Butlins Lakeside Chalets might change your opinion of Britain's oldest holiday park.

On the Butlins Lakeside Chalets deck

Love Butlins or hate it? Never been and worried Butlins might not be for you? Or committed Butlins regular? Say what you like about the UK’s longest-standing holiday park, since the very first Butlins opened in Skegness in 1936 it has become synonymous with British family holidays in an almost iconic way. Given over to military use during the second world war, Butlins was the venue for some of Status Quo’s first gigs, and did you know there was even a Butlins Bahamas?!

There’s certainly been a perception of Butlins over the years as a cheap and cheerful budget holiday, complete with food, facilities and guests that match that image. Cerys, from Travelled So Far says:

“I can’t imagine anything worse, my view is it’s like going on a school trip, staying in accommodation one on top of each other, having to attend every organised event and canteen style restaurants.”

Why Butlins Lakeside Chalets may change your mind

Recently Butlins has undergone huge changes – to their entertainment, restaurant facilities, and most notably the accommodation.

We sent Butlins newbie Helen and her family to check out the new Lakeside Chalets at Butlins Minehead. She confessed to being nervous before their weekend trip, so we were interested to see the family’s verdict.

Inside Butlins Lakeside Chalets

The first thing that strikes you about Butlins Lakeside Chalets is how peaceful they are. Even as you drive to the Lake section of the park’s accommodation, you pass properties that look actually very classy. All the new-style chalets are smart, with clean pastel clapboard frontages, and all sporting a private deck or veranda. And if you’re expecting to have to cart all your belongings from a huge central car park, you’re in for another pleasant surprise – you can park right outside your door for the duration of your stay.

But the biggest eye-opener occurs when you walk through the door of your chalet. It is big! Check out the video clip to see what’s inside a typical 2-bedroom Lakeside Chalet. Here’s what you’ll find inside, that might make you change your mind about Butlins:

  • Two good sized bedrooms, with plenty of space to unpack properly and store all your holiday belongings, as well as places to hide away your bags and cases.
  • Proper beds, with proper bedding and a great mattress. Sometimes when you go to a holiday park you have to accept that you’re going to come home with aching shoulders from the hard, narrow beds, but not in the Butlins chalets. The master bedroom has a kingsize bed, with a soft mattress and a lightweight duvet. The twin room has full-size single beds with duvets too. Each bed has two decent pillows, not the thin pillows you often find on a budget holiday.
  • A huge living area. The back of the chalet is given over to a large living area, with two sofas, a large screen TV and DVD player, and more storage; the kitchen diner area has a decent size table, a long work counter, with kettle and bread bin, hob, oven, dishwasher and fridge. There’s plenty of space for the whole family to be in here and not get under each other’s feet.
  • Great bathrooms; two toilets, a bath and shower, and loads of towels supplied.
  • A daily clean: beds get made for you every day, and used towels are replaced.
  • Lots of extra storage space – the hooks in the hallway mean there’s never any need to have coats and jumpers draped over the chairs. There’s a safe, ironing board, and hairdryers all provided.
  • A lovely spacious deck overlooking the lake.
  • Privacy from other guests – the lakeside chalets don’t feel overlooked, or on top of each other.
  • The surrounding areas are beautifully landscaped and dotted with play areas, making the chalet section of the park feel really upmarket and safe.

If you thought Butlins was all dormitory-style cheap accommodation, the new Butlins Lakeside Chalets at Minehead might surprise you!

The Butlins chalets at Minehead definitely offer a higher level of comfort and quality than you might expect, and it’s worth considering the newer accommodation at the other Butlins resorts too. Samantha from North East Family Fun, a confirmed Butlins fan, has been impressed with Butlins Bognor Regis:

“We love Butlins for a short break. There is so much to keep children entertained and it is incredibly easy to budget – once you pay the price of your holiday that’s it as there is so much included in the price whether this be an afternoon puppet show, swimming, crafts or unlimited rides at the fairground. We don’t have much spare cash and for me, it is excellent to be able to say YES to whatever my children want to do, which you can at Butlins without worrying about the cost. If they’re happy. I’m happy (as long as there’s wine). The restaurants and accommodation at Bognor Regis are fantastic (we stayed in Wave Hotel). Food is very important to us and I like how you can use your dining vouchers to eat in any restaurant on site so it could be burgers and milkshakes with singing waitresses in a 50’s diner one night, wood fired pizzas another or even something a bit more fancy at Turners – it’s definitely not all canteen style, which is what many people perceive.”

So if you’ve never been, or you always thought it was a bit basic, maybe it’s worth another look!

Good to know: 

A two-bedroom Butlins lakeside chalet at Minehead for four people currently costs £471 for three nights over a weekend in June. Meal plans can be added to the total cost for breakfast and dinner at the main restaurants. There are a range of other restaurants on the site, including branded outlets. Check before arrival for opening times. Helen’s accommodation was arranged with Butlins courtesy of Visit Somerset.

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