Butlins in Bognor is our family’s special place, the place for us all to relax, have fun and make happy memories. We’ve been coming at least annually since the children were small, it was our first family holiday and our Butlins break is always one of the highlights of our year. This year, thanks to a conveniently placed Inset day, we went for the second part of the May half term holiday, with the big attraction being the newly opened swimming pool. The weather was perfect, hot, sunny days (and we have done Butlins in every type of weather over the years…) just what we needed for all the outdoor activities we wanted to try.
We’re pretty organised with our visits now and plan our arrival to allow an early check in at the hotel, to book in all our activities and then to go swimming which is always our first treat. We were all very excited for the new swimming pool and it really doesn’t disappoint. The art deco building is stunning and the detail in the changing rooms is perfect, large lockers, changing rooms for different sized groups, a separate area for showers with space for toiletries and to hang towels, heated floors and the perfect summery soundtrack. The music is a highlight in the pool, someone with a great sense of humour has designed the playlists for the different areas, the music by the showers includes Splish, splash, I was taking a bath, whilst in the wave pool the start of the waves is no longer started by a loud alarm but a playlist including Wipeout, Hawaii 5-0 and lots of Beach Boys, it really adds to the atmosphere. We were all tall enough to try every slide and flume, so we of course had a go on them all. My favourite was the family flume, where you travel down the flume in a big inflatable, it was busy but our maximum queuing time was only about 20 minutes. However on two mornings we were in the pool for opening and managed to be first and third in the queue! There was little queuing for the other slides, we managed the ‘scariest’ ride Adrenaline with only a few minutes queuing and the Wave Riders and Sticks of Rocks have 4 slides on each so there is little waiting time. The children loved the Garden Rapids and spent most time here. I thought this was the most dangerous ride as the rapids can knock you over and you do need to be a confident swimmer. However you cannot fault the pool safety at Butlins as there are so many lifeguards on duty. On our four day trip, we managed 6 trips to the pool, going twice on Saturday and Sunday, the pool is brilliant and really adds to the holiday.
As well as the pool, we were keen to try some of the more outdoor activities this year and we bought the children adrenaline passes so they could go on the zip wire, climbing wall and ropes. I am always impressed by the staff and safety and the children had a great time. Last year the children tried Mini Bots ( a junior Segway) and it looked so much fun, that I really wanted to join in too this year. Its really difficult to describe the vehicle (an electrical skateboard steered by a stick between the knees?) but after a very slow and steady start I got the hang of it and was able to join in the games and whizz around the court. The children were much more skilled and confident than me but we all had great fun together.
As the weather was so good, we spent a lot of time outside, watching only a few shows, the pantomime (oh yes we did), the silent cinema which showed Mary Poppins Returns and a Skyline Gang show for nostalgia! We had hoped to go to some of the later music shows but after really full on days we were in our room just after 9pm each night. One evening we had a game of 10 pin bowling which has become a little tradition for us. The late night fair is always a highlight, its quite magical when all the rides are lit up and the music is playing. I became a bit of a hero at the fair for winning Blue Llama on the horse racing game for Little Miss, I’m dead chuffed at my ball throwing skills!
Our annual trip to Butlins is such a happy, family time and I get all the feels as we arrive. As the children have got older we get to try new activities and easily fill our days, there is something for everyone. I simply can’t imagine not having a Butlins trip pencilled in on our calendar, its just like a big family hug for us all!