The day after Lola was due The Sun Newspaper had their annual holidays for £9.50 per person starting. I know usually it can be a con because once you pay the £9.50 you end up having to pay for lots of different extras. I thought that if we at least collect the tokens then we can have a look at the holidays available and see if there were any that we could get away with only paying the £9.50. Once Lola was about a week old I looked further into it as we now had all the tokens and I couldn’t think of anything better than having our first family holiday to look forward to. After traveling through the website of available holidays so many of them worked out so much more expensive. I noticed Butlins was one of the options. Butlins at Bognor Regis was a place I had previously been to. I felt that this was a safe option. On of the reasons being that I felt comfortable taking a baby to somewhere I knew.
What could we choose?
There were a few different options for dates that we chose. We could pay extra and go half board and stay in the hotel. We could pay extra and stay in self catering accommodation. Or we could pay the basic amount and stay in just a room in the older style accommodation. Being that this was just a cheap holiday and we were mostly looking forward to just getting away. We thought we would just go for the room only option. The week we had selected to go was a ‘Just for Tots’ week so it would only be families with children under 5. All the entertainment would be aimed at under 5s and also would finish much earlier in the evening. We booked to go away but then found out the £9.50 per person holidays were aimed at 4 people. Little did we know we would have to pay for 4 people even though there were only 2 adults and a baby. We knew we would have to pay £15 each for entertainment passes but that was the only additional cost we would pay.
Two weeks after booking I suddenly got an e-mail from Butlins with an invoice attached of £180. They had added on room upgrades, entertainment passes, linen charges, cot charges and a mixture of other charges. Suddenly we realised it was all too good to be true! I went through the e-mails and found an e-mail from Sun Holidays informing me that Butlins would e-mail with optional extras to add to the holiday. I phoned Butlins and managed to get all the extras removed so we would only pay the extra for the entertainment passes like we had planned.
Too Young for Holiday?
Quickly April 18th came round! Lola was just over 3 months old and we were on the way to Butlins with not a bit of space left in the car! Anybody with a baby knows just how much stuff you need to pack for a baby when going away! We weren’t allowed into our accommodation until 4pm. However, they let you on site from 1pm and you can check in and use all the facilities. As I had previously been to Butlins I knew what to expect however Babs could not believe how big it was and just how much there was on site! When we checked in we found out we were at the very front of Oyster Bay. This meant we were central to everything.
I don’t care what anybody says about taking a 3 month old baby on holiday but Lola certainly got so much out of it. She loved every moment and although we were only away from Monday to Friday she grew so much in that time and learnt so much. She loved watching the puppet shows, soft play and watching all the other children. The activity that she enjoyed most was the swimming!! We had already taken her swimming a couple of times before Butlins. She loves to have a bath and at the beginning of the holiday she was quite happy just being in the water and watching everybody. By the end of the holiday she was splashing and kicking her legs. Going swimming each morning and it was almost as if she expected us to go before her morning nap!
I’ve included some photos which show just some of the highlights of the holiday! We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. On the final day of our holiday Lola thought it was the perfect time to sit up for the first time by herself! What a way to end the holiday!!
Butlins has always had such a stigma as a cheap, dodgy, run down holiday camp but it really is not! They’ve spent so much money building new hotels and refurbing the older rooms. As well as ensuring there is so much there to keep you busy! We certainly can’t wait until our next holiday there!