Billy Butlin opened his first resort in 1936. Right from the start, his aim was to bring a little colour and happiness into the lives of hardworking families. Billy’s principles for the perfect holiday were as straightforward and down-to-earth as the man himself. And to this day, while a lot has changed, we still believe in his mission to delight.
Oh, what delightful times we’ve had!
1920 • 1920
Roll up, roll up! Billy Butlin pays just 30 shillings (£1.50) at Lock’s Yard, Bedminister for a hoop-la stall at a travelling fair. From these humble beginnings in a Somerset field, Billy’s career of delighting families began…
1936 • 1936
The first Butlins camp is opened to the public in Skegness and where once turnips grew, families begin to flock for seaside fun and frolics. Who could have guessed that the resort would go on to become one of Britain’s best-loved holiday resorts? A veritable national institution, no less!
1940 • 1940
It’s wartime, and with the help of his good friend General Bernhard Montgomery, Billy sets up leave centres for British troops returning home from the front. The camps provide entertainment, relaxation and general delight to some of our bravest servicemen and women. Holidays for heroes, you might say.
1962 • 1962
A certain Ringo Starr sets up his drum kit to play a season with his band at Butlins Skegness. During the same summer, two other Liverpudlian likely lads, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, happen to visit the resort. They meet Ringo and a few days later ask him to join their own pop combo. The rest, as they say, is rock’n’roll history.
1990s • 1990
Splash Waterworlds arrive at each of the Butlins resorts with waterslides, spas and wave pools… oh, and let’s not forget the ‘lazy rivers’, in which guests of all swimming abilities can partake of a brisk circuit around the pool. It’s leisurely and invigorating at the same time – how clever!
1999 • 1999
Is it a spaceship? Is it a circus tent? No, it’s a Skyline Pavilion, and this is the year these striking structures appear at all our resorts. Beneath their iconic white canopies are housed arcades, the ‘infunmation’ point, and a whole host of shops, restaurants, cafes and other attractions. At the heart of it all is Centre Stage, where entertainment shows enthrall and delight whatever the weather.
2008 • 2008
Throughout his life, Billy Butlin worked tirelessly for good causes, with a modesty that belied his reputation as a showman. Continuing his legacy, Butlins’ announces Princess Royal Trust for Carers as their designated charity. In November a team of staff from Butlins Minehead complete a parachute jump for the charity, throwing themselves out of a plane at 100,000ft. Geronimo!
2012 • 2012
Making quite a splash, and bringing our story bang up to date, the ultra-modern Wave Hotel and Apartments opens its doors at Butlins Bognor Regis. The under-the-sea themed hotel is kitted out with the latest gadgets and gizmos to entertain the whole family.