We have just got back from a short break away to Butlins Bognor Regis, I’m broke and off my face tired but the girls have had the time of their lives. Butlins Resort is a holiday purely geared up for kids, if you’re fearful of Covid and looking for a relaxing short break, in a five star setting, with social distancing, no queues, general cleanliness, luxurious accommodation and utensils in your self catering apartment, don’t go to Butlins, you will be royally disappointed and you’ll probably freak out. This isn’t a blog to slag off Butlins, I had a great time, watching the girls have the best time and that’s what Butlins is all about.

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I must admit I was a little surprised at how busy it was in the resort and how few people were wearing masks inside. There was very little social distancing, to be fair to Butlins, there were lots of circles, spaced 2 metres apart, but no-one was paying attention and it wasn’t being policed. There are lots of hand sanitising stations dotted around the resort including at restaurants and entertainment venue entrances and children and adults were asked to sanitise their hands before getting on rides in the fairground. Throughout the resort it looked dirty, dusty and tired, I’m not a clean freak by any means, but you would expect extra effort made, considering that we still aren’t through the woods as far as Covid is concerned.

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My parents came with us so we stayed in a three bedroom Gold Apartment in Atlantic Bay, don’t let the word “gold” bedazzle you, the apartment was very tired looking and it wasn’t well stocked considering it is supposed to accommodate six people, I don’t think it even had six mugs. The Gold Apartment includes a fridge with a shoebox sized freezer, kettle with some tea bags, mini sachets of coffee and sugar and milk, toaster, microwave, little dishwasher and oven. The oven element in our oven was hanging down inside so you couldn’t really use the top shelf. We also got a package that included a tea towel, two dishwasher tablets, sponge and a mini washing up liquid and an extra bin bag.

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Be warned, parking is a bit of a nightmare, no matter where you are staying, there seems to be one main carpark and it’s a bit of a trek to your apartments. There was a trolley shortage on the day we arrived so we had a bit of lugging to do, but then luckily someone had left a trolley right outside our apartment. It seemed to be short staffed throughout the resort, particularly in the restaurants, the queues were sometimes 30-40 minutes long and that was even if you had booked on dining plan. The restaurants are still operating using the BServe app, which allows you to order food and drinks and they are delivered directly to your table.

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Apart from Papa John’s, I was impressed at the quality of food in the restaurants, we didn’t go for a dining plan, so we could choose where we ate each night, if you have a dining plan, there are two restaurants for you to have a buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our favourite restaurant’s was Firehouse Grill and Traditional Fish and Chips, I think the restaurants were reasonably priced, expect to pay between £10-15 per adult for a main and £4.95 for kids which includes a main, side, vegetable and dessert. This Mama was impressed by their selection of cocktails, they tasted like the real deal too #mumsontheloose #sorrynotsorry.

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Now for the postives, I was never disappointed with the quality of entertainment, there is plenty to see and all ages are catered for. The girls are officially obsessed with The Skyline Gang and their faces lit up whenever they were on stage, I must confess I am a little obsessed with Rainbow, the giant dog. We saw so many shows including PJ Masks, Platinum Queen, Live Music at Reds and The Little Mermaid. We did book Peppa & George Sing-Along surprise but it was our last day and we decided to go swimming instead as the girls had already met them both the night before.

There is plenty of seating in each entertainment venue and we always got a table, be warned that a lot of people queue an hour before a show, so that they can get a table at the front. The girls loved getting up and dancing every night, Flo cracked me up when we were watching Platinum Queen in Studio 36, all of a sudden she threw her arms up to the air and literally legged it right down the aisle to the front of the stage to dance with the other mini rock chicks. Bella had a blast, showing off her air guitar skills, whilst laying on her back on the dance floor. Each show came to an abrupt ending, the lights came on as soon as it had finished, you were told to tip your drinks into a plastic takeaway cup and leave the venue as it had to be cleaned for the next show, which was a massive buzz kill.

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A week before your break, you will receive an email from Butlins with a link to book your shows and activities, thanks to restaurant queues we often missed the first part of our booked shows, but we were still able to go in late and we were also able to see the next show, even though we hadn’t booked, we just had to queue to get in. The live music is brilliant, there were lots of talented bands and performers, that got you up on your feet dancing. You can use the BServe app to order drinks directly to your table which is handy if you’re watching a show.

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The fairground was a big hit with the girls, they loved the fair rides and its great that it’s included in the price of your break. The Fairground is open daily 10am-6pm and on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday is late night 7pm-9pm, Little Stars Fairground is inside right next to the soft play and it’s suitable for children aged 5 and under or children under 1.5 metres. The girls loved the soft play, you don’t have to book and it’s quite big so there’s plenty of room for kids to climb and run around, be warned that there are two exits one at the front and one at the back, so your kids can escape from both sides.

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The new Splash Waterpark is absolutely brilliant, it’s full of exciting slides, that are great for all ages! The water is lovely and warm and so is the whole waterpark, so you don’t get cold whilst chasing after your toddlers that are in and out of the pool. The pool can get really busy, we got there around 10:15am and there were small queues for the slides, when we left around 12:30pm, people were queuing out of the door to get in. The changing rooms are spacious with plenty of changing rooms, showers and toilets and you’ll need a pound for the locker.

There is also a couple of playgrounds which also have a sandpit and there is a playground in The Beachcomber Inn pub, which is really handy for keeping the kids entertained whilst you are waiting for your food, there is also a playground at the Firehouse Grill. There are a few activities that you have to pay extra for including face paint which was £5, Build a Bear, which costs £14.99 for a bear or £25 for a bear and outfit, temporary tattoos and Butlins bike hire. There was also a family activity centre which we didn’t have the chance to explore, but I will make sure we have a look next time.

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Butlins Bognor Regis is right next to Bognor Regis Beach, which is a pebble beach, literally a couple of minutes walk from the resort, there is a little train that takes you along the pier which costs £1 for a single ride or £2 return. The beach is very windy and there is a little fair ground, bouncy castle and tall inflatable slide at the end of the pier, each ride costs two tokens per person. The girls loved the tallest Sky Swing ride and they got very excited when they spotted the Butlins tent from the sky, my poor Mum however learnt that she is in fact scared of heights.

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Every day, The Studio have opportunities for your little ones to meet their favourite characters and have their photo taken, each photo costs £10 per print, or there are bundles you can buy. The girls had their photo taken with Bonnie Bear and Peppa and George, which were photoshopped with cute backgrounds and they also had a picture taken with The Skyline Gang by the resort photographer, which was really bad quality, I only brought it because the girls really wanted me too. Make sure you check the screen by The Studio to check what characters are making an appearance and there is also a board with show and activity times at each entrance into the Skyline Pavilion.

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There is a gift shop in the Skyline Pavilion which is well equipped with Butlins themed merchandise, gifts and toys and there is also a toy shop right next to Reds, with Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly, Mr Tumble, PJ Masks toys, cuddly toys and more. There is a decent sized supermarket on site and various cash machines, but they charge £1.25. We had an action packed, three days, made lots of great memories, almost brought Butlins out of toys but most importantly we had fun. It was the girls first holiday with their Nanny & Grandad and they are already planning their next one, Flo is planning on booking Butlins next year and she wants to stay forever.

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The aim of this blog isn’t to put you off booking Butlins, in fact I highly recommend you visit at least once in your lifetime. Despite the negatives mentioned earlier, we really did have a great time and I would take the girls back as they really did enjoy themselves. Lower your expectations, appreciate that it’s a holiday for the kids and not for you, stock up on pound coins for the arcades and surprise ball machines and you’ll have a great family break, full of quality time and lots of memories.