Tuesday, 9 February 2016

I went to Butlins and hated it

Butlin's has long been a holiday destination of choice for the price-conscious but, having visited for the first time last year for a friend’s 30th birthday, I have to say I was less than impressed. Now, I'm usually pretty easy going with this kind of thing and I'm certainly not a snob but, on this occasion, there were just so many things wrong that it made the whole thing seem that much worse.

Here are five things I hated:

1. Health and safety gone mad
When we booked our room we made sure to order a cot bed for ET. Usually when we’d gone away we brought our own but this time, to save on space, we decided to use the one they provided. Imagine our surprise, then, when the cot bed came without a mattress. We went down to guest services to query this and were told that they couldn’t provide a mattress due to health and safety reasons. I was understandably taken aback by this – the booking site had mentioned nothing of the sort to us when we made the booking – and it took far too long for the lady behind the counter to understand that allowing a child to sleep on the hard base of the cot was probably much worse than providing a mattress. Eventually we got her to agree to provide a mattress for us. A few hours later, when it had still not arrived, I went down to guest services again. I was once again told that they did not provide mattresses and, having to argue my case once again, was promised they would drop up some extra bedding and sheets for us to line the base of the cot for ET to sleep on. This was at around 5pm. The sheets had not arrived at 7pm when we had hoped to settle ET down for the night and by this time guest services had closed. We tried ringing the contact number provided in the guest book but were told it was not something they could help with. After further arguing, they agreed to bring sheets. By 8.30 I was getting extremely annoyed. By 9pm we made the decision to use the bedding from our bed to line ET’s cot with, meaning we had no sheets or duvet for the night. At 11.45pm there was a loud knock on the door, waking ET and setting him off crying. I opened the door to find a single bed sheet crumpled on the floor outside. This was the bedding we’d waited almost seven hours for?!? Had we not been there for a friend’s birthday, we would have left the next morning and demanded a refund.

2. Unhelpful Staff
Ignoring the example above, which would have been enough to win any amount of ‘shittest service ever’ awards, the ineptitude with which the staff operated was, quite frankly, irritating beyond measure. From general rudeness to outright hostility, we experienced it all!

3. Bad food
The food we ‘enjoyed’ at Butlin's was extremely poor. Whether it was from the restaurant or the on-site pub, it was bland, overcooked or just plain nasty, to the point where we started eating pre-packed sandwiches from the convenience shop instead.

Our friend insisted on Disney themed fancy dress, so I went as Indiana Jones...
hey, it's owned by Disney, so it counts!

4. Poor accommodation
From dirty rooms to unclean bedding, Butlin's has it all! The whole place looked sad and rundown. It didn’t so much need a lick of paint and some TLC as it did nuking from orbit, as it's the only way to be sure. The rooms were filthy, the mugs in the rooms had lipstick on them, the kettle was caked in limescale, the bathroom had more hair in the plugholes than I have on my head (not a difficult task, admittedly) and the whole place just felt grimy – and don’t get me started on the toilets!

5. You get what you pay for
Whilst you could argue that you get what you pay for, especially when it comes to budget holiday parks, there comes a point where the cost to quality ratio doesn’t so much fall as take a running dive off the nearest pier. ‘Cheap and cheerful’ is fine, but ‘cheap with risk of serious infections’ is not.

I’d never been to Butlin's before and, by god, I’ll never go again.


Well, ET enjoyed his ice cream, at least...



  1. Which resort was it? Not that it really makes a difference. That cot situation is ridiculous. So, people can sleep on bed mattresses but kids can't sleep on cot mattresses?! Mental. It isn't even really that cheap at all. Sorry you had such a bad experience - we wouldn't go back either! x

    1. It was the Skegness resort, same one you went to. We stayed in one of the apartments, which was ridiculously small, as in; hardly enough room to walk round the bed, let alone get a travel cot in! And you're right - it wasn't that cheap, really!


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