I love going abroad. Whether it’s visiting bustling cities, relaxing on a secluded beach with beautiful turquoise waters or soaking up the local culture in a little village – I just love exploring new countries.
But I’m also a mum. A mum to an almost 5 year old who doesn’t know or care about the difference between a beach in the Maldives or a beach in Brighton. All he knows is that it’s a beach and he can go paddling and build sandcastles and eat ice cream.
I’m not well off by any stretch of the imagination. I prioritise travel and I spend most of my disposable income on it but I can’t afford to take my son on multiple trips a year to far flung destinations. A 4 night break at Butlins including breakfast and dinner for £160 was a no brainer for our Easter break this year.
As it happens I hadn’t originally planned on Butlins. We were going to go on a caravan holiday in Norfolk but the weather forecast was grim (March in the UK, hardly surprising) and Butlins had plenty of things to do indoors for kids so I changed my mind the week before we went. When you live where I do in the east Midlands Skegness is the place that everyone goes for their holidays – I hadn’t been for years but I used to go when I was a kid. It’s easy for us to get to even though I don’t drive – 2 and a half hours on the train and then a bus from the station which takes you directly to the Butlins entrance.
As there was just the two of us I didn’t bother booking an apartment as we didn’t plan to spend that much time in the accommodation. I booked a basic silver room and it was fine – tea and coffee, ironing facilities and a small TV. There was only a shower in the bathroom though, no bath which might not be ideal for younger children.
We had the basic dining package which was breakfast and dinner. The food wasn’t really anything to shout about and to be honest next time I would probably book the premium dining option. Everything was buffet style and although there was a different choice every night there wasn’t a huge range of food – they had a roast on every night and then usually a couple of other things like a chicken dish, a beef dish and a veggie dish. Also what I found was a bit weird was that there were servers there and you told them what you wanted to eat and they put it on your plate for you – I guess it might be to do with portion control but whenever I’ve had food in a buffet setting on holiday it’s always been self service so you can choose what you like.
We stayed for 4 nights arriving on the Monday and leaving on the Friday. Typically it rained non stop on Tuesday and Wednesday but there were plenty of indoor activities to do – soft play, swimming, crafting, arcade games, a petting farm and the daily entertainment shows. Diversity were performing on the week we were there but Max is a bit too young to appreciate stuff like that so we didn’t bother going. Turned out to be a good thing in the end as the queues were huge and people had been waiting in them for hours!
Thursday was a sunnier day so we took advantage of the nice weather and went to the beach, the outdoor fair and crazy golf. There was a little ice cream parlour that Max loved as well.
I’m not normally the kind of person that returns to the same place over and over on holiday but Butlins is definitely somewhere I would go again. It’s such a great place for families, it’s got everything that children could want and it’s a really lovely atmosphere. The town of Skegness is nice to wander around as well. It’s not 5 star luxury but of all the places that we’ve been to Butlins is the one Max talks about the most and asks to go back to. The only thing I’d do differently is go for the premium dining next time!