Growing up close to Bognor Regis I have happy childhood memories of days spent there, and when we walked past the Shoreline Hotel last Christmas I wondered what it would be like to visit Butlin’s with the children.
Feeling a bit cheeky one day, I asked Butlin’s if they work with bloggers.
Fortunately they do indeed, and kindly agreed to book us in for a three night Christmas Fantasy weekend break in December to see what we thought!
Finally it came around, and given it’s been almost two years since we went away as a family (and it was awful) we were all excited!
We were staying in the newly refurbished Butlin’s Shoreline Hotel with a dinner, bed and breakfast package.
The package included tickets to the Christmas show, Whittington Rocks pantomime and Father Christmas experience (including meeting Father Christmas), a buffet dinner in the Shoreline Hotel or a meal voucher to dine out on site each evening, a buffet breakfast in the hotel each morning and one Character breakfast, as well as all the entertainment, access to the swimming pool and soft play and most of the fairground rides.
Here I am talking about the hotel and the food; I will cover the rest in a different post and link here.
The Butlin’s Bognor Regis Shoreline Hotel
So called because of its proximity to the beach, the hotel was recently refurbished and has been made perfect for families with young children.
After a fairly swift check in, we were welcomed to our room by Santa and a crab, which amused the children no end!
Each room has been made over in ship shape fashion with a nautical theme, including a large wooden activity board…
…A giant Octopus cushion…
And a den with bunkbeds for the kids. For the full tour check out their site here.
The corridors were also carpeted in nautical themed flooring.
Given all the two of them wanted to do for the first afternoon/evening was ‘go back home’ I think we can assume the Butlin’s Shoreline Hotel was a hit with them!
And for us?
The room was clean and I have absolutely no complaints; there were more than enough towels, toiletries and toilet paper to suit us and those are my main gripes when it comes to hotel stays!
The shower was hot (although I did not work out how to turn it on without soaking myself), and there was a kettle, coffee and tea and a small fridge so if you go, I suggest you pick up a pint of milk from the on-site store.
Because the kids were in the same room as us (technically, separated by a curtain) we had a full weekend of much-needed early nights whereas they went to bed late and behaved like two kids who’d gone to bed late.
In terms of food at Butlin’s Bognor Regis, you can please yourselves; in the self catering blocks this would be a great option but with nowhere to cook or store food other than a small fridge and a kettle, the best bet if you’re in the Shoreline Hotel would be to get the dining package (details here).
This means that each evening from 4.30pm you can dine in the restaurant downstairs in the hotel, where a buffet is served. Everything is included but drinks.
Alternatively you can speak to reception and instead get dining vouchers worth up to a specified amount (from memory £17.50 for adults and £7ish for children) to spend within the kid-friendly the on-site restaurants including Papa John’s Pizza, the Fish and Chip shop, the Beachcomber Inn and Turner’s family restaurant.
Two nights out of three we ate at the Shoreline Hotel restaurant.
The buffet had a good variety of choice, with a children’s menu (sausages and chips featured highly!), staples (more potatoes) and nightly specials (Indian food one night and Italian the next). The vegetarian selection was very good, but unfortunately for my son the gluten-free selection was quite poor; we had not specified this upon booking however.
There was also a lovely selection of desserts and fruit. If I was staying again I probably wouldn’t bother with the main course…
On the third night we booked dinner at Turner’s, the Butlin’s family restaurant. For some reason unknown to me, my husband booked it for 7pm, a good two hours after dinner time when the kids are usually in bed, so we were playing with fire.
We each ordered a steak and the children ate off the children’s menu which came with ice cream. We ended up spending quite a bit over and above the value of our food voucher (about £25 including a drink each) but our steaks were lovely and it was nice to have a meal out in a proper restaurant, albeit one set up for children!
Breakfast is also served in the Shoreline Hotel restaurant from 8am until half ten.
This was a choice of traditional cooked breakfasts, cereals, continental breakfast, fruit, omelette or pancakes. Or all of the above. We managed to fill ourselves up so much at breakfast that we didn’t have a proper lunch either day and were still full at dinner!
We also attended the ‘character breakfast’ in Papa John’s which was much the same, with the addition of two scarily large Butlin’s mascots, music, and a bit of dancing!
All in all, I would give the Butlin’s Shoreline Hotel at least 4 out of 5.
The hotel itself was lovely and very comfortable, and absolutely perfect for families like ours. The food was nice and varied. However the lack of gluten free options wasn’t great for us so if you have similar food requirements then please check when booking!
We went on this break free of charge, thank you Butlin’s! We had a brilliant time.
A post about the entertainment will follow; stay tuned!