Butlins is a place that is full of happy memories for me – from various days out and holidays there when I was a child, to hen weekends and trips to Spring Harvest as an adult and then seeing it again through my nieces’ eyes. We spent our last family holiday as a trio at Butlins Minehead when I was pregnant with Sophie and I loved going back there again recently for our last term-time family holiday before Jessica starts school in September. We had a wonderful week together and here are some of the things we enjoyed there:
1) The Skyline Pavilion
It doesn’t matter if it’s cold or raining – there is plenty to do indoors and most of the action happens in or around the Skyline Pavilion. The live shows take place here (some on the main stage, others in venues within the Skyline), as do the photo shoots with the various characters, there are multiple food outlets and shops, plus all the arcade machines and the funfair and outdoor activity areas are just outside the Skyline.
2) Live shows
There is such a fabulous range of live kids shows available throughout the week. During our five day stay, we saw Mike the Knight, Angelina Ballerina and Bob the Builder and a couple of shows from The Skyline Gang. The girls also enjoyed listening to a story being read (and performed) each evening by Billy and/or Bonnie Bear with the help of the Redcoats and shows at the Puppet Theatre.
3) Meeting the characters
There were several opportunities throughout our stay to meet various characters from the shows and have photos taken with them against the green screen. I loved the way Sophie gave each of the characters a big hug as soon as she was with them and how happy both girls were to have their photos taken with them. The photos cost £10 each and are available as a photo, fridge magnet or keyring (you can get all three for £15) plus you get a digital download of the photo. My fridge is slowly filling up with various photos from day trips or previous holidays to Butlins and it is a lovely way of looking back, revisiting those memories and seeing the girls growing up.
4) Tots funfair
I have a lot of happy memories of the Butlins’ funfair from my own childhood days, but my girls are still too small for many rides. The Tots Funfair is the perfect place for them though – an indoor area with lots of different rides which are perfect for little ones. There was also a bouncy castle and slide. Sophie loved going down the slide over and over again, and flying on an aeroplane on one of the rides, whereas Jessica preferred the car ride.
The swimming pool has a shallow area for little ones, with a slide, which both the girls enjoyed. There is also a main swimming pool where you can do lane swimming linked to a wave pool and lazy river. I remembered the water being on the cold side before but this time it felt warmer than I remembered and Jessica coped quite well with it on the first day – managing 45 minutes in the pool. She especially enjoyed going around the lazy river and wanted to go on some of the bigger slides and flumes, but wasn’t big enough for those!
6) Soft play
The soft play area in the Skyline was a big hit with the girls who were in and out of it in between various other activities. There is a smaller area for little ones and a bigger area for children over 0.9m tall. The only downside was that Sophie was quite upset that Jessica got to play in the bigger area and she wasn’t able to – the tots area I think was a little “tame” for her liking!
7) The arcade machines
The 2p machines were a favourite of mine back in my childhood days and hubby got lucky on one of the machines on his first try, winning 2000 tokens (which you can collect up and exchange for toys, mugs and various other things at the end of the holiday). The girls loved pressing buttons on the various machines (we didn’t even have to put coins in!) and the various small rides they could go on.
8) The range of places to eat
Around the Skyline, there were a range of different food outlets, including Pizza Hut, Burger King, Finnigan’s fish ‘n’ chips plus the Sun and Moon pub just outside the Skyline. There were also some smaller food outlets and the shop has a reasonable range of items (we were self-catered so cooked a few meals back at the chalet rather than eating out).
Our favourite place to eat out was Pizza Hut – mostly because of the excellent service we received both times we were there. I’d like to give a shout out in particular to Jakub who was our waiter. The girls were quite tired both times we went and inclined to be a bit grumpy and he was absolutely brilliant at trying to keep them entertained by doing magic tricks and making sure they had a balloon each, whilst also making sure that we had everything we wanted food and drink-wise. It was the best service I have ever had at a Pizza Hut so thank you, Jakub.
9) Tots Disco
The Tots Disco was a wonderful way to end the day – seeing the girls getting up and dancing along, doing the actions to songs such as Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes; The Music Man and Hokey Cokey was wonderful to watch.
10) Being close to the beach
There was so much to do on site, that we only left it once during our stay – but we couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to go to the beach! Minehead has a lovely sandy beach and the girls loved building sandcastles, collecting shells and pebbles, drawing in the sand, picking up seaweed and paddling in the sea.
All in all, it was a wonderful family holiday and a week packed full of memories that I will treasure. I am sure that we will be back again at some point in the future!
I have not collaborated with or been compensated by Butlins to share this post – we booked and paid for our recent holiday there ourselves and enjoyed it very much.