FAMILY GETAWAY TO BUTLINS SKEGNESS – A REVIEW
Butlins Skegness Review
I’ve been in need of a holiday for quite a while (who isn’t?) so I made an executive decision to book a short break somewhere. My son’s third birthday was coming up so I decided to find somewhere not too far away that we could all enjoy. After a bit of looking, I booked a long weekend at Butlins in Skegness!
Now, I know that Butlins has a bit of an image problem in the UK. It has a reputation for being old fashioned and a bit grubby but they are trying hard to shake off that image. It can’t compete with the likes of Centre Parcs, but that really isn’t the market they are going for. They have sold off most of their resorts and concentrate on just three sites. Skegness is the closest to us. After a lot of comparisons with competing holiday parks I decided on Butlins after a glowing review of their Minehead resort from my husband’s cousin.
On the Friday morning, we packed up the car and set off. The kids had their Amazon Fire tablets fully charged (a life saver for long car journeys) and plenty of their favourite snacks. It took nearly three and half hours to get there from Manchester as believe it or not there isn’t a lot of motorway between here and there.
After checking in we drove around to our accommodation. I booked a privately owned static caravan on site as it was cheaper than booking directly with Butlins. The owner of the caravan was very nice on the phone and we sorted all the details quickly although he insisted on sending the booking form by post(!!!). I didn’t mind too much though as I saved £75. 🙂
Once we had unpacked everything, it was a little too late to hit the pool so we decided to go and have a look around. We started where most people will start, at the Skyline Pavillion. This is where the majority of the indoor entertainment and restaurants are. In the centre is the main stage which is surrounded by numerous bars, restaurants, takeaways, a games arcade and even a cinema.
Off to the side of the pavillion is Centre Stage. One of the acts playing on this stage was Diversity. To be honest I had to google who they were but judging by the queue to get in I must have been the only person there who didn’t know who they were.
After getting our bearings, we bought some drinks from the supermarket in the Pavillion and walked back to our caravan. The kids were super excited to be staying in a caravan. They could not stop talking about it. As far as they were concerned, the only thing better would have been staying in a tent!
The next morning, we ate breakfast and made a picnic. We got to Splash (the swimming pool at about 10:30 am but there was already a huge queue to get in. It was raining (typical UK holiday weather) but to be fair, they got us inside relatively quickly to another waiting area upstairs, overlooking the pool. At least it was warm. It took about 30 minutes to get to the changing rooms.
The pool area is very nice. They have a baby pool with three small slides and an overhead rope walkway which my daughter loved but was torture on my feet. My husband also walked across it and said the same thing. I’m glad it wasn’t just me! The main pool was very warm and quite deep in places. There is also three big water slides, one of which is family friendly. The other two have height restrictions. In the middle of the pool area is a large jacuzzi but it is up a flight of steps and is therefore inaccessible to wheelchair users. There is a small cafe by the baby pool which sold sandwiches, cakes and hot and cold drinks. At lunchtime we ate our picnic poolside. It was nice being able to bring your own food as it saved us a lot of money.
By late afternoon my kids had had enough, so we showered and went to the Skyline Pavilion again to get some dinner. We had a look around The Deck restaurant but it was too expensive at over £24 a head. We decided takeaway burgers would be a better option.
After dinner the kids played in the games arcade for 20 minutes and then we walked back to the caravan. By 7pm the kids were well and truly ready for bed. My husband and I spent the evening watching TV and drinking prosecco. Nice.
We woke up early on the Sunday as it was my son’s birthday. He opened his presents and after a piece of birthday cake for breakfast we walked over to the pool so we wouldn’t have to queue but even though we arrived before it was open, everyone else had obviously had the same idea and again we joined a long queue to get in. As we were in the first wave of people to go in, we didn’t have to wait upstairs this time and we were on the waterslides within 20 minutes.
We left the pool about 2pm so that we could have a look around the rest of the site. First up was the small fun fair. It’s aimed at very young kids but all the rides are free. It was pretty cold outside, but fortunately it had stopped raining. After the rides, the kids were ready to go back inside so we headed to the soft play area. It was very busy due to the weather but all the kids were having a great time while all the frazzled looking parents were managing to have a bit of a rest.
When my two had had enough of running around like mini maniacs we walked back to the Skyline Pavillion to watch a couple of shows. The resident childrens entertainers, The Skyline Gang, put on a good musical show. My kids were enthralled. It allowed my husband and I to have a bit of a rest. After some dinner the kids watched the silent cinema screening of Trolls for half an hour before the pull of the games arcade got the better of them. After that we bought some sweets and walked back to the caravan. A very happy Birthday Boy could hardly keep his eyes open. We put the kids to bed and had another bottle of Prosecco.
After tidying up the caravan on Monday morning, we handed back the keys and headed back to the pool. Most people had gone home so it was very empty. The queue for the water slides was non-existent and we had the jacuzzi to ourselves. 🙂 For some reason the poolside cafe was closed. I was glad we had packed another picnic and a load of drinks as we would have had to get dressed once the kids got hungry. We ate our sandwiches and stayed in the pool until about 3pm.
We decided to have one more treat before leaving for home. The kids wanted a milkshake and some doughnuts so we walked back the Pavillion. They really need more staff at the Seaside Treats cafe. It took ages to get served. Eventually we had our doughnuts and milkshakes and headed back to the car for the drive home. The kids were asleep within 10 minutes of leaving the car park.
I was very impressed with Butlins Skegness. It is very much geared towards families with young children and mine definitely enjoyed themselves. The accomodation was immaculate and the variety of entertainment kept my kids happy the whole weekend. My son keeps asking when we are going back to ‘our’ caravan. The prices were very reasonable but you can save yourself loads of money by going self catering and cooking yourselves breakfast and dinner and taking a picnic for lunch. I realise that Butlin’s has a bit of an image problem but that really shouldn’t stop you from considering this resort for your next short break away with the kids. Recommended.