I never thought I would say I was looking forward to going to Butlins, but I was. I had seen an advert on youtube for the Just for Tots breaks around March time earlier this year and it looked amazing I knew my daughter would love it and booked it up straight away.
It was amazing Value for the four of us just £199 for four nights. I went for a standard self catering accommodation. The best thing was we made just one payment of £30 and the rest came out monthly by direct debit around £20 a month so we didn’t even notice it.
You could opt in to a dining package but personally I would prefer the flexibility and in retrospect I’m glad we went for the self catering as it worked out better value than the plan and did give us more flexibility about what and where we ate. Which is very useful with two young Children.
So we were all set to go, the night before I had a bit of a panic as I wasn’t sure what we would need int he apartment. I had booked to bring my own towels but wasn’t sure if we needed bedding, cleaning products, tea towels ect.
I did try a few online searches for what to take to Butlins but did get much help. The Butlins website did help me by telling me bedding was included in all accommodations which was a relief as I don’t think I could have fit anything else in the car.
We also selected to bring our own cot, we have a travel cot so this was easy enough to do. The apartment we stayed in being a standard did not have a microwave or bath. So in Preperation for this I had brought a Blow up Duck bath by Munchkin. I’ve always secretly wanted one so this seemed like a good excuse. The Microwave was more of a problem with an under one year old we needed something to sterilise the bottles luckily My son only has one Bottle a day now so we did just have enough that we pre sterilised before we went.
I think you can hire a microwave or upgrade to a better apartment that has one included.
The other thing I wished I had taken was some form of high chair, it was difficult feeding my 10 month old in the apartment as he doesn’t have the best table manners but we managed by having lots of floor picnics and lots of cloths over the floor. But if you have a portable high chair and I would definitely recommend bring that.
The room did have a welcome pack with a very small washing up liquid and tea towel and wash cloth. Useful as I had not brought this stuff. If I went again I might bring my own washing up liquid and a spare toilet roll as both of these I had to buy from the onsite shop as we had run out of the ones that were provided.
And so once all packed we set off on our amazing adventure to Skegness. We arrived at the resort later than I had planned at around 4.30pm. I was aiming to get there around 3, we could settle into the accommodation from 4pm as we arrived late we could go straight into the accommodation which was a good thing.
We lugged all our bags to the room and then spotted airport type trolleys for transporting bags. What a great idea – wish we had seen this earlier, could be something we get told as we pick up the keys. We were staying in Lagoon Bay Village.
The Apratment was great, having read some reviews on Trip advisor before I went I was expecting the worst, but it was clean, comfy and totally adequate for our needs. If I wanted to be picky the bed in our room was perhaps a little old and very squeaky, but for the price I paid it was certainly up to scratch and all we needed.
Once settle in we decided to go to Morrisons in nearby Skegness to get our supplies for the week, again something I would have liked to have done before we arrived but we were later than planned. After the trip to Morrisons and a Pizza dinner (cooked in the oven in the apartment) it was pretty late. However we still went for a walk to the nearby Skyline Pavillions to have a look around and get our bearings ready for the next morning. Our apartment was really well located.
Bonus it was on the ground floor, I like to think they had considered we had an infant and it would make our stay a lot easier in a ground floor but also assume it could have been a fluke. Nevertheless it was great that we were not he ground floor.
After looking around the Skyline pavilion we found a Little Tykes playroom area so we went in and our daughter had a play. We had missed most of the activities on that evening so it was good we got to do at least one thing – note for next time arrive on time!
Then it was back to bed to await a great day tomorrow.
When we arrived we got a little planner with all the times of activities, a whats on guide and a sticker book for the kids to complete as they did an activity. There was so much on, I was a little apprehensive that before I went there would just be a few things on, that we’d end up spending days out of the resort. I would never normally go to a resort and spend the whole time inside as I like to explore the area, but this holiday was all for my daughter and about things she wanted to do and there was more than enough to keep her occupied twice over on the resort.
So much so I had to write and itinery to make sure we fitted in all the things we wanted to. The first thing we did was go to the Thomas activity and show. At the time of booking the break my daughter was a massive fan and seeing they had a Thomas show was a big pull for us to book as I knew my daughter would love this show, although since then Frozen and Minions has rapidly overtaken Thomas. However she still really enjoyed the show and I was pretty impressed at the quality of the Show.
Afterwards we got to go on stage and have our Photo with Thomas. Whilst we had booked the break mainly for my daughter my son was also enjoying himself, which was also a bonus.
After the Show we had a break and went to Tots town, basically a play room with lots of toys mostly if not all little tykes toys both the kids had a great time in here and then we went back for Lunch.
It was great having everything so nearby and central to the apartment which made popping back for things easy – always good when you’ve got little people.
After lunch it was back for another show this time Fireman Sam. Already at this point I’ve probably maxed out on Value, everything was included in the price which was excellent value for money, When you think You could easily pay £20 a ticket for each of these shows and we must have seen 3/4 a day it’s obvious that the value is there. Again I was really impressed with the show and we had a pair of happy kids.
After Fireman sam we queued up to meet one of the many characters you would meet during the event. This time it was Pingu, We also met, Fireman Sam, Bob the Builder and Scooby doo. Most of the Characters had a meet and greet at some point it’s just about fitting it in, so we had to pick the favourites. Again I was highly impressed with the organisation and sleekness of it all. Everything seemed to run smoothly, it was always clear what you had to do and where you had to be and when you got there everything went to plan.
Staff were overall excellent throughout the stay. I did not meet one rude member of staff and most if not all went above and beyond in making sure your needs were met. You expect it from the red coats but it went further, from shop staff, guest services and security staff, everyone we met greeted us and was courteous. It seemed like they all really liked there jobs.
That afternoon, we went to the Soft play, I do despise going places and ending up at soft play or outdoor playgrounds as in theory you can do this any time of the year, but my daughter loves soft and outdoor play so it seemed a good idea to squeeze it in. It was a great soft play really age appropriate and both the kids had a great time in it.
Lucky for us we had made that choice as right at the moment there was a massive downpour, but actually with most of the activities indoors rain certainly does not spoil the day. Luckily the downpour timed itself exactly with our soft play time and we moved onto the play doh session.
I actually had no idea my daughter liked play doh quite as much as she did! I intended to pop into the session but we ended up staying for the whole session and she was having such a great time it was difficult to get her to leave. I heard other parents commenting how much their children loved this session and now I know what to get for her Birthday. We also got to meet a play doh Character, another added bonus. This was only early afternoon but the amount we had done that morning felt like two days worth.
We were all loving our time at Butlins. It was time for Dinner and we thought a Fish and chip meal would be a good idea, being by the seaside. We did pop into the Rock and sole onsite fish and chips but they did not have any veggie options after than Chips, So we decided to go out of the resort. One of the reasons we hadn’t gone for the in resort dining packages was because of the lack of veggie options. I popped out, While My husband took the kids to the puppet show, which I’m informed was good.
After this we had a quick floor picnic with chips, veggie spring rolls and onion rings. before heading out for the evening show.
We decided to go to the scooby Doo show, not that my daughter really knew him but I thought she might. A lot of the shows in Centre stage. Had queue times open at least an hour before, I was slightly concerned we might not get into some things, but luckily this never happened overall the resort was not overly busy, although I suspect as popularity grows with these breaks it could be something to worry about. Whilst there was lots of seats all the best ones had gone but the time we got there and navigating our way around the seats with the buggy was not easy. Overall It’s not overly well set up for buggies, but they do have a large number decending upon them on tots week and they do try to accommodate as well as possible. In the end we went up to the sky bar where we got a good view although I’m not sure the sound was as good up there, it was actually quite difficult to understand the characters sometimes, but we did find this with all the shows in the Centre stage. Still visually it was good.
We didn’t get to see the Skyline gang in any shows, however perhaps if we had made it the first night we could have achieved this. I suppose that is something for next time.
The next morning we went to the beach. I had originally planned to go swimming in the morning as the brochure recommended for little ones to go without the flumes, however I’m glad we did go in the afternoon as the great thing about it being a tots week is everyone on the resort is a tot, so as you might normally get older kids messing around making play areas not suitable for little ones, we didn’t have any of this and as my husband like slides we might as go in the afternoon. The other reason we swopped was because it was supposed to be raining in the afternoon as it happened it didn’t rain all day.
So we set off for the beach, My husband loves Things that are disproportionate so he was in his element with the Big beach photo garden with lots of over sized beach objects. After this we went to explore the beach it was a massive beach, I’m not sure if it is always like this or if we picked a time when the tide was particularly far out, still we ventured on and had fun playing in the waves / in the sand. There were lots of Wind turbines of the shore.
After the beach we went to catch the fountain show, It wasn’t clear if you were allowed to play in the fountains as one sign said it was just for visual entertainments and another said feel free to splash in this area. My daughter loves water play and she ran around the fountains. They went of once every 20 minutes, The show only lasted a few minutes and was a bit disappointing, I would have preferred a splash play ground, as that’s what I thought it was, but hey you can’t have everything. Today we decided to have lunch in the pavilions as we watched Barney’s farmyard sing along, which worked out quite well as we could use a high chair and my daughter could be entertained while eating! Then it was off to the splash water world. It was a good pool, my daughter is a bit of a daredevil and would probably want to go on all the slides but she’s not old enough yet, however daddy stood up tot he challenge and said it was pretty scary. In the baby pool, which was a bit cold there were little mini slides which my daughter enjoyed. We then went into the big pool which was nicely heated, with some more slides that go down towards a cave and a mini sort of rapids.
Everything was as expected within the pool, not many baby changing tables but then they were in heavy use this week so it’s understandable. I managed perfectly well on the bench. Even changing both of them myself while my husband decided to go on a big outdoor water slide, which looked fun.
We then finished our swim and walked straight to the Scooby Doo meet and greet, which we weren’t sure we would make but where lucky to, I think we were last in the queue so it worked out great. The shear amount of things we achieved was really amazing. Next was back to centre stage for another show this time with special guest Katy from Cbeebies. I can’t say I’ve ever watched her cooking programme but apparently my husband had and it sounded good. It was a sort of quiz / singing / story show with lots of involvement form the audience although I expect it is better if you are actually involved. I didn’t overly enjoy the show. I was potentially feeling a bit showed out and perhaps we “over showed”. That evening we went to one of the restaurant on site and looking at them all the sun and moon which is a pub type venue looked best. It was very nice inside, and they had halloumi in batter, one of my favourite meals. Another enjoyable experience, could this holiday get any better. Well yes it could this evening there was a sing a long frozen at the silent cinema. I was slightly confused as to how this would work. Yet again we arrived and everything was slick and well organised. We got a good seat despite arriving quite late, and watched frozen with a set of headphones each, it was a good experience and my daughter was up and singing and dancing away. That night we gave our daughter a ride on one of the few things you do have to pay for. The mini fairground type rides you get just about everywhere. there were a lot of these dotted about and generally cost a £1 per ride which was fairly good value. Particularly the one my daughter choose the parent in front of us actually said that’s the best value £1 ride ever. It was a little chair that goes up and down.
Another day completed and I began to feel sad that we were over half way but still had another day of fun planned.
The next day my daughter was a bit ill either too many sweeties or too much fun I think, so we missed a few activities in the morning while we waited to see if she how ill she was and if she was getting better.
She did seem to make a recovery so we went to the outdoor playground and then the tots Little Stars fairground, we went pretty much on every ride in the tots fairground and the bigger fairground, there were a few with height restrictions although my fearless daughter wanted to do them all. I really liked the fairground especially as again this was all included, adding to the great value. Sfter the fairground we went to the Tree fu Tom Show, I was definitely suffering from too many shows syndrome by this point but my husband thought it was the best show we saw, the costumes were very good, He thinks it might be that i’ve never watch the programme so didn’t understand it, I’m now discovering my husband watches much more Childrens TV than I do!
Then it was back to the room for some dinner, and our final show the little big adventure, which was also a great end to the break as it had many of the characters from the holiday, This was in reds another of the entertainment venues, equally as impressive, it was really packed when we got there, there were no available seats so we parked on the floor, we did catch the end of the tots disco, which we had tried to get to every night but it only lasted half an hour, it always seemed to clash with our dinner time, but we caught the end of it and saw Billy bear the Butlins mascot, who again we had tried to see up until that point but were so far unlucky. That is my only complaint that there was just too much to do and we couldn’t quite fit in everything we wanted, but I guess if you are going to have something to moan about that is a good thing to moan about. However I think we did do well and very nearly managed to complete everything, I think my planning the itinery helped.
Then it was one more sleep and in the morning we packed, cleaned up the apartment and loaded up the car – using the clever trolleys and we were on our way.
We did very nearly book to go back next year and I keep getting urges to rebook but as yet we have not. I hope we do go back next year, as it really was an amazing break.
5 stars for things to do and value for money. If you have Children under 5 I could not recommend this enough.