THE CHRISTMAS EXPERIENCE AT BUTLINS: DAY ONE
One of the nicest surprises for our boys this Christmas was a surprise trip to Butlins in Minehead for a few days with their Granny and Grandad coming along for the trip too, as part of our ambassadorship role. Sadly as I’m sure as everyone is aware from my constant complaining, most of us were ill and exhausted by the time our holiday came around, but we tried so hard to pull it together and despite the boys being ill on the Friday we were due to start our vacation, they were over the moon as they bundled into the car to head off in search of the Butlins that they had seen on TV so often in advertisements – and Granny and Grandad were coming! Christmas Experience at Butlins
As we arrived at Minehead, we knew that we were in for a treat when we announced where we were staying – West Lakes Village – to the bubbly staff member who approached our car to direct us for parking and check in. She told us that we were very lucky and sent us down to check in for the village accommodation, which took minutes and pretty soon we were pulling up outside our chalets and waving at Granny and Grandad who had pipped us in the race to the Christmas Experience at Butlins.Our chalets were just perfect – coastal blue and grey exteriors and fresh decor throughout. They look exactly as they do on the Butlins website – which is rare for a holiday in my personal experience! Beautifully decorated with a combination of nostalgic touches and smart furnishings, whilst the fronts of the chalets faced practical pathways for heading off to have fun in Butlins, inside each kitchen we found beautiful French patio doors opening back onto the West Village Lake for a beautiful, tranquil morning view. The bathrooms were spotless, the kitchen gleaming and the bedrooms warm and welcoming – especially with the addition of little [and sometimes HUGE] towel animals – even Christmas themed ones – featuring throughout. We’ll be putting more photos of the chalet on our Facebook soon – we were so busy over the weekend though that we weren’t there an awful lot!
Soon the boys decided that Jensen would stay with Granny and Grandad at night in the twin room, Hero would sleep with Mommy and Lyoto and Daddy took the other twin room. What was lovely staying as an extended family was that the chalets have interior doors which join the chalets and therefore a larger family can still stay together and feel like a group instead of being divided.
The special touches throughout the chalets were fun for the boys – the blackboard for planning your holiday activities on provided them with much entertainment – our housekeeper [who was just lovely] left them messages each day about Christmas and they tried to leave her little notes and pictures in return. I loved the nostalgic accents so much – the canvas wallhangings in the bathroom and bedrooms, and the framed Butlins adverts in the kitchen. Everything is provided for in the chalets – a safe, toiletries, towels and linens, dishwasher products and everything needed for a self catering break.
That being said….we were delighted to be dining at a choice of two restaurants, the Yacht Club and the Deck. Both served quite the same delicious food except that the Deck operated more of a food court restaurant with added stations for pancakes and breakfast sandwiches, noodles and omelettes at breakfast and evening meal. Our boys preferred the Deck, whereas the grown ups in our group were quite fond of the comfier chairs in the Yacht Club. The restaurant manager was more than welcoming and the fact that there was a huge salad bar and ice cream machine made the boys look forward to mealtime as opposed to battle against it. As it was Christmas, outside the restaurants was one of the biggest gingerbread houses we’ve ever seen [the biggest being Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Gingerbread House when we visited in 2013].
On our first evening we decided to eat at the Yacht Club and then head to the main centre of Butlins to see what was happening. This was my favourite night dining at Butlins as I had all kinds of Mexican, Indian and Chinese foods – all on one plate! It was amazing. We took a stroll in the moonlight and found where the boys spent every evening for the rest of the weekend – on the tuppenny fall machines. Jensen was very clear that he was “gambling” with his pot of two penny pieces and seemed to feel he was quite like a Vegas Slot player with more coins than he’d ever seen pouring from the change machines. £1 later, three false fingers, a Paw Patrol keyring and a squishy creature that climbed down windows and walls and Jensen was one happy “gambler”. We took note of where everything was and turned in for an early night to try and feel a bit better in the morning.