Summer may have only just ended, but the Christmas countdown started months ago for one Milton Keynes family, who’ve booked a short break at Bognor Regis Resort in mid-December after enjoying a wonderful, fun-filled trip to the resort at the same time last year. “Not a day’s gone by without the kids mentioning it,” laughs Lisa Whiles, a childminder, who’s looking forward to her holiday with husband Ryan, who’s a police officer, daughter Erin, seven, and son Lincoln, four.
“We work very hard, so it’s important to be able to spend quality time together as a family,” Lisa explains. “Last year, Ryan had to work on Christmas Day, which meant our Butlins holiday was very precious.”
And although the family are Butlins summer veterans, they insist a Christmas break is even more special. “When you drive in, there’s snow on the countless Christmas trees around the car park, snowmen next to the fountains and everyone who works at Butlins is wearing Christmas-themed hats,” says Lisa.
Little touches such as these are all part of a huge effort to ensure festive breaks are a real treat. “Our aim is to bring the magic of Christmas to life,” explains Butlins Product Manager Gill Smith.” It’s a truly magical family experience.”
Mission accomplished? The Whiles family certainly think so. Ryan recalls: “When we checked into the Ocean Hotel, there was a big jar of chocolate coins on the counter, which, of course, the kids had to try. Another lovely touch was receiving personalised letters from Santa delivered straight to our room. Those things make a real difference.”
The family also loved meeting Santa in the Enchanted Forest, and Erin was particularly impressed with Santa’s boots! “We stuck the picture of the kids with Santa on our fridge at home,” Lisa reveals. “If we’re having a bad day, we look at it, and that cheers us up because it reminds us what we’ve got to look forward to.”
As an animal lover who hopes to be a vet one day, Erin can’t wait to see her old friend, Bjorn the friendly polar bear, on the Skyline stage again, not to mention the real-life reindeer in the Winter Farmyard.
Lisa is looking forward to not having to do the cooking, cleaning and washing for a few days. But for her, the highlights of last year’s break were the shows. “We go to the panto every year in Milton Keynes, but I actually preferred the one at Butlins,” she says. “It was more family-oriented and professional. Plus you don’t have to pay for it as all the entertainment’s included in the price.” In fact, the Whiles family are adamant this is the perfect family holiday. “It sounds silly but Ryan and I almost cried a few times last year when we saw the looks of amazement and joy on the kids’ faces,” Lisa recalls. “We’d like to go back every year. Hopefully, when our kids grow up, they’ll take their kids and we’ll go along, too. You see big families on holiday together and I hope that’ll be us one day.”
And in the meantime? “We’ll just keep looking at the photo on the fridge,” laughs Lisa. “And we always listen to ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ on the car stereo because it was one of the songs in last year’s The Magic of Christmas show at Butlins.”
What’s on our Christmas list?
Five fun-filled ways to have a magical break with us
- Explore the Winter Wonderland – and while you’re there visit Santa
- Get caught in our Skyline Christmas Snowstorm
- Get creative with Christmas arts and crafts
- Meet the real-life reindeer as they get ready for their busiest night of the year
- Get into the festive spirit with a trip to our traditional family panto And remember, all this and more is included in the price of your break!