Butlin’s are famous for saying that everything is included but is that really true? As a family, we love to go to Butlin’s and have been at least once a year, every year since 2017. There is an awful lot included but just what is included in a Butlin’s break? Firstly there are optional extras that you can add at the time of booking and then there are the extras that you can pay for when you are at the resort. We usually visit during the school summer holidays so here is what is included in a summer Butlin’s break.
Updated for 2023.
The absolute minimum that you will need to pay for is your accommodation. There are a number of options available depending on your budget and the resort that you visit. Butlin’s has three resorts in the UK: Bognor Regis in West Sussex, Minehead in Somerset and Skegness in Lincolnshire. Each resort has a range of rooms, apartments and premium accommodation and Bognor Regis also has hotels.
When you book your accommodation, it will tell you what is included. As a minimum, your accommodation will have beds and bedding (however if you request a cot, bedding is not provided for this), tea/coffee making facilities, a tv, wifi and washing facilities (either a bath, sink and toilet or shower, sink and toilet). If you want to guarantee ground floor accommodation then you will need to pay extra. If you are booking whilst you are on the resort and you want to select a specific unit then you will again pay extra for this.
We usually stay in a Gold Apartment at Minehead, you can see a quick walkthrough of a ground-floor Gold Apartment with a patio here (the Gold Apartments have been updated since 2022. They have new carpets, fresh paint, new beds and new kitchens. The kitchens no longer have a dishwasher):
If you are staying in an apartment then you will have a kitchen area so will be able to go self-catering. If you are staying in a room or hotel (excluding apartments in hotels) then you won’t be able to go self-catering. Butlin’s offers various dining plans depending on your budget and the resort and accommodation that you choose.
All resorts offer Food Court, Premium Dining and Dine Around. Bognor Regis also offers Hotel Dining & Breakfast Only Hotel Dining for guests staying in a Butlin’s hotel.
The Food Court Dining Plan offers an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet of all the usual continental and cooked breakfast options as well as tea, coffee, juice and water. In the evenings there is another all-you-can-eat buffet offering things like chicken nuggets, fish and chips, roast dinner with all the trimmings, curries, salad bar and hot and cold deserts. You can view the menu here.
The Premium Dining Plan offers a similar selection to the Food Court Dining Plan for breakfast with the addition of a live omelette cooking station, a live pancake cooking station and a live breakfast grill cooking station.
For your evening meal, again you can choose from a similar selection of meals as the Food Court Dining Plan with the addition of the live pasta cooking station, the live grill cooking station and the live wok cooking station, You can view the Premium Dining menu here.
The Dine Around dining plan is available to book for all guests at Minehead and Skegness and is only available to hotel guests at Bognor Regis. Dine Around allows guests to have an all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast and either a two-course lunch or dinner including a drink in one of the resort restaurants. The restaurants available to choose from are The Beachcomber (traditional pub grub), The Diner (50s-themed American Diner), Firehouse Grill (a bit like Nando’s) and an Italian pizza and pasta restaurant. Shortly before your break, you can book your restaurants on the Plan My Day website.
Hotel Dining is only available to guests staying at the Shoreline and Ocean hotels at Bognor Regis. The food choices available here are similar to the Premium Dining plan with a range of options to suit all tastes, a salad bar, themed nights and hot and cold deserts available. You can view the menu here or read a first-hand experience of the Butlin’s Hotel dining here.
Butlin’s resorts each have 4 different venues where you can see shows: Centre Stage, Reds, Skyline Pavillion and the new in 2021, Studio 36. All shows in these venues are included in the price of your break and believe me when I say you won’t be disappointed. Each year Butlin’s have some regular shows and then a range of headline acts
When I say the Butlin’s has regular shows each year, I don’t mean that it’s exactly the same show year in and year out, I mean that it is the same kind of show each year. These are the regular shows you will expect to see:
- Puppet theatre – as it sounds, a marionette puppet show.
- Skyline Gang – the mascots of the Skyline Pavillion, they have 2 different shows each year. For 2022 they were Skyline Gang Goes Pop and Skyline Gang on Safari.
- Billie & Bonnie – the Butlin’s mascots who do a GetUp & Go show to encourage activity and movement. They also do a Billie & Bonnie In… show, for 2022 it was Billie & Bonnie In Robin Hood and in 2023 was Billy & Bonnie Once Upon a Time.
- Panto – the resort entertainment team put on a panto all year. In 2022 & 2023 the panto was Goldilocks and for 2024 it will be Jack and the Beanstalk, during each show there is a little dig at Pontin’s which is a long-running joke.
- Tribute shows by the resort entertainment team – these can be either a tribute to a specific act such as Little Mix or Abba or to a particular genre of music such as rock-themed musicals (Musicals Rock) or Latin music (Strictly Latino).
- Tribute shows by visiting acts who tour all 3 resorts – acts such as Queen, Adele, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Jess Glynne and The Rat Pack have all been covered over the years we’ve been going and every single one has been remarkably good.
- Redcoat Entertainment – Redcoats are famous for providing entertainment and have done so since the very beginning of Butlin’s. From them, you can expect to see things like silly gameshows, talent shows, variety acts and a lot of audience participation!
- Gandey’s Circus – now this one is not always free. Currently, if you book your break while you are at the resort then you will get free circus tickets. If you have to buy your tickets, they cost £7.50 per person (price correct August 2023).
Every year Butlin’s has a range of big-name acts perform at each of their resorts, these will vary throughout the year and the majority will be performing during the school summer holidays. All the big-name acts are included in the price of your stay but be warned, you will need to start queuing about an hour before the venue doors open if you want to sit close enough to the stage to see clearly. Don’t worry if you are sitting a little way back from the stage though as all the venues have screens where you can see what’s happening on the stage.
Over the years we’ve been going to Butlin’s, we’ve seen the following big-name acts perform at no additional charge:
- Stephen Mulhern
- The Masked Singer
- Fleur East
- Matt Cardle
- Jay & Joss
- The Rollerboys
- The Animal Guyz
- Mister Maker
- Harlem Globetrotters
- Shaolin Monks
- Twist & Pulse
- Paul Zerdin
- Sam & Mark
- Dick & Dom
This is where you will start to see some of the additional costs but there are a lot of activities that are included in the price.
The following activities are included however some you will need to book via the app (I’ve marked these with a B):
- Little Stars Fairground
- Soft Play B
- Splash swimming pool
- Tots & fun football B
- Sand art B
- Slimey Science B
- Character photoshoots
Extra Charge Activities
The following activities cost extra and need to be booked in advance. I have included the cost per person for each of these (prices correct August 2023):
- Archery £12
- Mini archery (age 5-7) £6
- Target shooting £12
- Laser Tag £15
- Bungee trampolines £5
- High ropes £13
- Climbing wall £12
- Zip wire £10
- Skyline Gang dance academy £15
- Pottery painting £10 (price includes a piece of pottery but you can upgrade from £3)
- T-Shirt design £12
- Making music £5
- Football coaching (for older children & teens) £10
- Mighty Netball (5-8 & 9-12 years) £10
- Go karts £7
- Driving school (not available at Skegness) £3
- Bowling £7 per adult £6 per child
- Pool £5 per table for 30 minutes
- Adventure golf £5
- Balanceability £6
- Ninebot £10
- Arcade from 2p
- Bear workshop £28 for a choice of bear and an outfit
As you can see. there is a huge amount that is included in your break and certainly plenty to keep you occupied if you decide not to add any extras. There are also other chargeable extras at other times of the year such as pumpkin carving around Halloween or visits to Santa at Christmas time.
If you have been to Bultin’s prior to 2020 then you will have experienced a completely different kind of holiday. Butlin’s has changed a lot since the pandemic, read here to see what it’s like post covid.