For our summer holiday this year we visited Butlins in Skegness. I have never been to Butlins before and having watched Hi De Hi as a child, I had vague ideas of being pulled out of bed early in the morning, knobbly knees contests and red coats there to make sure you have fun! I have spoken to other people who have been and they said it was really good, especially if you have kids so this year we decided to go. We went on a Monday and had to come back on Friday morning, so it was a reasonable stay and we could enjoy ourselves. This is a description of of what we got up to in our time on the resort.
We set off from Newcastle at 9 am. The drive to Skegness took roughly four hours, most of the way it was motorway but the last hour was A roads which took a bit longer. We went along the A1 then across to Grimsby and Scunthorpe. Apparently we could have gone via the Humber Bridge but we somehow managed to avoid it. When we got to Skegness we set out to find Butlins, somehow we managed to miss it and ended up on a tour of the seafront. It was a nice beach with lots of amusement arcades and hotels. We finally arrived at 1.30 pm. We could check in and look around the resort but were not allowed into our room until 4.00 pm.
The check in queue was quite long. If you were a Premier guest there was no queue at all so it is almost worth paying a bit more. We did get checked in after a wait and received our room keys, a map of the resort and booklets telling us what was on, when and where. We also received a voucher allowing us to pick up our leisure and actions passes, which allow you to do activities on the resort and cards so we could obtain our meals. We had opted to pay for these in advance as it was cheaper. We left our bags in the car, but if you had arrived by coach there was a left luggage part so you could leave your cases till later.
This is a map of the resort: http://www.butlins.com/pdfs/skegness-resort-map.pdf
We had to collect our leisure and action passes in two different places, one at Hotshots in the Skyline Pavilion and the other at the Leisure Hub. They were easy enough to find and once we got those we stopped for a cup of tea at the Front Room before going to our room.
Our room was in lobster court which is pink. My son was highly amused as he always calls his dad a lobster after he got sunburnt one year. We were upstairs on the end.
The rooms were quite nice, when you walk in there is a bathroom straight in front of you with a shower, toilet and sink. You need to bring your own towels. On the left is a double bedroom and on the right is a twin bedroom. Both rooms have TV’s and the double room has tea and coffee making facilities. An ironing board and an iron are also provided. This was our room.
After we unpacked we went to look round the fairground part. Most of the rides are free but some you have to pay for. There is a good selection of fairground rides including dodgems and a merry go round, something for kids of all ages. My son loved the Go Karts. You have to pay extra to go on these but you get a free go with the Leisure Pass. He was really good. This is the track.
Dinner is served from 4.30 until 7.00. We were in the Coral Beach restaurant. It is self service, you get a tray then choose from a starter, main course and desert. You can go up as much as you want which some people did. Drinks are tea and coffee or juice. You can pay for an alcoholic drink or kids can have a slush. The good thing about the slush is that if you buy one of the large plastic drinks bottles full and keep the container, the kids can get unlimited refills. The food was actually quite nice and the servings were generous. For desert you could go to the ice cream factory where you fill your container with ice cream and get different toppings, which my son also loved.
After dinner we booked some of the activities like archery and the climbing wall and then had a drink before having an early night.
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We made our way out for breakfast at 8.00 am. There was a selection of cereal, croissants, apples, cheese, bacon, egg, sausage, tomatoes, potatoes, kippers and other things to choose from, along with tea, coffee or juice. We had a big breakfast hoping it would do us until dinner time. This is where we got our meals.After breakfast we went to the funfair again for a little while and my son enjoyed the rides. The queues were not too bad at this time, they tend to get longer later in the afternoon. We then decided to try out the swimming pool, or Splash Waterworld as it is called. I was not able to take photos in here obviously but there are some on the website http://www.butlins.com/discover-butlins/splashwaterworld.aspx
There is a main pool which is circular but not too deep. There is a very strange rapids section which is circular in shape and a current pulls you round so you can just lie on the water and go round in circles, a jacuzzi pool and a number of slides. We went down two of the slides, one was a tube you sit in and whizz down on the water and the other you go down in a rubber dinghy. Both were good fun but there were very long queues for both of these. As well as the indoor pool there is also an outdoor one, but it was a bit too cold to try this. The indoor pool was a nice temperature, not too hot or cold.
After swimming we went for a walk around the resort. We went into the Skyline Pavilion which has entertainment, amusement arcades, the cinema, and a really nice sweet shop with candyfloss. We also found a giant beach which was a play area which was rather fun.
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After breakfast my son went off to a circus skills session where they did team games. While he was doing this we went off the resort and had a drive around Skegness to get petrol. We found Fantasy Island which is an amusement park just round the corner and has markets as well. After that we went ten pin bowling in the Skyline Pavilion. We had a good game which I managed to win, by one whole point! My son then went off to play Quazar Lazer while we relaxed before dinner. After dinner my son played on the wild west climbing frame for ages before it got dark. Its really nice that the kids can play out safely with a bit of independence.
After breakfast my son bravely went up the climbing wall. He had never done this before but was very good, managing to get about half way up.
We then went to Fantasy Island and went on the roller coaster! It even went upside down which I was not too keen on! In the afternoon we went to the All Stars Wrestling show. The Butlins All Stars took on the Canadian Riot Squad. The red coats were really good getting everyone into it and shouting encouragement. I managed to get some video which is not brilliant as people kept walking in the way, but if you want a look it’s here:
Another game of Quazar Lazar then after dinner we went and played pool.
The next day it was time to go home. We had a good time and would definitely go again. I think next time we went we would plan our time better and be more aware of what we should book in advance and when to queue up for things. Its great not having to worry about meals and I was happy to let my son go to places and come back on his own. It is easy to find your way around. There is loads to do, in fact there is so much to do we did not manage to do everything. Its a great family friendly holiday and my idea that it was anything like Hi De Hi have been shattered!
For more information see: http://www.butlins.com/resorts/skegness/