Inside the Butlin’s Christmas breaks which your kids will love – with candy workshops and gifts from Santa
“WOW!” It’s the one word that, when uttered by your five-year-old son at your holiday destination, brings a smug smile to your face.
It’s the neon-red Butlin’s sign that’s got him excited (he’s easily impressed), but his smile only grows when he sees the huge fairground which is right outside the Ocean Hotel at the Bognor Regis resort in West Sussex.
We get an even better look at it from our room — an apartment that sleeps five, with a kids’ bedroom, mini fridge and plenty of space.
It’s on the fourth floor with a balcony that gives Reggie, his twin brother Teddie, and their eight-year-old sister Frankie-Beau a bird’s-eye view of the rides.
But what makes the trip really magical is that we’re here for a pre-Christmas break, so yuletide songs are the soundtrack to the buzz of laughter-filled rides, with beautifully lit Christmas trees and festive displays enveloping the resort.
My wife, Kayleigh, and I are pleasantly surprised to find that the majority of the rides are free and cater for all ages, from mini trampolines to waltzers, a carousel and dodgems.
But that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.
The main arena, the Skyline Pavilion, at the heart of Butlin’s is the biggest and best amusement arcade I’ve ever seen.
There are claw machines, face painting and live shows — not to mention food stalls galore.
But it was the buffet restaurant that kept us fuelled for a short break in this kids’ paradise.
Open for breakfast and dinner, there’s everything you could want.
It’s a suitably festive start to our first full day with a trip to Father Christmas’s Magical Candy Workshop, an entertaining family-friendly show with singing, dancing and even a meet-and-greet with Santa to collect a gift from him.
Then there’s pottery painting, gingerbread-house making and tree decoration creating, which are just the tame activities.
For more adventurous kids — like our Frankie-Beau — there are three play parks, archery, laser tag, zip wire and climbing wall, which are all well-priced and bookable via the Butlin’s app.
The twins are delighted by the other free options, including an enormous indoor soft play, a puppet castle and performances from Peppa Pig and the PJ Masks.
It feels there is something to do, watch or enjoy every hour of every day, whether that’s a family game of bowling, a photo shoot with the festive kids’ characters, a song and dance with the Butlin’s Skyline Gang at their Christmas Party or a spectacular show that’s worthy of the West End, the children adored The Little Mermaid, while the Musicals Rocks show is a great night out for the adults.
And the handy B Serve app means you can order drinks to be delivered to your table whichever venue you’re in.
Of course, that’s assuming you can drag your kids away from the jewel in the crown of this resort — the £40million Splash Waterworld.
Free to use and designed with kids in mind, it’s full of exciting water slides, splash playgrounds, a wave pool and rapids.
After three breathless days of fantastically festive family adventures, all of us agree our short break at Butlin’s was just “Wow!”
STAYING THERE: A four-night Christmas Wonderland break at Butlin’s Bognor Regis is from £202, for arrival on November 28 and based on a family of four sharing a two-bedroom room at Wave Hotel.
Price includes live shows, activities, free flow access to the pool and unlimited fairground rides.
A four-night Christmas Wonderland break at Butlin’s Skegness costs from £48 for a family of four on the same dates.
Dining packages start from £22.75 per adult per day and £11.40 per child per day.