OK well this past year has been hard on our family so we started looking into going away for a mini-break. Something easy, not too expensive, child friendly ... etc. Friends of mine are always going on about Butlins Bognor Regis so one night I got my skates on and started looking into what exactly a Butlins break would be like. I have never been to Butlins or any other holiday camp. When I was a child I remember the holiday camps not having the best of reviews. I was left with the impression that it was a place for families on limited budgets and that they weren't very nice. I spent a good 30 minutes going through the website and various reviews. our plan was to have a long weekend away so in a moment of bravery I booked it!
I phoned ahead on the Thursday to check about flooding but thankfully Bognor Regis hadn't been hit too bad and the camp was reporting good to go.
The booking was for:
Arrival Friday afternoon
B-line passes for a show
Departure Monday morning
We traveled down on Valentines Day after school let-out. Little had we realized but the weather was the worst it has been for a little while. Horrendous traffic and bad winds but we arrived in one piece a couple hours after our expected arrival time. The first person we came across was being blown away by the wind but still had a great big smile on his face. He directed us around the corner to another entrance as we'd driven into the one for another hotel. Once at the right entrance we drove the car over to the hotel doors. The lady at the door said we could happily leave the car there until we were settled in so everyone grabbed a bag and marched inside. I must have looked a windswept mess! We approached the desk to get our room key. I think it was obvious that we hadn't been before and the lady walked us through every question we had. From the room to the kids clubs we were given the low down. Our room was on the 2nd floor which is great for me because I like to opt for the stairs if possible and it's not too high up :) The room was easy to find and i was pleasantly surprised with the space. We'd seen a photo online and I said to my husband that our room should be like the photo but maybe without the seating area as i thought ours would be the most basic of the rooms. I was wrong! Our room was an exact match the the online photo.
As you walk in the bathroom is to the right. Good size, clean and a powerful shower. Next is the kids bunk bed room. they were so happy with it. Built in shelving, individual bunk lighting and decoration making them feel like they are in a submarine. I had read online that each bunk had it's own DVD television so they'd brought their favourites with them. Typically my eldest couldn't get the player to work but all i did was press the source button on the remote to go all the way through to DVD again and it suddenly worked. No magic but sometimes our TV at home forgets what station it is on and needs a reminder and that's how I sort that one. It didn't play up again. On the wall close to the pillows is a earphone jack which my older child was happy about as he wanted to watch a film that if his little brother had heard then he would have had a visitor wanting to join in. One thing I noticed in the boys room was that someone before has used a crayon to draw a little scribble along the wall. The scribble was a bit faint now but a magic eraser could get that right off (slightly OCD sorry). The ladder to the top bunk is helping to the feel of being a submarine style and thus is rounded metal bars. i get the idea but slightly hard on the foot and also a little slippery for accident prone children (mine) ... Only one person slipped off though and that ended up being me.
Walking out from the bunk room there's the adult section. A large double bed, dressing area, table and chairs, television and built in wardrobe. Inside the wardrobe is great big shelves, a safe, ironing board and iron (not that I do that at home so not doing it at Butlins!) and lastly a kitchen cupboard. The kitchen cupboard is handy and houses a small fridge, kettle and bits like tea and coffee. I had read a review on the internet that said the bedside tables and dressing table were very small. The bedside tables are small but not anything that I would see as a negative and the dressing bit is big enough to hold the hairdryer and that's really all I need. I could perch paperwork and a charging Ipad on there too.
After moving the car into the overflow car park at the rear of the Butlins property we were resting in the room. I heard a loud bang so went to the window to see what the wind had done. A chair from one of the balconies above had blown off and broken when it landed in the front car park. I rang down to reception and told them. Only moments later i saw two ladies run out to collect the bits. To my amazement in the wind and rain they took the time to inspect the cars nearby to ensure there was no damage done.
Because of the bad weather and traffic we'd arrived quite late and the restaurants were closed. I got onto the phone and reception put me through to the Papa Johns on site. Very happy as they are my favourite and they delivered to our room.
In all honesty I didn't sleep very well Friday night. I worried about the car being on the seafront ... but it was only a few metres from the crazy waves really. Sounds silly being kept up by the cars safety. I finally got to sleep and woke to beautiful sunshine.
We went to The Deck for a buffet breakfast. Lots to chose from and the kids loved that they could serve themselves. A young lad near me dropped and broke his plate. I felt for him because he looked so upset with himself. i checked he hadn't hurt himself and moved him from the broken crockery. His mother and staff then took over cleaning and getting him a new plate. I overheard a staff member telling him that is made her feel better because she brakes at least one a day. Hopefully that's not the case :) but it made him smile. At one dinnertime my fussy eater demanded we find him toast and jam. He doesn't eat very well and normally I am happy just to see him eat anything. I found a member of staff and asked if she'd be able to do anything for me. Ridiculous as it is I was so happy when she came out of the kitchen with with toast and a vast choice of jams. Very child-friendly and understanding! only thing I would say is avoid the coffee. My son loved the hot chocolate but the coffee was just awful.
In the hotel my sons had noticed a huge games room so that was our first stop after breakfast. Video games, screens, dancing, racing and all round great fun. We left my eldest there whilst we returned to the room to get dressed for the day. I came back to find him playing with another boy his age and having a wonderful time. We left him to it and grabbed a coffee from the SOHO coffee bar at the front of the hotel. More friendly staff and a much better coffee.
Once we dragged the big boy from the gaming area we made our way to the Skyline Pavilion where lots of bits are located. Arcade bits are always fun for the kids. My little boy doesn't really understand a lot of the games normally but there was a lot that he could figure out as well as stuff for the older ones. One game in particular he fell in love with and wanted to visit daily. Lots of four player games available for family fun :)
For different age groups there are clubs for activities they can get involved in. My eldest falls into the Club Red age group (9-12 years). There is a small charge for these activities. He went off with them a few times and made shambala bracelets, a graffiti art t-shirt and had an archery outing. The staff were full of energy and when I popped in to see how he was getting on the children seemed to all be very happy. I have a rather large age gap between my children so having something for my eldest to get his teeth into without the little one trying to tag along is great.
Dick vs Dom was the stage show we got to see. We all enjoyed the show. It was great fun ... admittedly a bit messy! We used our B-line passes to get access to the seating early and chose to sit on the front row off to the left. Go team Dick! :) Very glad to have had the passes because it did get rather busy. The show was wonderful fun, interactive and had bits for both the adults and the children.
We booked in for a couple games of bowling. Bowling is one of the activities you have to pay for but it's much less expensive than the bowling near home and if you book 2 games you get the 3rd for 50p. The bowling was good fun but I wouldn't play to win. Many of the balls are damaged (deep chips). No need to ask why as we watched a family next to us allowing their children to literally throw the balls. It did make me stop in my tracks but thankfully they only played one game and then left.
Walking back we saw the Skyline Gang nightly performance. Skyline Gang is the kind of mascots for Butlins. My youngest got a Rainbow toy (the orange dog) and was so happy to see him on stage. He made us watch the nightly show 3 times. To be honest it was high energy and good fun. Plus there's a bar and coffee stand right there for refreshments while the kids go mad. On the same stage we watched Mike the Knight, Fireman Sam and Thomas the Tank Engine. We went to see Scooby Doo as well but the little one didn't expect him to be so big and ran away. Not sure what he expected but oh well.
With the weather on Friday I thought we'd not get any time on the Fairground but the rest of the weekend was sunny and fabulous so we went off and went on some rides. The Put Put golf is a small extra charge but very good fun.
We were getting ready to visit the beachfront and noticed a few empty parking spots in the front car park so set off to move the car. My car was perfectly safe and I had no reason to worry. We drove round to the gates and were greeted by the most happy security guard ever. He had music booming out from the gate hut. the spot in the front was still there so now my car was out front waiting for when the weekend was over. The guards music was still going when we'd made our way back to head for the ocean. He was having a boogie and it just makes you want to join in. We went to the beach a couple times over the weekend and each time he was there smiling and dancing away.
I can't say more about the staff really. Everyone we came across was friendly and full of energy. I know they are paid to be that way but so is the customer service lady at our local grocery store and she's a moody witch! I walked past some staff who were finishing their shifts and one was saying she was off out. A child approached them to say hi and instantly they were all playing with the children in the courtyard... lovely to see. At one point during our break we walked past a staff member helping a young boy find his parents. The boy seemed very calm and the staff member was telling him that if they couldn't find the parents at the stage area they wait at the hotel and he'd get him a slushy drink. I bet the boy was hoping his parents would be lost a bit longer.
Family night in the gaming room was our last night activity. It was great fun and the kids got to play on lots of different consoles. You'd think the room would be constantly full and that others would monopolize the machines but we could always get onto something.
With all the activities going on we nearly missed out on swimming. SplashWorld is a collection of slides, wave pool, swimming pool, tots area, hot tub and viewing deck. We spent a couple hours swimming and going on the slides.
Time to head home. Check out is very easy, probably because you pay ahead and there's nothing to settle up. Just hand over the keys and wave goodbye. Had a great time away but always nice to be going home.
We had a lovely little break. Great place for a long weekend with the family. If we were going for a week break might look into one of the self catering apartments as they look nice.
I kept a running tally in my head over the weekend and the hotel, dining package, extras like the B-line passes, Club Red activities and bowling etc we spent ruffly £550. Not bad for two Adults and 2 children on a 4 day weekend break.
BTW: If your kids play arcade games to collect tickets, don't leave it to the last minute to trade in for prizes. We didn't collect tickets but those that did formed quite a large line to cash in on Monday morning.
Totally forgot a point I wanted to make ... Most of the time family places seem to be sponsored by sweet companies and sodas. Overwhelmingly in your face is the norm. I mentioned it to my husband who had noticed it too. Butlins seemed to only have the odd few things like that and it wasn't in your face. The Deck restaurant didn't offer soda and had loads of healthy options. Quite nice not to have it soooo commercialized. There's still some but it's a good balance for sure.
(c) oioiyou 2014
It was fun for the kids, but i was disappointed as the silver apartments has no provision for buggies, the stairs were slippery due to rain and we have to carry my baby's buggy up and down as we go out and back, praying not to fall. The food was affordable but also disappointing, many people of different races visits year in year out, i couldn't believe there was no foreign food, not even Chinese restaurant. what will it cause them to change some of the restaurants to different menu from other countries? We got fed up of the food by Sunday and went to town to a Chinese buffet we saw on her way when going in. Not looking forward to Butlins in the feature, we enjoyed our 3 days in Chessington park and cant wait to go back there!
Butlins is probably my Little Man's favourite place in the whole world (at least until we have scrimped enough money for Disneyland!) so as we have a few days before he starts fulltime nursery in September I have just booked our third mini break at Butlins Bognor Regis this year, I thought now would be a good time to review it. This review is based on a family with a toddler, so if you are booking for one of the adult's weekends or teenagers this may not be of much use to you!
I booked our breaks via the website www.butlins.com. I went via Top Cashback which gives a minimum of 5.05% back on your break. From the home page you select book now tab and you are taken into a form to select where and when you want to go, and who is going and it will then search for all. As Bognor is only about 90 minutes away from us we only tend to go for a short break, so all our trips have been 2 night breaks at the Shoreline Hotel. There is also the Ocean Spa Hotel, as well as standard, silver, gold and deluxe apartment to choose from. However they only do the 2 night breaks in the hotels. We chose not to book any meals, but we could have gone Half Board for an extra £19.45 per adult and £9.90 per child per day, but I felt this was not great value at almost £100 extra for a short break. Also you can book to eat at the hotel restaurant if you wish to on an ad hoc basis.
When you have selected your break, you can then add extras such as spa treatments, insurances and activity vouchers, before entering all your guest details. Payment can be made by all major debit and credit cards and there are no additional fees for any cards. If you are booking more than 8 weeks in advance then you only need to pay £25 deposit per person as well as any insurance and activities, and then the rest 8 weeks before you go. You can log on to your account any time before the balance is due and pay off chunks as small as £10 which I think is a great idea, especially if you have booked for your main holiday. If you book less than 8 weeks before you go then you will to pay the full balance.
When you have booked your holiday you will get your confirmation via email, which you will need to print and take with you, or you can show the booking on your phone when you arrive. 3 weeks before you go they will also send you a booklet with useful information about things to take with you and the facilities on site.
Arrival & Check In
When we arrived at Butlins we were greeted at the main gate by a Red Coat who enquired about our journey before directing us to the correct car park. The Hotels each have their own car parks, with disabled parking near the entrance.
Check In for the hotels, gold and deluxe is 3pm. All other accommodation is 4pm. You can arrive and use all the facilities from midday. We checked in at our hotel reception, and it took about 3 minutes. We were given two door key cards, our entertainment passes and what's on guide, and advised of how to book the restaurants if we wished to. Then we were off to our room...
Before this year the last time I had visited the Bognor site was for my hen weekend in 2003, well before the snazzy hotels were built, so this was a whole new experience for me. The Shoreline hotel is shaped like a big ship and is right on the seafront, with rooms spread across 4 floors. We have stayed in both the Hooks Cabin and Columbus Quarters which are essentially the same room but the Columbus quarters are slightly more expensive and have either a sea view or a ground floor patio. I am more than happy with a Hooks Cabin, but they tend to get booked up quickly - I guess no one else thinks an extra £20 or so for a sea view is worth it either!
The rooms are pretty spacious, and there is a separate children's sleep area with two junior cross over bunk beds which sleep children up to 14. Bed guards are provided free of charge and the children get their own TV and DVD player. In the main area of the room there is a King size (or Twin) bed with Duvet and a selection of pillows, and a two chairs and a coffee table by the floor to ceiling windows. There is also a small fridge, tea and coffee making facilities, a hairdryer plus a widescreen TV with DVD player. The bathroom is a decent size with a bath with shower over it. Towels and a small selection of toiletries are provided. I was actually pleasantly surprised with the rooms, having stayed in a few family rooms at Premier Inns and similar these are vastly superior.
When my parents came with us in March they booked a State Room, which are right at the back of the hotel facing the sea and come with a huge balcony with telescope. The Main bedroom is massive and there is a proper lounge area with sofa and a bigger TV. There is also a second bedroom for the children rather than just an alcove. It was lovely but was almost £200 more than we paid so I don't think it was worth the extra unless it is a special occasion or you are not short of money!
The corridors at the hotel are carpeted, and as it is geared up for families with younger children there was never any late noise when we visited. There are snacks and drinks vending machines in the lift lobby's on each floor in case you get peckish in the middle of the night. Also the Cash Machine in the hotel is free as opposed to the pay ones in the skyline!
Most of the entertainment is in The Skyline, which is a millennium dome type structure which hosts the evening entertainment clubs, various bars and restaurants, a huge amusement arcade and the Tots funfair.
The Tot's funfair is where we spent most of our time - it is smaller than the one at Minehead but was still more than enough for little man. There were Flying Airplanes, Tea cups, red Cars that go around a track and a Ladybird merry go round. The little ones have to ride alone which can be a bit daunting at first and watching the mums cringing as they abandoned their tots on the rides reminded me of me at Minehead last year! Unfortunately he couldn't ride the teacups here as there were no seat belts on them and with his limited mobility I'm worried that he will slip out the seat to the base of the cup. I have raised this with Butlin's and they are going to look at this at the end of the season, as they had restraints on the cups at Minehead. The tots funfair opens from 9 - 6 which is perfect for the little ones, although we found we then spent a bit on the little arcade rides once the fair closed!
There is a small soft play area with a separate section for little ones, with ball pits, slides and tunnels. The section for the little ones was a bit uninspired, but the bigger bit looked a lot more exciting and my little dinky boy cannot wait to grow so he can get in there. However for a freebie, it is not a bad way to wear them out for half an hour!
We didn't use the clubs while we were there, but there was a stage in the middle of the skyline which has entertainment going on from about 10 until 8 which was fine for us. The entertainment here was more geared up for the younger ones and we watched shows featuring Fireman Sam, Barney, Bob the builder and Thomas. There are also opportunities after the shows to have your picture taken with the characters which you can buy, but they also let you use your own camera.
We tended to get a drink from Bar Rosso in the evening and just sit and watch whatever was going on. Selected drinks are cheaper before 7 including a selection of draught and bottled alcoholic drinks, and as we are not big drinkers it didn't cost us too much. We also used the sports bar which was showing the cricket world cup and darts for hubbie when we went in March. The pool tables and bowling Alley was in here too, and I thought they were reasonably priced especially compared to Center Parcs last year.
We took Little Man swimming at the splash waterworks which is just outside the skyline. It was a bit of a daunting swimming pool for him as it is huge with an array of multicoloured slides and flumes. We just stayed in the shallow area where there were little fountains and slides, and the water was lovely and warm
It would be brilliant for older ones with wave machines and rapids, and this great looking ride where you go around in a dingy above the pool. The facilities were really clean and although they say they sometimes limit the amount of swim time in busy periods this didn't happen to us at all. I think because it stayed dry while we were away it never got too busy!
There did not seem to be as many places to Eat at Bognor compared to Minehead, but the selection was okay. We tended to eat at Papa John's in the evening as they did a dinner buffet which was perfect for Little Man and if we bought him a kid's buffet and a drink he got a visit to the ice cream factory for free! The buffet had a varied selection of salad and Pizza, including a chicken and BBQ ssauce one which sounds revolting, but was very moreish. Hubbie and I tended to share a large pizza with some garlic bread, and the Pizza's were absolutely lovely, I would say better that Pizza Hut. A meal for the three of us with drinks came to less than £25 which I thought was reasonable.
There is also a Burger King, a cafe serving Costa Coffee's and Panini's, and various snack stands dotted about. The Sun and Moon pub serves average pub grub but tends to get really busy. We avoided it after trying once as it felt a bit like feeding time at the zoo, as it is quite dark and dingy inside, however it has a nice adventure play area outside so we liked to grab a drink and let Little Man exert some energy. It is based on wood chips though, so if it has been raining a change of clothes may be advisable!
There is a new Brian Turner restaurant which has opened since we last went, so we haven't tried it. However, we have heard from friends that it is quite expensive and not that suited to family dining.
We never tried the Skyline restaurant at our hotel, as there seemed to be an unpleasant fishy smell every evening. Luckily we couldn't smell it from our room!
If you are self catering then there is a spar supermarket on site, although it is quite pricey. There is a Tesco about 5 minutes drive away, and a Morrison's in Bognor Town.
There are lots of other activities going on at Butlins, but they are not really suited to a toddler so we have not used them. These include Multi sports court, Archery, High Ropes & Rock Climbing, Go Karts, Outdoor Funfair and Cinema. There are charges for some of the activities so check before you go.
There is also a hairdressers, various toys and gift shops and a fish pedicure place has recently opened there too but I'm not sure if I could face it!
Out & About
Bognor town is about 5 - 10 minutes walk away, and has everything you need if you want to kill an hour or so at the shops. It has a reasonable selection of shops along a pedestrianised high street including Boots, Peacocks, WH Smiths, and lots of charity shops if like me you love to rummage for a bargain. There is also a full range of take away outlets and coffee shops, and a really nice bakery in a covered alley which takes you from the beach to the high street - there is also a sweet shop and some little niche boutique shops here too.
On Tuesdays and Saturdays there is a small market which is nice for a nose around and is the place to get any Rock and Sweets to take home as they are much cheaper than the Camp. If you keep walking along the seafront you will come to a small pier and funfair where there is a nice fish and chip shop!
For hardened shoppers, you can drive to Gunwharf Quays Outlet centre in Portsmouth in less than half an hour which also has a great selection of Bars and restaurants, and the Spinaker Tower which gives great views across the harbour (across to the Isle of Wight on clear day!) and various boat trips.
Bognor Regis is not far from Brighton and Littlehampton which is worth exploring if you are there for long enough.
Unfortunately it is a pebble beach so it is not that great to sit out on, but Little Man loves to chuck stones into the sea and go looking for rare shells for Granddad's fish tank!
So would I recommend it?
As you can probably tell, I am a big Fan of Butlins at Bognor - however I don't think I could stay much longer than our 3 day mini-break before it began to get really repetitive! It is great for toddlers as there is a lot of free activities, but I think for older children you would need to have deep pockets! I think that Butlins Minehead is a better site, but they do not do the 2 night breaks and it is too far for us to visit for such a short amount of time.
Our breaks have all cost between £145 - £170 for 2 nights in the Shoreline hotel. This is not much more expensive than a Premier Inn but for a much better room, and all the facilities thrown in I think they are great value breaks. I am also now a premier member which means I get 5% off of all future breaks booked, which is a nice touch.
Butlins often have offers on their breaks so it is often worth waiting to book until they have a good sale on - they normally do something every couple of weeks. If there are a few of you then the Adults or Kids go free offers normally work out well.
Anyway, sorry for the Epic review. Hopefully I have covered everything you would ever need to know about Butlins Bognor with a toddler! Thanks for reading.
We have just returned from a family holiday (2 adults, 1 infant aged 7 months and 1 child aged 7 years) at Butlins Bognor Regis.
Having read some unfavorable reports on Dooyoo and other sites, I must say I was somewhat apprehensive as to what we might expect.
Our holiday took place one week prior to the usual school Summer holidays. We paid £840 for a family room at The Shoreline Hotel, this included breakfast and evening meal.
Prices increased significantly for those holidaying any time after this up until the beginning of September.
We found Butlins without too much trouble, it was well sign posted. Upon arrival at the gate we were greeted by a friendly man who provided directions to our accommodation. A short drive past the fun fair and The Ocean Hotel and we were in our designated car park directly outside The Shoreline Hotel.
We took the minimum of luggage when checking in initially and returned for the rest when we had got our bearings. We discovered later that there were some porters available and also luggage trolleys similar to those used at British Rail. Never mind!!
Check in at the Shoreline was trouble free. We had been advised that our room would be available from 3pm, however we arrived at 1pm and gained entry straight away. We were given two key cards and told not to keen them close to mobile phones as they may become deactivated!
We were given a quick run down as to the booking process with regard to meals within the hotel and elsewhere on the site and also an information pack detailing activities throughout our stay.
For those waiting there is an 'adult' seating area in reception as well as one for the children - small tables and chairs, bright coloured sofas and a large flat screen tv playing the usual kiddies favourites.
There is also a selection of complimentary beverages which I thought was a nice touch.
The famous Billy Bear lives at The Shoreline Hotel, children can visit his bedroom for story time. Unfortunately, this only occurred once during our stay and mum, oops, neglected to book it until too late. It was fully booked. Must make a mental note for next year! To give myself some credit, I had expected story time in Billy Bears bedroom to take place around bedtime, not at 2.30pm!
Our room was on the second floor. The hotel has four floors serviced by two lifts.
I had tried desperately to book a patio room so that my son could come and go at his leisure but unfortunately there were none available so we settled for the Columbus Quarters with a Kingsize bed, children's den area with cross over bunks and a partial sea view.
Our initial reaction to our room was great. It was very modern, extremely clean, a lot of thought seemed to have gone into the design and layout. I would liken it to a more advanced Premier Inn (not one of the old fashioned ones!).
Upon entry, the children's den was directly to the left, my son called the crossover bed a cabin bed. This room had it's own storage area and a tv (not flat screen) and dvd player (dvd's can be borrowed from reception free of charge, there is however a £10 deposit. The movies are not that up to date so you may want to bring a selection with you as we did).
The bathroom separates the den from the main bedroom. It has a bath with overhead shower and toilet. Complimentary toiletries are provided as is a safety step for the little ones not tall enough to use the sink.
There was also a rubber duck on the edge of the bath, aaaah :-)
The shower was quite forceful and was always lovely and hot - towels are replenished daily although there were little reminders to consider the environmental implications, fair enough.
The main storage area is opposite the bathroom, it is quite plentiful, certainly enough space for a family of four. The wardrobe area also harbors a safe to which you set your own code and an ironing board and iron.
Tea and coffee facilities and a hairdryer are situated in the main bedroom.
The main area is partially carpeted and boasts a kingsize bed (very comfortable, quite firm mattress). The space directly underneath the full length windows is laminated - great for us as we had taken the baby's walker and he was able to move around with greater ease. There are also two leather armchairs and a small table.
We did clutter our area slightly, moving the travel cot provided (£10) from the area directly outside the children's den so that we could keep a watchful eye during the night.
The main area also had a flat screen tv with limited freeview channels and a dvd player. The tv wasn't massive but plently large enough to be viewed from the bed.
My only criticism of the room was the view from the windows. Unfortunately, my partial sea view could only be gained by sticking my head out of the window, looking to the right and ignoring the cars in the car park.
Our full frontal view was the car park for the hotel - at least we could keep an eye on the car!!
I have to admit I was really disappointed. The others didn't seem to mind so all was not lost.
The room was serviced to a high standard on a daily basis. Tea/coffee etc replenished, beds made with hospital corners - well not quite, baby's clothes folded and even towel art on the bed!
There was no shortage of staff within the hotel, wherever you looked you could usually see someone cleaning! And always with a smile on their face and a cheery hello!
I had expected to experience quite a lot of noise due to the number of bedrooms within the hotel and obviously the vast numbers of children an infants in residence but this was not the case. The rooms were quite well sound proofed and only occasionally did we hear little running feet overhead.
The rooms are also temperature controlled if you so choose. Alternatively, the windows slide open with a barrier across preventing any accidents. Also proves a handy clothes airer!
As part of our dining package, we ate breakfast at The Shoreline. This was buffet style. I wasn't expecting much having had a dreadful experience at Haven the previous year. To my great relief the food on offer was of a pretty high standard and replenished on a regular basis.
Continental style - croissants, rolls, muffins, cheese, ham, cereal, porridge, fruit and various various fruit juices or for those who like to set themselves up for the day ie me! The full English - bacon, fried eggs, scrambled eggs (poached and boiled were available to order), mushrooms, beans, grilled tomatoes and black pudding I don't think I have missed anything out!
The children have their own lowered service area with a limited range but could also choose items from the adult menu. Vegetarian sausages were available here so my partner (veggie) was a regular here every morning. Tea, coffee and toast could be ordered from the extremely attentive waiters and waitresses upon arrival.
The Shoreline Restaurant operates a traffic light system advising guests as to the busy times. The only difficulties we experienced were on check in/out days when we had to wait around ten minutes for a table. If you are aware of this you can plan accordingly.
Dinner can be eaten in The Shoreline or Ocean Hotels - booking was advised so we did this before leaving on a daily basis. The dining package also allows guests to eat at The Sun & Moon Pub, or Papa Johns - booking not required. Food vouchers are provided upon arrival and must be handed in on a daily basis in whichever establishment you choose.
We found the food and service to be so good at The Shoreline that we did not venture elsewhere. We were quickly and efficiently seated at our table each evening by staff who really seemed to enjoy working there and appeared genuine in their conversations instead of making small talk.
Having worked in the hospitality/service industry on and off over the past few years (living in Blackpool it is the done thing!) I couldn't believe the attitude of the staff. Most people I have encountered in MY employment took no pride in their work and generally wanted to be somewhere else., certainly not the case here!
There was a variety of food on offer each evening. The children are once again catered for separately if they so choose. They are also able to create their own ice cream mountains with various sprinkles and sauces from Billy Bear's ice cream station.
Adults may be tempted by a plentiful salad bar, a range of starters eg soup, prawn cocktail and a vegetarian alternative as well as the main courses.
On offer typically each evening would be a joint of meat with various trimmings, an abundance of veg, potatoes etc as well as at least three other hot dishes - hot and spicy noodles, chicken jalfrezi, chilli and a vegetarian selection.
The food was always hot, tasty and of a high standard and the best thing was you could go back for more....and more....I think I put on at least half a stone and my partner weighed in with an extra 4lbs!
There were two or three desserts available every night, or fruit for those managing to stick to healthy eating!
Drinks could be ordered from your waiter/waitress upon arrival and quickly refilled when empty. There seemed to be drinks offers on a couple of times a week eg pint of Carlsberg or a glass of wine for £2.40. Unfortunately I had taken a liking for Gaymers Pear Cider! I often couldn't finish this - undoubtedly due to the amount of food I had consumed, thankfully I was able to return to my room with the remnants!
Drinks are paid for at the end of each meal - if you run out of cash, don't worry, there is a free to use cash in reception - find the life size Billy Bear and turn right!
The Restaurant which is situated directly underneath The Shoreline Hotel, does have an outdoor seating area which due to the dreadful weather we were unable to use - Bognor Regis the sunniest place in Britain - until we arrived! It is also surrounded by a large grassy area with a boat shaped sand pit a the centre. This provided my 7 year old with hours of fun (he didn't mind the odd shower!) and also encouraged him to eat his meal more quickly. Result!
There are a number of patio rooms overlooking and providing direct access to this area, I would swoon at them on a daily basis, sob.
So much so that on our day of departure I called in at the onsite booking office and paid the deposit for next year, requesting a sandpit view - I need to get a life!
Butlins as a resort:
Butlins has as much or as little entertainment a family might require. The majority of which is housed in The Skyline Pavilion - home of The Skyline Gang - my son loved to watch the daily shows and went out of his way to make it part of his day!
There are also various other eateries, bars and late night entertainment venues.
Children are permitted in all areas until 12pm at this point they are asked to leave as we discovered at our peril. We were given around 30 minutes notice.
Bearing in mind that the bars close at 1am and many children were in the older age bracket or sleeping babe in prams it did seem a little mean to eject them!
A holiday is but once a year, a lie in can be had by all and late nights are something of a treat when at home!
Daytime activities in The Skyline Pavilion include a play area similar to that of a Wacky Warehouse, a toddler soft play area and also various fun fair rides for the younger ones - they seemed to be pitched at a maximum age of around 9 years, height restrictions were also in place meaning that older children could not accompany their siblings.
The rides and play areas are closed at 6pm sharp - far too early in my opinion. The kids have at least another couple of hours play in them at 6pm!
There is an wooden outdoor play area located at The Sun & Moon Pub, this is open until 'dusk'. The park is physically closed by an attendant when Butlins see fit - once again, too early - is it not better for the children to play safely outside rather than sit with their parents in the pub? Or is this perhaps a way to increase bar revenue??
There is a fun fair aimed at older children and adults adjacent to The Ocean Hotel. Don't expect any wild rides although there are a couple that tickle your tummy as well as the usual dodgem cars and merry go round etc. My son particularly enjoyed the trampolines, he doesn't ask for much!
Organised activities for all age ranges take place daily - it is however MOST advisable to book any activities as soon as you arrive as they get booked up very quickly. Bookings are taken for the week, this was something we did not realise and had been booking on a daily basis. Because of this we didn't we were unable to take part in a few things but substituted them for others.
My son is an 'old' 7, his friends at home are 9/10yrs and he struggled somewhat to fit in the supposed suitable activities age bracket - 5-7 years. After a couple of days we decided he'd had a birthday and he was able to join the 8-11 group, a bit naughty but essential white lie!
During our weeks stay, he enjoyed archery, fencing and football. These activities are free of charge. We did however pay for swimming lessons - £5 per half hour.
Other payable activities include the cinema, bungee trampolines, climbing wall, golf etc.
If you are considering trying any of these, activity passes are available for £12 on arrival or can be bought prior to arrival for £10.
I think this is something we will take up next year.
The pool is a little dated but has loads for the kids to do, small slides for toddlers and the more scary ones for older children - the type where you sit on inflatable dinghy's, or drop out of a giant bowl into 2m of water.
There is also a wave pool and jacuzzi.
Parent and toddler sessions are held between 9-10am daily - these sessions are described as quieter but we always found them very busy. We were also told that the pool became quieter after 3pm - it didn't!
If you don't fancy the pool, you could always try a swim in the sea. Butlins backs on to Bognor Regis shingle beach (take appropriate footwear) and can be by the day visitors entrance. It's then a 2 minute walk away. We had a bit of a paddle during a brief break in the showers but it was freezing so we didn't last long!
The Butlins resort on a whole is extremely well maintained, very clean, staff in all areas are friendly and polite - try as hard as I could, I failed to find a grumpy one!
We had a great time here, the accommodation was flawless with the exception of the partial neck bending sea views could not be faulted. The food was great, far exceeding our expectations and the staff friendly, efficient and happy! What more could a holiday maker as for?! Oh yes....the sun!!
4.5 Dooyoo Stars, half a star lost for the car park view!
I DID ORIGINALLY SET OUT TO WRITE A REVIEW REGARDING THE SHORELINE HOTEL AS I BELIEVED IT WARRANTED IT'S OWN CATEGORY, UNFORTUNATELY AFTER CONTACTING DOOYOO i WAS ADVISED THAT IT COULD ONLY BE REVIEWED WITHIN THE BUTLINS REMIT.
I WOULD REALLY HAVE LIKE TO SPEND MUCH MORE TIME WRITING ABOUT BUTLINS FACILITIES BUT TIME AND AN ACHING HAND PREVAILED!
I have never stayed in such a dirty place. We stayed in a silver apartment, with 2 small children age 4 and 2. Would have thought that beause butlins catered for mainly children the place would have been a lot cleaner than it was. The rooms were so dirty that I spent the whole week worried that my children would come down with something. The entertainment is great for the younger ones, that I couldn't fault, both my children thought it was great. I really wouldn't reccommend butlins, not really a budget holiday as you end up spending an absolute fortune when you are there. Far nicer holiday resorts around the uk for the same price.
Think twice before going to Butlins at Bognor Regis. I have just come back from a weekend break. There is an outbreak of norovirus and in my family, 3 out of my party of 5 caught it, including myself. It is very unpleasant causing projectile vomiting and diarrhoea with unbearable stomach cramps. There have been hundreds of cases on the site, the management are not being very truthful about how many, but when I phoned the out of hours doctor at Harmoni in Bognor, the operator told me that there had been 80 reported cases in just one hour. After the stomach settles (24 hours - 48 hours), you are left feeling very drained with no energy and cannot eat for days. It is horrific to see it in young children. My grandson is still ill.
I saw a very young child being very sick in the yacht club during dining and the area was just sprayed and wiped with a cloth. Then people were just walking through the area where this child had been sick. There was vomit left up the back of my chair. The yacht club carpet still had not been deep cleaned or sanitised even after so many people were sick. There was sick over the seats in the skyline, the showroom and even on some of the fairground rides. The toilets in the skyline were disgusting and many of them ended up covered in sick as well. There was a child who had been sick in the swimming pool and the pool was allowed to remain open.
The accommodation - do not stay in Oyster Bay. We were given a silver self-catering apartment Lobster Drive, which was fine except for the fact that the carpets were infested and we were being bitten within 20 minutes of walking in there. Behind the sofa there was a plate with food left on it. A glass, an empty coke can and mountains of dust. One of the cleaners confirmed the whole block was infested with flees. If they do not allow pets, then god knows where the flees are coming from. If this is how the apartments are left for guests to view, then I hate to think what goes on in the kitchens and other places that guests do not see.
Everyone I have spoken to believes the outbreak has come from the Yacht Club where we were staying after having to pay for an upgrade in Deluxe accommodation in Starfish Quay nearly all the guests had the bug and most had been eating in the yacht club.
The guests who were ill were asked to leave the resort yesterday even though like most of us, they could barely stand up or keep their heads up from a toilet seat or even drive. The management just wanted them off site, in case it put off new guests arriving today.
Butlins' standards have really dropped, but with "bully boy" site Director Jeremy Pardey, who we went to see to get out money back, but GOT NOTHING even though we got ill within 24 hours and arrived perfectly healthy, what chance have you got. Because I only paid £294.00 for my weekend break (3) nights and another £107 to eat in the Yaht Club, he felt that this was nothing even though we had been too ill to eat or leave the accommodation. BEWARE families, he looks down his nose at us hard working people who struggle to pay for even a short break these days with a site director with this kind of attitude who was throwing his weight around and abusive to my son after his intimidating behaviour in guest services go prepared. I hope there is someone big enough to stand up to him.
Billy Butlin would be turning in his grave. Clearly this site director has no compassion or concern for the clients who got ill and just wanted them off site even at the cost of spreading this highly contagious enteritis to anywhere in the country, as long as it was not on his site even though it has spread because lack of hygeine from the dining areas, accommodation, entertainment areas and even the pool from Butlins.
I will never go there again. I do hope Mr Jeremy Pardey meets his match, he is a bully and his manner was disgusting towards people who have just spent the weekend staying somewhere and having been very ill.
Disinfectant for apartments of people who catch the bug is not provided for either let alone water. It took us 10 hours to get some even though we were unable to leave our apartment.
have just spent a 4 night break at butlins. 262 for the holiday for 2 adults and 2 13 year olds.
thought that would be a bargain break in hard times, how wrong we were, stayed in silver accomodation which was comfortable but very basic.
not any entertainment for the teenagers apart from swimming.
the bar staff were very rude and miserable. the price of food there was rediculous, we ended up going off site to eat out and a local pub and kfc in bognor itself. when asked where the chip shop was as it was still advertised as being there. was told that they were trying to go up market and had got rid of it, but if we went into the pub or restuarant on site they would do us takeaway at price of 10.50 for fish and chips thats just one portion ! sausage and mash a mere 11.50. do they think we are all lottery winners or something.
we spent a further 500 entertaining the kids and eating out. was glad to get home and will never go back to there again.
if i was to sum up butlins its a rip off, rude miserable staff, not family budget holiday, do be warned you make think you are geting a budget break but your not, you need to take an awful lot of money with you unless you have an american express card !!!!!
My friend and colleague invited me to a 4 day weekend in Butlins for the "90's weekend". I am always up for a laugh and the idea of listening to cheesy music from the decade I was born in certainly sounded fun. My friend gave me a detailed leaflet letting me know what acts were on it what room. She also told me she had booked chalets for us , 4 adults to a chalet. We were also given a leaflet with information about our chalet. We had also booked it for self catering. None of us had experience with what we needed to bring with us or what was expected of us. When we arrived at Butlins (in Bognor Regis) we had just finished work. We followed the well placed signs to reception. A happy to help member of staff greeted us and took our reference. He then told us our room numbers , the quickest and easiest way to get there along with information on luggage trolleys (which are free and based in convenient areas around the holiday park) following the well lit paths we arrived at our Chalet , using our room cards we entered our make shift home. The front room was well lit with two leather sofas ,a dining room table and four chairs , a flat screen tv , a ironing board hooked on the wall with a iron underneath. The kitchen has tea and coffee waiting for us as well as a small bottle of hand soap and washing up liquid. In the kitchen corner was a clothes airer. We also had a oven , toaster and microwave along with cupboards filled with glasses/plates and the likes. The bathroom was equipped with a toilet sink and shower and small radiator. With one roll of toilet paper. The first bedroom was spacious with two beds , a bedside cabinet separating and a wardrobe and heater in the corner. The next bedroom had the same furniture but with a added dressing table , mirror and stool and double bed instead of two singles. All the beds had quite soft bedding (white and clean) The first night we stayed in for a few drinks and then went to the club reds to listen to the acts that were on. The drinks were not over priced nor the cheapest I have ever had but that was expected. The second day we made use of the parks adult facilities including the arcade , cinemas and swimming pool . We also had dinner in local pub and grub there. We never had to leave the site once as it also had a conveniently place spa shop. The second night we went out in fancy dressed and explored more of the bars which we enjoyed. Basically what I am trying to make out that our whole experience here was pleasant , we had a incident where some youths broke a window panel but once we let staff know they kindly fixed it for us no questions or hassle involved. Although its self catering in the particular chalets we were in they had more then we expected which was a bonus!(I forgot to add the chalets also had self operated heating and freeview.
Im sorry to start my review with this but most of the people on here are talking out there arse there all picking at the little things that you would find anywhere, like height restrictions on rides sorry its not butlins fault your kids are to small, and the food is always cooked fresh and always well stocked up if you dont think its very good you try cooking for how many thousand people it might be.Butlins is a absolutley brillient place for you and old so much to do and see, and my advice go for a longer duration than a weekend because thats simply not long enough, and if you have the extra cash go in a deluxe apartment it does exactly what it says on the tin DELUXE sodont listen to all the moaners on here beacause they couldnt be more wrong.
myself and my daughter have been to butlins for the last 4 years on the christmas fantasy weekends, unfortunately we got greedy and went for halloween last year too BIG MISTAKE. besides the fact that the furniture was ripped, the place was dirty and the mattresses black, the place absolutely stank of cigarettes! when i complained i was told that they couldn't offer no smoking chalets because they couldn't discriminate. Piffel! I spoke to some people who were staying in one of the hotels and was told that it was STRICTLY non smoking! even directly outside! So Butlins you can't discriminate eh !!!!
We have returned from Butlins Bognis Regis a day early as we were very disappointed and bored. We (4 adults 1 child age 2 1/2 ) arrived expecting non stop entertainment to find we went on all the free rides before we checked in at 4pm. The whole place is aimed at getting as much money out of you as possible, we were chaged £30 for 5 sandwiches and 4 drinks at the Cafe. On every corner there is a pay machine for the children to ride or the grab machines which you can not win on.
The childrens fair does not allow adults to ride with the children so child must be confident, and the so called puppet show was the same every day so once you seen the puppets dancing to the music once that was it. The rides all close at 6pm so for adults wanting some entertainment when children have gone to bed you have to spend on slot machines or the pub.
The swimming pool is good but smaller children can not be left alone to go up steps to children slide as there is so much water running down the steps and toddler slide has about a 4 inch drop onto a steep slope again do not leave them alone. The waves are good but if you trying to hold a little one dont go too shallow as I ended up with scrapped knees and sprained ankle.
We were self catering silver grade and rooms were ok if basic and could do with the carpets being deep cleaned. The shower room was so small you had to sit on the toilet to open the door but it did appear to be clean.
Our rooms were on the third floor which was 6 flights of metal staires which were slippery when it rained.
My husband and i have just come back from Butlins Bognor with our son and his partner and two grandsons. We were booked into the Ocean Hotel for 4 nights, Atlantis rooms. We were very disappointed with the rooms which cost us in the region of £200 per night! The maid service was poor although very consipicuous. Our rooms were opposite the managers office and the language clearly heard was fairly blue in discussion about clients. The food was average at the hotel although you can have as much as you like. As a vegetarian i found myself hungry after every meal and the desserts i would rate 1/10. Food we tried in other venues was very bad. Kids entertainment good tho great. not likely to go again. All the extras added approx £300/400 to experience!
I recently visited Butlin at Bognor Regis on a day trip with my 82 year old Father in law and 4 children aged between 4 and 15. We were looking forward to a good family day out but were left feeling disappointed and ripped off. Cost us the best part of £100 to get in - sounds ok until you start adding in all the extras that you have to pay for when you get in. As it had rained on the morning we went, the limited number of fair ground rides were not open until midday and closed at 6pm - 2 hours before day visitors are expected to leave. There was little to do there that didn't involve extra costs e.g. Go-Karting £5 each; Climbing Wall £4 each; Trampoline bungee £4 each. With 4 children this soon adds up. If you like amusement arcades then this is the place for you. The older ones found the entertainment boring and I was cringing watching it. The only entertainment that they might have enjoyed started at 7.30pm - 30 minutes before day visitors are expected to leave. The best part of the day was the leisure pool - all enjoyed this apart from the seriously smelly changing rooms and the fact it was so busy! We have all vowed that we will NEVER go back again.
We have recently returned from a trip to Butlins at Bognor Regis as a family of 3 (2 adults and 1 3 year old).
We booked to stay 7 nights in June, just on a room only basis (Silver Plus Accomodation).
It was my first time going to Bognor Regis - but my husband has been several times before. I have to say - Bognor was lovely. The weather was very warm and hot, the town was clean and within walking distance of Butlins site.
Our accomodation - although I wouldnt class it as Silver Plus, was a double room, with a TV & fridge in it, plus a seperate bedroom with twin beds. Our Bathroom was roomy with a shower. It was comfortable for us and just what we needed - but I feel the rooms do need a refurb.
The camp was great - plenty of entertainment for us and our little boy. Swimming was brilliant with lots of slides and the master blaster. We were there every day.
The food and prices in the shops did not seem inflated as they have been previously at Butlins sites, although we tended to eat out in Bognor Regis or wherever we had ventured to that day.
A few small things niggled us though. In the "Traditional Pub" - the seating looked like it needed a good steam clean and spruce up. The surroundings looked tired. Plus, I asked in there at the start of the week for a non-alcoholic drink and was told they did not have the ingrediants at the moment. I asked a few days later and at the end of the week - and they still did not have the ingrediants. My husband is also a big real ale fan - and although the pub advertises real ale - they did not receive any all week.
Also - with regards to the entertainment - although it was briliant when we arrived on the Friday, it was repeated later on in the week - and once you had seen it once - it wasnt worth going to or seeing again. We would have been better booking Monday to Friday and not Friday to Friday.
Having said that - my son loved the Thomas The Tank Play in Centre Stage and the Nickleodeon play with Dora the Explorer and Ming Ming from the Wonder Pets!! And we did see it twice!
All in all - we had a great time - just a couple of days too long for that time of the year.
Would we go back? Most definately and are booked again for the same time next year - but Monday to Friday this time and Gold accomodation.
just got back today from a monday to friday break at bognor regis (we come back early today) we booked silver got to the accomadation that stunk of cat pee the settee was ripped and the cutlery was covered in food! wasnt impressed so we complained and were upgraded to gold accomadation so much better but was full of ants! in the bathroom and kids bedroom i got them out 3 times in total and still it was full of ants! i have now put in a formal complaint it totally ruined our holiday it was our first holiday at butlins and everything else was great apart from the accomadation we had the standard food court which was ok just so busy with people pushing only go for gold accomadation if you book! thats a big tip!!!!