Sunday, 14 April 2013

Childhood Memories of Butlin's

We have just returned home following our Easter Holiday break at Butlin's Bognor Regis, as part of the Butlin's Ambassador program for 2013.  During our stay we paid particular attention to the accommodation, the entertainment and the food, to see how well Butlin's could do at keeping our family, which includes a tot, a tween and a teen, holidaying happily together. We stayed from Monday to Friday in a Reef Appartment at the Wave Hotel and we had a Premium Dining Plan giving us half-board for the duration of our stay.

Being there, brought back so many memories of my own childhood and of Butlin's and how it used to be in the mid to late 70's.

seventies, Barry Island

As a child, we would regularly take our annual Summer holiday at Butlin's Barry Island.  I remember the rows of rather utilitarian self-catering chalet accommodation and the chilly outdoor swimming pool.  We would take the train to our destination, armed with buckets and spades.  We always went self-catering and would eat out for a treat.

Ready To Brave The Pool 1974
My parents enjoyed the evening entertainment and we'd ensconce ourselves at a good table and watch the all singing and dancing Red Coats.  I was always painfully shy and although I desperately wanted to join in with the kids' dances, I never was brave enough to do the "Wiggle, Wiggle, Whoops" with the other children.  I remember the comedians, the singers and even the guy who played R2D2 in Star Wars making appearances on stage.  My dad always liked to introduce himself and collect signed photos of the 'stars'!   One comedian did an act where he put a skittle in his mouth and invited the audience to throw balls to try and knock it out.  Most balls fell short of the target, but my dad with his strong right arm, took it upon himself to throw his with total accuracy and the look of shock on the comedian's face was brilliant as the ball connected and almost knocked out his teeth!  The talent shows were always a favourite and I vividly  remembered an entrant singing "I Wanna Be Like You" from The Jungle Book.  He was clearly a little bit drunk but that only enhanced his King Louis impression!

Ready For An Evening Of Entertainment (Little Me with My Daddy!)
Personally, I am a creature of habit who loves her home comforts.  I have always found it hard to justify paying out a big chunk of our hard earned annual income to fund a single week away, unless it promises something really fabulous.  We are also all vegetarian, so worry about food being a disappointment when we are away from home. So, I had very high expectations for our holiday and I hoped that today's modern Butlin's would be able to live up to them.

While we were there Butlin's celebrated its 77th year.  So much has changed over the years but the fundamental ethos to provide seaside holidays for families remains at its heart.

Over the following days, I will be writing all about our holiday at Butlin's Bognor Regis and sharing our thoughts and our experiences.  I hope you enjoy reading about how we enjoyed  holidaying at Butlin's in 2013.  It's a far cry from my childhood memories!


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