10th October 2016
As with many holiday establishments, there is no discount for single parent families at Butlins so a two night break for Betty and I worked out quite expensive as the same as for a family of four. After much nagging, I persuaded my sister to join with my youngest niece. The Just for Tots dates are exactly that, days specially geared for the under 5s in term time when it is usually a low season for the park.
We stayed in the Butlins hotel which has had a complete overhaul from when I visited 20 years ago. The rooms are excellent for families. Bunk beds for the kids in their own cubby hole behind a curtain. We took a blow up kids bed to avoid any worry of the little ones falling out, they had both climbed the ladder and got up there within 5 minutes anyway! The bathroom has a bath as well as shower which was handy as Betty was sick on the drive there so needed a good wash. It even came with two rubber ducks so no arguing while the pair were in the bath. The main room had twin beds, you can get doubles, a sofa and play area with an octopus cushion and boats steering wheel and dials to complete the nautical theme of the hotel.
We got straight onto the site’s schedule to see what to go to when and pick the right combination to see everything we wanted at least once. The characters had shows throughout the day but repeated each day so you could pick and choose. We ended up seeing all of them, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, Angelina Ballerina and Mike the Knight. We also saw the mouse puppet show, evening family shows and a play doh theatre show with neon glowing shapes.
The centre of the park is under a huge tent so all weather entertainment. When you are not seeing something off the schedule there is a three storey soft play area with two sections split by child age, an arcade and a series of mini fair rides. Neither of the girls wanted to go on a ride until Betty caved and went on the ladybirds as she did at Green Man. Then it was a struggle to get them off the rides. There is also plenty of outdoor entertainment too, due to the chilly time of year we only tried out one of the playgrounds though as the kids could see it from our bedroom window.
In the evening the early show was for the kids with the Butlins mascot Billy Bear taking a staring role amongst the red coats. We had an early dinner before the show, then found a seat towards the back afterwards where the girls could dance off a little energy then sleep either on a couple of chairs or in the pushchair so that my sister and I could watch the adult entertainment and have a few drinks. The Frankie Valli tribute was excellent.
There were also group activities to take part in, craft and messy play, football school and playground games and fitness. We tried a few of these but struggled to fit it all in.
There is an inclusive option where you can eat in the set menu restaurants, but we decided to wing it so went to the a la carte restaurants/pubs both nights. The Brian Turner restaurant was very good and very empty if you’re having an early family time meal.
I would definitely do this again. Toddler fun all day, Mummy fun all evening 🙂
Baby/toddler friendly info:
The hotel is perfect for families with kids toys/entertainment wall, bath with rubber ducks and bunk area behind a curtain to keep them close but separated.
There are numerous toilets and changing facilities. Many of the toilets have a secondary small toilet seat also.
The restaurants are all child friendly with highchairs and crayon packs.
There are buggy parks when needed and most of the site is buggy accessible.