Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Entertainment at Butlin's Bognor Regis

This is the last of my Butlin's reviews from our midweek Easter break as part of the Butlins Ambassadors program for 2012/2013.  I've already posted about the excellent accommodation and the food we enjoyed using the Premium Dining Plan.  Now it's time to look at the entertainment and things to do at Butlin's Bognor Regis.

If I am completely honest, I thought that during our break at Butlin's we might leave the resort to go and visit some nearby tourist attractions. We even Googled a few places to have as contingencies in case the kids wanted to do something different.  I guess I still had the preconceived notion that Butlin's would be a little old fashioned for my family.  However, this did not happen and we did not need to leave at all.  There was so much to do on site that we didn't once feel at a loss for entertainment.  We were kept busy and entertained all day.  As most activities are included in the price of the holiday, we spent very little money during our stay and the kids never once complained of being bored!  I was a bit concerned about Freddy who is quite shy and not keen on loud noises, but he ended up being the biggest fan, often saying "I love Butlin's" when asked whether he was enjoying himself.

Billy's Fairground

New for 2013, is the revamped fairground featuring new rides and new landscaping.  The rides are all free to go on and the kids enjoyed the Helter Skelter, Carousel, Trabants, Paratroopers, Swings, Dodgems and Trampolines.  The side shows, games, arcade and food stands all added to the fun of the fair!  Freddy enjoyed his first candy floss.

The fair looked great and the Elvis soundtrack that was playing put us in the mood for some good, wholesome, old-fashioned fun. Many of the rides were suitable for accompanied children over 0.9m tall so Freddy got his first taste of some of the bigger rides and he loved it!  He also enjoyed the trampolines where he bounced happily and showed off his skills.  I'm not really a fan of rides anymore as I get too dizzy being spun around (damn my Labrynthitis!!) but I loved watching my girls, Freddy and Ian having such a good time together.  We made several visits to the fair as it was a big hit with everyone.

It brought back childhood memories and I remembered my dad driving me round on the Dodgems.  He used to be able to change direction in a split second to get us out of any bumping related situations!  Seeing Ian driving Kizzy around gave me a bit of deja vu!

The games stands such as Hook A Duck, throwing darts at balloons or the Wiggly Wire were £2 a go.  We didn't try any of the games ourselves but they seemed very popular and many kids were clutching prizes such as cuddly toys and novelty gifts.  We went to a side show in the World of Wonders which was quite bizarre but fun, touching on the interactive live actor entertainment used at theme parks.

butlin's, fairground

Indoor Entertainment At Butlin's

So much has changed about the entertainment at Butlin's, since the days of Glamorous Granny and Nobbly Knee contests.  Catering to a more sophisticated audience, Butlin's has seen the launch of a whole host of great shows, tribute acts, celebrity performances, puppet shows and pantomimes to keep families entertained.  Dedicated children's shows have brought TV characters to life for the delight of little ones.  Showing on the stage at the Skyline Pavilion, we saw Fireman Sam, The Skyline Gang, Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder.  At the Centre Stage venue, we watched the new Sesame Street Show, Elmo Makes Music.  We also saw the panto Jack and the Beanstalk, X-Factor finalist Rylan (who we adored!) and Take That tribute act, Beautiful World.  The quality of the shows was all extremely good and very professional.  I introduced the girls to the joys of Coca-Cola Floats in the Centre Stage venue, another nostalgic memory from my childhood relived!

The Red Coats do a good job of keeping the crowds happy.  They hosted a series of party dances every evening, busting moves to Gangnam Style, Chocolatte and The Music Man.  We loved Red Coat Nathan who was an amazing dancer!  My kids aren't the sort of children to go up onto the dance floor, but we had a lot of fun singing along and having a boogie in our seats.  Kizzy and Freddy learned a few of the dances and performed them later back in the apartment.

I was very impressed with the security at the Centre Stage venue who kept the crowds organised and safe when we went to have our photo taken with Rylan after his performance.  There was quite a rush as fans dashed to the Meet & Greet area and I thought the Rylan Riots may ensue!  The staff kept control whilst maintaining a sense of humour, and the huge queue of X Factor fans moved quickly and orderly.

butlins, rylan, take that tribute, sesame street

The arcades included lots of machines that took two pences so I was happy to let the kids loose with a pound's worth to feed into the slots.  It provided a whole lot of fun as they made their 2p coins last for as long as possible.  There are lots of other games there including ones to win prize tickets but thankfully my kids had no interest in them.  I can imagine that children could spend a lot of money trying to accumulate enough tickets to exchange for a prize.

There was a virtual reality simulator that Freddy wanted to go on with Ella.  They took their seats in the little pod and shut themselves inside as they went on a virtual rollercoaster through a volcanic mine!  I looked on hoping he was enjoying himself, but fearing he would be overwhelmed by the intense ride.  Thankfully the doors opened and Freddy came out grinning from ear to ear!

The Indoor Tots Rides and Soft Play area were the highlight of Freddy's holiday.  He adored being free to play whenever he wanted, for as long as he wanted. He was able to pop in for a quick play or a quick ride several times a day.  I was so proud at how much he came out of his shell and held his own with the other children.  We relaxed with a coffee while we watched him in the play area.

The Games Port at the Wave Hotel was another excellent indoor venue for playing interactive video games.  Particularly useful when the weather isn't great, which is a lot of the time in England!

Out and About

With the beach so close, it was really nice to take a wander to see the sea.  The tide was in and the waves were pretty fierce, but the children enjoyed throwing stones into the water and watching the waves crash onto the beach.  It was nice to breathe in the fresh sea air and blow away the cobwebs!

Throughout the resort, there are fun things such as water features, play areas, grassed areas, funky seating, wooden horses and interesting things to explore.  Freddy did a lot of climbing, sliding and crawling as he investigated the outdoor areas.  

Butlin's, Bognor, beach

There is crazy golf, a football pitch, climbing wall, zip wire, go-karts and sporting activities going on throughout the day. You can pay to take part in various activities and I was impressed what good value they were. My girls were happy to stay together with me and Ian and Freddy, so they didn't take advantage of the kids' club sessions that were going on.  But if you have the sort of child that likes doing their own thing with other kids the same age, there was lots for them to do, including silent discos and games tournaments.

We saw the baby animals in the Easter Spring Farmyard and took part in an Easter Egg Hunt Trail.  These were seasonal activities especially for the holidays.  Other Easter events such as arts sessions and Bonnie and Billy's Easter Bonnet parade also took place while we were there.

We went swimming in the indoor, sub-tropical Splash Waterworld and I was so impressed!  The water was pleasantly warm and we had fun in the children's area with Freddy and also loved the wave pool and the bubbles.  None of us were brave enough for the slides, Master Blaster or the Space Bowl flume though.  The pool and changing areas were kept clean and tidy and had ample lockers,  and the lifeguards were very visible while on duty.  We spent a very enjoyable couple of hours at the pool and the kids' water confidence increased measurably while they were having fun in the water.


The overriding feeling during our holiday was one of real family fun and togetherness.  There were lots of smiles and plenty of laughter.  The days flew by and there was never a dull moment.  We split our time between our amazing Reef Apartment and the free onsite activities and filled our days with traditional seaside family entertainment.  I enjoyed doing things with my children that I had done with my parents, and enjoying the simpler things of life.  It was a much needed break and we thoroughly enjoyed sharing quality family time together.

We all agreed that Butlin's have got it very right.  The range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets is spot on.  The self-service buffet was varied, impressive and provided an excellent way to feed the fussiest of families with a pre-paid plan that took all the stress away from eating out.  The entertainment is diverse and most activities are included in the price of the holiday.  It is good to be able to enjoy yourself without spending a lot of cash day to day.  It makes budgeting so much easier knowing that most things are free to enjoy.  The swimming pool is excellent and a lot of fun.  


Find out more about Butlin's short breaks and holidays at  Like them on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

I'll leave you with a collage of happy smiles from our holiday.  

butlin's, Bognor Regis, family fun

Thank you Butlins for giving us the opportunity to be Ambassadors this year and for sending us to The Wave Hotel at Bognor Regis with a Premium Dining Plan for the purpose of this series of rewiews.  Our thoughts and findings are all 100% genuine and we are now all self-proclaimed Butlin's fans.


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