Well we are back from 4 days spent in Butlins, Bognor Regis.
As adults without babysitters the entertainment is a little limited but for Alex (almost 4 years old) the place is fabulous. There is the swimming pool - not much space for swimming but it has a good selection of slides for all ages (I had to try them all out) & a wave machine to make things more interesting and we went every day, a soft play centre (children running around in packs for many hours) and the fairground rides along with a number of pay for activities (far too many of those actually) such as the Formula K go-kart racing (expensive but fun, shame no bumping is allowed), the electric motorbike / quad bike ride (still no bumping but all the driving can be done by a 3 year old) and there is even dodgems (yes dodgems, it used to be called bumper cars when I was a young visitor but bumping gets you thrown off now). There are also loads of fruit machines & video games - all to be paid for and dragging a 3 year old away from them can be hard work.
Then there is the entertainment, perhaps a tots disco (how loud?) or watching a fairy tale acted out by people or puppets. There were acrobats - I'm sure we will be seeing Alex doing more stunts on his bike soon following their example and the highlight of the week has been the Skyline Gang :
6 characters having fun with music and dancing, involving the children, oh yes, and the adults, he he he. Alex was completely taken with them; bright, colourful, funny (What do you call a nut with a cold? A cashew!), interactive and some great eye contact with the kids - even ad-libbing where the audience participation was more participative than expected. I have seen some live artists who were not as enjoyable to watch (both Meat Loaf and Paul McCartney spring to mind, sorry you guys you need to brush up your acts).
Accomodation is clean & comfortable and ideal for the short break and the on site restaurant selection worked well with plenty of healthy options available (if you felt the need) - Alex who doesn't like pizza did pretty well at the each as much as you like pizza place (was Pizza Hut, now Papa Johns).
Well worth the trip and in a couple more years Alex won't tire himself out so easily so he will be able to take part in many more of the activities that are planned throughout the day. My only worry is will he accept the idea that the Skyline Gang aren't the same people if it is still running......
I know, it is Butlins but for a short break it is brilliant value if you get some offers (their standard pricing makes me think their marketing department are trying to make the resort look exclusive, perhaps they are paid too much because it ain't working). We'll be back.