Butlins Minehead Review: What our little adventurers thought of Butlins Minehead
Butlins appears to be the Marmite of holiday resorts. Before we visited in May, I thought I would ask others what Butlins meant to them and what they thought and the feedback I received showed just how divided the views were some really lovers and a few on the other end. Here at Five Adventurers, we love to showcase the best there is in family travel and who better to test out a holiday than my three intrepid little adventurers. Here’s what we all thought of Butlins Minehead:
Butlins Minehead – Location:
Adults: There are three Butlin holiday resorts in the U.K, which are all located in Southern parts of the UK, so whichever we chose would be a long drive from home. We chose to visit the site in Minehead site, partly because I loved the look of the Lakeside chalets but it meant it was a really long drive from home. For first time visitors there is quite a long strecth once you leave the motorway until you arrive at the resort. We didn’t arrive till night time on Friday and there are lots of windy roads so be prepared if you need to stop before doing the last part of the drive. Flipside was that we got to see a gorgeous sunset but also meant we were very much on our own.
Little Adventurers: We were travelling from Lancashire so it long really long drive, with lots of windy roads at the end which made us feel a little carsick. We didn’t arrive until it really dark so the last part of the drive was a little scary but once we got to Butlins it was all really well lit up.
Butlins Minehead – Site:
The Minehead site is relatively big compared to other holiday parks. The majority of the activities are within a central location but walking to and from your chalet and around the central site means lots of tired legs. After the first few hours, you have a better idea of where everything is, take the map that you get at check-in with you as it also has all the times for the different activities.
We stayed in the Lakeside chalets so parked very close to our accommodation, I know for the other areas, there could be a bit of a walk to your accommodation so to factor that in with packing etc.
I really liked the layout of the central main area. There was a really good shop on site which was opened until late and several food places. You then had a central area which was near a stage which had tables and chairs so ideal if you wanted to have a little break in between activities or just to plan the rest of the day.
The main reception on site is only open until 5 pm (unless it is a check in day) so if you have any issues after this time you would need to speak to the security team at the entry barriers. We had issues with connecting to our internet when I tried on the Saturday evening and had to wait another day before I was able to connect.
Butlins Minehead – Accommodation
Adults: Our holiday was in the gorgeous lakeside chalets and we were all really impressed with them. We have stayed in other holiday resorts but these were by far some of the best and most luxurious that we have found on any of our travels. The chalets were very tastefully decorated and the mural on the main wall in the lounge was beautiful. There was ample space in the open plan living area to comfortably fit in a family of 6. They had a few different room set ups so has one room with twin beds and another with a bunk bed. They also had a bath which i love and was always pet peeve of mine especially when you are travelling with babies / toddlers.
The biggest plus for me which hands down beats any other holiday park we have stayed on is that they have cleaners to come and clean up the chalet. We were only there for a weekend but one thing I always find with these types of holidays is that it never really feels like a break as you spend lots of time cleaning up after yourselves and it never really feels like a proper holiday. Having the added bonus of someone coming to clean up really made me feel like I was on a break for once!
The little adventurers: we loved the lodge, it was really cool to have our own balcony and to have our house on the first floor. We could see all the other houses and play on the grass below whilst mum and dad watched from above. We even made friends with other children in the nearby lodges and we sat by the lake and played games. We loved that they had scooters for free use as well as games. We were really lucky that it didn’t rain but there were loads of games in the check-in cabin for our chalet for us to choose from.
Butlins Minehead – Activities
Adults: This is where Butlins really shined for me. One of the comments I got from people before we visited was that the activities left a lot to be desired. I was then a little sceptical but having actually visited I was overall really impressed with the activities/shows which are included for free within the cost of the holiday. There was enough for all ages, my little adventurers were 4,6 and 8 and we found enough for them to do throughout the time we were there. We tried to have a holiday as well as a constant on the go time so tried to balance the activities with shows, swimming and just a little downtime to make some friends.
In addition to the free activities, there were a number of paid activities available. One thing I loved was these paid activities were still so reasonable. We love to get the best value for our breaks and knowing that an activity like the segways which in other holiday parks would have been in excess of £30 was only £6 here makes such a huge difference. They had a small adventure area like go ape which was again £5 and a number of activities for older children like archery which again was really reasonably priced
Little adventurers: we loved all the activities that we go to do. Our favourite activities were the circus skills and the family rocket challenge. We loved the rocket challenge as we got to make it together as a family and ours was by far the best and it flew so high 🙂 I think it’s really cool how many different things that they had for children to do as we often go on holiday with our older cousins and they even had activities for teenagers and I would love to come back with the kids. I loved the Segway and it was so cool that I was able to master it within 10 minutes.
Butlins Minehead – Swimming pool
Adults: As the Butlins site is big, you know that their swimming pool would be busy and a big hit. At all the times we visited there was always a queue for the pool but we always managed to get in within a few minutes. I know they have a limit on the number of swimmers who can be in the pool at one time and they give you a coloured band for that hour so you could possibly have to wait for the next time slot. I liked the pool and the slides were varied and there was something for everyone, but it was around the pool that I think work needs to be done. Compared to other holiday parks, the cleanliness and hygiene weren’t of the highest standard which was a shame and would be something that I would recommend that needs improvement.
One thing I did like about the pool, was the onsite photographer. She took underwater pictures which you could then go to the booth and purchase for £10 which is really cheap compared to other places which would offer such a service.
Little adventurers: we loved the pool, the wave machine was really cool and even at the really shallow end you could really feel the waves. The lazy river was fab, we didnt know you had to bring your own pool hoops which was a shame but we still had lots of fun. The slides were amazing, I would love to come with my older cousins so I could go all of the ones my parents and younger brothers were scared to go on.
Butlins Minehead – Fairground
Adults: This surprisingly was a huge hit with my little adventurers. They are real adrenaline junkies and most of the rides within the area are very traditional fairground rides. One thing which was hard is the height restrictions which were surprisingly quite high for such small rides. SO we often had to leave one child waiting whilst we rode with the others.
Little Adventurers: we LOVED the funfair and think it’s really great that the rides are all free. It’s really hard to choose which ones to go on when you have to pay for them. Our favourite was the helter skelter and high swings. We loved the second one the most as you could literally have a turn and run off and be on the next ride without any queueing. We love theme parks but we spend so much time in lines queuing that it can get really boring. All the rides here hardly had any queues so even though we were only there for an hour we did loads of rides! It was a bit annoying that the height restrictions were so high. It meant that Zayn couldn’t go on many rides and even me and Raihan needed mum and dad to come on with us on many rides.
Butlins Minehead – Food
Adults: Another big plus for me was that you could purchase a dining plan which included your breakfast and evening meal. Unfortunately, we visited in Ramadan so we unable to really test out the meals but the choice of food seems to be varied and some of the food options were Halal.
Little Adventurers: we LOVED the food at Butlins, we would eagerly look forward to the meals at morning and dinner, they always had a really good choice from jacket potatoes to chips to lots of treats. We also really like the fruit and vegetables, Zayn loved all the sweet corn and cucumbers.
Butlins Minehead – Beach
Adults: Just outside the main Butlin site was the beach of Minehead. Don’t get me wrong it’s not the Carribean but it’s sand you can actually play with. We spent several hours here on Sunday with the children loving their time playing with rocks, building a castle and making mermaid tales. The beach is literally opposite the main entrance so is perfect to visit for a break from the resort and to have a time away.
Little Adventurers: We loved the beach, we coud actually play in this sand compared to other beaches in Dubai where the sand was too dry. We loved the rocks and our mermaid tails turned out really well.
A few of the tips I would provide for families looking to book a Butlins holiday would be:
- Look at all the choices in accommodation. Some of the accommodation was a little dated from outside and if this is a big issue for you I would take time into researching all the options, we loved the newer Lakeside chalets.
- Cheaper than other holiday resorts: Last minute deals are much better in Butlins and I know of friends who have managed weekend breaks with almost 50% saving even in school holidays which is huge and coupled with so much free entertainment and activities it was perfect.
- Activities: get the kids involved in the activity planning. Lots of activities are included for free so you can really let the children choose a range of activities without it adding to cost
- make a list of the activities and timings or always have the little planner with you to make sure you know what and when your activities are booked for and especially for things like the shows.
- Book activities in advance: where possible I would book the activities in advance so you have a little plan of how your days will pan out.
- Booking activities on site: most of the activity book cabins open at 9 with the first activities starting around this time. It should be noted that the swimming pool booking desk opens at 8 so is the place to book any activities for first thing in the morning.
- Booking activities onsite: at 9 am the booking booths will be really busy so it may be an idea to book this afterwards or wait until the initial morning rush dies down.
Overall we had a wonderful time at Butlins and would recommend it to family and friends, there was lots for the little adventurers to do and we had a lovely jampacked weekend. Our little adventurers are asking when we can return so it is a big thumbs up for them too!
Here’s a video of our time at Butlins Minehead.