Billy Butlin’s was an entrepreneur who created the British iconic holiday parks for family’s to have an affordable UK break, now commonly known as a staycation .
Butlin’s Skegness opened on the 11th April 1936 and was officially opened by Amy Johnson; the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.
Billy’s dream was to create a place for family’s to eat, sleep and be entertained which was also situated close to a beach.
There are now 3 sites: Skegness, Bognor Regis and Minehead, welcoming millions of families each year.
Some of the most widely known comedians, actors, singers, dancers and double acts have found fame because of Butlin’s.
Laurel and Hardy, The Drifters, The Foundations,Dez o’Connor, Cliff Richard and Ringo Star to name but a few!
A group of us had booked our 4 night stay months in advance, and having never been to Butlin’s before I was really keen to go.
A few days before we left I went on the website to see what we could do when we were there.
Clearly geared towards family I was blown over by the sheer amount of activities there were to do, which were all included as part of your holiday costs!
I was also happy with the accessibility of the website. The mobile version is not very compatible with screen readers, but after switching to desktop mode, I had no further issues. I flicked through page after page with ease and eager anticipation for the Butlin’s holiday ahead!
Our destination was Bognor Regis in West Sussex, situated between Brighton and Portsmouth. This was ideal for us as it was only a 2 and 1/2 hour drive.
The first thing Gary noticed was the giant millennium dome, meaning everything was under cover. Perfect for the unpredictable British weather!
The majority of our friends were there already and had checked in, so we headed to the Oyster Bay reception to ask for directions.
The staff were friendly and extremely helpful, and ended up giving us verbal directions to our chalet as they had run out of maps.
Being visually impaired and having a Guide Dog, we were given a ground floor chalet which conveniently had a large grass area, and bins right outside our door.
The chalet itself had a living room area complete with two sofas, a television and coffee table.
A dinning table and chairs were immediately on our right as we entered.
The kitchen was fitted with a fridge freezer, cooker, microwave and kettle.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that tea, coffee and sugar had been provided along with cutlery and crockery; perfect for a group who wanted to self cater.
Our bedroom was a decent size; homing a double bed, 2 bedside tables, a set of drawers, wardrobe and a desk and chair with a mirror above it.
The only criticism i would have would be for the bathroom, the toilet cistern took about 10 minutes to fill up, the shower cubicle was quite small, and didn’t drain quick enough so your feet would be in a bath of water, and having no window meant that the bathroom would be completely steamed up. On day 3 Gary found an extractor fan but it didn’t really live up to it’s name.
Possibly the most annoying of all was that there was no bathmat, meaning that the floor became soaked as you exited the shower or you had to use your own towel to mop up the mess.
As we wanted our holiday to be as easy-going as possible we paid for breakfast and dinner buffet style as part of our package.
After dropping our bags off we headed down to dinner to meet up with the rest of the party.
Not before going to the wrong restaurant and getting turned away because we hadn’t paid for that meal package!
We opted for the cheap and cheerful option and we dinned in the Coral Beach restaurant for the entirety of our stay.
As it is a buffet style food court you can go up as many times as you wanted.
I was very happy to find out that hot and cold drinks were part of the package and unlimited, the only drinks you would have to pay for would be fizzy drinks or alcohol.
Because the food court was so busy Gary offered to go up and get me an assortment of foods : chicken, new potatoes, veg, gammon and minted beef, not forgetting the lovely slice of cake for pudding.
There are 2 main stages at Bognor Regis Butlin’s:Reds and Center Stage.
On our first evening the entertainment on the center stage would be Whitney Houston in concert, Ive always loved Whitney Houston so I was keen to go along. According to our brochure we got with our check n details it said that the performer would not be on stage until 21:45 meaning we had plenty of time to have a wander around.
We went into the local shop which was full of everything you could need for a self catered holiday.
However having the luxury of Gary driving we decided to head off to the local supermarket, less than a mile away.
We stocked up on the essentials; alcohol and coconut scented toilet roll!
Arriving back on to the parks premises Gary noticed that there was a closer entrance to our chalet, so we politely asked if he could drop myself, Ida, Lenny and Dillon off and then park the car back in the Oyster Bay car park.
The man on the gate was very accommodating, letting us through and saying he would give the heads up to his colleague on the other gate.
2 blind people, 2 Guide Dogs, a crate of beer, box of wine and a carrier bag full of other things made the much shorter walk a whole lot easier… See having a disability has it’s perks! 😉
By the time we got back to the chalet it was time to head off for the evening entertainment.
By this point neither Gary nor Lenny fancied it, so we headed next door to Lenny’s chalet for a quiet night.
Phyllis, Lenny’s chalet mate had returned from the entertainment saying she wasn’t in the mood.
The 4 of us stayed in chatting, drinking and laughing until 2Am in the morning!
You can find part 2 here.