3 Best Butlins Resorts
Butlins has come a long way since knobbly knee competitions. Nowadays, there's decent accommodation including budget and more luxurious options as well as modern waterparks and restaurants.
But which is the best of the three Butlins holiday parks in the UK? Your choice is Butlins Skegness on the Lincolnshire Coast, Butlins Minehead on the Somerset Coast or Butlins Bognor Regis on the South Coast.
If you're looking for similar or cheaper alternatives to Butlins take a look at:
We checked prices and review scores in April 2020.
1. Butlins Skegness - best reviews, modern swimming pool, sandy beach, cheap prices
We reckon Butlins Skegness is the best value out of the three Butlins resorts. It's a close run thing as they all have a lot in common, but it's a worthy winner.
For a start, it gets the best customer reviews with an average of 4/5 on TripAdvisor and 4.4/5 on Google Reviews. Admittedly, the other resorts weren't far behind, but it's a victory nonetheless.
Butlins Skegness sits in a decent location, right alongside a long sandy beach whereas Butlins Bognor Regis is more shingly.
The swimming pool at Skegness is modern, having been built in 2013 and it's a got a good range of accommodation to choose from.
In other areas, there isn't much between the resorts. Butlins Skegness has a couple less funfair rides than Butlins Bognor Regis but that's a minor thing compared to all other sports and activities which are available. Skegness has the same number of restaurants as the others and offers a similar number of shows and included activities.
In terms of location, it's the northernmost resort by far so it's the most convenient to reach from anywhere north of Birmingham.
Price: Butlins Skegness was the cheapest or second cheapest when we looked at prices for three different dates in 2021. For each date we looked at the cheapest available holiday for a family of four staying for a week in self catering accommodation and in catered accommodation with evening meals and breakfast included.
Butlins Skegness prices started from £818 in early August 2021 for self catering or £1024 with dining. During October half term 2021 prices started at £676 for self catering or £851 with dining. In early July 2021 prices started at £477 or £735 with dining.
That means that Butlins Skegness was the cheapest option on three out of six occasions, with Butlins Minehead being cheapest on the other occasions.
2. Butlins Bognor Regis - almost as good reviews, most expensive, newest swimming pool, shingly/sandy beach
Butlins Bognor Regis has a lot going for it, but it just missed out on top spot because it was quite a lot more expensive than Butlins Skegness in our price comparisons.
Reviews at Butlins Bognor Regis were almost identical to Butlins Skegness when we checked with an average of 4/5 on TripAdvisor (exactly the same as Skegness) or 4.3/5 on Google reviews (only 0.1 stars behind, so hardly anything).
One of the biggest factors in Butlins Bognor Regis's favour is that it opened a new swimming pool (Splash Waterworld) in 2019. The pool has slightly more features and rides than the waterparks at the other Butlins pools, including a neat helter skelter waterslide.
Besides the pool, Bognor Regis has the usual wide range of things to do at a Butlins resort much of which is included in the price. It has an extra couple of rides at the funfair compared to Butlins Skegness.
Much like Skegness and Minehead, Butlins Bognor Regis is next to the beach but it's not as sandy as the other two so don't expect to be taking part in many sandcastle competitions.
Of course, its location on England's south coast means that it is much easier to reach for people travelling from the South East. It'll take you two hours to reach Butlins Bognor Regis from London compared to 3 1/2 hours to Skegness or Minehead. The South Coast of England also gets a tiny bit more sunshine than you get in Skegness (in 2018 it was somewhere around 20 minutes per day of extra sunshine over a year).
Price: Butlins Bognor Regis was always the most expensive option when we looked for the cheapest holiday we could find for a family of four.
In August 2021, a week started from £928 (self catering) or £1251 (including evening meals and breakfast). October 2021 was from £919 (self catering) or £1283 (dining). Early July 2021 was £550 (self catering) or £916 (dining).
That means it was the most expensive option for all six of our price comparisons. The difference was usually about £200-£400 more than the cheapest option for a week's holiday (see our Butlins price comparison).
3. Butlins Minehead - often cheapest, beachside, good reviews
Butlins Minehead is our third choice, but it still has a lot going for it.
Customer reviews on Google Reviews are almost identical to the other two resorts (4.3/5 compared to 4.4/5 for Butlins Skegness). However, it was a little behind on TripAdvisor reviews when we checked with an average of 3.5/5 rather than 4/5 for the other two resorts. Keep in mind that TripAdvisor scores in half marks, so the average may not actually be as significant as it looks.
The swimming pool at Butlins Minehead isn't quite as new as the other two and it doesn't have quite the same range of features of rides but it's still interesting enough to provide plenty of entertainment on a rainy day.
As with the other Butlins resorts it is right by the beach, although I'd pick Skegness beach as the best.
Besides that, Butlins Minehead offers the same great range of stuff to do including the same number of restaurants as the other two resorts, a well-equipped funfair which is included in the cost of your stay and various sports (some cost extra, but not as many as at somewhere like Center Parcs).
Butlins Minehead hasn't been changed over the years from the original designs as much as the other two Butlins resorts, so it also has a nostalgic appeal about it. If you live in the Westcountry or South Wales it's obviously the most convenient to reach, but otherwise it is a little bit out of the way.
Price: Butlins Minehead scored very well in our price comparison, as it was the cheapest or second cheapest option each time. We looked for the cheapest holiday available for a week for a family of four.
In August 2021, prices started from £827 (self catering) or £1039 (including breakfast and evening meals). October half term 2021 was from £665 (self catering) or £947 (with breakfast and evening meals). Early July 2021 was from £295 (self catering) or £592 (with breakfast and evening meals).
That means that Butlins Minehead was the cheapest option half of the time, along with Butlins Skegness.