Every year Butlins do some sort of Christmas-themed event, so this year we decided to take a break and go to the Christmas Just For Tots Festive Wonderland. So I have written our personal review and opinion on what we thought of the Festive Wonderland at Butlins Bognor Regis.
Spoiler alert, we had a fabulous time! However, there were some issues with the standard apartment we stayed in.
Butlins is a group of holiday resorts in the UK and there are currently three which are located in Bognor Regis, Minehead, and Skegness.
There are many things you can do at the resorts such as swimming, watching shows, and playing in the arcades. They also include fairgrounds with many rides so there is a lot to keep you entertained on your holiday at Butlins.
So if you have either not been to Butlins, or you want to know what it’s like at their Festive Wonderland events, then hopefully my Butlins Bognor Regis review will help you decide or give you a better idea about it.
Butlins Bognor location
The Butlins Bognor Regis resort is located at:
Upper Bognor Road
Once you head down to Bognor Regis it is very easy to find and is located in an awesome place, right along the seafront.
So if you do want to venture outside there is a lovely coastal path that you can walk along, the beach, and a pier. Or you can head into the small town and seaside resort of Bognor, where there are a few shops and places to eat.
You can view more info and location info on the Butlins website here.
Butlins Bognor Festive review
So as I mentioned above, we went on the Christmas Just For Tots Festive Wonderland themed week, which was awesome for our 3-and-a-half-year-old.
We have been to a few different Just for Tots weeks at Minehead and Bognor, so it was interesting to see what a Christmas festive break would be like. But basically, it caters to younger children under 5, so everyone is in the same boat.
It was great as they had lots of nice Xmas trees and lights out such as a giant star and a big reindeer. It did feel quite magical, and our son loved it even if it was pretty cold as we decided to go away in December!
The Butlins Bognor resort itself is smaller than the Minehead resort, but everything is a lot closer. So you don’t have as far to walk to the main tent and attractions. But there are still plenty of things to do and many facilities, which I will try to include as many of below.
So on the first day of arriving at the Butlins resort in Bognor Regis, we were greeted at the gates and given a packet containing the information about our stay along with two key cards for the apartment that we will be staying in. We then parked within the Purple parking area and grabbed a few bits.
We didn’t arrive until around 5 pm as you cannot get into your apartment before 4 pm, and a lot of the parking spaces were full. We then headed towards Oyster Bay where our apartment was located. It is a bit of a trek with all your luggage, but you can get trolleys to help if you can find one. We couldn’t find a spare one at first so carried what we could.
We were on the top floor as well so had to go up the stairs, which were slightly slippery due to the cold weather. They were metal stairs so get very slippery! So we had to be very careful as we did not want to fall.
You can pay extra to guarantee a ground-floor apartment. So if we were to stay again we would definitely pay the extra to stay on the ground floor. It was also a bit of a pain pulling the luggage up and down the stairs. I have added a picture below so you can see how slippery they were in the morning.
Once we found the apartment we dumped the bits that we carried over then headed back to the car to collect everything else. Now, this is when the first issue occurred! Upon using the keycard when we could back to the apartment with the rest of our stuff, the door would not unlock.
After several attempts and about 15 minutes, we went to the tent to ask for help as both our phones were left inside the apartment so we could not ring the helpline. So we came back and said they were sending someone ASAP. After about another 30 minutes a very nice security person tried to also gain entry and was not able to with all of his master keycards.
So we then had to wait in the cold for the maintenance person to arrive, which took another 15 minutes or so for him to arrive. Once he did he replaced the batteries for the keycard reader on the door and resynced it, and then we were able to get back into the apartment. In total, we were outside for over an hour which was not ideal as it was freezing, but can’t be helped. We were just unlucky.
We then had a little look around the apartment and to be honest for the price we paid which was around £120 it was not bad, but it could definitely do with some touch-ups. The cleaning as well looked like it had been done in 5 minutes, which is very disappointing seeing as you cannot get into the apartment until after 4 pm.
I have added some pictures below of some of the bad bits, but as a budget family holiday, you can’t really go wrong. We only use it as a base, and we go out and explore the resort most of the day anyway.
We did need to clean up a little as there was an old towel left in the bathroom on the back of the door, an old bin bag left in the bin, and some of the plates and oven were not clean. Here is a picture of the bathroom below.
Once we had finished tidying the apartment and unpacked we then headed to the tent which has all of Butlin’s entertainment. Just before the tent, we were greeted with a very tall Christmas tree which you can walk through and get some nice pictures within.
Within the tent, there is a lot you can do. There are a few places you can grab a bite to eat such as Burger King and a restaurant area, a couple of indoor rides for the younger kids, a massive soft play area for both under and over 5’s, bowling and pool tables, and lots of arcade machines. There really is a lot of entertainment and our son went straight into the soft play, which adults are not allowed to enter. But there are members of staff within who keep an eye on the little ones.
Once he got tired of the soft play he then enjoyed the little rides located next to it, his favorite being the airplane ride.
We then spent some money on the arcade machines and there are a lot of them to choose from.
We watched a puppet show within the tent which was good but not very Christmassy as it was about pirates. That was a shame but it still kept him entertained, and you can tell all of the other kids were enjoying it.
We then went to the fairground outside of the tent to take a look, and to our surprise, our son was able to go on most of the rides with an adult. He absolutely loved them and his favorite was the saucer which I thought he would be too small for.
We also went to the small adventure playground as well, which you can see in the image below.
Me being 8 months pregnant, his dad had to take him on the ride several times, and looked a little green at times! As well as the saucer ride there was also a helter-skelter, rockin tug, carousel, trampolines, and go-karts which you have to pay for. Unfortunately, the dodgems were shut due to some damage by bad weather.
In the evening we decided to cook something to eat and then discovered we did not have anything to cook on. So we had to call the Customer Service helpline and the lady said she would get us two baking trays to cook on ASAP. About an hour later we had a maintenance guy arrive with one tray that was very dirty and was one he had to hunt around for in different apartments, and told us he struggled to find one. We were a bit frustrated as we were told that we would get two and we were very hungry, and also thought we would at least be given one that was clean and not covered in grease. So we then had to clean this before being able to use it.
On day 3 we decided to check out the swimming pool which was huge. We were very impressed and personally, I think it is much better than Minehead’s swimming pool. There were 5 slides and these were adrenaline flume, stick of rock, racer slides, helter-skelter, and the family raft ride. There were also some smaller pavilion slides.
As well as slides there is also a wave pool, seaside garden rapids, tots pool, and a normal pool which you can kind of swim around.
So as you can see there is a lot you can do within the pool and over the few days, we spent a couple of hours and had a great time. Apparently the slides were awesome as I didn’t go on them, and the pool was one of our sons favorite parts of the holiday.
We decided to do Go-karts and Crazy Golf on this day. Both activities you need to pay for but were totally worth it. It was very cold but I can imagine how much fun it is in the summer.
First the boys went on the go-karts and although they had no one to race against they had fun going as fast as they could around the track in the double-kart. The amount of time they had was pretty reasonable as well compared to some places where you pay to go on the go-karts, so this was a bonus.
Next, we did the crazy golf which had a reasonable amount of holes and a bonus one at the end. It was very slippery as the wooden walkways between each hole were very icy, but we still enjoyed it and were very careful.
We basically went into the tent every day and had the same routine of going in the arcades, going in the soft play, and going on the indoor rides until they closed, as well as everything else I have written above.
On this day we did also have a couple of shows booked to watch. We watched the Night before Christmas show which was a little disappointing as it was one of the red coats and mainly a cinema screen with a bear on. Santa appeared for 5 minutes but it felt very rushed and we thought it was going to be a magical Xmas show. However, each child did receive a chocolate selection box at the end, given by a member of staff.
We also watched the Goldilocks show in the evening which was great. But our son was a little young to understand the jokes but he loved watching all the singing and dancing. This was in the Reds room, but as we were sitting near the back it is very hard to see the stage as they have large pillars throughout the building and haven’t thought out the seating area very well.
So then the sad day came when we had to leave. We were all very disappointed but packed together. You don’t have to be out of the apartment until 10 am so it gives you plenty of time. But then you have to try and find a trolley and get all of your stuff down the stairs and trek to the car park.
The great thing is that you can still use the resort until a certain time. So we put everything into the car and then the boys went swimming again.
We then did the usual soft play, rides indoors and out, and then went into the arcades where little one bought a flashing bouncy ball and dinosaur with the tickets he had collected over the week, from the arcade machines.
We then ventured out just outside the tent where there is a small convenience store and a toy shop, where he spent some money that his grandparents had given him on some Pokemon toys.
After we had done everything that we could possibly do, it was time to sadly go home.