Top Tips For Butlin's

After four holidays to the Butlin's resort in Bognor Regis over the past few years, I've decided to collate some of the things we've learnt into a top tips post. Planning, forethought and research can help get the most out of what will be a very busy holiday.

Top Tips for Butlin's

  1. Swimming times – Make use of the hotel exclusives to avoid crowds, as the only people allowed in at that time are the hotel residents, not the self-catering guests. It significantly reduces the amount of bodies queuing for the various slides etc. There is also a traffic light system of busy times: red/crowded = from opening (9.30/10) until 1pm; amber/moderate = 1-3pm; green/quiet = 3pm – close. There are costs for some of the swimming pool activities. Take your own towels as you can't use the hotel towels.
  2. Hotel dining package – Time breakfasts and dinners appropriately. The hotel restaurants are very efficient and have plenty of seating, but they do operate a traffic light system to indicate the least busy times for breakfast: 8.30-10 is red/busy. Most of the restaurants on site serve dinner from 4.30pm onwards, try and arrive before 5.15 to get seats and relatively quick service. We sat down in The Beachcomber at 5pm one day and there were only two other tables seated, by 5.30 there was a queue for tables.
  3. Book restaurants up for the week on the first day.
  4. Eat plenty at breakfast, and have a large early tea. That way you'll only need a light snack at lunchtime. Paninis etc. can quickly mount up in price (£20 for three paninis and a coffee?), so we buy a pack of rolls, block of butter and cheese, some yoghurts, and fruit which we keep in the small mini fridge in the hotel room.
  5. Get to Skyline Pavilion shows (especially the Skyline Gang) 20 minutes before it starts to get a good view and seat. Allow 45-60 minutes before Centre Stage performances, especially if they are only on once during the break, as the queues for entry will be long otherwise and seats are filled up fast.
  6. Install the Butlin's iOS app if you have an iPad/iPhone/iPod. Check the activities a few days beforehand and plan! If you're not on iOS then the guides are available online, as well as being given one upon arrival. Ask the Butlin's Butlers (based in The Ocean Hotel) for a paper Family Activity Planner, which is a paper-based blank timetable. On the first day, scour the What's On guide, work out what you must see and check for duplicate activities. The Butlers (especially Stephen and Spencer) are incredibly helpful and will do as much as possible to help accommodate your requests. Allow time to do nothing between activities so that you can make use of the funfair, Skyline activities and shows.
  7. Visit the beach to recharge your batteries! The easiest and closest way is to exit via the day visitors' gate in the top right hand corner of the resort (past the swimming pool and self-catering accommodation). It is a pebble beach, not a sandy one, but very popular with children.
  8. Visit Hotham Park. If you need to refresh from the hustle and bustle of the resort, then a walk through the beautiful park, ride on the miniature railway, climb in the adventure playground or turn on the pedalos will definitely calm your mood. Leave through the Wave hotel car park where there is a pedestrian controlled crossing. You'll need to show your hotel pass on the way back in to the gatekeeper.
  9. Maximise your time on site! Arrive early (12pm) and leave late (12pm). You can't check in to the hotels until 3pm (or at least rooms aren't ready until then), but you can be in the resort and enjoying the facilities.
  10. Leave your preconceived ideas at home, take the resort for what it is (a place to have family fun together), embrace your inner child and laugh!

Top Tips for Butlin's

Butlin's Ambassador 2014

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  1. says

    Some great tips there – especially around mealtimes and shows. I love a list so will definitely pick up a planner when we arrive to make sure we can do as much as possible. Unfortunately because of school, we can't stay the third night, but plan to leave late with the girls ready for bed for the drive home so as not to miss too much!
    Thanks for sharing – can't wait to get some amazing photos and memories too! x

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I think you'll have a really good time there, it's a very magical place. Try and see one of the Skyline Gang shows while you're there, I think they are a must.

  2. says

    Great tips, I'll be making a note of these for our visit! I didn't know they did hotel exclusive swim sessions so that's really handy to know – I can't stand overcrowded pools!

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I think they are still very busy, but less than normal. When we went at Easter there were 3000 people on site, and the swimming pool was busy with about 800 people at a time. Cut out more than half of these for the self-catering accommodation and suddenly the pool is a lot more manageable.

  3. says

    Great tip about the Butlins app – We always use that too. Also, don't forget that residents get 15 minutes of free wifi each day of their stay!
    I wish the other resorts had hotels too (for the exclusive pool access)- maybe soon!

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      I wonder if it's more for the hotel residents? When we've stayed in The Ocean we've been able to use the wifi pretty much limitless with the only issue being signing back in once we're inactive for a while. I agree about the other resorts having a hotel, I think it would completely change the way that Britain views the resorts.

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