As we snuggle up back at home after yet another brilliant week at Butlin’s Bognor Regis, aka kid heaven, I thought I’d give some insight into why we keep going back again and again – and add some money saving tips to make your trip more affordable too!
As we’ve been a few times, I’ve added photos old and new – look how tiny my babies were!
We’ve been to Butlins, Bognor Regis, quite a few times now as Finn and Lola absolutely adore it! I actually think it’s great value for money, as long as you avoid the summer holidays – where the cost can be on par with a trip abroad. The other school holidays are generally a lot more reasonably priced, and term-time breaks are super cheap.
The great thing about Butlins is that almost everything is included when you get there. It easily costs £100 for a family day out at a castle or to visit a zoo, but you get so much for your money in comparison when you book a Butlins break.
For our most recent stay we only paid £166 for a Monday-Friday break for the four of us. If you can get a cheap deal, you do get a lot of bang for your buck – it would cost us more to stay in a Premier Inn for a week with no activities.
What’s there to do?
There are so many activities included in the price at Butlins, so you can visit knowing you won’t need to spend a fortune when you get there. You can go on the rides or visit the pool etc as many times as you like without spending a penny so it really is every kid’s dream!
Free activities include:
- A fairground with loads of rides – my two love the bumper cars!
- A fantastic pool complex with slides, flumes and a lazy river.
- Craft activities
- Puppet shows
- Evening entertainment shows
- Soft play
- Indoor rides
- Silent Cinema
- Daytime shows for the younger ones
The beach is nearby to all of the resorts too. And, you can book sports activities etc led by the staff.
Some activities are available at an extra cost, but we’ve found most things aren’t too expensive which is great. We usually let the kids do a couple of paid activities, and then for the rest of the time we make the most of the freebies!
Paid activities include:
- Go karts
- Adventure golf
- Kid’s driving school
- Aerial adventures
- Laser tag
- Pottery painting
Although Butlins is really geared up for primary school age kids and younger, they do have activities to keep teens amused too. There’s definitely plenty to do for children (and adults!) of all ages – it’s a great base for a UK family break. Here’s my two having fun making slime…
What’s the entertainment like?
In our experience the evening entertainment is great, and they have several shows a night to choose from. The standard is much higher than other UK holidays and caravan breaks we’ve had in the past.
My son loves the wrestling night – and tickets outside of Butlins for the four of us would be around £50 if this was a paid show. There’s also a year round pantomime, a silent cinema and tons of other shows. The entertainment changes regularly too, so you can have a different experience each time you visit.
We’ve been lucky enough to see the fabulous Cirque du Hilarious show (which would also cost upwards of £50 for a family of four), Diversity, The Animal Guyz and also Andy and the Odd Socks, whose songs the children were still singing a year later! 😂
We found that the entertainment is generally better during the school holidays than during the Christmas Fantasy or term-time breaks, so that’s something to consider – although we loved The Animal Guyz on our most recent trip.
Our Easter Holiday break probably had the best shows, looking back on our different visits. The summer holidays are filled with big names and the best shows, but these come at a premium because the summer break is a lot more expensive than the rest of the year – we’ve never visited at that time of year.
When should you visit?
The best thing about Butlins is that there’s so much to do indoors, this means that you are guaranteed to have a good time even if the weather isn’t perfect. The weather can often spoil UK holidays, but Butlins Bognor Regis has everything under one roof, so you can wait the weather out and have fun whilst you do so.
Some of the Butlins sites are also cheaper than others, my friend has been to all three – Bognor Regis, Skegness, Minehead – as she goes wherever the best offers are. There are regular reductions, so just keep your eyes peeled.
For school holiday bookings: After Christmas, they usually have special offers and school holiday times are included in these. The long weekend is also great, we did a three night stay for £220 for February half-term. For Easter half term a few years ago, we paid about £450 for a Mon-Fri stay. Once you’ve visited, they’ll also email over extra incentives to persuade you to book again, such as £50 off, which can be used on top of the already discounted prices.
For term-time bookings: If you’re able to go term time, you can visit Butlins very cheaply, and they have weeks which are just for tots (under fives) featuring acts like Justin Fletcher. Because our children are older, we still book term-time but will go near a school holiday so that the entertainment etc is still geared up for the older ones.
Christmas Fantasy breaks: The Christmas Fantasy breaks are for all ages – these run from late November through to the New Year. Christmas Day-New Year is expensive, but the earlier dates are cheaper. This time round we paid £166 for a Mon-Fri silver apartment during December which is just amazing value for everything included.
This was our second Christmas Fantasy break, we went a few years ago before the kids were homeschooled, so we booked right at the end of term before Christmas, and that was a bargain too – about £160 for the week. Although it’s winter, there’s so much to do indoors with the pool etc that a bad weather day isn’t a prob. And, when it’s dry, just wrap up warm and make the most of the fairground.
As it’s Christmas time, the children get a free visit to Santa with a gift and they have a snow storm in the centre each day, which Finn and Lola adored when they were younger!
Sun Newspaper holidays: In the past, Butlins breaks have been on offer through The Sun Newspaper Holidays, which would be the bargain of the century at about £15pp! So, keep your eyes peeled for the codes when the next lot of holidays get released.
How can you save even more?
Book through Kids Pass for an extra £20 off of your Butlins break at any of their sites. You can sign up for a trial for just a quid, and it’ll save you money on all sorts of things! It’s definitely worth it for UK holidays, and you can cancel afterwards if you want to – although it’s only a few quid each month so many be worth keeping anyway! Use my link to get a 30 day trial for just £1! 👉 Start your kids pass trial.
Which accommodation should you book?
To be honest we generally book whatever is cheapest at the time. 😂 We’ve done the silver rooms, the silver apartment a few times, and the Shoreline Hotel.
The Shoreline Hotel: The hotel was fab and we really enjoyed it – the kids had a little bunk room and it was decorated beautifully. The whole room was really well thought out and spacious – there were some lovely extra touches for the children too such as a disco light and a pirate play wall. The rooms also have a small fridge, which helps if you’re self-catering, but generally staying in the hotel does make it harder to self cater which can make things dearer.
The Silver Rooms: The silver rooms are perfectly doable but the space is tight and it’s quite basic – you get the bedrooms and a bathroom. Again, it’s fine for a cheap break away as you’ll only be sleeping there, but with no self-catering facilities that is something to think about. For the hotel and the silver rooms we’ve always taken a toaster with us, some cereal, carton milk, spoons and plastic bowls so that we could have a cheap breakfast in the room.
The Silver Apartment: The silver apartment is a better option for stays longer than a weekend I think. Although it’s not as cool as the hotel, you get a kitchen and seating area, as well as a lounge area, so it’s easier to function as a family with the extra space. Plus, being able to prepare and cook meals is a big money saver. There are supermarkets nearby so you can grab a food shop and only eat out then if you want to.
What about food?
Food wise, the restaurants are pretty decent and they’re priced similarly to normal places. We usually eat out once or twice but generally cook our own to save money. There are other cheaper options like Burger King and fish and chips on site too. There are supermarkets close by so it’s easy to do a shop for the week and self-cater.
The mini-supermarkets on site have a good enough range too, but aren’t as cheap as your standard Aldi and Tesco prices. For lunch, they have reasonably priced hot food like sausage rolls and pasties in the shop, so that can make things more affordable if you fancy a day off from making sandwiches.
We’ve always self-catered so we haven’t used the dining plans offered. They seem pretty expensive to me – when we booked our recent Mon-Fri break they offered us a reduced price of nearly £300 for the four of us 🙄 – you can definitely feed yourselves for a lot less. If you’ve got the budget it’s probably a nice feature to have all of your meals catered but if you like a budget break away, like we do, then feeding yourselves will always be a winner!