Butlin’s in Bognor Regis is great for kids and you don't have to splash out to have fun06/18/2021
DURING the lows of lockdown, I would buoy family spirits by asking the kids to plan their dream post-Covid holiday.
But forget Barbados, Bermuda or the Bahamas.
For my sons, Butlin’s in Bognor Regis came out top every time.
A family weekend at the West Sussex holiday camp was the last trip we had taken before lockdown, in February half-term 2020.
So the idea of making a return pilgrimage took on mythical status during the trials of confinement and homeschooling.
As a holiday destination, Bognor’s Butlin’s doesn’t promise white sand or even guaranteed sunshine.
But it does boast pretty much every kid-friendly pastime that had been shuttered under the Covid restrictions.
Swimming, bowling, football, funfair rides, mini-golf, go-karting, soft play and even panto are all on offer.
So it is little wonder my little ones, Henry, seven, and Nicholas, three, were champing at the bit. And when we got there, any fears that Covid protocols would spoil the fun were quickly banished.
In fact, in many ways the new safety measures only made the fun sessions more seamless.
Activities need to be pre-booked on an app to manage numbers.
Bookings goes live a few days before your break and it is worth getting in fast to bag your preferred slots. But with two young sons and their five-month-old sister Estella in tow, having everything pre-planned actually proved a big bonus.
From the Wave Hotel there, we had a great sea view. And the submarine-style kids’ room — with flat screens at the end of each bunk bed — was a huge hit.
Our first stop at Bognor Butlin’s is always at the Splash swimming complex, which opened in 2019.
My younger son loves the shallow toddler splash area, while the bigger one goes crazy for the wave pool.
Even Estella enjoyed her first water slide on the wide, gentle pavilion slides, which can accommodate the whole family sitting side-by-side.
Meanwhile, I am a huge fan of the heated floors in the changing rooms and giant family-sized cubicles.
New additions to the resort for 2021 include an outdoor laser tag for kids aged eight-plus, along with sand art, music making and slimey science sessions.
My sons also love the Animal Discovery Centre in the big top tent, where we made a new friend in the form of a tree python.
And it was great to see Butlin’s is still running a full programme of evening entertainment and daytime shows.
STAYING THERE: A three-night summer holidays break, with entertainment from Jon Courtenay and Shane Richie, is from £606, based on a family of four sharing a two-bed silver room, arriving August 23.
A four-night autumn midweek break, featuring Peppa Pig and Thomas And Friends, is from £292, based on a family of four sharing a two-bedroom silver room, arriving September 13.
Dining packages start from £20.75 per adult and £10.50 per child, per day. To find out more go to butlins.com.
BUBBLES AND BAWDY JOKES
It has also invested millions in a new 860-seater indoor entertainment space, called Studio 36, designed with social distancing in mind.
During our break, kids’ TV favourites Dick and Dom, of In Da Bungalow fame, were the star turns at Studio 36, where they staged a comedy DJ battle.
Meanwhile, in the existing entertainment spaces, seating has been reconfigured around socially distanced tables for separate family groups.
As the children missed out on a Christmas panto this year because of the theatre closures, we made sure to go along to the resort’s Little Mermaid show.
This under-the-sea-themed spectacle has everything from song and dance numbers to a panto dame, bubbles and a few bawdy jokes for the grown-ups
We also loved the clever Animal FX show where kids can learn about their favourite creatures — but saying any more risks spoiling the fun.
A Covid-secure system for ordering drinks using the new B-line app direct to your table meant no standing around at the bar. The same app can be used in restaurants to minimise contact or passing out menus, too.
A reimagined system at the resort’s buffet dining options means there are no worries food has been pawed over by others in line.
Guests are served their choices at counters, while cold items are available to pick up in sealed containers.
With a raft of Covid-secure measures in place to ensure the fun still comes thick and fast, our long-dreamed-of break proved the perfect antidote to the pandemic.
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