Like the lovely Emma, I was also selected to be a Butlins Ambassador recently, and I am looking forward to taking my family to their Minehead resort next May. While Emma is off enjoying her holiday at Butlins, I am here to share some memories of my first holiday with the company back in 1985.
Back then my family and I lived in Newbury, Berkshire (we moved to Devon the following year) and we saw both sets of my grandparents very often, and every Thursday night we would stay at my paternal grandparents after school. They had already taken us to Weymouth the year before in 1984 for a week during the summer holidays, so being gluttons for punishment the lovely grandparents they are they took my brother and me to Butlins Bognor Regis in August 1985.
Back then Butlins looked very different to how it does now
I remember the outdoor pool very well as swimming was my favourite thing to do back then especially outdoors where there were slides and water shooters etc… to play with!
The accommodation back in the old skool Butlins were split into room only, full board, half board and self-catering. We stayed in a really basic (certainly by today’s standards at least) chalet, and it was very basic and from the outside resembled a wooden shed really – a row of wooden sheds dark brown in colour. I do remember there being ‘nicer’ looking chalets which were painted blue and yellow and maybe pink from the outside and were like maisonettes with white wooden steps leading up to the second floor. I do recall these buildings because they look much more attractive than the accommodation we stayed in. I vaguely recall that on top of the beds were those ‘blankets’ that were kind of textured and were orange! Groovy! They matched the curtains at least, as you can see in this photo that I took of my nanny in our chalet
I remember that we ate our meals – I think we were half board – in a massive dining room which was more like a school canteen than the modern boutique style eateries that Butlins have now. I remember it being jam packed and there was a waitress service, not self-service like the main dining areas are now in the hotels.
Entertainment wise, I remember seeing the Redcoat show which was held on the last night of your stay. I found this on the internet while compiling this post which was probably for sale while we stayed at Bognor and indeed we more than likely bought our copy! In fact, I am sure we did as I recognise the ball being held in the photo!
The days were full to the brim with activities and events, competitions and entertaining ways to spend our holiday. Something for everyone from the moment you woke up until bedtime.
Now you may not be able to read this easily, but on Wednesday afternoons the Picture of Health competition took place, sponsored by Wisdom toothbrushes at 4.15pm for (boys and) girls aged 9-11. I love how it states: swimwear must be worn. I entered this (*cringes*) as I was 10 and I came 3rd, and here I am in my non-swimwear outfit
The girl that you can see peering behind me on the left of the photo was called Joy, and she came 1st!! I befriended her during my stay, and she taught me a few sayings that every 10-year-old girl needs!
Yes, I can honestly say that those two gems helped me a lot in life ha ha!!
Other things I remember about this holiday:
Madonna’s Get In To The Groove was number 1 in the charts
Agadoo by Black Lace was still very popular and its dance routine (*cringes* again)
And there was a scary human-sized bunny that would have its photo taken with you!!!
We had a great time, and I have some fond, if now very vague, memories of this holiday and the one we took the year after to Minehead – the last time I went to a Butlins resort until December 2011 when I went along to a bloggers meet up and returned to Bognor once again.
I couldn’t believe the difference in the place – a far cry from my 80’s childhood holidays, and definitely much better and obviously more up to date. Thank goodness!
Jenny from Mummy Mishaps