I have been to many different family resorts since I had the girls, some have been good, some have been bad, but Butlins was definitely the best so far! I cannot sit here and emphasise enough, how amazing the entertainment and facilities are for children. We were there 5 days and not once did I hear the word “bored” slip from my children’s lips!
Try as much as we could, we just couldn’t do EVERYTHING on offer, but we mainly made the most of the shows, which the girls loved. There are plenty of activities for older kids too, like Go-karts, adventure golf, amusement arcades, sports, aerial adventure playground, driving school, and archery. Of which we didn’t try, but here is a list of our favourite things to do for under 5’s.
The Fairground, this was broken into two parts, one being inside for the little ones and the outside bit with bigger rides. There were only a couple of things the girls couldn’t go on like the swinging chairs, as they were still a few cm too short. However, they made the most of the rides that they could go on and I enjoyed the fact they could go on them as many times as they wanted free of charge.
The Soft Play area was in the main skyline pavilion and was absolutely huge! When we first arrived, it was the first thing the girls saw and I went into a bit of a panic about the size and number of bigger children in it. However, after a few moments we realised that there was actually a few red coats in there looking out for the little ones, this was very reassuring and gave us chance to catch our breath at intervals throughout the day. It’s just a shame there wasn’t a bit more seating around for the parents.
Splash World was a massive indoor pool area, with lots of fun things to do like slides, toddler splash area and wave machine. Unfortunately, my two were a bit too young for the big slides and the rapids and it was a bit too busy for my mum and me. That said, the lifeguards were completely on the ball and if either of the girls wondered off, there was a guard by their side in seconds, which again was very reassuring. It was lovely and clean and the changing area was nice and warm unlike most I have been to.
We hardly used The Adventure playgrounds, I guess with the weather being cooler and there being so much more to do inside, we chose to keep warm and enjoy the other things on offer. However, we did find a little Billy Bear one by the Shoreline while we were having a nosey around and the girls loved the big swing there. The main play area is by the Beachcomber inn and looked quite impressive even though we didn’t get to see it firsthand.
We spent the majority of the time watching character shows, of which Butlins seems to do best. The girls love that sort of thing and were in their element as they could watch whatever they wanted free of charge. We saw Mike the Knight, Angelina Ballerina, Fireman Sam, Bob the Builder, I can cook and Sesame Street. All were fantastic productions for all ages and well worth a visit.
The Skyline Crew kept my girls entertained for hours in the pavilion, they do so many different shows I still can’t believe they manage to remember all the words and steps to everything. The girls managed to meet and have photos with their favourite stars, Candi and Mimi who were lovely and mum and I still wonder how Rainbow the dog manages to jump into the air like that! My advice would be to get there early though, these shows get busy and there isn’t a lot of seating area for the adults or children!
The puppet show kept the girls entertained for a while and is cleverly done, with plenty of audience participation. The Jack and the Bean Stalk Pantomime was also a fantastic production and one, which I would quite happily have watched repeatedly. Again, both were free and the panto was so popular that the queue went all the way round the Skyline pavilion.
Thankfully, we had been advised by Becky at Lakes Single Mum to pay extra for B-line tickets, which let you, queue jump for Centre Stage, the Character Theatre and Reds. I cannot emphasise enough how useful these were to us, as instead of queuing for hours we only had to be there 15 minutes before doors opened. We were let in before the big queue, which meant we got front row seats for ALL the shows we watched, instead of having to run for a seat with the masses.
We let the girls stay up late in the evenings to watch the entertainment and the best by far was the Olly Murs tribute act, Only Olly. Not only was he an awesome singer, but Mookin instantly fell in love with him and is now his biggest fan. She managed to push her way to the front of the stage, where she hung on his every word and danced the night away. This was topped off at the end, with him picking her out the crowd to give her a signed autograph, where she screamed like a proper groupie and slept with said photo all night.
Overall, the quality of the entertainment and activities at Butlins is the best I have ever encountered! We had an awesome week and long to go back as soon as we can. I think one of the best things is everything is included in the price, with the exception of only the Go-Karts and the Bunge trampoline. On paper, Butlins can look expensive when you compare with other holidays, but I can assure you that the fact everything is free when you get there, far outweighs the extra costs of other resorts and I would highly recommend it!
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