Friday 20 May 2022

Butlins Skegness Review

 A couple of weeks ago we headed to Butlins in Skegness for the ESF football tournament weekend with my son's football team. I had never been to Butlins before and I really didn't think it would be somewhere I would like, but we had the best weekend and it was nothing at all like I imagined it would be like. So what was it like? Well let me tell you. 

Getting There

We live just north of Newcastle and it took us about four hours to drive to Butlins Skegness,  with a short toilet stop for the kids on the way. You can also get the train but it requires three changes, Newcastle to Newark Northgate, Newark Northgate to Grantham then Grantham to Skegness and it takes 3 and a half hours, so a similar amount of time to driving. A quick look on Trainline has a family of four return at £150-£200 with a railcard. 

Butlins Skegness

The day before your break Butlins will contact you (Via email or the app) and tell you what room you are in and where to check in and what time. We could check in at 3pm, we arrived on site at about 2pm and it was fine and we could use the facilities while we waited for our room. Check in was drive through and they just handed us a pack with our room cards, wristbands and information for our stay. 


We had to book accommodation via ESF as they had booked out the whole site for the weekend, so we probably did pay more than you normally would on a regular break. We booked a gold two bedroom apartment but we got a gold three bedroom apartment in Mermaid court it cost us £650 for the weekend for the four of us (2 adults and 2 children aged 7 and 8). The gold apartments are located at the bottom of the resort away from the main skyline tent, so it was really quiet and peaceful with lots of green space for the children to play. We were on the second floor and the apartment was really spacious and ideal for a weekend break. We had an internal staircase so if you had young children I would maybe pay the extra £15 to guarantee a ground floor apartment as we had to climb a external staircase, walk along the walkway then go up the internal staircase when we opened the front door. This was fine with my children but I imagine would have been hard with a baby/toddler and pushchair. 

Gold apartment bedroom

The apartment was really clean and spacious it had a lounge/ kitchen area in one with two sofas, a T.V (it didn't work but we were never in to watch it), a fully equipped kitchen area with a dining table, oven, dishwasher, microwave and kitchen utensils meaning you could easily self cater for the whole break if you wanted too. There was a small bathroom with a shower, toilet and sink and then three good sized bedrooms; one double and two twin bedrooms. Bathroom towels were provided and all beds were made up for our arrival. The apartment was clean but it was a bit shabby and not what I would personally class as 'gold' the paint was peeling on the front door, the sofa had a rip in, one of the bedrooms stunk so the children ended up sharing a room, the wood on the balcony was rotten etc. I have heard they are busy renovating the accommodation but it is worth keeping in mind as whilst it was clean inside and very spacious it certainly wasn't anything special. 

Mermaid court

Location wise it was about a 5-10 minute walk from the main tent area which didn't bother us at all and it was nice walk. There was plenty of parking close to the accommodation and lots of luggage trolleys dotted around. The site was immaculate we didn't see a single piece of litter the whole weekend and there was always staff gardening and going around tidying up.

What Is Included In The Price



When you book a Butlins break a lot of the activities are included in the price of your break. You get unlimited access to the onsite swimming pool / water park which my children absolutely loved. There was big queues for the slides (minimum of 45 minutes per slide) so they didn't get to try the slides sadly but they loved the lazy river. There was a outdoor splash park which was shut when we were there but looked good for the summer. You also get unlimited use of the fairground rides, this was a highlight for my two as we visited the fair twice and they loved being able to go on the rides as much as they wanted. At 7 and 8 years old they were big enough to go on all the rides at the fairground, although they did need a adult with them on a few of the rides. You did have to pay for the Go-Karts which were £6 per car, the trampolines were £6 and the hook a duck was £5 a go and you won a cuddly toy. 

Butlins Skegness is located right on the beach, there is a gate from the park and when you go out of it you are on the beach. The beach wasn't the best, they are much nicer here in the north east if I'm honest but there was stalls selling food, ice-creams, buckets and spades etc.

Giant beach butlins

There was also a giants beach area near the beach gate which makes nice photos. There was a very small park too, which was a shame as a bigger park would have been nice. There was a soft-play which was free but we didn't use it and you needed to pre-book a place on the Butlins app.

skegness beach at butlins

All entertainment is also included in the price of your stay, however as we were there for the football tournament we didn't go and see any of it or visit any of the entertainment venues. You do need to book spots for the entertainment on the Butlins app before you visit. 

high ropes

There was some things that you needed to pay extra for such as mini-golf, high-ropes course, wall climbing, pedal cars, bowling, pottery painting and laser tag etc. But they were all reasonably priced from what I could see. Be prepared to bring change for the arcades too as there is a big arcade area in the big tent area where all the shops and entertainment is and a smaller arcade near the fair.  

What Else Is There?

Inside the big tent there are bars, arcades, a mini supermarket, a toy shop, a sweet shop, a coffee shop, burger king, a chip shop, a build a bear type stall, a Cornish pasty stand, a face-paint and hair braid shop. There are two restaurants for guests on the meal plans, there is a ice-cream shop, an American diner, an Italian restaurant, a chicken restaurant, an onsite family pub, a pizza van and a smaller mini-supermarket near the fair. You can also go under a underpass behind the skyline tent which will take you to the caravan park which has another bar you can use and they also sold snacks during the day such as hot dogs. 

Just outside of the gates there is also more bars, restaurants and chips shops. There is a bus-stop just outside the main gates where you can get the open top bus into Skegness or in the other direction there is Fantasy Island which was a big fairground that looked lots of fun. 

Dining at Butlins Skegness

We didn't book a meal plan when we visited Butlins Skegness, we did look at them and there was different ones available but I am not a fan of buffet dining. We could have easily self-catered for the weekend as the apartment had everything we would need, however we decided to just wing it and just eat where we could and this worked well for us and we didn't find the prices onsite too bad. 

firehouse grill adult meal

Most days for breakfast we just grabbed a coffee from the coffee shop or they have a costa vending machine in the shop in the skyline tent which also sold bacon and sausage sandwiches which were about £2-£3 each. For lunch we had a chippy one day which was only £25 for the four of us which similar to what we would spend at home. We also had burger king. 

cinnamon cheesecake firehouse grill butlins

Evening meals we ate out and luckily managed to get into the onsite restaurants no problem, although some people did have to queue for over an hour to get into the Italian. We found visiting early on at around 4.30pm meant we got seated straight away, this worked best for us as our children like to have tea early anyway. We ate in the Beachcomber pub and the Firehouse Grill which is very similar to Nando's. 

kids meal firehouse grill butlins

We found the prices reasonable and very similar to what we would spend eating out at similar types of places at home. I thought the children's meals were good value as they were £7.50 and included a starter, main, pudding and a drink and were more than enough for my children who struggled to eat it all. The Firehouse grill was their favourite as the food was lovely. We did spend a lot of time at the Beachcomber as it had a small park and it was nice to sit outside on a evening with a drink while the children played with their friends. 

ESF Football Tournament

We visited Butlins for the ESF football tournament so as you can imagine most of our weekend was taking up with football. My son is only 7 so he plays for a under 8 team so all his age matches were played onsite at the caravan park which was about a 15-20 minute walk from our apartment. Older teams played offsite so sometimes during the days the site was quieter. He played football 10-2 on the first day then spent the afternoon swimming with his friends and then he had a couple of matches in the afternoon on the Sunday. On the Sunday they had a presentation in one of the bars on site which was in age groups so it was only on for about an hour. All the children got a trophy from Kevin Keegan which I think my husband was more excited about than my son, as he is a huge Newcastle United fan. 

So What Did We Think?

Overall we had such a lovely weekend and Butlins Skegness was much nicer than we expected it to be. I couldn't believe how clean the site was and how much there was to do onsite. I feel like we didn't even scratch the surface of what Butlins has to offer as we spent most of our time watching football. The activities on offer were brilliant, the restaurants were nice, the apartments were ideal for a weekend break, the location was good as there seemed to be a lot in the local area to do too.

butlins skegness bear

It was a bit pricey for the weekend as it cost us £650 for the accommodation and then we spent about £500 when we were there. But that was for all food and drink out, the children got toys in the toy shop, they went in the arcades etc. You could do it much cheaper if you wanted too. 

My children have already asked if they can go back as they had such a lovely weekend and if I'm honest so did us adults. I never thought I would say this but I would recommend a break to Butlins Skegness as we had a lovely weekend and made memories that I am sure my children will remember forever. 

You can find out more and book your own break on the Butlins website


  1. We have been looking at going to Butlins in Skegness as it's not too far away from us. It sounds like you had a great time and it's a great place to stay. x

  2. You should go as I have heard they sometimes have such good deals. It is brilliant for a family break as there is so much included in the price, your girls would love it as the fair and swimming etc are all free. We had a great time and I would go back xx


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