We’ve been coming to Butlin’s in Skegness every year for 5 years now and I have to admit I took a little convincing to book up the first time. When our friends suggested a holiday in Butlin’s, my reply was “Butlin’s!??!?”. The image that was built up in my head was draughty cabin rooms, with enforced organised “fun”. What we experienced reached way beyond my expectations. Entertainment, Food, Water Park, Fun Fair and much much more, is what kept us coming back. The only thing that was a running joke for us was the uncomfortable beds. This year they have been changed in an ongoing refurbishment, so we couldn’t complain at that this time!
We meet up with our friends The Speeds (Chris, Jaime, Mollie and Emily) from Great Yarmouth and The Duncan’s (Craig, Debbie, Alex and Kieran) from Kent. It’s a great half way point in the country to meet up and we always have a great time catching up and generally being daft for the weekend.
This is the second time we have been to the resort for the Halloween season and we feel that the timing is good. It’s the halfway point between Christmas and the Summer Holidays. It also seemed to be a more cost effective time to visit too. We decided to go Friday the 21st to Monday the 24th October.
Daily Run Downs
We arrived at 2pm and were too early to get into our rooms, so headed straight to the Water Park. This was perfect timing as there was about 50 people in the whole complex. There was next to no queues for any of the water slides and certainly no one to squeeze past in the lazy river.
We dried off and headed to the room to wait for our friends to arrive.
One of the Butlin’s highlights is the evening entertainment. For our weekend the Friday night schedule was Aladdin Rocks. We saw this last year and as Craig said “Aladdin Rocks is much better that the Aladdin Musical in the West End”. The set up is the traditional Aladdin Story with an underlying addition of rock music. The music added to the story is popular music, (We Built this City on Rock n Roll, Man! I feel Like a woman and Defying Gravity etc). Unfortunately we had bad seats as we’d been delayed getting our evening meal, so decided to head off to see Greg Johns Family Gameshow.
Greg Johns Family Gameshow is the (to me) what Butlin’s entertainment is like. Get a handful of parents on stage, competing with their children to win a mediocre prize. Greg’s dry witty sense of humour pulls it all together and keeps it clean!
This was followed up with Twice Nightly, a live music band, who started off with a lively Baggy Trousers. Before we knew it the driving had caught up with us and we were absolutely tired. We could barely keep our eyes open!
Saturday morning, involved the pilgrimage to the weirdest market experience in the world. Fantasy Island, is a short walk from Butlins Skegness and was originally a fun fair with rollercoasters and rides. What you get to experience now is like a shanty town built up within the supports of the rides! There is an eclectic selection of shops, most selling designer makes at Poundland prices. What we didn’t realise was that it was also the end of the season for the theme park here. That meant there was 10 times the usual amount of visitors as they had a £5 all day wristband offer on.
Back to Butlin’s… via a geocache!
We introduced the Speeds to Geocaching a while ago and they’ve slowly got into it. It seemed only fair that we enforced some geocaching fun on the Duncans too. Although I don’t think that they really “got it”. We rummaged around in someones hedge, pulled out a pack lunch box, signed some paper and shoved it back in the hole. The Duncans weren’t converted… yet.
The kids wanted to go back in to pool, so we went to the rooms to get out gear together. Catherine suggested to Jaime, that they may go for a coffee instead, which was also agreed with Debbie and Craig. It was only as we stepped into the changing rooms, that I realised that I’m sure we got the short straw. Two dads and six kids. Admittedly the Duncan duo were old enough to swim and look after them selves. But still it was the principal. No one really wants to walk around with a cold damp swimming costume clinging to them. Maybe I’d have preferred the coffee.
Time for Horrible Histories, Barmy Britain. We’d seen Horrible Histories, Incredible Invaders at the Sunderland Empire earlier in the year and I wasn’t fussed. So I was expecting the same, but I got into it more and the kids seemed to follow the plots better too. Barmy Britain, covered Guy Fawkes, The Plague, Boudica and Henry VIII (plus others). Each covering a totally different story, where the Saxons and the Normans seemed to blur together (that’s probably not very PC!)
Our evening entertainment was either Horrible Histories again or in the other venue Comedian Adam Moss. So we went for the comedy. Before Adam Moss, was a 45 minute Wild West show starring Buffalo Billy (Billy the Bear). This was the kids show and seemed entice Abigail from penny machines in the venues arcade.
Adam Moss, did a variety of comedy and kids tricks / humour. His act was a very safe, family friendly style, which lacked a little edge for my liking. He pulled it back to the level with his departing gift, which was a tribute to the two Ronnies. He read a fairy tail which was full of spoonerisms, which kept the foul language understandable, but never spoken! (The sugly isters were right bugly astards. One was called Mary Hinge, and the other was called Betty Swallocks; )
Last act for the night was the Funcoast Showband. A lively cover band that sung popular hits, including Wheatus’s Teenage Dirtbag. The six kids had started to create a bottle flipping game on the corner of the dance floor. Which the lead singer had a go at while he broke free from the stage and sung into the audience. It wasn’t long before it was time for bed again.
Sunday is a lazy day, a day of rest. Or at least that’s what everyone else in the resort thought. We on the other hand all met up for Breakfast at 8:30am and had pretty much the whole dining area to ourselves.
Catherine, Jaime, Debbie and Alex had a booking with the Butlin’s Spa today, so it was upto the boys to entertain the kids again. We spent an hour in the on site fun fair, before heading to the pool for an hour.
Although we didn’t really have a plan of what we were going to do all day we had highlighted one item. At 3:00pm Clive Webb and Danny Adam‘s new show Laughter, Camera, Action was on. We’ve seen there Cirque du Hilarious three times now and this was a change from that routine. The humour and craziness was exactly the same though. The kids were laughing, the adults were laughing and I was crying and laughing. There is something so twisted in the humour that tickled me. Danny and Clive, are in the Pantomime and the Theatre Royal, Newcastle and from what I’ve been told elements of this Butlin’s show gets included in the Pantomime.
Time for our evening meal.
Next up was Splat – A New Slapstick Comedy Show. I hadn’t realised that this was starring Bonnie Bear. I don’t want to knock her as she does a fantastic job performing all day and entertaining kids, but performing bears aren’t my thing.
The kids were more interested in scrounging pound coins and exchanging them for two penses, which in turn got exchanged for tickets, which then got exchanged for something worth alot less than the starting donation. I’m sure you could get something decent for 1,000 tickets pre brexit!
Magic and Illusion with Danny Hunt’s Amethyst. I love a good magic show with plenty of energy and personality. Years ago I used to be really interested in magic tricks and illusions and used to
perform annoy my friends down the pub. As a result I’ve started to see though a lot of the smoke and mirrors and a magic act needs to really impress to hook me in. Unfortunately even Kieran was explaining the secrets behind every routine (correctly).
We danced the rest of the night away with Firekind another live band.
We always (through the Speed’s recommendation) book Premium Dining. This is Breakfast and Evening meal on an all you can eat buffet basis. With a large variety to choose from and a selection of live cooking stations, you really won’t go hungry.
Breakfast consisted of a grill station cooking up Bacon, Sausage and Cheese stacked sandwiches (or any variety of those items). A full cooked breakfast was available on self serve, including vegetarian options. Pancakes and omelettes were cooked to order. There was even kippers, which isn’t always available! A large selection of Danish pastries, croissants, Pain au chocolat. Yoghurts, fruits and porridge.
Evening Meals consisted of the Grill station serving up burgers, hotdogs, pork steaks, and chops. A selection of Chinese dishes, with rice. Carvery roasts with all the vegetable trimmings. A fresh pasta cooking station, which I visited every night. A kids selection including smily faces and chicken nuggets (although it wasn’t only for kids). Lasagne, Chicken in sauces, chips, breaded fish the choice is pretty good.
Best of all there is two hot puddings every night. Sticky Toffee and Rhubarb Crumble was on night choices. It was a tough one so I had both! On the cold side, there was fruit, yoghurts, cheese, cake, cheesecake and lots of mousses to choose from.
We seem to have fallen in love with Butlin’s and on the final day couldn’t help but book up for next year. Next year we’re planning on a Monday to Friday booking. The kids love it and it’s one of the rare chances we get to meet up with our friends from further away.