8 May 2015

Travel Diaries: A day by the sea

May 5th - Butlins Holiday Camp

It's perhaps not an obvious day out destination but for educational purposes it was required and being asked to tag along wasn't going to be an issue. Butlins for those unaware is a holiday camp, first created by a certain Mr Billy Butlin in 1936 to meet the needs of a changing population, (in terms of travel that is). He promised "A week's holiday for a week's wages." And it's hard not to disagree with that, although the food was expensive in the canvassed dome at its centre. 

Now Butlins is best described as one of an increasing amount of options open to families and small groups who are looking for a holiday experience in the UK, where all the entertainment is under one campus or roof. Centre Parcs, Haven and Pontins are similar options. 
The epicentre of the resort
We were visiting for the day (well 5 hours to be precise) in a very sunny and but extremely windy Bognor Regis (we do give our seaside towns some exotic names don't we?) Now I've been to Butlins before. Many years ago in fact and remember fondly going to football schools, playing snooker, seeing shows and such like. So it would be interesting to see how it has changed. 

The Verdict
It certainly has more modern accommodation, hotels and apartments (see picture below), which is definitely an improvement. Yes the shows are now high tech and the swimming pool is more advanced. I loved the slides and it would be great fun for younger children, but why do swimming pools feel colder the older you get!? I would say that it would keep the kids amused for a day or three, but beyond that age group and length of time..um I'm not so sure. The site actually feels quite small. I've got taller but not by that much and although the beach (pebbly) and town are close by you would need to head out for day trips to fill a week. 

Butlins: They've upgraded its look since I was last there
I'm not saying it's a place you shouldn't go to. In fact the opposite. It would make for a very pleasant long weekend break. And on the plus side it seems to have retained a nostalgic feel, perhaps the arcades, old buildings, the emphasis on entertainment, oh and the redcoats are reasons for this. I'm just questioning whether it can hold its own against places such as Centre Parcs? Let's hope it does because it's an important part of our tourism landscape, and should remain so for many years to come. Now how about one more go on the water slide? Anyone? 

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