We knew before setting off for our break at Butlins last week that the resorts are well known for their wide range of entertainment. It’s always said that they offer something for all ages, but despite that, we had our doubts that our four little ones would be kept busy for the time we were there.
You’re all parents, you know exactly what young children can be like and ours are no different. They can change their minds about what they do, and don’t like faster than you can say Bob the Builder! But thanks to the man himself, and a host of other popular children’s characters such as Scooby Doo, Thomas the Tank Engine and Barney the Dinosaur, our kids did in fact stay entertained for the duration of our Butlins break.
Our initial worries were completely off, as it turned out that between arriving late Monday afternoon and leaving around noon on Friday, we were not able to fit in everything that Butlins had to offer our little ones, and I’m sad to say we left having not done a number of things that our kids specifically said they wanted to do. We tried our best, but there was just always something to do!
Our break was a Family Entertainment break but with our four children being aged 7 and under we stuck to the shows and facilities aimed at them only, so I can’t say if the resort caters for older kids as well as it did for ours, I really don’t know, but I have to say I was impressed with the number of characters that appeared at Butlins that our kids already knew and loved.
I’ve already mentioned Bob the Builder, Thomas and Barney. There was also Angelina Ballerina, Fireman Sam and the resident Butlins mascots Billy and Bonnie Bear. Also our daughters in particular loved the Skyline Gang – a group of six colourful all singing, all dancing entertainers putting on regular shows during the week. Imagine musical Power Rangers minus the violence, and you’re not far off.
Towards the end of our stay a couple of shows did repeat, but I personally can’t bring myself to criticise that. They are always well performed by the characters and the Redcoats that often accompany them on stage, and they certainly entertain the little ones. The floor in front of the stage was constantly crammed full of toddlers and young kids keen to get a close up view of their heroes, and it was great to see them all joining in with the singing and dancing. With so much on it’s inevitable that some kids will miss shows the first time round, so to repeat it later in the week is a positive thing in my book.
When nothing was happening on stage there was plenty more to keep our children busy. From the giant beach setting designed for memorable photos, to the Little Stars fairground, the resort was colourful and vibrant throughout and there is something to see or do everywhere you look. Ours paid regular trips to a play area by the Sun & Moon pub, and spent a good few hours of their break playing happily in the arcades trying to amass a huge stash of tickets, to exchange for prizes at the end of the week.
Close to the park they enjoyed we spotted some Donkey’s, so the kids had a ride on those too. Shows aside, the one thing they were most excited about was Splash Waterworld. I want to describe it as the resort’s pool, but it was so much more than a pool. It boasts a number of huge slides for the elders, and at least five slides suitable for kids the age of ours – again it was our two girls who really took advantage of those. There’s a cave you can swim into with a sparkling ceiling, and a curve-section which pushes you around by underwater jets.
Also, high above the pool was a net walkway. I took my two girls across it. They didn’t enjoy it too much, they were scared of the slight wobble (I admit I made it wobble on purpose) and they said the nets hurt their feet, but by the time they had decided that it was too late to go back. Slowly but surely I got them safely to the end. I enjoyed it, even if they didn’t!
On the final day of our break we were keen to tick off anything we hadn’t yet managed to do so, we hired a family cart and went for a bike ride around the resort, and a little later we headed to the soft-play, which had been closed earlier in the week after a bit of a leak, after a heavy thunderstorm on Monday night.
By Splash Waterworld there’s an outside area of fountains, which apparantly dance to music and light up too. Our girls were asking all week to go on that but sadly they were closed for maintenance until the last day, and by the time we realised they were working and open again we had already made plans to do other stuff – which was a shame. It would have been nice to have had them fixed and open again a little quicker, but I’m no plumber, I guess that’s just one of those things.
Overall I personally was very impressed with the entertainment on offer for young children at Butlins Skegness. As I’ve said, there was never a dull moment for our kids and for me, they are the sole reason we go on holidays. Whenever they were off having fun, the facilities were always there for me, my wife and my mother who joined us to sit and relax, have a drink or a snack, while keeping an eye on them, from a distance which we were comfortable with.