Sunday, 29 June 2014

Our Butlins 'Just For Tots' Break

The Build-Up

To say we needed a holiday is an understatement. It's been a crazy busy year and felt like an awfully long time since our last holiday which was at Butlins in Easter 2013. Ben had been begging to go back ever since - yes, that was over a year of begging and talking and reminiscing about our previous holiday.

This year would be different though as it was our first holiday as a family of five, a family with not only one young child but twin babies in addition to boot. In the weeks and days drawing up to it the excitement was building hugely, not just from Ben but amongst my hubby and especially me too. I couldn't wait. 

Ben, the night before we left for Bognor planning our visit
I couldn't wait for so many things - all the firsts for the twins including first holiday, first swim, first soft play experience, first time seeing Billy and Bonnie Bear, watching their reactions to all the amazing characters, shows and experiences not to mention the absolute delight Ben would experience at being back in his beloved Butlins. I already knew it was going to be good before we went but it definitely exceeded my expectations. 

The Hotel

On arrival we checked into our wonderful hotel, the Wave Hotel. I can best describe it as cool, funky and luxurious. We were staying in one of the Dolphin Rooms which seriously wowed Ben as he had his own little cabin area, complete with giant octopus on the wall, cool blue lighting, bunk beds with TV and DVDs at the end of each and plenty of room to unpack and store all his clothes and bits and bobs in. I have to admit seeing how much he loved the room has inspired me to give him a bedroom makeover at home.

Our area in the room was very nice and spacious with plenty of room for our beast of a double stroller otherwise known as a Bugaboo Donkey. We also had a travel cot hire included, the cot was like new with nice fresh white bedding.

The balcony area was really great with a table and chairs and I was pleased to find how safe it was for the twins with perspex guard railings which delighted my two crawling babies who along with Ben (and us) loved the view - there definitely is something very special about being able to see the sea from your room.

The ultra cool thing about The Wave Hotel is the Games Port which is fantastic for families, especially those who love their gaming like my boys do. I should clarify my boys include Ben, his Daddy and even little Zachary who kept trying to crawl into the projected Mario Kart track on the wall which was quite amusing.

The Entertainment

We were on a 'Just for Tots' break which is specially for under 5's and I can hand on heart say the entertainment was far better than I had ever imagined it would be. Ben's highlights were the Mister Maker Live Show (you can see my full post here), watching the Skyline Gang and high-5'ing Dude while showing him his Dude wristband which along with his Dude watch have yet to be taken off since our return, the Scooby Doo Live Show and vrooming about on Go-Karts with Daddy.

I managed to video a couple of short clips of the Skyline Gang Lost in Space which have been watched over and over again by Ben, I just wish I had videoed some more as he loves them.

Zoey and Zachary, our little one year old twins loved Billy and Bonnie bear and Zoey, already a very girly girl went nuts for Angelina Ballerina. The other shows including Fireman Sam, Mike the Knight, Thomas the Tank Engine, The Monster Puppet Shows and Barney were all fantastic and totally captured all three of my childrens concentration.

Splash Waterworld

We had a big milestone while there when we took all three of the children swimming especially as it was the twins first ever time in the water. Splash Waterworld was the perfect place to go for this as it had a shallow area where we could sit and introduce the babies to the water while there were lots of slides, waterfall and safe areas for Ben to explore not to mention the pirates who were walking about shooting the kids with water pistols. Poor Zachary was a little apprehensive at first until he discovered a blow up fish and giant rubber duck floating about but Zoey was a real little water baby splish splashing straight away and giggling her head off.

Little Tikes Town

There was a special Little Tikes Town set up for Just for Tots week which was superb as it had loads of the much loved Cosy Coupés, ride ons, slides, playhouses and other outside toys for little ones. My two loved their adventures there.

The Food

There is one thing for sure when you go on a Butlins break, especially if you have a dining plan included, you will eat well, really really well. 

As we were staying in The Wave we ate breakfast in The Deck where you will find an awesome array of breakfast options from cereals, pastries, croissants, fresh and dried fruit, pancakes, made to order omelettes to all the components of a full English and more. It is buffet style so you can have as much or as little as you like. We found the options available fantastic for our family with the twins devouring their first pancakes and Ben loving the cereals and fruit while hubby and I enjoyed a different type of hot breakfast every day. 

As we stayed for four nights we got to try out four of the restaurants opting for the newly opened The Diner on the first night which was not only tasty but fun with singing and dancing waitresses - Ben even got to dance with one. Chris and I had American style burgers, Ben had a hot dog and we had pulled pork nachos to share while the twins enjoyed some cheesy pasta.

The next night we opted for Turners which was my favourite place to dine. I had the most amazing steak which Zachary and Zoey tucked into too, Chris had a pie which he's still talking about while Ben had very posh looking fish fingers off the children's menu. The chips were delicious too... Mmmm I'm getting hungry writing about it. 

On our third night we went to Papa John's which really did suit all our tastes from salad, pasta and lots of tomatoes for the twins, fun make your own pizza for Ben and a huge pizza for hubby and I to share with a selection of sides. It was very yummy pizza and the salad bowl was just perfect for our littlest pair who thoroughly enjoyed the vast selection of food they had.

On our last night we went to The Beachcomber Inn which was a bit disappointing as there was a lot of waiting for food to be served, some of it which was cold upon arrival. I did speak to the manager about it who was very apologetic and clearly frustrated by what had happened and did all he could to sort things out for us. On a positive note the desserts were delicious and my hubby thoroughly enjoyed the creme brûlée so we can recommend that. 

Family Experience

Going anywhere or doing anything with baby twins and to a lesser degree a four year old is tricky at the best of times. The babies require a lot of attention and it can be difficult to balance that with ensuring Ben gets enough time and is happy and entertained. Butlins made this easy for us. There were so many things for Ben to do, watch, see and play with he was beyond happy. The twins loved all the music, shows, Little Tikes Town, soft play and yummy food too of course. 

The hotel was so nice, my hubby and I really did feel like we were finally able to relax and be on holidays. There was nothing to worry about with everything baby friendly and safe and entertainment and activities readily available along with easy access to the beach, a stroll to it is definitely a must do in my opinion. We went and had an ice cream whilst walking along watching para gliders, kite flyers and those hypnotic waves rolling in.

There were so many times while we were in Butlins I found myself thinking "wow this is a really special family memory". We had quality family time there, the stuff you know you and your little ones will remember in years to come and look back on with big smiles on your faces.

Ben has fallen even more in love with Butlins after this trip, in fact yesterday just after he watched the Butlins advert on TV he said to me "Mummy I want to go back to Butlins, please please. I don't want to be here. I want to be there and live there forever and ever.." Says it all really. 

*Disclaimer: I am a Butlins Ambassador and was invited to stay for a four day break as part of my role as Ambassador. All views are my own and unbiased.


Post a Comment