is on the cards for development soon. You also have to remember that both fairground areas are open to the elements and the salty sea air blowing off the North Sea!

We really did have a snapshot of Butlins - as I mentioned, I really wish that we had taken our swimming things. We went to have a look at the pool and it looked amazing to say the least. The place was vast! I was seriously impressed and swimming things will be the first thing that I pack for our longer break next year.

I am looking forward to visiting Minehead next year - and returning to Skegness in the not too distant future with our swimming things!

Disclosure - I was given a family ticket to visit Butlins for the day - I was not asked to write anything in return but decided to share our day out anyway!


  1. As children we used to go quite frequently to "Funcoast World" (as it was known in the 80s!) for the swimming pool, as our grandparents lived in Skegness. More recently I've stayed there at the Spring Harvest convention at Easter time & my experiences of the accommodation have been very varied - as a student I stayed in chalets which have since been demolished but were "basic" and freezing if you didn't have enough 50p's for the meter; as a proper grown-up (!) the apartment we had was lovely, with most things you'd need for a holiday (and heating included!) If anything the swimming pool was even BETTER the last time I visited than when I was a child! I agree about the Skyline place though, super-noisy. And one thing that is ALWAYS true, whenever you go - it's really bleak on that part of the coast!

  2. I didn't know you could get a day pass sounds like a fun day out but shame about all the rain! x


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