Last weekend we enjoyed a brilliant ‘Spooktober’ Halloween weekend break at Butlins Skegness, and the boys still haven’t stopped talking about it! With so many of the Covid-19 restrictions lifted, they were able to swim every day (including enjoying all the water slides), ride all the rides at the fair and even enjoy meet and greets with their favourite characters (after they had sanitised their hands: covid safety was still in place) meaning that this was a very different trip to our last visit to Butlins, which was in the middle of the pandemic.
We stayed in a Fairground apartment, and you can read all about our accommodation (including plenty of pictures) here.
We decided not to book a dining plan, instead eating in all of the Butlins a la carte restaurants off-plan, and you can read about our experiences of that here.
Before You Go
Whilst swimming, the fairground, and any shows taking place inside the Skyline are no longer pre-bookable, one change that came into force during the pandemic that I think will be permanent now is that all of your other shows and activities are booked in advance of your arrival, via the Butlins app. Whilst there are some walk-in slots available, if you haven’t pre-booked then watching any show isn’t guaranteed. This does mean that you have to be organised: as soon as Butlins email you to say that booking is open, get booking! Leaving it for a day or two could result in not getting tickets to any of the shows: we spoke to a couple of families that either couldn’t get the show they wanted at all, or had to go to the later showing, which didn’t suit their kids bedtime schedule. I can’t comment on how easy it is to ‘walk in’ without having a booking though, as we didn’t try it.
You also have to pre-book your arrival time on resort: we loved this because it meant that check in was fast, and we were able to maximise our fun time on our arrival day.
What We Did
We managed to cram so much into a three day weekend visit! We spent three long sessions in the pool, enjoying all of the water slides, the wave pool, and riding the outdoor rapids (the kids favourites) dozens of times. (Note that if you’re swimming you’ll need a £1 coin for the lockers, and the hairdryers are out of use right now, for covid safety reasons).
We also managed to get to the fairground every day, and our favourite session was the special halloween ‘scareground’ on our final night, which was the perfect end to our break: the kids were so excited to be allowed out, having fun on the rides, so late! We spent some time in the arcades, winning sweets and tickets in the 2p slot machines, watched at least two shows every day, and ate far too much delicious food. The boys particularly enjoyed the Billy and Bonnie Bear version of Robin Hood and the Skyline Gang’s Monster Party shows: there are more ‘adult friendly’ show options, but we very much focus on keeping the kids happy, so it was the cartoon-style shows for us!
The halloween elements of the ‘spooktober’ stay were fairly subtle: there were Halloween decorations in the resort, the late night fairground, and a Halloween show: but no Halloween craft sessions, costume parades, or trick or treating, which we have experienced on previous visits. This didn’t have any real impact though: there was so much to do anyway, that we didn’t manage to fit it all in. And we didn’t find the time to leave the resort once!
One small niggle was that the online schedule wasn’t always correct: queuing for a meet and greet to find they’ve decided to change the characters from the scheduled ones (Rainbow dog) to another one (Peppa Pig) might not be a big deal to a grown up, but it was a very big deal to Boy5! But I will also say that if that’s the worst thing you have to say about a weekend away, then you’ve had a good weekend away!
Butlins offers what it has always offered: down to earth, high-octane, British seaside fun. It’s the perfect place to visit with kids no matter what the weather outside, you don’t have to spend a fotune because so much is included in the price, and kids love it: The boys have travelled all over the world, but whenever we ask where they’d like to go next, you can guarentee that one of them will say ‘back to Butlins’. And if they’re happy, that’s good enough for me!